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'Naya Kashmir, New India' and Xi Jinping’s strategic predicament

WebdeskAug 05, 2021, 07:15 AM IST

'Naya Kashmir, New India' and Xi Jinping’s strategic predicament

                                                                                                                                                                 Nirendra Dev


A vibrant 'New India' makes a lot of difference. 
New Delhi: 'August 5,' as a day haunts Chinese establishment as much it pinches Pakistan. Under PM Narendra Modi, it is now 'Naya Kashmir', and two years have gone successfully, adding more powers to panchayat levels.


On August 5, 2019, the Modi government had abrogated Article 370 The next day, Home Minister Amit Shah said the BJP leaders could lay down their lives for Aksai Chin and PoK.


The position of 'perceived strength' has created a sort of functional hurdle for Chinese President Xi Jinping.


First, the border imbroglio since May-June 2020 and the ongoing diplomatic standoff has given out a message that China’s influential dispensation has come under open challenge from a fellow Asian giant. But comparably, China always presumed it to be a stronger customer.


There is pressure globally, and being almost put in a bracket with Pakistan and North Korea is perhaps being understood at the right level.


Thus, it was not without good reason that Xi Jinping in June told in a closed-door meeting with party colleagues that “It is necessary to make friends, unite and win over majority and constantly expand the circle of friends.”


There is something well known in the diplomatic-strategic circle called ‘reputational costs.’


This price for India will be far lesser because China is well known as a ‘stronger’ economic power among the two, and it also has more forces in uniform.


But the Modi regime has hit Beijing hard where it pinches–below the belt virtually.


Prime Minister Modi has decided to play the mind game. A former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh had told this writer during the Doklam crisis that China fears any assertive country that displays strength.


“In June 2020, there was the worst clash between India and China. Sadly for Xi Jinping, there were fatalities on both sides. As a democratic nation, India accepted the damage and honored the 20 martyred, but the Chinese President was left red-faced. This was China's worst and first combat death in the last 40 years and more. Beijing also had to swallow another bitter pill, the truth. It came to light that Chinese soldiers need to better training for high-altitude warfare in rugged terrains of the Himalayas. The embarrassment for 'powerful' Xi lay in the actions of the Chinese authorities when at least six Chinese bloggers have been put behind bars for writing that China is hiding the actual death toll from the Galwan clash. "
The US intelligence reportedly placed Chinese fatalities at 35. One of the native Chinese bloggers, who had over two million followers on Weibo, was sentenced to eight months in prison.


Hence, there is some re-conciliatory tone in the Chinese camp lately during parleys on border row at both platforms–between military commanders and between two foreign ministers Dr S Jaishankar and Wang Yi.


A career diplomat Jaishankar is experienced in handling China too.


So echoing the spirit of a doer as envisioned by the Prime Minister, Modi’s External Affairs Minister was not hesitant in Moscow recently and had said: “China has not observed agreements it had signed up for when it came to our (Indian) border.”


Unlike the past, these are glimpses of neo-assertive New Delhi, when modest politicking had persuaded Dr Manmohan Singh to stay away from the Quad format. Now apparently, China also agrees to the Indian version and wants an ‘expeditious’ solution to the border row in the Ladakh sector. Therefore, there was a joint statement after the 12th round of military commanders level parleys.


Moreover, India was assertive even in these meetings and has emphasised that Gogra and Hot Springs issues must end faster.


Experts say Xi Jinping needs to realise it fast what his PLA commanders have realised that it could be an easier way to launch aggression against a neighbour, but it may not be so simple to scale down.


Of all, the ego and general prestige issues come, especially when it is given out that you are the ‘more powerful’ brother in the ring.


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