- The global community has certainly developed immunity from feeling surprised by any actions perpetrated by increasingly irresponsible, aggressive, ambitious, and disrespectful Chinese moves over the last few years. That the Chinese leadership cares very little for the established global order is amply evident by the way certain moves are undertaken much against the wishes of the majority opinion. Also, it is no secret how the Dragon Nation nurtures ambitions to be anointed as the hegemonistic powerhouse taking on the might of the world’s superpower the United States of America.
- Further, there is no love lost between the two major powers forcefully fighting to establish supremacy on matters of relevance concerning world affairs. Of course, India is already under strain courtesy of Chinese aggression on the eastern Ladakh region where the fully armed military from both countries are staring eye-to-eye over the last two and a half years. In between, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has also exposed the brazen behaviour of China backing Moscow to cock a snook at the established world order. Indian response to China’s brazen disregard for our valid concerns has been guarded at best so far despite encountering tremendous hardship.
- Yes, there were vociferous voices of discontentment from the opposition ranks questioning the government’s guarded stand on the Chinese incursions all these months. But the Indian establishment did not let go of the gloves-on approach despite mounting domestic pressure. However, in a significant change in tone and signalling, the Indian high commission in Sri Lanka referred to China’s militarization of the Taiwan Strait, the first such reference by any Government of India arm. The high commission was responding to an article written by the Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka where he drew parallels between the recent Taiwan situation and the visit of the so-called Chinese research vessel – widely believed to be a spy ship – Yuan Wang 5 to the Lankan port of Hambantota.
- Thus, people following closely would notice a marked departure from the ministry of external affairs’ statement earlier this month on the Taiwan issue where it only issued a routine statement on avoiding unilateral actions to change the status quo. What prompted the issuance of a strong statement then? The Chinese spy ship’s visit and the Chinese envoy’s arch hint that Sri Lanka’s sovereignty is threatened by India haven’t gone down well with the Union Government. It’s a welcome change indeed and was about time India took a bolder approach to Taiwan, which is not only a democracy but also an economic dynamo and a semiconductor giant to boot.
- Agreed, India’s strategic-security matrix is different from that of the US given China is our land neighbour. No harm for India to join the US in piling pressure on China though. Given open Chinese belligerence, it doesn’t serve Indian interests anymore to be coy about Taiwan. Besides, there is so much New Delhi and Taipei can do together from collaborating in regional security forums. Therefore, it makes imminent sense for India to seriously consider undertaking its own high-level visits to Taiwan. The time is now to assert ourselves.