China-India Powwow - Smart Diplomacy on Display

Narendra Modi with Xi Jumping at Mahabalipuram (Source:MEA on Twitter)

The informal dialogue between Indian Premier and the Chinese President is going on even as we speak. Few people will note the subtlety with which Communist China's civilizational claims have been shown a mirror of reality check by Modi's foreign policy tonight at Mahabalipuram.

China's entire 'legitimate claim' to a high seat on the global power high table is surmised from the basis of its ancient civilizational glory and past, which is extended to every sphere of their diplomacy, even border dispute resolution. What people often ignore is that the Chinese mentality often needs to be confronted to some extent with a dose of reality check and nerves of steel. China only respects countries and people who actually demonstrate a spine and also play the game on equal footing with a genuine challenge to their ancientness.

Some time back, Modi was taken once to Xi'an and once to Wuhan by the Xi administration in an attempt to overawe him with the ancient grandeur of the Chinese civilization. An attempt to show him the true strength and the greatness of the civilization was made.

However, the Chinese forgot one thing, or clearly till now had not been shown one small fine print detail. India still continues to qualify as proof of what a living ancient civilization looks like, uninterrupted by centuries of onslaught, and is proud of its roots, its original in every way imaginable. It is not some ancient civilization which has been artificially propped up again like the post Cultural Revolution Communist China.

Xi and his government officers after tonight will be like - what on earth is this? They have an actual existing ancient civilization unlike ours. This messaging is important, because that is the only way the Chinese can really be made to respect you vìs-a-vìs themselves.

An interesting anecdote from history to explain this cultural context. Those were the times when the famous eunuch Ming Admiral Zheng He was conquering the world and was doing many things, even supposedly discovering America in one of his expeditions. The experiences were recorded in many annals, but perhaps his experiences with the South of India are one of the most fascinating ones to know about. In Sri Lanka, the Kandyan King was supposedly taken captive by Zheng He and taken back to China as a war trophy. It was also supposed to serve as a lesson for disobedience in the Indian Ocean and the Indo-China region.

In contrast the Kerala and Tamil Nadu coasts, the grandeur and the wealth of the regions had shocked him into silence, and no military adventures were attempted. Instead, there was greater cultural exchange and respect that happened consequently with the Indian ports like Kochi and MahaMallapuram, with the Indian spices actually being significant imports for China, eventually leading to a relationship of respect for the country at large.

The foreign policy of India has taken a refreshing turn, that openly glorifies its past without shame. The second term of the Modi government has started off on a great foreign policy foray. Hopefully other spheres will play ball to strengthen the Indian hand on the foreign policy front.


Anonymous said…
Very well written buddy
Anonymous said…
Well done, great perspective.

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