Edit & Opinion

India-Australia security deal may revitalize Quad initiative

Indeed, China continues to stage a precariously tense situation against India by hugely amassing its soldiers and weapons over Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, thereby compelling New Delhi to follow suit in its own defence. And that reminds one of the turbulent days in 1962, when China had successfully stabbed into India’s back.

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While taking cognizance of mounting threats to its national security from China with whom Pakistan is also actively colluding against India, New Delhi recently concluded a strategic treaty with Australia whereby both parties can use the military, naval and air bases of each other when required. Obviously the agreement has added India’s overall strategic power in the Asia-Pacific besides enhancing India-Australia security cooperation to counter China’s rising aggressive and imperialist assertions in the region.

This deal will obviously pave the way for more military exchanges and exercises in the Indo-Pacific between the two and can very likely help revive the QUAD initiative (Quadrilateral initiative consisting of the US, Australia, Japan and India) that has been in the air for the past few months, by including Japan as well as the US. This initiative can be further consolidated by including Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and many other like-minded states in South East Asia, as almost all these countries in the region are having border disputes with China and always remain threatened and victimized by the Chinese reckless aggressions and misdemeanours. In fact, this endeavour can well serve the much needed regional security architecture today on a broader canvas of Indo-Pacific region which can appropriately balance the Chinese expansionist agenda in Asia-Pacific particularly over South China Sea, Indian Ocean, PoK and also over the LAC and beyond.

While China wishes to rise in the world, and it has already achieved amazingly unparalleled heights in the short span of perhaps one and a half decade, there is no objection from any quarter because in a liberal-democratic world order each sovereign country has the privilege to pursue its goals the way it deems suitable. But there is a rider that such exercise must not disturb the stability and solidarity and also the peaceful established order of the international community nor should it trouble any country or region or anyone whatsoever. In fact, most of the post-colonial liberal-social democracies in the west, barring few exceptions, have been progressing on their merit within the framework of the aforesaid restrictions universally characterized by the Law of Nature or the earlier Dictates of Reason, as pronounced by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, which means that, “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you”, in the immortal words of a legendary Chinese philosopher Confucius. In fact, what else can be the best yardstick of social behaviour that everyone must observe and that obviously applies over all the sovereign states in the global community of sovereign nations.

 


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Unfortunately, China has itself negated the aforesaid noble counsel of its own philosopher Confucius by consistently using unethical and crooked means against all countries in the world as already seen in several cases like Tibet, India, South East Asian countries, South China Sea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and many more including its staunch supporter Pakistan.  Indeed, China has been doing such ignoble deeds since the very beginning as it continues to suffer the stigma of the “middle kingdom complex.” Although China wishes to assume unquestioned global supremacy and hegemony by replacing the US, as it boasts of its rich and distinguished cultural past accompanied by the massive economic and military power, but its immoral and aggressive tactics and machinations to accomplish the same have always aroused fears among democratic and liberal societies in all over the world. Its ambitious OBR or Silk Road grand strategy, ostensibly for economic reasons, is also aimed at securing the same objectives. And perhaps with the same objective in hand, China is believed to have manufactured the Coronavirus in its Wuhan Lab of Virology and then secretly released into the world. Unfortunately, its global spread and consequent catastrophe has evidently singled out China under the global scanner which consider its role into Coronavirus as a deliberate wicked strategy to disrupt the US dominated international order and also the global economy so that it may reap fruits from their devastations.

In fact, by staging long standoff over LAC, China aims to intimidate India from joining the emerging anti-China global alliance comprising of America, Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zeeland, Canada, Norway, and many others. But the increasing isolation of China on all global fronts due to its supposedly shady role in leaking Coronavirus into the world has prompted Beijing, in reaction, to send across a message of its rising dominance in the larger international context: South China Sea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, global trade and India as well. Indeed, China has purposefully hit those countries which have either raised question regarding the origin of the Coronavirus, as did Australia and New Zealand by supporting WHO’s inspection into China’s Wuhan Lab of Virology, or may become future adversary, particularly India, Vietnam and Philippines, possibly willing to align with the impending US-led post-Corona global alliance against Beijing.

