Saturday, Jun 22, 2024 | Last Update : 01:40 AM IST

  Opinion   Edit  30 Aug 2023  AA Edit | Ignore China’s pinpricks, make G-20 big success

AA Edit | Ignore China’s pinpricks, make G-20 big success

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Aug 31, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Aug 31, 2023, 12:05 am IST

has invested much time, energy, and money in making a success of G-20 and can least afford to let its neighbours spoil the party.

G20 logo installed in front of ITC Maurya Hotel in preparation for the G20 Summit, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Aug 30, 2023. (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)
 G20 logo installed in front of ITC Maurya Hotel in preparation for the G20 Summit, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Aug 30, 2023. (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)

China is at its old games again but its cartographic “expansionism” encompassing Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin, Taiwan and the South China Sea region has a message that may be bigger than the one to India for rejecting its overtures of normalising ties before resolving the LAC situation. As China’s economy tanks, with its over-reliance on real estate representing about 30 per cent of its GDP being exposed to a precipitous fall in values currently, the country may be looking for avenues to assert itself by not only publicising its territorial wish list but also threatening Taiwan aerially daily.

The timing of the “standard map” fracas, in proximity to the G-20 meeting of world powers that New Delhi is hosting just 10 days away, is also part of China’s playbook to deny India’s position of a bit of influence. It would be in the fitness of things if India were to ignore at this juncture China’s fulminations and its intransigence on the LAC led by its patently blinkered view that the rest of the ties can be normal without addressing the issue of the border standoff first.

India cannot afford to be held hostage to bilateral issues while dealing with its commitment to multilateralism. Its position at the head of the G-20 table, in a grouping that does not include its other prickly neighbour Pakistan at this meeting, gives it an opportunity to further its own cause while cementing its ties with the Western powers whose most prominent leaders will all be in New Delhi.

It is a million-dollar question now whether China’s Xi Jinping would attend the summit at a time the world is beginning to be aware of its economic decline. Of course, in an interconnected world, there is no question of a decline in a big economy not affecting the others, too. The point is India can use China’s tools of distraction like its ambitious maps and its Taiwan sorties to show the world where the problem lies.

It may suit the Opposition parties to go so far as to suggest that India not host the Chinese President at the upcoming summit. But, as host, India has invested much time, energy, and money in making a success of G-20 and can least afford to let its neighbours spoil the party. In fact, India may have broken the mould on how to do the G-20 presidency, as the UK envoy pointed out admiringly, getting everyone to not only speak on but also act to tackle problems like global hunger, low growth and poverty.

It is another matter that India would have to scale up its border infrastructure and key up its preparedness in response to several Chinese moves near the LAC that have been well documented in this era of satellite surveillance. The factual position on territory along the LAC is a given though there is much political posturing by the government as well as its opponents about how much China has altered positions before the May 2020 skirmishes threw light on the issue.

Given the dubious nature of overtures reportedly coming directly from Mr Xi Jinping in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Johannesburg and the different interpretations given to them in India and China, it is best that India accepts the reality that China is Janus-faced in its dealings. To protect its land is India’s duty and it is best to be prepared, even while a priority now may be to see the G-20 meeting through without a hitch.

Tags: g20 summit in india, india china border row, aa edit