By Vijay Darda | 30-04-2018
The informal summit between Chinese President and Indian Prime Minister is a welcome move, for parleys alone can lead to a thaw in relationship
Eminent poet Nida Fazli has penned a wonderful couplet:
Dushmani lakh sahi
Khatm na kije rishta
Dil mile ya na mile
Haath milate rahiye!
Personally, I share the sentiments expressed and that is why I look at the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping from a hopeful perspective. There are many issues over which we diverge in life, but does that mean we should break all relationships? Of course not! We need to weigh them on the scale of reality and try to remove the sticking points. These efforts are successful only when negotiations take place followed by handshakes! Last year, the relationship between the two giant neighbours soured because of the Doklam stand-off. It put an end to the bilateral talks. Therefore, I feel that this informal summit between Modi and Xi Jinping should not be seen from the point of view of mere criticism. If we do not talk to our neighbours, the differences will gradually deepen and it will be difficult to return to the path of friendship.
It is true that our relationship with China got embittered since 1962 but it is equally true that efforts to reduce bitterness are also being made. Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to have a friendly relationship with the neighbours, so he visited China in 1954 with a message of friendship. Unfortunately, the war broke out with China in 1962, and since then no Indian Prime Minister visited China for 34 years. Rajiv Gandhi broke the ice and went on a five-day visit to China in 1988. In 1993, the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao went to China and there was an agreement to maintain peace on the line of actual control. Atal Behari Vajpayee visited China in 2003, and there was talk of ending border dispute for better relationship. For this, a mechanism was discussed and some agreements were also executed. When Manmohan Singh visited China as the Prime Minister, there was a discussion on ‘shared vision in the 21st century’. Well, Manmohan Singh made three official visits to China during his prime ministership and it yielded good results too.
Ever since he assumed office as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has also made four visits to China. Obviously, there will be some rewards for these visits! Though both the nations may be at daggers drawn, they understand that war is not in the interest of either and that it will ruin them both and hence it is better to sort out differences by sitting across the negotiating table. As things stand today, there are many pluses in favour of China. It has made rapid progress in the economic field. It became the world’s largest exporter in 2010 and the largest trading country in 2013. Its progress in the business sector has been the most outstanding in the world. If we look at China from economic angle, it is four times stronger than India. As a result, it is dominating the whole world. It is expanding in all directions. From Europe to Africa, it is building the road to increase trade; it is laying the rail network too. Now China’s rail and road is considered to be better than the American Trunk Road. It has strengthened its position so much that even America finds itself helpless in many areas.
If we want to follow the path of friendship with China, we must first strengthen ourselves. When the economic sector gets strong, then naturally China will also accept India as its equal counterpart. For this we have to first see how China has made progress. Some allege that it has violated human rights, has not allowed democracy to flourish. This may be true but it should not be forgotten that China has given its people the opportunity to make rapid progress. Today only three per cent of people in China are below the poverty line, whereas in India the figure still remains above 20 per cent.
There is already a well-woven network of small and medium enterprises in China. Even in rural areas, there has been an industrial revolution, whereas industrial transformation in India is limited to cities only. Countries all around the world are investing in China while our speed is very slow in this case. The official red-tapism, lethargy and corruption everywhere in the country are among the major reasons. There is almost no brain drain from China, while in India our educated youths are leaving the shores due to lack of opportunities in the country. In fact, we have to ensure better utilisation of our resources and develop clean and transparent methodology as well as work culture so that we can make rapid progress in the arena of business. The progress made by China can be made by us too. We also have all the resources that China has. Believe me, the day we become economically strong, the attitude of China towards India will also transform.
Before I conclude…
We should welcome the summit level talk between North Korea’s President Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. The heads of both the countries who once swore at each other, have planted ‘sapling of peace’. It is expected that this plant will flourish and bloom and the arms race will end. The world does not want any more nuclear weapons. Progress can be made peacefully. I wish all the countries of the world understood this universal truth!
This is for the first time after the Doklam stand-off that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping called on each other. Several quarters may have heaped criticism on this meeting. But I believe that only the warmth of talks can bring about a thaw in relationship. Irrespective of differences of opinion, we should keep shaking hands.