MAY INDIA AND CHINA SMOKE PEACE PIPE ALWAYS
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Both India and China see this light and admire its glow. Those who loved to hear the boom of their artillery guns have now chosen to smoke peace pipe again. Never mind doctor’s orders on making lungs tobacco-free, here it is a question of peace and prosperity of two neighbouring giants. Of course, there has been no major press conference on Panchsheel leading to Peace across the Himalayas but alert China watchers on the Indo-Gangetic plains and India watchers strolling on the Great Wall of China have managed to pick some straws in the wind. Gathering straws the scribes among the diplomats found a story of importance. Here it is.
DISPUTES ON BACK BURNER
GUANGMING RBAO or the Guangming Daily carried this story on Sunday, 4 Nov 2012 that it is the view of top leadership in the government that the border dispute between two neighbouring countries, India and China, should be put on the backburner and negotiations for improving commerce between the two nations should continue. Indeed an improvement in mutual internarnational trade will benefit both the countries and eventually the People will reap the harvest. There is a tremendous emphasis on “People” in the Communist China. All policies are people oriented. Recalling history of the present government that came to power after winning a civil war in which the Nationalist Party’s government headed by General Chiang Kai-Shek had lost and they fled to Formosa, now Taiwan, lock stock and barrel.
The first major decision that the new regime of the Communist Party of China under Chairman Mao Zedong took was to change the name of China from “ Republic of China” to “ Zhong Hua Renmin Gung He Guo”or the People’s Republic of China. Thereafter in all new policies of the new regime the emphasis was on the welfare and well-being of the People of China. The remnants of the Imperial China and their system of governance was completely overhauled. The present thrust for peace with India is a signal that there is a renewed surge in people orientation. Wars with neighbours are a costly proposition and retard the economic progress of both belligerants. Hence there are now new feelers of bringing in lasting peace and eliminating pinpricks like minor aggression across the borders. Of course, India cannot lower her guards and sit idle just for feelers of peace. The change has to be seen on the ground and its nuances studied in depth before formulating a new policy of peaceful approach towards China.
The changing scenarios are both external and internal. The South China Sea has been a sea of turmoil where many countries on its periphery are involved. Japan too has laid a claim on the underwater riches of the South China Sea and has deployed its fledgling Navy from time to time. The Phillipines, Vietnam, Australia and India are there too in one role or the other. The USA, Global Policeman, has stationed 2,000 US Marines in Australia. The number of troops so deployed is no deterrent but the message sent to China is loud and clear. USA wishes China to know that where there is a clash oil interest in the Asia-Pacific region, the USA will be there post haste to protect and defend the commercial and global interests of the free world.
America knows it very well that China is not like Saddam’s Iraq and would not collapse like a house of cards. Its Navy and Air Force are not modern like America’s, and yet a force to reckon with. At this point of time the world attention is focused on the Stealth Bomber that China has built but has not publicly displayed so far .Of course, it was the United States that was the first country to design, develop and deploy its stealth bomber.
In view of the foregoing China thought that it would be wise to effect a thaw in its relationship with India. As their relationship goes from good to better, America may seek and find some kind of military relationship with India without violating the latter’s neutrality. India would not be overawed with the massive military of China, if America is around. At the same time India knows that China is an Asian neighbor and may mature into a friend indeed in due course of time.
Of course, Prime Minister of India, Narendra bhai Modi took the lead in thawing the relationship that was virtually frozen inwardly, by invitinf President Xi Jinping and the First Lady Mme Peng Liyuan to Gujarat first while commencing their State visit to Bharat. The leisurely walk of the two great leaders along the Sabarmati river and their informal chat sent ripples in the western world. Mme Peng Liyuan sang a Hindi movie song while watching folk artists perform won hearts and minds of millions of Indians.
All was not well with the Communist Party of China at the point of time when President Xi Jinping took over reins of his great country. THE OFFICIALDOM was BITTEN BY Mammon and the lure of lucre was too strong to resist. Many senior officials of the Party were detected and arrested on charges of accepting bribe. A former railway minister was not only charged with involvement in a case of major graft but also was found guilty of misdemeanor and acts and omissions unbecoming of a minister of the central government of China. Many innocent lives were lost because he had cleared purchase of faulty rolling stock and other heavy machinery from foreign firms with dubious reputation. He was found guilty of graft and sacked unceremoniously.
BO XILAI – that is the name of the man who had a clout even in the highest echelon of the country. His wife, a former socialite, was equally influencial. She was found guilty of having her former business partner, a foreigner, killed to prevent him from spilling the beans and have Bo’s wife prosecuted. Bo Xilai misused his official position to provide governmental protection to his wife but failed. In the bargain he acquired a tag of being a fall guy. In a closed door meeting, the highest officials of the authority wielding Standing Committee decided to expel Bo Xilai and thus clear the way for his prosecution too for obstructing administration of justice.
At one time the rumour was so strong in Beijing that even the thenPresident of China, Hu Jintao was involved in many major cases of graft. However, it was just a figment of imagination of some sick minds.
In view of so many major cases of illegal gratification and even a case of murder accusing wife of Bo Xilai, it was thought that the Congress session for transfer of power from Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping who hheld the post of Vice-President until his elevation to the highest post in the ancient land might not be as smooth as it used to be.
The new leadership might be distancing themselves from the outgoing leadership because their aids were involved in graft in one way or the other. Earlier it was rumoured that President Hu Jintao , after demiting the highest office may choose to continue as the head of the powerful Central Military Commission and thus keep the armed forces under his control. But that was not to be. President Xi Jinping is also the Head of the Military Commission that oversees the performance of and controls the armed forces of China, popularly known as the PLA or People’s Liberation Army and that includes the Navy, the Air Force and the Nuclear arsenal.
On 8 November 2012, the transfer of power from the old guard to the new and untainted younger leadership took place in Beijing. It was more smooth than the western media had thought it to be. It augurs well for China and India both because the new leadership is a forward looking one that does not wish to get bogged down in petty regional squabbles. China shall go Global. India too shall go global under the dynamic leadership of its powerful Prime Minister, Narendra bhai Modi. The two great ancient civilizations love to travel together on road to Eternal Peace and profess that they would always smoke the Pipe of Peace.
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