We're Live Bangla Sunday, September 19, 2021

China opposes regional hegemony in South Asia

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Chinese soldiers patrol the border with India in Ngari prefecture, China, April 2017, Reuters.

According to the Bengali daily BhorerKagoj the Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh has not been able to meet the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the last four months despite repeated requests for an appointment. The Indian media also reported that there are cracks in the relationship between India and Bangladesh due to the Indian citizenship registration act, the amendment to the citizenship law, as well as the slow pace of India's development projects in Bangladesh.

China and Bangladesh are very friendly. I had a wonderful two-year stint in Bangladesh 40 years ago and had experienced the friendly sentiments of the Bangladeshi people towards the Chinese people. China and Bangladesh have always helped and supported each other in times of difficulty. Whenever Bangladesh was bullied by a regional power china supported Bangladesh to help safeguard its national sovereignty and independence. 

China insists that all countries, big and small, are equal, which is warmly welcomed by the Bangladeshi people. Recently, China announced the grant of zero tariff for 97% of Bangladeshi goods, which translates into strong support for Bangladesh's economic development. China hopes that Bangladesh will become prosperous and strong. Bangladesh is a country rich in textile products. After China announced the preferential treatment policy for Bangladesh, Bangladesh can greatly increase its exports to the Chinese market, which can offset the pressure on Bangladesh from a regional power.

Relations between India and Nepal are strained because of a territorial dispute. In early May this year, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a newly built road. The road, about 80 kilometers long, passes through Kalapani, Nepal's territory occupied by India, which aroused strong dissatisfaction and protest in Nepal. The Nepalese government was not willing to show weakness and launched a counterattack. On May 20, it released a new version of the national administrative map, showing Kalapani and other disputed areas as part of Nepal.

In the past two years, the relationship between India and Pakistan has been highly strained. Conflicts occur from time to time along the Line of Control in Kashmir, resulting in a large number of casualties. According to Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations, the Indian side had violated the cease-fire agreement 1732 times this year up till July 21.

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In May this year, a serious military clash occurred in the Galwan Valley in the western section of the China-India border, causing casualties. The root cause of the serious military stand-off in the Galwan Valley was that last August, India amended its constitution and changed the status of Kashmir. Last October, India announced the establishment of “the Union Territory of Ladakh".And in May this year, Indian troops crossed the Line of Actual Control to engage in illegal activities on the Chinese side in an attempt to restart “the forward policy".It is undeniable that India is an important country in South Asia. However, its relations with almost all the neighboring countries have been tense in recent years, which has seriously affected peace, stability and development in the region.

For a long time, China has attached great importance to the development of friendly and cooperative relations with its neighboring countries, always placing its neighbors at the top of its diplomacy, and regarding promotion of peace, stability and development of the neighboring countries as its responsibility. China persists in building a good-neighborly relationship and partnership with all its neighbors and in creating an amicable, secure and prosperous neighborhood.

In the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India's economy grew rapidly, showing a bright future for India. However, in his second term, it seems that Narendra Modi prefers to play politics. As of July 29,there have been 1,535,335 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia in India, with a total of 34,252 deaths. Arguably, as one of the countries most seriously affected by the novel coronavirus pneumonia, India should be dedicating itself to fighting the pandemic. I really don't understand why the Indian authorities do not focus on fighting the pandemic and recovering economically. Instead, they have launched a nationalistic wave in the country, attacking all sides and creating tension with neighboring countries. In particular, some elites and military personages in India are trying to instigate anti-China and anti-Pakistan nationalism and creating an atmosphere of war. I find this to be ridiculous.

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When India sees problems in the China-America relations, it thinks an opportunity has come for it to gain from it. India believes that by creating troubles for China, it can benefit from the United States. The United States has curbed China in an all-round way because China has developed too fast for its liking. China's position has gone from strength to strength. Does India know that it does not have the qualification to be valued and curbed by the United States? Prime Minister Narendra Modi from time to time extends his arms to welcome American and Western enterprises to transfer investments from China to India. Does this “smart” leader really believe that with such a poor investment environment, chaotic society and now with the pandemic out of control, American and Western enterprises are willing to leave China to invest in India?

India's recent moves have provoked military clashes on the border and created a series of economic and trade frictions. But China has accurately grasped the right direction for its relations with India. China has always kept its word and strictly abided by the Line of Actual Control. China believes that peace and tranquility in the border areas are hard won and are the result of decades of joint efforts by China and India. In recent years, there have been frequent military confrontations in the border areas between China and India, all of which are caused by Indian cross-border activities. If both sides earnestly abide by the Line of Actual Control, such a thing will not happen, and peace and tranquility in the border area can be maintained.

Lifts-SAM Special-English-3 August 2020_3Recently, China and India engaged in intensive communications through military and diplomatic channels. Four rounds of talks at the military commanders’ level and three mechanism meetings on border affairs consultation and coordination have been held. The frontline border troops of the two countries have achieved disengagement in most places, and the local situation continues to develop in the direction of easing and cooling down. At present, China and India are actively preparing for the fifth round of military commanders’ level talks to study and solve the remaining problems in the field. We hope that India will go in the same direction as China, implement the consensus reached by both sides together with China, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas.

I understand that disengagement is the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Galwan Valley, and that they should not violate the Line of Actual Control to create trouble on the Chinese side again. China's determination to defend its territorial sovereignty is strong. India should give up its attempt to establish "the Union Territory of Ladakh" on Chinese territory. If Indian troops cross the Line of Actual Control again, we have to drive them back again. We don't want to see more Indian soldiers lose their precious lives.

India regards South Asia as its sphere of influence and pays special attention to China's relations with other countries in South Asia. China attaches great importance to its friendly and cooperative relations with Pakistan. At the same time, China attaches great importance to its friendly and cooperative relations with India. China attaches great importance to its friendly and cooperative relations with all the countries in South Asia. We hope that India and Pakistan will normalize and improve their relations and that all countries in South Asia will live in harmony.

We oppose both world hegemony and regional hegemony. China and Pakistan are partners and support each other on issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns. China supports Pakistan in safeguarding its national sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity.

Finally, I would like to make it clear that the China-Pakistan cooperation is not directed against any third party. Both China and Pakistan are developing countries. Internally, both China and Pakistan take the road of independence and self-reliance, and in foreign affairs, adhere to the policy of peace. The security interests of China and Pakistan are closely related. Pakistan has made important contributions to the security and stability of China's western border areas. China has helped Pakistan to strengthen its anti-terrorism and security capacity-building. It has strengthened cooperation with Pakistan to jointly cope with growing non-traditional security threats and has provided reliable security guarantees for economic cooperation and the development of the two countries.

 

(Cheng Xizhong, Visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law)