India is no longer a country which is underdeveloped and poor. India has emerged and is playing a big role in the international arena. India has a voice now, and it is loud enough. People respect India now. India has refused to become a part of the bi-polar world and today it has become a pole of power in itself. India is not on anybody’s side but its own.
Gone are the days when India had to rely on aid from prosperous countries. In fact, the situation has changed so much, that India is giving aid to other countries. There used to be a time when India used to rely on the United States to send them wheat to sustain the country’s food needs. Now India exports food grain world-over. India has contributed a lot of aid to disparate countries.
The presence can be seen in Afghanistan where Indians have built roads, donated buses and even conducted the elections of the Afghanistan legislature. India has even given aid to its hostile neighbour, Pakistan, when the floods struck the country in 2010. India maintains an airbase in Tajikistan and gives a huge amount of money to Tajikistan as monetary aid.
India has always had hostile neighbours. Pakistan is the most hostile neighbour of India. Of course, they do maintain apparently “friendly” relations with India but it is not that they like the Indian presence there, even if India’s presence in the neighbourhood is extremely beneficial to them. Be it Nepal, SriLanka, Bhutan or Bangladesh, they have always loathed India for reasons unknown.
India’s most competitive neighbour, however remains China. More specifically, the People’s Republic of China. People do find it amusing that you can have 2 major powers as neighbours.
There was a time when Indo-Chinese relations were pretty warm and cordial. In India there was a popular saying which said “Hindi-ChiniBhaiBhai”. That means that the Indians and Chinese are brothers.
However, that does not actually hold true as of now. They are far from being brothers.
The change in relations, in my belief is after the 1949 Cultural Revolution in China when communism was established in the People’s Republic of China. Relations between the two countries began deteriorating then.
Nevertheless, we endorsed their bid for membership in the United Nations. And as a result, they became a member of the UN. Surprisingly enough, China was given a security council seat, primarily due to its huge population.
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Relations soured especially when there was a war between India and China in 1962. The Indians were defeated in this war and they lost some territory to the Chinese. This is the turning point in Indo-Chinese relations. Relations almost broke down after that and both the countries were hostile to each other.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” according to an old Indian saying.
China used this principle very effectively. They started supporting Pakistan. So whenever there were skirmishes between India and Pakistan, China always supported Pakistan and even threatened to intervene in the war on behalf of the Pakistanis. This was shown in the wars of 1965, 1971 and the Kargil War in 1999.
When the Kashmir issue came up, the Chinese obviously supported Pakistan’s claim to Kashmir. In turn, the Indians did not recognize the sovereignty of China over Tibet.
Eventually, the Indians recognized Tibet as China’s, but India offered refuge to Dalai Lama, who actively fought for the independence of Tibet. That was condemned by the Chinese, who insisted that the Dalai Lama be refused political refuge in India. To date, the Indians have kept Dalai Lama in India because the Chinese refuse to recognize India’s sovereignty on Jammu and Kashmir.
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If this wasn’t enough, India and China have border disputes. There was a question about the states of Sikkim and ArunachalPradesh because the Chinese did not recognize these two states as India’s. However, this issue has been resolved with the Chinese recognizing these states as India’s even though sometimes, this issue still lingers around when there are bilateral talks between India and China.
For all these reasons, you find a lot of hostility between India and China.
And these aren’t the only reasons.
You have the question of economic and geopolitical dominance over each other. Both countries are strong economically and both the countries are aiming to be better than the other and overtake each other. China as of now, has the lead. But there is a lot of speculation that India will soon overtake China.
For all these reasons, China will never support India’s bid for a permanent seat in the security council. Russia, France, the United Kingdom and now even the United States have expressed their support for India’s bid. But China till date has refused to provide their support. They insist that India be denied the right to veto. Such a demand is unreasonable.
China likes to keep India in check. They know with a permanent seat and a right to veto, they will block out any resolution regarding Kashmir and that would solve their dispute and then India can concentrate on better things and concentrate their resources there.
China cannot tolerate that. China will not tolerate India being better than them. They will do whatever there is in their power to stop India from overtaking them. The Chinese know that India is a responsible country with a good record of nuclear proliferation and it knows that India has all the right to be in the UNSC with a permanent seat in the veto.
But the Chinese will never acknowledge this. It is in their belief that doing so would mean their doom. They are playing it safe and denying India its rightful place. They are playing international politics to keep India away. They know that if India manages to come to their standing in the world arena, like in the UN, then the Chinese will have less dominance in the world. They cannot let India take away their standing away from them.
Even now, India is actively trying to get the Chinese to support India’s bid for a seat in the UNSC. Bilateral trade has increased, there are more meetings between the Chinese and Indian administration, they are trying to find more common ground in order to reduce hostility and to establish more cordial relations with each other. The Copenhagen summit proves the same.
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But it could take a really long while for India and other countries to recognize India’s bid for a security council seat and it could also be so that the Indians completely fail in convincing the Chinese to back them for a permanent seat in the security council.
Nevertheless, we never know, when the Chinese will warm up and open-heartedly support India.
Copyright © 2011 AshwathKomath