Where the United States takes on China | HT Editorial
Given the adversarial nature of India-China ties, New Delhi has reason to be pleased with the US’s clarity. India doesn’t want a conflict and will have to fight its battles, but having a degree of geopolitical insurance is useful.Updated: Oct 29, 2020, 05:32 IST
During his visit to India, United States (US) Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, mounted an aggressive critique of the “Chinese Communist Party (CCP)” and “General Secretary Xi Jinping”. This, he clarified in an interview with ThePrint, is an attempt to show that the actions of an authoritarian regime are not of the people of China. The clarity with which the US now views China is the most critical, recent, geopolitical shift in international politics, with enormous implications for the both the world and India.
Two questions naturally arise: Is this a permanent rupture or a temporary shift in US policy? Washing-ton first read China’s rise wrong (believing economic growth will lead to greater democracy and more responsible behaviour); it then flirted with the idea of a concert between the two countries; and it has only now woken up to the threat posed by Beijing to the international order. There is reason to believe that while there may be nuanced differences in the approach adopted by different US administrations in dealing with China, this will be a fundamentally adversarial relationship.
What, then, does this mean for India? As former national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon, once suggested, the ideal condition for India would be if it has better ties with both China and the US than the two countries have with each other. While this is desirable, it is only possible if Beijing does not pose a threat to Indian sovereignty. Given the adversarial nature of India-China ties, New Delhi has reason to be pleased with the US’s clarity. India doesn’t want a conflict and will have to fight its battles, but having a degree of geopolitical insurance is useful.