Home Opinion The Question of the China Challenge for India

The Question of the China Challenge for India

The world which has undergone considerable change during the course of the Pandemic from the way we used to interact to the way we think, has impacted the nation-states as an actor of international politics to use means that were ought to help these very nations in preventing any future wars. The World is facing a grave danger today, not of conventional wars, but unconventional wars through the means of economic threats and technology. The starkest example of these changes is the wave of anti-globalization around the world, which is present in the idea of “Us V/S They”, to fight the Pandemic. Whilst the virus is a global threat, the actions against it are local with minimum collaborations. The most legitimate actor who is the perpetrator of this growing global tumultuousness is the US, which has orchestrated an agenda against multilateralism, the same country who was once a poster-child of the multilateral and liberal order. Then there are actors like China, which are presenting a threat to this liberal order on one hand and trying to present an alternative to it on the other. To exacerbate the matters, the rise of one-upmanship among the world leaders helps us to discern the present situation.

Whilst as all these things are happening, one thing presents the answer to many of our questions regarding the change in world-order i.e., the 5the plenary session of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) which had hosted the top echelons of the CCP to discuss the 14th five-year plan (2021-25). Chinese President Xi Jinping while addressing the session reiterated the need for a self-sufficient China, an idea which didn’t match the multilateral narrative of China, to better deal with international situations which will make China economically powerful to be neglected and technologically powerful to be threatened. In his speech, Xi Jinping specifically recognized the challenge which the “Few Countries” pose to China and opined the idea of self-deterrence capabilities, which is an idea diverging from the past belief of a rising global-power to better deal with the conditions of interference by foreign powers in Chinese backyards. Further, the legitimacy of CCP was being upheld during the session by referring to the challenge which can only be curbed by CCP. Two things come out of this session, first, China is fully aware of the looming danger over the Chinese head about its alienation in the global economic order. And second, China is trying to change its options at hand to be better able to deal with the repercussion of its past actions.

Two things come out of this session, first, China is fully aware of the looming danger over the Chinese head about its alienation in the global economic order. And second, China is trying to change its options at hand to be better able to deal with the repercussion of its past actions.

Whilst the US bears the credit to escalate the matters, China is credited for its all-out agenda in exacerbating this problem. Chinese narrative proposed by Deng Xiaoping in 1989 of “Hide your strength, bide your time”, has been defenestrated by President Xi Jinping thinking that China would stand up to the challenges posed by its adversaries and that China would be able to change the world order on its terms. However, things that were imagined didn’t materialize. The global coalition which is forming against China, be it the resurrection of the Quad or the Clean network initiative by the US, points out to one thing i.e., cognizance of the China challenge. Even the upcoming Biden administration, which might not be as staunch as the Trump administration was, recognized the need to curb this problem. Further, the clashes between Indian and Chinese forces along the LAC has furthered this feeling to stand up to the China challenge. In these hard times, we are seeing China trying to bring the temperature down a notch. China’s recognition of the imperatives of self-sufficiency and self-deterrence points out to the fact that the time which had been chosen by the Chinese leadership to fulfill The China Dream, is wrong. It is for this reason that the testimony of the china challenge is looming large on China to cut the bud in the nip and prove its hard-gained legitimacy in the international order again.

Chinese narrative is given by Deng Xiaoping in 1989 of “Hide your strength, bide your time”, has been defenestrated by President Xi Jinping thinking that China would stand up to the challenges posed by its adversaries and that China would be able to change the world order on its terms.

But the question is, what this China challenge brings onto the table for India? India’s intransigence to understand the China challenge even after the Doklam clashes of 2017 and reaching back to China through Wuhan and Mamallapuram spirit, is lurking in the shadow as a demon for India. However, the very fact that India is now ready for an issue-based alliance by defenestrating the archaic thinking of non-alliance  (the resurrection of Quad, Australia’s inclusion into Malabar and rethinking of the Taiwan question), brings to the fore the changing diplomatic considerations of India. Further, India’s actions against the danger of Chinese 5G technology and Chinese mobile applications, shows the precedence of where India will be moving in the future. But could we be able to capture the rise of China by these actions? Absolutely not. India needs to be an economic powerhouse to leverage its position and increase its bargaining power in the world. For that to manifest, India needs more not less, closer integration with the world for its developmental needs and its apprehensions for openness are then to be get rid of by analyzing the cost and benefits of it in the medium to longer-term. China has been able to stand till yet is only due to the fact of the economic leverage it has, not due to its military robustness, and that should be taken into consideration to make any future decisions.

Will the new Biden administration help India for that matter is still hard to tell, but the reiteration of Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s coherence about India’s importance in the administration’s foreign policy provides hope. The reality is wide open in front of India to recalibrate its priorities and own up to the challenge because sooner or later there might again be a new Doklam or Pangong Tso moment in the offing for India.

© The Eastern Herald
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A student of Masters in Political Science. Writes about the geopolitical development of the Indo-pacific region. A contributor to The Eastern Herald from India.