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Pragmatism shall prevail

Pragmatism shall prevail
Highlights

Ultra nationalism and jingoism never help further a nation’s interests but rather polarise it, to politically benefit some group or party.  But, fringe elements have of late sought to cobble up a hysterical foreign policy against Chinese. 

Ultra nationalism and jingoism never help further a nation’s interests but rather polarise it, to politically benefit some group or party. But, fringe elements have of late sought to cobble up a hysterical foreign policy against Chinese.

Thus began trolling of China for everything Pakistan does against India. This led to a chorus of boycott calls against Chinese imports during Diwali, which reportedly fell substantially. If India doesn’t rein in such uncouth elements, it will be seen as petulantly taking things too far.

It is also imperative in the context of substantive talks that have just begun between India and China on former’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

It is true history is replete with instances of China's unprovoked incursions into India's territory or staking claims to Arunachal Pradesh, which it calls South Tibet. However, till recently Chinese irritants had largely been dealt with bilaterally by a non-aligned India which was seen as posing no threat to the Chinese.

Come Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, India has given up its non-alignment stance and is increasingly becoming a pivot for the US and sailing with nations which oppose Chinese assertion over South China Sea.

How could we be seen as taking sides with other nations against a neighbour which has become our largest trading partner? With a far superior economic heft that has overtaken even the US, China will not take kindly to it. It will be forced to use Pakistan to open a second front against India.

However, India should continue to make it clear to the Chinese leadership that any nexus with Pakistan would only destabilise the region and foment trouble in the world as the latter is the breeding ground for international terrorism. Yet, China’s proximity with Islamabad need not be the sole ground for New Delhi to distance itself from Beijing.

An essentially trade bloc, BRICS stopped short of naming Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism. It could only go thus far. However, frenzy seemed to be seizing India to view the Chinese stance skeptically. Diwali unwittingly lit up fireworks between media and opinion makers of both nations.

The silence of the Modi government on this unsavoury episode is letting some gloat over hurting the Chinese interests. But, they should know India runs a huge trade deficit with China at about $48 billion in about $71 billion trade. At a time when India is strongly wooing Chinese investors, it cannot afford to let jingoism affect the ties.

It is rather rare that different countries will have the same point of view on a sensitive issue of targeting another nation. We should find a common ground with China and keep trying for it. Meanwhile, we as a nation must keep guard against ultra nationalistic elements.

India cannot but be wary of its domestic market being flooded by cheap Chinese goods that would pose a threat to our production base.

It is essentially an issue of bilateral free and fair trade rather than one determined by surging emotions. It cannot be ignored that India trades with Pakistan even when bullets are exchanged across the border.

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