New Delhi has given China a bloody nose for its misadventures on the Sino-India border- Sikkim and Ladakh earlier this month. With sudden skirmishes at the border, China was simply trying to intimidate India against taking a clear stand on Beijing’s role in aggravating the ongoing Pandemic. But instead of backing off, the Modi government has now given a befitting reply to the Dragon by signing the EU-drafted and Australia-backed motion calling for a review of WHO’s response to COVID-19 as well as “field missions” for identifying the zoonotic source of the virus.
A lot is at stake for Beijing ahead of the key World Health Assembly meeting and this is why China was trying to pressurise India through border scuffles. The EU-Australia backed motion is being touted as the first step towards a growing demand for an international probe into Coronavirus origins. By signing it, the Modi government has sent the message to Xi that Chinese bullying and threats will only backfire.
The face-offs at Ladakh and Sikkim earlier this month were part of Chinese tactics to shut India up on the diplomatic front. India is going to assume the charge of the Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board that implements decisions and policies of the World Health Assembly. This is why China went the extra mile with sudden and unnecessary border face-offs.
And in fact, it was in line with the Dragon’s track record of trying to heckle India before key diplomatic engagements. China had also engaged in the Doklam stand-off before the Wuhan summit in 2017. India, of course, embarrassed Beijing, as the PLA backed off after a 73-day long stand-off.
Last year, Beijing again resorted to a one-day Pangong lake (Ladakh) stand-off ahead of the key Mamallapuram summit between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. India had then sent a stern message by going ahead with an Integrated military Exercise in Eastern Ladakh and strongly asserting its position despite China’s protests.
This time around, of course, Beijing has become restless trying to intimidate all key stakeholders against taking an anti-China stance. Over the past month, China has flexed its muscles against Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea and it is also getting on the nerves of Japan in the East China Sea.
Beyond Asia, China has been bullying the European Union against criticising China’s Coronavirus misinformation campaign, apart from threatening Australia with steep barley import tariffs for boldly calling out China’s murky role in the ongoing Pandemic.
Notwithstanding China’s threats, anti-China sentiment keeps rising and the EU-drafted, Australia-backed backed proposal has now been signed by 122 countries. China is clearly losing friends and enraged by rampant racism against Africans in China, even the African Group has supported the motion for a review of WHO’s response to COVID-19.
By signing this draft motion to be adopted at the World Health Assembly, India has sent a loud and clear message to China– India doesn’t care for Beijing’s intimidation tactics.
China was trying to bully India, but it is India that has given a body blow to the Dragon. This should send warning bells ringing for the country that is obsessed with rogue diplomacy.
Today, India has supported an Australia-backed probe for grilling the pro-China WHO and investigating the “zoonotic source” of the Wuhan virus. The next thing we know India could be supporting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s campaign for Taiwan’s WHO membership, in utter defiance of Beijing’s “One China Principle”. China is therefore, left red-faced. It wanted to bully India, but India has given it a bloody nose instead.