J&K ‘reorganisation’ cannot be pretext for China aggression: former foreign secy Vijay Gokhale
Former official was speaking at an online lecture –cum-discussion organised by an educational institute based in Pune.Updated: Sep 17, 2020 17:52 IST
Pune: China cannot use India’s internal reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 as a pretext to justify its aggressive posture, said former foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, during an online lecture –cum-discussion on Wednesday. The lecture was conducted as a part of Symbiosis Golden Jubilee Lecture Series.
“India did not alter its international map, it did not change the border or the Chinese map. In August 2019, it only reorganised its internal map. The same thing happened in 2000, when Uttar Pradesh was bifurcated into two regions. China did not oppose then, so it cannot justify its present aggressive behaviour based on such a pretext,” said Gokhale, who has served as the Indian ambassador to China from January 2016 to October 2017.
Highlighting how rejuvenation of Chinese subjects is important for the Communist Party of China, the former ambassador explained that one of China’s focal points of its comprehensive national security policy is seizing what it considers its “lost territories”.
Such regions include Hong Kong, Taiwan, South and East China Sea, and Arunachal Pradesh, which it calls South Tibet.
Rajani Gupte, vice-chancellor of the Symbiosis International (Deemed University) reiterated how understanding China’s outlook of the world is important for India to secure its national wellbeing.
“China is a formidable force to reckon with in the new era with its significance growing in almost all realms like geopolitics, health security, economic and military. Hence, it is important to understand what Chinese President Xi Jinping meant when he said that China will be at the centre of the world stage in the next 30 years,” she said.
Gokhale added that with a $14 trillion economy, China is on the road to becoming the biggest economic power soon and to build up its military as one of the strongest, will also be one of its goals.
“By 2030, China will have more ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean than the US and India combined. Its augmented military capacity will be huge. There is a fundamental Chinese belief that global order is shaped by force and power and therefore, it will modernise its military structure. It is already doing so by reshaping theatre commands, introducing new service arms, weapon systems and the like,” he said.
However, India must maintain its firm position and secure our own place in the world and not blink, added Gokhale.
Gokhale also spoke on the economic rise of China and how China’s goal to grow at 5.8% will be difficult to follow through over the years, because of low domestic consumption, declining age of the population, low export-led growth, among other factors.
However, he added that the Made in China 2025 policy will lead future growth through innovations. “China is looking at new alternatives to be relevant in the new economic order. Its ‘Belt and Road’ initiative will give it integration with Asia. New platforms like innovations will be key for China including high-speed rail, information technology,” said Gokhale.
The former foreign secretary said that the Chinese government says that its economy is already on track, while other Western nations are still grappling with the pandemic.
“China wants the world to see how advanced countries have been unable to handle the Covid crisis, whereas China curbed it, and its economy is already on track. This will improve China’s influence on world organisations and global world order. China is already on its way to create a parallel world with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Made in China digital platforms and its own social application which helps it create its mark in the multipolar world. However, Chinese hegemony is very different from American hegemony and hence has to be dealt with differently,” said Gokhale.
Gokhale ended the lecture stating that the Chinese system has fundamental flaws, including an opaque system and that the legitimacy of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is fragile as it is not the people’s mandate and hence, it will always have to show power in order to be accepted.
Vidya Yeravdekar, principal director of Symbiosis Society and SB Mujumdar, founder and president of the Symbiosis Society, were present online for the lecture.