A New Indian Policy for China
by Bhaskar Menon on 28 May 2013 62 Comments
India needs a new China policy that is more than “Hope for the best, Expect the worst.” I suggest that it be oriented to the realization of three primary goals. 


Primary Goals


Ensure international support for peace and stability in China as it experiences the economic crash landing that is surely shaping up. Without clear assurance of such support, China will continue its current ill-advised effort to hide the crisis by statistical bluff and political bluster. Combined with miscalculations and paranoia that could make the situation much worse and perhaps open the door for war as a remedy. Some elements of the People’s Liberation Army might want that scenario, but it would be an unmitigated disaster for the Chinese people and for all of Asia. The far right in the United States might also prefer that outcome, but it would be a serious and lasting defeat for America’s democratic mainstream.


The only real beneficiaries of war in Asia would be the old imperial Powers of Europe; as the Cold War did when once before their decline seemed imminent, it would give them a new lease of life. (Britain and its proxies in Asia, especially Pakistan, will undoubtedly seek to counter this goal, not least by embroiling India in sectarian violence.)


Push China towards democracy. The regime in Beijing should welcome this, for the Communist Party has no real support and is now spending more on internal security than on defense; a transitional road-map with overt international support would help enormously to keep its own population engaged peacefully in the process.


Make Tibet independent by a peaceful and negotiated process. Tibet has never been a sovereign part of China. It became a tributary for a few decades after the Mongol invasion of the 17th Century, but otherwise has been an independent entity through history.


Beijing will certainly object strongly to any change in the status of Tibet but its genocidal policies have effectively destroyed any little legitimacy it might have had there. After initial expressions of outrage, Beijing power-brokers should welcome the objective of peaceful and negotiated change in Tibet; it will allow China to rid itself of a heavy karmic and political burden and emerge as a modern democratic country fully acceptable to the world as a global leader.




International: To achieve these policy goals India should institute two processes of ongoing consultations: with China on the one hand, and on the other, with the United States, the Russian Federation, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN. The aim of the latter process should be to agree on and implement a set of measures calibrated to respond effectively and with balance to Chinese behavior, both positive and negative. The two consultative processes should have the stated aim of converging in agreement on a new security framework for the Asia-Pacific region. 


Domestic: The Government should issue a White Paper setting out its China policy and initiate a broad all-party consultative process to ensure that it is located outside the partisan sphere of Indian politics. 


Programs of public information and education should follow the publication of the White Paper to ensure that Indians are generally aware of what is happening and able to see through the efforts to mislead public opinion by British/Pakistani mass media proxies in the country.

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