Why is South Block fuming at the mouth and wringing its hands over China turning down India’s demand to name Masood Azhar a terrorist? The dragon considers the elephant an economic and military threat. Pakistan is its best friend never mind the fact that its secret service ISI is fomenting and funding the Islamic separatist movement in the Xiang province. Since US president-elect Donald Trump, loves “Hindoos”, the chances of Pakistan pressuring China to stand firm in Azhar’s defence just went up, not that Beijing needed any persuasion.
Ever since the debacle of 1962 thanks to Jawaharlal Nehru’s miscalculations on Hindi-Chini bhai bhai, and Dalai Lama got asylum, any remaining love was lost between the two neighbours. New Delhi’s mistake is that the South Block mandarins see China as a diplomatic problem. It began as a foreign policy mistake, with Nehru hoping China and India will have an everlasting love affair. He said in Moscow, “...some people in USA have suggested that India should replace China in the Security Council. This is to create trouble between us and China... I feel that we should first concentrate on getting China admitted.”
As if there was going to be no trouble between India and China in a region where a geopolitical power vacuum was created after British withdrawal. China is India’s military problem, not a diplomatic one. Now, in the heavily polarised world of terror, China is also India’s communal problem. It is not for the first time that a foreign government has caused sectarian problems in India—the British were aware that the 1947 Partition was a communally charged cauldron of hate. China’s support to Azhar is unabashed endorsement of terror when Indian security agencies are doing surgical strikes against militant modules.
Masood Azhar, Hafeez Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi live in Pakistan and work for the destruction of India and the imposition of Sharia. Communal forces in India are fattened with help from Pakistan. Mosques in Kashmir openly call for sedition. The growth of Salafist Islam has led to indoctrination in Kerala; it’s so intense that vast areas in the state have been totally radicalised. The brunt of Chinese foreign policy is to abet Pakistan’s war against India in the struggle for dominance of an age, between the Year of the Dragon and the Year of the Elephant.
The pillars of foreign policy rest on the fragile foundations of a nation state’s internal and external ambitions. From its platform, leaders and governments try to shape the future according to their country’s interests. China’s world view is based on its glorious Confucian past. Its great empires ruled the country for ages—the Han Dynasty was on the throne for four centuries. The Chinese perspective doesn’t account for decades, or even centuries. It bets on eternity. After its cultural desecration by Mao, China is returning to Confucius.
The Communist party has ordered its members to study the philosopher and his influence on culture as a means to isolate society from Western ideas. China is returning to its imperial and philosophical roots. Terrorism and Islamic threats are just short term blips in its scheme of things. Unless India applies its own ancient understanding of statecraft and its place in the war of empires, Chankaya will never be able to beat Confucius at Chinese chequers.