By: RK Sinha
“Love thy neighbour as thyself”. India has followed this Biblical command given hundreds of years ago. Two of our neighbours, China and Pakistan, have also followed it, but followed in violation. What is worse, they have not changed even at this time when the Coronavirus has spread like a wild fire and unity is the need of the hour. Possibly, they have drawn a new policy and acting under the same. A change is in the design was least expected. However, these two neighbours seem to have now got one aim in mind: to destabilise the country and rob its peace. Nepal, the third neighbour, seems to have joined hands.
Of the three, China has tried to cross the border between the two countries near the tri-junction with Sikkim. As is known, after that there was a clash between the soldiers of India and China which had subsequently taken a serious turn. Soldiers on both sides suffered injuries. It had happened after a long time. On the other hand, china’s good friend, Pakistan, is continuously firing across the Line of Control. It has been getting a befitting reply from the Indian Army. However, this habitual offender has not cared much and has gone on firing at the civilian population and army personnel.
India had gone for a surgical strike after attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama. Terrorists camps in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were destroyed. It was thought that there will be a change in their strategy after that but there was no change. The country had to, therefore, make amends. It is no more restricting itself to issuance of statements condemning the actions. It has come to realise that Pakistan cannot be silenced by these actions. Something more needs to be done. Counter attacking strategy has worked effectively. People there are fighting poverty, illiteracy and inflation. India has nothing against the common people. Pakistan, however, does not hesitate to fire on Indian citizens, including women and children.
As far as Chinese army is concerned, India can no longer trust it after confrontation with china at Doklam near the trijunction. Memories of 1962 war fought 58 years ago are also still afresh .In fact, India always wanted to establish friendly relations with China, but that country had a different desire. It has now emerged as an enemy of humanity. The two neighbours have never followed the neighbours’ dharma. In case of Chine it is difficult to stomach. For, India and China have a business relationship of about 100 billion dollars annually.
It is China’s biggest trading partner, but it has a trade deficit of 29 billion dollars. That means China has gained from the deal. It owes a debt of gratitude to India. But, instead, it has moved closer to Pakistan and does everything possible to harm Indian interest. The alternative left now is to cut imports from China drastically and completely stop Chinese goods coming from to break its economic back. India will also have to reduce its dependence on China. Not only this, India will have to offer good incentives to companies in Japan, South Korea, Europe and America which are angry with China due to Corona. There is a chance of India becoming a major manufacturing hub in the world.
This opportunity should not be missed. This means that a two-pronged attack on China has to be made. First, imports from China should be reduced drastically second, companies desiring shift should be lured in. These steps will bring China to its knees. Every person in the world hates that country and believes that Corona has spread across the world because of it. There is no doubt that once the corona virus is defeated, many countries may break ties with China. India can gainfully exploit that situation.
The Indian government has already tweaked the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules. The country has made it mandatory for any company or individual from any of its neighbouring countries to take the government’s green signal before investing in any financial or economic sector .China has called this decision violative of the WTO rules and discriminatory. Since the decision of the Government of India is going to affect the interests of China, it has used many other uncomplimentary words. It had lost cool.
Surprisingly, after China and Pakistan, our close friend, Nepal has shown signs of change. This has followed India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s inauguration of the 90- km long road through a video link last Friday. This road connects Ghatiyabagarh in the state of Uttarakhand to the Lipulekh Pass in the Himalayan region. Nepalese have protested in front of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu because of this development. The Chinese might be behind this too. The road will benefit Nepalese in general. They can earn more now, but the Marxists in Nepal are behaving like Chinese. India, therefore, will have to keep an eye on all the three neighbours and be more watchful. Love the neighbours but not blindly. (The writer is a senior editor, columnist and former MP)