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  Opinion   Oped  23 Jun 2018  Beware! China using SCO for ‘trilateral’ games

Beware! China using SCO for ‘trilateral’ games

The writer is an advocate practising in the Supreme Court. The views expressed here are personal.
Published : Jun 23, 2018, 5:52 am IST
Updated : Jun 23, 2018, 5:52 am IST

After having joined the SCO, India can only curse its fate — as SCO is China’s fiefdom.

Hua Chunying (Photo: AP)
 Hua Chunying (Photo: AP)

The statements issued by different Chinese diplomats betray Beijing’s real intentions and motives which are completely unbecoming of a benign, good neighbour. While Chinese diplomat Hua Chunying said Jammu and Kashmir is a India-Pakistan “bilateral issue”, she very cleverly kept mum on China’s forced presence in J&K since 1963, in brazen violation of Indian sovereignty. Then, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi categorically declared: “SCO could be a great vehicle to improve India-Pak ties”. And finally comes Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui’s remark, that he made while sitting with a galaxy of Indian opinion-makers in a five-star hotel in New Delhi’s Lutyens’ Zone earlier this month, audaciously suggesting that there should be “trilateral” talks between India, Pakistan and China on various “regional issues”. All this doesn’t leave any doubt whatsoever over China’s aggressive intent.

Having said that, I must also note that India is equally to blame for China’s arrogant attitude, as Indian diplomacy has been quite weak on this front, thanks to its fractured polity.

Mr Wang’s statement appears funny. What does he really think: Is SCO a multilateral forum or a platform for India-Pakistan bilateral issues?

And Mr Luo wants his Indian audience to believe that his suggestion originates from “some Indian friends”, thereby trying to push New Delhi into a corner. We may or may not believe him, but Mr Luo is a skilful diplomat who knows how to exploit political differences within our democracy as he has “some Indian friends”. Obviously, very important and influential Indians are under China’s patronage.

Mr Luo served as Beijing’s man in Pakistan too, from 2006 to 2010. Understandably, he was witness to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007; he was there when the Mumbai terror attack started on November 26, 2008 under the patronage of the mullah-military-militant masterminds. He must have done “long-term” homework to put in place the geo-politico-eco-military-strategic goal of China. Hence, his point can be seen as an extension of what Mr Wang had said regarding “SCO for Indo-Pak bilateral under Chinese supervision”! Is it a bona fide wish or mala fide kite-flying to put rivals on the wrong foot? China being the mover and shaker of the eight-nation SCO as well as its host, why must it indulge in “something unethical, and extra-unwarranted?”

Significantly, what Mr Luo said on June 18 is a ruthless repetition of the past fortnight warning by his boss, Mr Wang: “We know there are existing and historical unresolved issues and conflicts between Pakistan and India. But I think after their joining of the SCO, maybe we can say their relationship might be better as the grouping provides a better platform and opportunities for building the relations between them.”

What Mr Wang said is well known; but if one reads between the lines there is a clear warning for India — “Watch out, we are coming. We will interfere in your internal affairs along with Pakistan, and you can do nothing about it except watch helplessly or fall in line to allow the Sino-Pak axis take charge of your problems, from border to J&K, CPEC, BRI, OBOR ... to your relations with all neighbouring countries of South Asia,” he seems to have conveyed.

There isn’t an iota of doubt that China has arrived deep inside Indian households today. From the bedroom to the bathroom; the drawing room to the study; the verandah to the garage, China has entered the ordinary gullible Indian’s benign psyche through cheap, substandard consumer goods after having committed theft of Western technology. All this is thanks to successive Indian establishments which failed to take stock of the situation, visualise the unfolding grim reality and the irreparable potential damage which China can inflict on India’s sovereignty, security, safety and integrity, and its very existence in its present geographical form — with J&K in north, West Bengal in the east and the seven northeastern states being the most vulnerable.

Meanwhile, by putting the onus on his “Indian friends”, Mr Luo seems to be testing the waters on one hand and creating doubts in the minds of many Indians on the other. China plans to penetrate further on Indian soil by planting seeds of mistrust and distrust in the minds of Indians. This is Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu’s art of war: to win a war, fight without firing; try weakening the opponent psychologically, through cunning, deceit, duplicity, lies and money.

China stands exposed in the J&K turmoil. It is constantly interfering, invading, instigating, intimidating, financing and arming Pakistani terrorists to kill Indian troops in hundreds.

The CPEC, OBOR and BRI is a facade to grab land — from Karakoram to Karachi; Doklam to Dhaka; Lhasa to Haldia.

China will soon take J&K to the UN, taking full advantage of its permanent membership of the Security Council and internationalise it in such a big way that India will only see the sordid saga as a “helpless victim”.

After having joined the SCO, India can only curse its fate — as SCO is China’s fiefdom. It has trapped India as the entire Chinese brass, from foreign ministry spokesperson Hua and ambassador Luo to foreign minister Wang, are singing one tune. They have launched a concerted and calculated diplomatic assault (in Beijing and Delhi) against India, and compelling India to virtually kowtow before China.

While India successfully remained out of all power blocs in the past 60 years, it now appears it will get embroiled with two of its unfriendly and scheming neighbours, China and Pakistan. Today, J&K is like China’s playground, and its aim is to confine India in the same basement room where Pakistan is.

China’s military invasion on Indian soil in October 1962 too was akin to today’s diplomatic offensive — to cage and confine India within a small area, choking its operational flexibility, as well as checking its diplomatic freedom and demographic space; tying adversaries in knots and giving China leverage to dominate and dictate through gunboat diplomacy.

Remember, a situation could now develop where a Sino-Indian border bilateral issue could become a trilateral or even multilateral one! It could be border talks between China-India-Pakistan or China-India-Nepal or China-India-Bhutan. Other South Asian matters could also be between China-India-Bangladesh or China-India-Sri Lanka or China-India-Maldives; and in each and every stage the verdict is likely to be 2-1 against India.

China’s SCO diplomacy has put India into an irreversible backfoot. The SCO constitutes a backdoor entry of India into BRI/CPEC/OBOR under duress (Delhi had earlier opposed it tooth and nail, claiming it was a violation of its sovereignty). Consequently, India stands almost trapped by China deep inside its own territory.

Tags: hua chunying, wang yi