Among these, India is obviously the most potent threat to China due to its inherent moral-cultural power and significant scientific, technological and economic advancements. In fact, India’s distinguished magnanimity, always during humanitarian crises in the past and today in times of global Corona menace too, has mostly been praised by the whole world, including World Health Organization (WHO). Fortunately, the US has invited India into the global community of seven rich countries or G-7, along with Russia, Japan and South Korea due to its rising economic potential as well as trusted strategic partnership. Again India is slated to become non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Obviously, India’s rising global stature is particularly agonizing to China as well as Pakistan.

Today, while the whole world is passing through the mounting Corona menace, China is instead working hard to expand its sphere-of-influence in Indian Ocean, PoK and South China Sea, besides twisting Hong Kong’s autonomy under ‘One Country, Two Systems’ approach and also pressurizing Taiwan. But political analysts are of the view that China is facing numerous internal challenges and popular unrest on several counts, like reverse Corona attack and economic recession, government’s inability to address people’s aspirations and instead resorting to suppression of masses including minority Uiaghar Muslims etc.. All these together pose serious threats to the regime of President Xi, who is earnestly trying to divert the popular attention from his own follies to focus on the thorny border issue with India.

Indeed, China knows that India’s national power is far ahead today that it was in 1962, and it enjoys a distinct fair image under PM Narendra Modi who means business and remains uncompromising as regards India’s national security and territorial integrity. And that has obviously deterred Chinese forces to withdraw from the front posts over the LAC and has evidently led Beijing to moderate its aggressive tone against India, as reflected in the Chinese official newspaper Global Times wherein it has expressed the necessity and significance of bilateral discussion to resolve the ongoing standoff. But China is a very unpredictable mighty power and adopts secret machinations as well as guerilla tactics against its enemy, India has to remain very cautious over the LAC to ensure its infrastructure-building exercise going unhindered including territorial unity and integrity, as several rounds of military and diplomatic level talks between them have not yielded any positive result so far. Though the full details of Core Commander level discussions held on June 6 at Maldo are not available yet, but that would not lead to any breakthrough, given the unrelenting track record of China.

Hence India must immediately activate its diplomacy to forge strategic relations with all states in the Indo-Pacific including South East Asian countries, and must also endeavour to enlarge the scope of the recent security pact with Australia with a view to realize the spirit of QUAD initiative into reality. Fortunately, Australia is also having a security arrangement with the US since 2011 for the same end. Obviously, such a strong regional security bulwark ie a powerful regional security architecture cum alliance, like that of NATO, is essentially the need of the hour today, which can indeed effectively counter the mounting Chinese imperialist aggressive assertions in this region.

Perhaps China has come to understand the inherent message of the India-Australia security deal and is finding itself increasingly isolated with impending international probe as regards its complicity regarding Corona virus. Of course, the truth will obviously come into the light one day. Given all these external as well as internal pressures over China, besides India’s bold and tough stand asking for immediate status-quo-ante at all points viz. Galwan Valley, Pangong-Tso and Gogra-Hot Springs region in eastern Ladakh over the LAC, Beijing may be left with no option but to crumble down in the last.

 

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About the author

Prof. Sudhanshu Tripathi

Sudhanshu Tripathi is a Professor in Political Science and Director (In-charge) at School of Social Sciences in Uttar Pradesh RajarshiTandon Open University, Prayagraj (UP), India. His book India’s Foreign Policy: Dilemma over Non Alignment 2.0 (2020), NAM and India (2012) and a co-authored book in Hindi RajnitikAvadharnayein (2001) have been published besides numerous articles and research papers. He was awarded with the SaraswatSamman by Pt. S. R. Institute of Education and Technology (PG College), Pratapgarh (UP), on “Shikshak Divas” (Teacher’s Day) in 2016 and was also honouredthe same in 2019 by Lion’s Club Allahabad Central at UPRTOU, Prayagaraj. He is also on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Third Concept journal. The author actively participates in social activities as well. He organized a mass awareness rally in 2011, in the wake of Anna Hazare’s ongoing fast unto death against corruption in New Delhi. He was the President of the Teacher’s Association in MDPG College, Pratapgarh, (UP), during 2013–2017 and was also the Vice-President of the ShikshakMahasangh in the district unit of Pratapgarh during almost the same period.