small mind

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Dec 2017 12:13:39

THE assertion of General V.K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs, that the world has big enough space for both, India and China, to live well and together, has a tremendous practical as well as philosophical value in diplomatic and wider terms. When President Mrs. Pratibha Patil paid a visit to China in 2010, first in ten years by an Indian President then, both the countries had made the assertion even at that time. The most critical plank of the thought then, as mainly pushed by China, was the demographic advantage the two countries enjoyed together with nearly 2.5 billion people living in the collective geographies. Other planks were commonness of land and water resources which could be exploited for the benefit of larger humanity. Despite this, however, it must be said without mincing words that China is just incapable of understanding the deeper and higher metaphor involved in the assertion. It is beset with a small mind that refuses to comprehend the larger issues that humanity must tackle. 

The marked difference between India’s approach and that of China to handling international cooperation was very wonderfully highlighted by General V.K. Singh. He said, in effect, that while India assisted other countries with totally people-centric projects and hands the projects over to their authorities after training manpower etc, China keeps enlarging its footprint in other countries by imposing demands that are most often unacceptable but get nods under compulsion. With such an approach to international cooperation, using the opportunity only to expand circle of uncouth influence, China gets branded as a greedy superpower. In sharp contrast, India is getting accepted by an ever-expanding circle of friends as a genuine ally with no ugly strings attached.

With this sharp contrast in mind, India still waits for China to understand the importance of the assertion that the world is big enough for both the countries to live well and in togetherness rather than in hostility. This ingrained goodness is sadly missing on China’s part. The Chinese are too greedy, too possessive, too aggressive and use good words only to gobble up resources of other countries. General V.K. Singh has brought to fore this difference in the most authentic manner. He has done well to demonstrate that the Chinese possess a small -- even petty -- mind that has got that country branded as unfriendly.

The seed of this trait is in China’s history. No matter how favourably Dr. Henry Kissinger might have tried to describe China in one of his later books, banking mostly on pieces of Chinese history, it is obvious that the Chinese are bad neighbours because historically they are mostly grabbers. With such predominant trait, China can never be a friendly neighbour which India expects it to be. Despite this, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has tried to convert theory of India’s foreign policy into an actionable programme. That is so mostly because India believes in the principle of basic goodness as the strongest foundation of any diplomatic initiative. This is highlighted very well by the three cornerstones of India’s foreign policy that the Modi regime has put in practicable programme.

The difficulty, however, will be only from China’s side, as even a child in the street knows. That makes India’s diplomatic endeavours difficult to implement, thanks to China’s lopsidedness in understanding issues. When a country is obsessed with its own imagery and is unwilling to take a comprehensive look at the world as it is, then the whole approach gets sick. This is China’s main affliction. Its leadership may understand it, but is trapped by compulsions of internal politics and drags of economic failure whose trappings are now becoming pronounced.