For the last 7 decades, India has refused to follow the principle of “enemy’s enemy is a friend”. But things are changing rapidly now. We have been able to grab a central role in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, much to the chagrin of Turkey. And if there is any head of the state that needs to worry about this development, then it is Chinese President Xi Jinping.
India’s Armenia Armada is a message to Turkiye
According to a report by News.am, an Armenian news agency based in Yerevan, the Armenian Cabinet has approved the memorandum of understanding between India and Armenia. The MoU is a government-to-government deal.
According to the understanding, India will be providing grants for the development of Armenia. Apart from that, India also signed a Rs 2,000 crore weapons export deal with Armenia. The deal was penned in September.
Apart from assisting Armenia, India will also gain strategic leverage from the aforementioned cooperation. The deals are certain to irk Turkiye. By the virtue of active support to Azerbaijan, Turkiye is an indirect participant in the conflict.
Any assistance by India to Armenia is a sin if we look at it from the vantage point of Erdogan. Not only through assistance to Armenia, but India has also signalled its intent to Turkiye by raising Cyprus issues in bilateral talks.
This is a positively radical shift in India’s foreign policy. For the last 7 decades, India was the one that was subject to that kind of diplomatic assault. Country after country kept toeing Pakistan’s lines on Jammu and Kashmir, making a moral fence for Pak based terrorism.
China, being an enabler of insurgency in the north east, also sensed an opportunity and both China and Pakistan became close friends. But India dodged all those bullets belted over it by Pakistan, Turkiye, China and numerous other western countries.
But India has now started to punch according to its weight. In 2022, Countries all across the world are doubly careful and follow due diligence before speaking on Kashmir. Turkiye is now being taught a lesson and the next in line is China. Factually, China has more chinks in its armory than the world describes about India.
India on Uyghur Muslims
The first and foremost chink is Uyghur Muslim population of China. They have been repeatedly subjected to torturous regimes of Communism. China wants to assimilate them into its own Han Chinese population. But their religious affiliation is a big hindrance. That is why China is moulding Islam according to its own convenience. However, this is not an easy task and needs the application of brute force.
China is following Communist rulebook in this regard. The Xinjian region in which Uyghurs are situated is considered by many as concentration camps. Recently, a UNHRC report documented the systematic oppression faced by Uyghurs.
India also took note of the report and has indirectly chided the Jinping regime over its human rights violation record. It won’t take long before India decides to raise the issue on its own volition.
Apart from human rights, China’s hyper-nationalistic territorial ambitions are also its weak spots. Foremost of them is Taiwan.
Though Taiwan is a largely developed country, its political control ultimately lies with the Chinese Communist Party. Democratically elected leaders of Taiwan distaste this fact. They are always looking for a way out and it was amply clear during the recent crisis over Taiwan Strait.
Up until now, India has not recognised Taiwan as a separate nation. But India is looking to do that. Recently, while retorting back to China, the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka used China and Taiwan in separate terms.
If and when India decides to set up an Embassy in Taiwan, it will be a formal announcement of India’s refusal to accept what China terms as “One-China policy”. Given the global pariah status of Chinese on multilateral foras, they definitely would not want that.
But if we have to begin breaking China’s assertiveness, Tibet would be a much better start. For the last 7 decades, the Tibetan government has been living an exiled life in India. They keep appealing to India to pressurise the Chinese government into accepting Tibetan government as legitimate authority on Tibet.
India has largely been silent on the issue, but has provided every kind of assistance to Tibetans living in India. To change this attitude, a press conference in Delhi where PM Modi and Dalai Lama jointly address the briefing will be a good start.
India requires just a final push. It is a good thing that the Chinese have started to withdraw their troops. It shows that they are also aware of their imminent threat. India needs to be more coercive towards the Xi Jinping administration. Only a stronger Iron hand is a counter to Iron hand.
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