Tillerson’s Diplomatic Reform to Ally with India against China

For many years, the US, as one of the two hegimons and later the only hegimon in the world, has had only allies to protect but has seldom made efforts to obtain any ally to joint force in dealing with its potential enemy. Now US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seems to make a diplomatic reform in earnest. According to Foreign Policy’s report “Tillerson Knocks China, Courts India Ahead of South Asia Trip” yesterday, the US now wants India to be a partner to jointly deal with their common potential enemy China.

The report says, “Tillerson offered a ‘love letter’ to New Delhi while taking direct aim at China’s ambitious plans to further deepen its influence throughout Asia.”

The US also wants to improve relations with China in order to get trade concessions from it to improve US economy; therefore, Tillerson has not shown his enmity against China especially China’s One Belt, One Road (Belt and Road) initiative openly since he took office as US Secretary of State. However, for the alliance there must be a common enemy and China happened to be a convenient target; therefore, he began to attack China’s Belt and Road initiative.

I shall say that Tillerson is indeed shrewd. I regard his efforts to win over India as a diplomatic reform as he wants to have India as a partner on equal footing, i.e. as one of the “two bookends” instead one in a partnership with the US as a bookend and the other, India, as an inner page with no importance.

Stephen Blank, a senior fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council, has pointed out, “every alliance has a horse and a rider.” That is certainly not true. It goes against common sense, but his words reflect US mentality about alliance that the US always regards itself as the rider and its ally as its horse. Now, Tillerson wants a partnership on equal footing instead one with the US as the rider and India as the horse. I shall praise him for his wisdom in conducting such a diplomatic reform.

Moreover, Tillerson perhaps sees China’s intention for the establishment of an Asian union with its Belt and Road initiative, but he really has no means to counter that. The report says that the United States in years past has tried and failed to advance its own development plan for a “New Silk Road” in Central Asia. However, it fails to point out that Central Asia is Russia’s sphere of influence. How can the US succeed in Central Asia when it has been containing Russia?

China’s Belt and Road succeeds in Central Asia as it has built trust with Russia and refrained to affect the politics there in order that the area remains Russia’s sphere of influence. Therefore, the Asian Union will be jointly headed by Russia and China instead of China alone. Like the EU, there will be no difference of rider and horse in the union. A union will be impossible if like the US any member wants to be the rider and treat others as horses. China and Russia have already had their Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) without choosing a leader. SCO may expand into the Asian Union.

Now, India has joined SCO as cooperation with SCO members is very important for Indian economy. In addition, China has also been making great efforts to improve relations with India while Russia is trying hard to form a Russia-China-India iron triangle to counter the US. It is interesting to see who in the end will really succeed in courting India.

Anyway such competitions of wisdom is much more interesting than military competitions.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/18/tillerson-knocks-china-courts-india-ahead-of-south-asia-trip/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Editors%20Picks%2010/18&utm_term=%2AEditors%20Picks.


Namaste, Ni Hao: Nirmala Sitharaman Meets Chinese Troops At Nathu-La

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s day-long visit to Arunachal Pradesh and Nathu-La in Sikkim had an unexpected bonus – an exchange with Chinese soldiers, a video of which is viral.

by Priyanka Pant | Updated: October 09, 2017 18:35 IST

Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Nathu-La, Sikkim led to a cordial exchange with Chinese troops. Screengrab from video tweeted by @DefenceMinIndia

1. Ms Sitharaman carried out an aerial survey in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim
2. Ms Sitharaman spoke with Chinese soldiers at the border in Sikkim
3. Visit after centre said no new development in Doklam after standoff

New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s day-long visit to Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, including the border at Nathu-La on Saturday had an unexpected bonus – an exchange with Chinese soldiers, a video of which was widely shared on social media.

The video, tweeted by the Defence Minister’s official Twitter handle this morning, shows Ms Sitharaman chatting with Chinese soldiers at the border at Nathu-La in Sikkim. In the short clip, the Defence Minister is seen greeting troops with her hands folded in a “namaste.”

“Namaste! You know what ‘namaste’ is?” she asks a Chinese soldier who is acting as a translator.

“Nice to meet you,” guesses the Chinese soldier, smiling.

