Xi has decided not to come to the G20 summit which he has never missed since taking over the presidency of China in 2012. Even during COVID-19, he attended the summit virtually. It may be possible that Chinese President, Xi Jinping would have never wanted to witness India hosting a successful historical G20 summit and taking such big decisions such as including the African Union and declaration of joint communique in New Delhi. If we see the recent development of Indo-China relations, it is not better than the 1962 war era. As China justified its release of the latest map which shows Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as part of its own territory, the continuing military stand-off in the Ladakh region that started in 2020 and several rounds of military talks did not bring any normalcy in securing our borders safe. All these events show that China does not want to have peaceful and enduring relations with India, and gradually it is taking the place of our most troubled neighbor Pakistan.
I believe this is high time for India to revisit its ‘One China policy’ because we can see how China reciprocated our ‘One China Policy’ over the decades, when we scarped Article-370 in Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019, China tried to raise this issue in UNSC at the behest of Pakistan and suggested India be restrained in taking unilateral action to change status quo. The frequent signs of trouble on the Sino-Indian border emerged in the late 2000s, and a series of military crises between India and China in 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2020 suggest that the era of peace and tranquility between two nations negotiated through various agreements and confidence-building measures developed over three decades was now breaking down.
Although China has been successful in pressing many nations including most South Asian states to reaffirm the ‘One China policy’ amid the growing conflict with the United States over Taiwan. But India under its current establishment refused to reiterate the ‘One China policy’, which has been our consistent position since 1950 when India was one of the world’s first nations to recognise the People’s Republic of China and started diplomatic relations with it. We did it despite our concern over China’s annexation of Tibet. It would be surprising to know that we did not share a border until 1950 with China before the forceful annexation of Tibet. And this annexation changed the geopolitical equation with India forever. When India granted the Dalai Lama refuge in 1959, we faced a humiliating defeat in the 1962 war, and our Indian territory, Aksai Chin was illegally annexed by China.
We need to change our policy on Tibet, since 1962, we have been paralysed with the fear of alienating Beijing. Dalai Lama is not still allowed to make political statements as a condition for staying in India. But maintaining diplomatic silence on Tibet was a blunder for our Indian policymaker and encouraged China to claim Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet. Similarly, we chose to cut off ties with Taiwan completely and stood against Western countries in supporting the PRC representing real China to get a permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council which was occupied by Taiwan until 1971.
We had waited until 1995 to establish relations with Taiwan but it did not make any change in the geopolitical intention of China. China never accepted the ‘One India Policy’ with respect to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Aksai Chin, and Arunachal Pradesh. Almost all Prime Ministers of India misread China from Jawaharlal Nehru to Narendra Modi that China only understands the language of strength and ruthlessly exploits weakness. Chinese incursions along the Line of Actual Control are part of Beijing’s strategy to test India’s resolve. And going soft on issues related to Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Uyghur Muslims has only emboldened China.
China is a toxic power, and its closest allies are rogue nations like Pakistan and North Korea. We can see how aggressive China has become in its foreign policy that it did not obey the United Nations Convention on Law of Sea (UNCLOS) verdict that was given in favor of the Philippines on Beijing’s transgressions in the South China Sea. China has been successful in hiding its real intention with India and just buying its time to get favorable conditions to fulfill its expansionist policy, Anybody can draw this conclusion after 22 rounds of fruitless boundary talks with China and its attitude that border dispute could be left to “future generation” to resolve, Chinese continuous transgressions on LAC is a kind of psychological war against India and to show the world that India is not capable of challenging the Superpower like China. We can also see Chinese influence in our immediate neighborhood where the Governments of Sri Lanka and Nepal have begun to question their borders with India. We also know China’s opposition to India’s permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council and Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Taiwan is the first most sensitive issue for China, and Tibet is the second most one, and thereafter Hong Cong, Uyghur, etc. These are some blind spots in China on which India has been silent for decades under the ‘One China Policy’. Now India needs to raise these issues aggressively at the international forum for greater autonomy of Taiwan, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and gross violations of human rights of Uyghur Muslims. We also need to increase our trade with Taiwan because of the presence of the three largest contractors of Apple iPhone and semiconductors. India must also expose and protest China on the issue, related to the successor of Dalai Lama must be approved by Beijing, and mobilise global opinion on it.
However, India has taken some economic retaliation by banning 59 Chinese apps on date-security grounds and decided to bar some Chinese companies from other lucrative opportunities in its vast market. But these are not sufficient at all to deter China. So now, it is time to drop the 60-year-old ‘One China Policy’ to appease Beijing. India is not the only country on this planet that is facing Chinese transgressions on its border but there is a long list of countries that are aggrieved by Beijing’s expansionist policy like Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan. But India is the only powerful country with nuclear weapons among these nations that can challenge China’s muscle-flexing. We must also consider including Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan under the East Asian QUAD PLUS and turn it into a military alliance to deter China in the South China Sea and Indo-Pacific.