Why Modi is the biggest threat to Communist China

The Indian prime minister is exploring all possible options to counter Beijing's Belt and Road initiative.

 |  5-minute read |   21-01-2018
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India has faced invasions of various kinds from different powers. From Mahmud Ghazni's devastating attacks to the so-called civilised invasion of the British, India experienced its multiple faces and vagaries.

We had been drained dry by the invaders over centuries, and not yet recovered fully from the hangover of the colonial mindset.

Globally, the stage has been set for the incursion of new-age invaders who are passionate about creating a new world order with hardly any values and virtues of democracy but growing traits of fascist ideals. We're passing through a tumultuous period where the world order is becoming more complex and the routes of invasion are assuming new and detrimental dimensions. The emergence of Donald Trump as the patriarch of the US, and the more recent aggressive idolisation of Xi Jinping as the new Mao of China make things dramatically disturbing, raising the need to build an effective counter at all possible levels.

Trump has been enthusiastic about the America-First policy to confuse his followers since the very beginning of his political innings. It was nothing but a shortcut to power. At a time the US is abandoning its commitment to free trade, China is coming to the fore. The post-Trump developments in the US have bolstered the Communist nation's ambition to become the global leader.

It is true that Trump often makes provoking statements on China, but it's evident that those statements have nothing to do with his actions. What else can one expect from a leader who allegedly cosied up to Russia for an election victory, and a President who believes the words of Russian supremo more than his intelligence officials.

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The agendas of Russia and China are revealed and indeed the ideology of Trump makes no sense in the larger context of globalisation. Time badly demands the rise of a global leader with an undiluted commitment to free trade and democracy and who can challenge the rant of the new Mao.

Nothing, but fascism

China has embraced a path to cement its Communist-feudalist brand in other countries unlike what the US did in the past to stamp its presence. The strategy of Xi Jinping is accomplishing an indirect invasion in economically fragile under-developed countries. The dragon has a long-term vision of colonialising developing nations by forcing them to be committed to China for financial gains. Just imagine the repercussions of becoming a "slave" to an autocratic mechanism where everything is decided by the state alone.

In the early 1950s, China had a "decent" foreign policy of not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. But, with the course of time, it has changed drastically as part of its expansionist strategies. The power statement of Xi to make Chinese Army an unconquered one, or an Army that can crush anyone has multiple implications, especially with regards to India. Now, we can link China to each notable political-economic happening in the world. Whether it is the Myanmar issue, chaos in Zimbabwe, or political developments in Cambodia, the Chinese presence is being felt everywhere. Beijing's military expansion in South China Sea despite the pressure from international bodies makes it a disruptive force in the Indo-Pacific region.

Why Modi matters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the only significant world leader who dared to challenge the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China's grand plan, often dubbed as the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, to establish its influence in the Asia Pacific area and Central and Eastern Europe. Modi did the right thing by not teaming up with the 29 countries in the One Belt, One Road forum initiated by China in May 2017. Though China pushed hard for India to become a part of BRI, Modi was averse to it. On the contrary, the Indian prime minister is exploring all the possible routes to counter BRI, a project that has the potential to compromise India's sovereignty and security.

Even top diplomats in the US are of the opinion that Modi is the right man to lead the fight against China's colonialism. Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), a security partnership that between Japan, US, India and Australia to challenge China in the Asia-Pacific region, is the result of an aggressive approach taken by Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The Quad is an effort to ensure the survival of liberalism over totalitarianism, but the Communist state is alarmed thinking Quad is the first step to an Asian security alliance on the lines of NATO. Out of frustration, China aired statements saying the US, Japan, India, and Australia must not target it. Even the Indian communists are deeply concerned about India's strategic masterstroke. The pro-China remarks of a Kerala Communist leader have to be seen in the backdrop of Quad. An axis of countries like the US, Japan, Australia and India has taken shape to attack China from all sides, CP(I)M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan reportedly said.

The statement underlines Modi as a big threat to China's expansionist ambitions. Quad, however, seems to be the only hope for the world to take on China. Encouragingly, it seems Modi and Abe are the two leaders who will be able to take decisive steps to tame the dragon as it makes headway to encircle India. No doubt, the US is a crucial part of the anti-China axis, but the wavering stand of Donald Trump offers us little hope. The recent victory of the coalition of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) in the Himalayan nation ensures China's clout keeps growing in the region.

It's going to be a tough game for the two powerful emerging economies. India needs to win it; for the sake of liberalism, for the cause of free trade, and for its own survival as a more open democratic country in the world.

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Writer

Dipin Damodharan Dipin Damodharan @dipinbharath

The writer is co-founder of EduQuest and Ex-Editorial Head, DC Media, DC Books.

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