“What would you say in Chinese?” asks the minister.

“Ni hao,” he responds.

One by one, the Chinese soldiers present greet the minister with enthusiastic “namastes” and “ni haos”.

Ms Sitharaman’s aerial survey of the Doklam-Nathu La area came a day after the government clarified there had been no new developments since the disengagement.

In mid-June, Indian soldiers had crossed the Sikkim border to stop the construction of a Chinese road near the “Chicken’s Neck” — a thin strip that links India to its northeastern states. A face-off followed at Doklam plateau, with soldiers from both sides staring down at each other standing just 150 m apart.

The Doklam Plateau is claimed by both Beijing and Bhutan as their territory. India backs Bhutan’s claim.

After nearly 70 days, the conflict, described as the worst in decades, subsided with both countries accepting that they were withdrawing their troops.

Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Nathu-La, Sikkim led to a cordial exchange with Chinese troops. Screengrab from video tweeted by @DefenceMinIndia

Earlier, Ms Sitharaman posted a photo showing her smiling and waving at Chinese troops across the border. “Acknowledged a row of Chinese soldiers from across the fence who were taking pictures on my reaching Nathu La,” the accompanying tweet read.

Source: NDTV “Namaste, Ni Hao: Nirmala Sitharaman Meets Chinese Troops At Nathu-La”

Note: This is NDTV’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

China’s Belt and Road Connection with Nepal Upsets India

Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report “China opens road linking with Nepal: Indian expert regards it as a threat to India” that according to India’s NDTV website, Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli of India’s Nehru University regards China’s further closer relations with Nepal as China’s threat to India. That is why India is upset that recently China has built an expressway linking Lhasa with various areas including Zhangmu, a small town near China-Nepal border.

If India regards China’s peaceful connections with Nepal in its Belt and Road initiative as a threat, the expressway is nothing compared the railways to be built to link China with Nepal and link Nepal’s three major cities. For win-win cooperation, China and Nepal concluded an agreement on the construction of the two railways when Nepal Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara visited China in early September.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report, Chinese full text of which can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/china/2017-09/11268981.html.

Better Future of India-China Win-win than India-US Military Cooperation

China is making great efforts to improve relations with India. The end of the recent border standoff between the two countries proves that such efforts can really succeed. Why? As a border war can bring no benefit but will cost much neither India nor China wants to fight. On the other hand, win-win cooperation will bring much benefit to both sides.

The US is trying to use India’s border disputes with China to contain China but it can give India nothing but advanced weapons and weapon technology.

Economically, the US is taking jobs back home. Foreign Policy’s article “Trump Has Started a Brain Drain Back to India” on September 22 describes the difficulties for talented Indian people in finding jobs and immigrating to the US.

In addition, many US enterprises are now using Indian secretary, software and other services resulting in reduction of job opportunities in the US. Indians are going to have further employment problems due to Trump administration’s job policies.

US policies to bring jobs home also means less import of not only services but also goods so that India’s export of goods to the US may also suffer.

India certainly needs US advanced weapons, but the weapons are very expensive. Will the US subsidize its weapon exports to India? Not likely given US financial difficulties.

Moreover, India needs the weapons mainly to deal with China and Pakistan. If China and Pakistan have succeeded in their efforts to improve their relations with India, India will be benefited by having more funds for economic development and improvement of its people’s living standards as it can greatly reduce its military budget.

From the above perspectives we can see that there is great potential for win-win cooperation between India and China but no long-term prospects of military cooperation between India and the US.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy’s article, full text of which can be find at http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/09/22/trump-has-started-a-brain-drain-back-to-india/.

China Wants Win-Win Cooperation with India Using Nepal as Bridge

Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal Krishna Bahadur Mahara meets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

In its report yesterday titled “Nepal and China fast track rail link in aftermath of Sino-Indian border row: Beijing says landlocked country can be a bridge between Asian giants”, “China and Nepal agreed on Thursday to ramp up plans for a cross-border railway amid public assurances from China that Beijing would work hard to avoid conflict with New Delhi.”

SCMP quotes Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as saying, “[China and India] should see each other as partners and an opportunity for development, instead of sticking to the old mindset of perceiving each other as a rival or threat”.

Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road) through Nepal

SCMP says, “Wang said officials from Nepal and China had agreed to fast track a feasibility study for the construction of a railway between the two countries.

“In addition, the two countries agreed to rebuild two highways and three border ports linking Nepal and China, after much of the infrastructure was destroyed in a deadly earthquake in 2015.”

If China succeeds in building transport connections with India after peaceful resolution of its border standoff with India, China will have brought around India who boycotted Chinese President’s recent Belt and Road summit.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2110235/nepal-and-china-fast-track-rail-link-aftermath-sino.

Peace and Cooperation, the Order of the Day for China-India Relations

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) shake hand beforethe group photo session of Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries, in sideline of 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province in China,, September 5th 2017. REUTERS/Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool

When there was the highest tension since the 1962 border war between China and India in their border standoff, quite a few Chinese people want a war with India. Their popular saying is “The only thing China lacks now is a war to show its strength.”

They only want one war much better than the six wars Li Qiuyue, a naïve young girl, wanted in her quite popular 2013 article “6 Wars China Must Fight in the Coming 50 years”.

There was also a surge of nationalism in India that advocates a war with China to retaliate India’s defeat in its 1962 border war with China.

Fortunately, both countries have wise leaders. They want peace and cooperation instead of war between the two giants.

SCMP says in its report on the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday titled “China, India should pursue peace on border, move on from dispute, leaders agree”:

“Modi told Xi that the two sides should increase mutual trust, expand pragmatic cooperation, deepen people-to-people exchanges and jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas.

“India and China should not see each other as rivals; instead, cooperation should be the main characteristic of the relationship,” he said.

He later tweeted that “we had fruitful talks on bilateral relations between India and China”.

Reuters says in its report on the same event titled “China’s Xi wants to put relations with India on ‘right track’”

China wants to put its relationship with India on the “right track”, President Xi Jinping told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, as the two countries sought to mend ties damaged by a recent tense Himalayan border standoff.

“China is willing to work with India … to increase political trust, advance mutually beneficial cooperation and promote the further development of China-India relations along the correct path,” Xi said.

A country shall first of all have a wise leader able to choose the right course for its country. India’s desire for win-win cooperation with other countries is very clear. It has joined the Russia- and China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as SCO’s new member along with Pakistan, its long-term enemy.

China’s Xi has a much bigger ambition for win-win cooperation, which is a long topic to be elaborated in my future posts.

Now both China and India are rising because they have wise leaders to choose the right courses for their countries’ long-term benefit, which they are able to convince their peoples to accept. If their countries are deeply divided with one part of people choosing a leader and the other part who has not elected him trying hard to bring him down. Even if the leader is wise, he can achieve nothing.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP and Reuters’ reports, full text of which can respectively be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2109902/china-india-should-pursue-peace-border-move-dispute and http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-brics-india/chinas-xi-wants-to-put-relations-with-india-on-right-track-idUSKCN1BG0JY.

China says to beef up patrols along Indian border

Reuters staff August 31, 2017 / 5:34 PM

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday that it would beef up patrols along a disputed stretch of its border with India but would also “adjust” deployments, after the two countries ended a more than two-month standoff.

Indian and Chinese troops had been confronting each other at the Doklam plateau near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan and China in the most serious and prolonged standoff in decades.

The trouble started in June when India sent troops to stop China building a road in the Doklam area, known in China as Donglang, which is remote, uninhabited territory claimed by both China and Bhutan.

India said it sent its troops because Chinese military activity there was a threat to the security of its own northeast region.

“The Chinese military will continue to carry out its mission and responsibilities, strengthen its patrols and garrisons in the Donglang area and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security,” Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqing said.

“In light of the changes in the situation on the ground, Chinese border forces will carry out adjustments to deployments,” Ren told a monthly news briefing, without elaborating.

Neither country has offered explicit details of the terms of disengagement from the area which had raised fears of a wider conflict between the Asian giants who fought a brief border war in 1962.

The ending of the stand-off comes ahead of a weekend summit in China of the BRICS nations, that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend.

Source: Reuters “China says to beef up patrols along Indian border”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.