One would have thought that being a democratically elected Indian holding a Constitutional post would have made some of our politicians aware of the responsibility that they have towards their country and its people. But that’s always not the case, as apparent from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s tweet congratulating Xi Jinping’s “election” as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for the third time. In one of the most tone-deaf tweets ever by an Indian politician, Vijayan on Sunday tweeted, “Revolutionary greetings to President Xi Jinping on his re-election as the President of the People’s Republic of China. It is truly commendable that China has emerged as a prominent voice in global politics. Best wishes for the continued efforts to achieve a more prosperous China.” Thus, Vijayan left several Twitter users wondering if a parody account was making such a wild claim. But no, it was the Chief Minister himself.
A “fun” fact for Mr Vijayan, who seems to be under the impression that actual elections take place in the Communist “democracy” of PRC, the reason why the great “democrat” Xi Jinping can win the voting with a margin of 2,952-0. Are we supposed to attribute Pinarayi Vijayan’s excitement about Xi’s victory in this “hard fought” election, to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Communist ideology? But, at a time when most of Xi Jinping’s actions in the subcontinent are directed against India, can Pinarayi Vijayan place ideology above national interest? Lest we forget, in the early 1960s, the Communists of Bengal were going around shouting “China’s Chairman is our Chairman”—that too during the height of the India-China tension and the border war of 1962. Sixty years later, when the Communists are a part of the national mainstream there is no reason to believe that Pinarayi Vijayan considers China’s general secretary to be his general secretary. All the more reason why he should not give his detractors the opportunity to raise questions to that effect.
People’s Republic of China is a Communist dictatorship, which is conducting a political warfare against India, 24X7. The threat of a kinetic conflict between the two countries is real. Right now, Indian soldiers are engaged in an eyeball to eyeball confrontation with Xi Jinping’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), along the Line of Actual Control. Just two and a half years ago, the PLA initiated a conflict with the Indian Army at Galwan, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Relations between the two countries have been anything but normal ever since.
In fact a coalition of democracies is taking shape in the Indo-Pacific solely to curtail the PRC’s hegemony in the region. Xi Jinping is single-handedly responsible for the genocide of PRC’s Uyghur population, a large section of whom he has incarcerated in Nazi-like concentration camps.
While there is no doubt that the PRC has progressed much economically, but it has also turned into a police and surveillance state. Just a few months ago we saw how all that economic prosperity could not stop the Chinese population from publicly agitating against Xi Jinping, asking him to step down. In the context of all this, Pinarayi Vijayan’s message to Xi Jinping amounts to being clueless. And to think there is a buzz among his supporters that because Pinarayi Vijayan has won a reelection in his state—bucking the trend of government change every five years—he should become the united Opposition’s Prime Ministerial face! Foreign policy is an area where there has to be consensus among all parties, whichever side of the spectrum they may belong to. No politician, that too a democratically elected Chief Minister, can be seen to be endorsing an authoritarian who wants to pose an existential threat to this country. In fact, Rahul Gandhi too appeared to be suitably enamoured with China, when earlier this month he said at the Cambridge University, “The way the Americans value individual liberty, the Chinese value harmony. Individual liberty is not central to China’s idea, their idea is much more about society being in harmony…what they don’t want is that things go out of control…which is as legitimate for them as individual liberty is to US.”
What Rahul Gandhi does not realise is that the Chinese Communist way of achieving harmony is to throttle individual liberty, to Sinicise ethnic minorities forcefully, to commit excesses on its own population. There is nothing legitimate or normal about the means that Communist China uses to achieve “harmony”. Indian political parties need to be careful about expressing their appreciation for Communist China—as this amounts to normalizing the violent, value-less core of the PRC. There has to be unity among Indians on the issue of the PRC, which, make no mistake, is an enemy country. The Chinese Communists cannot be allowed to exploit the faultlines that exist in Indian society and Indian political space, to their own advantage.