There is always a sharp contradiction in what China says and what it does. Nothing can attest to this widely-known fact better than Beijing’s “positive” response to Russia’s new foreign policy concept, saying China, Russia and India are emerging “major powers” with notable influence and it was ready to boost ties with them and send a “positive signal” to the world in view of the complex changes. While China is trying to signal to Russia that it is keen to have good relations with India, it actually fails to show this intent in action. That’s where China gets hypocritical and cannot, therefore, be trusted. China’s recent move to rename parts of Arunachal Pradesh is enough to expose contradictions and double-standard in its character. On the one hand, Beijing is saying that it is ready to boost ties with New Delhi, Chinese Civil Aviation Ministry, on the other hand, is announcing new names for another 11 locations in Arunachal Pradesh. And, this is the third time that China has made a move to rename places in Arunachal Pradesh, the first time in 2017 and the second in 2021. It has been provoking India by reiterating its claim on the State. Every time India has outright and unequivocally rejected China renaming places in Arunachal Pradesh terming the state integral part of India. China’s provocative activities and actions are not limited to Arunachal Pradesh only. Beijing’s provocative behaviour is being seen in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual (LAC) where India and China are locked into a military confrontation for three winters now followed by violent incidents in the eastern sector. What does it all suggest? Does it in any manner suggest that China means what it says in terms of maintaining good relations with India? China’s actions are completely at variance with what it is speaking. Given China’s misdeeds and ill-intentions, no responsible country including Russia can trust Beijing when it says that it is ready to have good ties with India. External Affairs Minister S, Jaishankar’s statement is a clear and bold message to China in this context. Just two days ago, Jaishankar during a TV interview said in response to a question on ties with China that “You can’t violate agreements and then expect the rest of the relationship to continue as though nothing happened. That’s just not tenable.” This one line response from Jaishankar is enough to expose the hypocritical approach of China.
The message is also for Russian President Vladimir Putin who signed the new Foreign Policy Concept, which said strengthening and deepening relations with China and India is a diplomatic priority for Russia. Moscow must also be wary of China even while it is strengthening the ties with Beijing amid a situation where the US-led West has isolated Russia over the Ukraine war. Reacting to the Russian foreign policy where it has given priority to both China and India, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said that “China, Russia and India are all major countries with notable influence. As the international and regional landscape is facing profound and complex changes, we are ready to strengthen communication with the international community including Russia and India and send a positive signal to the world about defending true multilateralism and jointly responding to global challenges.” The statement of the Chinese spokesperson is in itself preposterous, given Beijing’s belligerence and aggressive behaviour along the LAC and border regions including Arunachal Pradesh, disrespecting the written border pacts with India. The Chinese spokesperson talks about giving a “positive signal to the world about jointly responding to global challenges”. There are of course several challenges that the world is facing post-pandemic and that need to be dealt with collectively. But, China cannot divert the focus away from the fact that it is also one of the major challenges that the various regions of the globe are in need of dealing with. Its growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific has been widely acknowledged as a big security and strategic challenge by the US and other western countries.
China is already posing a gigantic challenge to India, in utter disregard to the commitment that sovereignty and integrity of every single country has to be respected. China committed a more serious offence by claiming “Zangnan was part of its territory and was within its sovereign rights to rename the areas”. This claim was made by Beijing a day after India rejected its move to rename 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh. With all this in view, why should China’s statement expressing willingness to boost ties with India should be taken seriously? Why should China expect India to come up with a positive response to any such statement, while Beijing continues to foment trouble for New Delhi? Jaishankar was quite right that normalcy in ties between India and China cannot be restored without resolving the border deadlock completely.