India–China relations: A perspective

It has been about 51 years since India and China took up guns against each other, went to a war that was not at all pleasant. No war by the way is pleasant since everyone is a loser and perhaps the winners are the minds of the army Generals and the politicians involved in many a skirmish between two nations. Well after this rather unpleasant episode in the history and relations of these two giants of Asia, that goes back to 1000s of years, here comes one more rather unavoidable incident on the footsteps of the one that place at Arunachal Pradesh some months, that now has been forgotten after a much hype by the media.

Here too incessant has been the media accusations over this incident at Ladakh. Scare tactics are on once again, for those who can read between the lines, not many can of course. In the meanwhile, both the governments are playing down this as a local issue and very rightly so if you ask me.

The reason for my bluntness is that almost all the countries in the world that have another one as their neighbour, have some misunderstanding or the other with the other country on the other side of the border. It doesn’t mean they are loading their guns and cannons to shoot each down! Similar is the case here. China has border problems with Russia, Japan and Taiwan, India with Pakistan, Bangladesh and China, Mexico with its northern neighbour, so on and so forth. Sometimes these misunderstandings escalate and end up in costly wars. Costly by the human lives lost and the economic loss incurred as well.

As far as the current ‘crisis’ goes, I do not foresee a deterioration of the situation. It will be back to business for both shortly. Business yes, that has grown exponentially over the last many years between both the nations. Acknowledged as two Economic Growth Engines amongst a few, these two neighbouring giants of Asia are spurring growth in their own respective ways. The added fact is that these two comprise of two of the five countries that constitute the BRICS group of nations. The others being Brazil, Russia and South Africa. All of them being regional powers, economic and military as well!

This being a fact, apart from very ancient ties that bind them, the powers in charge of these two nations, India and China, fortunately do not seem to be toeing the steps taken by the vested media, particularly in India. The hype, the clamour, the accusations that are being heaped are to be taken with a pinch of salt. You see, there are reasons for this hype. On one side we a country that is growing rapidly as an economic and military power that will one and very soon, will rise up to challenge the strongest that was economically. This fact is not going very well with the Americans, who really don’t like to be challenged on any front. Bad sportsmanship or whatever the reasons are, will be overlooked by the giant neighbour India has. This challenge that has unnerved the status-quo liking nation of US, has unleashed this torrent of accusations against China by the mostly western dominated media of the west. This new feed, that goes unchecked, has found a friendly host in the Indian news media which gladly put them up as their own! The accusations are many fold. That China is brutally expanding in all directions, threatening Japan, Taiwan on one side and India on the other. Since there are takers for this hype, blind accusations that they are!

My reasoning for the above and not to fall prey for this media hype that is creating an unnecessary monster are that, if one studies the histories of both the countries that are involved in this current incident at Ladakh are quite similar. Similar when it comes being non-aggressive countries that have not waged wars, attacked other countries or invaded others on a large scale and that have resulted in huge casualties!

On the other hand these two sovereign countries have been attacked, brutalised and colonised in the past. Here I see no requirement to talk of India’s past but on the other hand China did suffer under the imperial Japanese in the mid 20th century. I truly believe, hence that the fear psychosis that is being created in the media of China attacking and occupying India in the dark hours of the night are completely wrong and mischievous. There are other things that are going on between these two nations in the light of the day, almost everyday.

Trade is one such factor. As mentioned earlier, the trade has grown in massive proportions over the last many years. And it is still growing. For any nation to grow and progress, this is the utmost of the factors. Industrial output, growth in other sectors such agriculture etc. Output that are geared towards domestic markets as well that are export oriented. This is happening is a manner that can easily overshadow that so called border crisis between the two. Fortunately the leadership of both the nations have shunned away from this media hype, for they have realised the futility of such acts. I am quite certain that they have read the fine the fine print and have realised who may be behind this escalated hype we are witnessing. Believe me, if there was any truth to the much hyped news of what took place at Arunachal Pradesh some ago, India and China would already fought their 2nd war after over fifty years of otherwise peace between the two!

Chinese incursions in Ladakh , India

Chinese incursions in Ladakh , India

Realistically stating over the print, this matters more to any nation these days. Gone are the days of ancient kingdoms and fiefdoms where territorial attacks and occupations were more primary to conduct the affairs of a nation. Not anymore and that is the good news. Of course, needless to say that this may hold good for some countries, that have an outlook towards economic or social progress of their citizens. But some have other vested interests. Domination through brutal power, lies and deceits to go along with their policies. Here is the difference, once again I am reiterating this fact. Both of these nations, India or China have believed in the former types of policies and their priorities are different. That of gaining strength economically, socially and militarily in their respective regions.

Being members of a rapidly growing block of BRICS nations whose agenda currently looks at expansion of trade between themselves, a lot of other developments not reported in the mainstream media are taking place, such as trading amongst themselves in their local currencies, ex: Brazilian Dinar with Chinese Yuan etc. that is slowly but surely pushing off the current International Reserve Currency (IRC), the US Dollar to the background and which was the only currency allowed for decades for any trading between any two nations in the world! With such a giant stride that is taking place on the international scene on the trade sector, a lot of political implications too will automatically fall in. Implications that are not at all pleasant to a few, whose power may be undermined in the long run.

In order to protect their decades long domination over world affairs, it is not easy to digest a few new realities that are appearing over the horizon for them. Realities as stated above, the slow denting of IRC and its hegemony. Hence with its stranglehold over the mass media, certain facts are easily distorted and hence we see this hysteria.

There are other factors too. India and China belong to other trading blocks as well. The ASEAN and the SCO group of nations. There are lots more to gain in trading and exchanging cultural aspects of the two nations rather than occupying a few sq kms of other’s territory that can induce much blood shed. This I am certain both countries have recognised as facts and are rightly ignoring such hoopla in the media.

In the past, going back to many centuries of relations, both India and China have had consisting understanding of each other both during pre and post days of Buddha. Followers of Buddhism took the route via China to Japan and Korea to spread his teaching. In turn ancient Chinese visited India to learn more about its culture. There have been interactions as well that have lasted many centuries. For that matter it still is in progress. There are many Chinese scholars that have mastered Tagore’s and many other texts that belong to India. Many students have learnt Hindi, Indian classical dance forms etc and there are many Indian students who have gone to China to pursue their dreams in education.

So hence the argument is pertinent. That the media needs to calm down a bit and let the progress in relations be carried forward for it is going to benefit both the countries. China with India’s soft power and India with China’s hard power vis-à-vis their potential in their manufacturing expertise in consumer ware.

Here it is but inevitable. Times of changed. I am stressing once more that days of occupying others territories for monetary or economic gain where there isn’t will not happen except with a handful of ex and neo colonial powers whose mentalities may never change. But for other nations that belong to the other, the developing nations group, the alternatives are different. Progress and development of their individual societies via trading, cultural exchanges are the realities that have been acknowledged. India and China belong to the other, the
developing nations group!

© Jagdish Keshav

1 comment on this postSubmit yours
  1. Jai Hind.Keshav sir,GRAND SALUTE FROM MY SIDE TO UR THOUGHTS AND THE WAY U EXPLORED UR AGITATION RISING IN UR HEART bcoz of this meaningless war which wil be soon b/w these two counties.I thing u can suggest some more views which will be beneficial.and as a common man how can one contribute to this.Jai Bharat Maa.

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