Boycotting China's OBOR might just be the best thing Modi has done in 3 years

CPEC reflects China's hidden agenda of splitting PoK from India in its mission to achieve global leadership status.

 |  5-minute read |   29-05-2017
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It's becoming more evident now. India is taking on China by all means. Leaving the so-called liberal critics like Mani Shankar Aiyar and Sudheendra Kulkarni in their own way, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did the right thing in not teaming up with the 29 countries in the One Belt, One Road forum initiated by communist China.

Modi's decision on this crucial issue seems sensible and bold, from a strategic point of view. It makes India's stand clear in dealing with China, and indeed, Pakistan.

It's not about just marking India's presence in the One Belt, One Road forum or strengthening trade ties with China, it's about India's identity, integrity, and existence.

As long as India has little doubts on the Kashmir issue, there's no point in discussing India's participation in any development project passing through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

The One Belt, One Road project, often dubbed as the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, has an ambitious vision to amplify China's influence in the Asia Pacific area and Central and Eastern Europe. With this kind of infrastructure projects, China is trying to emphasise its global leadership status as US president Donald Trump is turning his nation more inward with his disastrous anti-globalisation crusade.

The Belt and Road Initiative, which was previously known as One Belt, One Road project, is Chinese president Xi Jinping's dream yet crucial project in the process to make the dragon the new imperialist power. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC is the crux of the project, and it is passing through PoK.  This alone can explain why India is unwilling to participate in China's new version of the Silk Road.

The Dragon's intention is clear, leaving no doubts for anyone, even though the CPEC has become the new bone of contention between India and China. India's logic is also simple - if we join the initiative, it would be nothing but diluting the country's stand on the Kashmir issue. So, everything is clear here. The only thing that doesn't make any sense here is the commentaries from Indian intellectuals.

Sudheendra Kulkarni, former strategist of senior BJP leader LK Advani, termed India's boycott of the Belt Road forum a self-goal.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs better advice on China. Look at the self-goal India has scored by boycotting the Belt and Road Forum summit, convened by Chinese president Xi Jinping on May 14 and 15," he laments in an article written for NDTV website. According to Kulkarni, India was the proverbial "elephant in the room" - conspicuous by its absence.

Thinkers like Kulkarni and Aiyar point out the presence of countries like the US and Japan in the forum despite their political differences with China.

I am asking a simple question to these so-called liberal thinkers - are they considering India's Kashmir issue with Pakistan similar to that of Japan's problems with China?

More than the trade benefits, China is thinking of the geo-strategic edge of the Belt and Road initiative. That's why they haven't shown this degree of enthusiasm in supporting India’s long-standing bid to get into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

We have seen what the communist-imperialist nation did in the case of Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar. In a tricky measure to keep their ally Pakistan happy, China blocked India's attempts to declare Azhar a UN-designated terrorist.

Despite Modi's overzealousness in taking China on board, Beijing has been incessantly trying to make India-China relations more beneficial to them, ignoring India's concerns on sensitive issues.

China pushed India hard to join the Belt and Road venture because of some ulterior motives. CPEC, the flagship project of the initiative, is passing through PoK and Balochistan. The $50-billion project offers a mere share of 0.5 per cent to the impoverished Balochistan, and the people in this immensely rich land of natural resources have been fighting against the inhuman rule of Pakistan for years.

China is skeptical about the reaction of Baloch insurgents to the CPEC project, fearing that the insurgency is posing some kind of security threat to their dream project. This should be viewed through the prism of India's sympathetic approach towards the Baloch cause.

China thinks that the presence of India in the Belt and Road initiative helps ease the situation. And, then comes the more serious factor, which is regarding the PoK region.

China has conceived the Belt and Road initiative as a geo-economic and geo-political strategy, and CPEC reflects its hidden agenda of splitting PoK from India in its mission to achieve global leadership status.

They're just making use of Pakistan for this long-term goal. Once India joined the project, it's better for us to forget the PoK issue as the action is grand enough to provide legitimacy to Pakistan's aggression in Kashmir. 

Keeping this in mind, Xi had put tremendous pressure on India. But the Modi government didn't yield to it. India's measure was meant to send a clear message: Modi isn't going to do things the way his predecessors did on the Kashmir issue.

His approach may be unconventional in dealing with China. But, undoubtedly, boycotting the Belt and Road forum is the best thing he has done in his three years of rule.

Also read: India's absence from OBOR forum is testimony of Modi's failed foreign policy


Dipin Damodharan Dipin Damodharan @dipinbharath

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

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