I’ve always been an admirer of China. I have also been an admirer of Mao Tse Tung – despite the scandalous (true or untrue) details of his private life – and believe that today’s China, good or bad, is an absolute direct result of his vision. What I have admired the most about China is the way they have been able to pull out millions of people from below poverty, in a matter of a few decades. This feat of China is unmatched in recorded history. What has made them achieve this unbelievable feat is their macroeconomic bottom-up model, wherein they focused on creating purchasing power directly within the poor. This has enabled them to become one of the formidable forces in the world today. They also know that if there is one nation which could pose challenges in the path of Chinese glory, it is India. So some time back, I came across an intriguing article, which generally got overlooked by most. It was reported by almost all mainstream newspapers that a Chinese strategist has contended that China should break India into 20-30 independent states! And this piece got featured in the new edition of the website of the China International Institute for Strategic Studies (CIISS), an influential think tank that advises Beijing on global and strategic issues. What made this article intriguing was the very fact that China, unlike India, is not a democracy where one can write anything howsoever frivolous and still get away with it. China is extremely strict about dissemination of information and when something as serious as this gets featured in a strategic think tank website, it could almost be said for sure that the statement carries an official approval.
What is more worrisome is the fact that the article also states that China should go about doing this with the help of friendly countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. And all of a sudden, this looks like a plausible option going by the kind of relations that India has with four of its immediate neighbours. Furthermore, the article ostensibly suggests that Bangladesh should woo Bengalis in India to form a separate Bengali nation independent of India, with the support of China! All this in just one article, which as I mentioned got featured some couple of months back. What is most shocking is the fact that China, in various ways, has already started taking its recourse towards disintegrating India in its own way. To begin with, it has started issuing separate visas to Indian passport holders from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, projecting that J&K as a state is separate from India. They went on to propagate the same by distributing handouts to visitors of Tibet, especially journalists who were invited by the Chinese government recently.
That’s not all. The perennial dispute with respect to Arunachal Pradesh’s ownership has pushed China to such an extent that in August this year, they stalled a loan from Asian Development Bank to India, which was to be deployed for the development of Arunachal Pradesh. What’s more, in this dispute, Google has been playing its own role: Google Maps in China feature Arunachal Pradesh as a part of China; Google Maps for India feature the state as a part of India; and show it as a disputed territory in the rest of the world. Over and above all this, China now has plans to build a dam across the Brahmaputra to divert some 200 billion cubic meters of water to feed the Yellow river on account of severe water shortage. This in itself has raised significant concerns for the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
All in all, China has been moving extremely strategically with a definite objective in mind. In fact, for this audacious thought and various moves of China, no one is to be blamed other than us. With national politics being highly fragmented, India seems to be becoming increasingly vulnerable, at least politically. National politics is so disoriented that it caters not just to regional needs but has also further moved down to cater to caste and class based agendas. Myopic viewpoints and self-centered objectives have created such a disillusion that no one seems to have any vision for the nation. No doubt, the Chinese are extremely astute to realize this and are dreaming of capitalizing on the same.
As it is, while Shivraj Patil was sleeping and changing his dresses, the Maoist Naxalite forces in India spread their wings in a manner that Chidambaram is finding almost impossible to handle despite his apparent strong words. Nothing perhaps is of bigger concern for India’s internal security than the Naxalites who are creating havoc in the areas they rule, not only by the night but increasingly by the day now. And now, the proposed governmental plan of spending Rs. 7,200 crores over the next three years on the poor people of the Naxalite infested region is utterly laughable and shameful. In the first place, Rs. 2,400 crores spent per year means approximately Rs. 1,200 per year, per family, which is as good as nothing. Add to it the fact that 95% of this money will be eaten away by government officials and the realization hits hard that India is doing nothing to tackle this huge problem which the Chinese would love to capitalize upon – and are indeed already capitalizing upon – given the first opportunity, to make their dream come true.
Dividing India into 30 different states is indeed a laughable idea. However, if India doesn’t act fast to tackle its internal threats like Naxalism, things might look drastically different in the near future. India needs to immediately increase its budget for removing poverty amongst the Naxalite infested areas by about 25 times as a first step towards thwarting these dangerous dreams of the Chinese. Simultaneously, it needs to take China absolutely head on in terms of various other Chinese talks, threats and desires. Only that will help India consolidate its position of an equal partner in this region that will dominate world politics in times to come.
- 22 October 2009 |
- Dr. Arindam On China