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Wake-up call for our ‘China-watchers’

The Chinese Communist Party invitation to BJP president Nitin Gadkari to lead a first-ever party delegation to China will create much ‘ideological’ confusion among the noisy, self-appointed Indian nationalist camp in our strategic community who arrogate to themselves the right to be vituperative at a personal level to any rational interlocutor who dares to articulate views on China at variance with their own sermons. At the moment, they are having a field day huddled within their secretive internet groups like school children and exciting themselves and each other over a brilliant speech made by an extraordinary diplomat-scholar on China, Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani (dean of the Lee Kuan Yew school of diplomacy in the Singapore National University who previously served as ambassador to US and UN in a most distinguished diplomatic career) at the Habitat in Delhi last week to the creme de la creme of the Indian strategic community. Briefly put, our self-appointed natiionalist-wallahs in the strategic community are ranting over Mahbubani’s advice that India should not squander away the historic opportunity of Asia’s rise (primarily China and India’s rise) to be used by the West as hedge against China. It is on occasions like this that these so-called “nationalists” are best understood as the American lobby in India. Their agenda is simple: tie India somehow to the apron strings of the US. 

Mahbubani was also interviewed by FT while he was in Delhi to attend the annual gathering of ‘Pravasis’  . His observations were, again, extremely thought-provoking. His salient advice was that India should have less of this business of “geopolitics” in its current history and should instead focus on its national build-up, growth, development and consolidation, since in any case time works in India’s favour, being a country with a young population gearing up for an appreciable growth trajectory in the coming decades. True, isn’t it, that we all can have much less of this daydreaming at the present juncture of our problematic and uncertain lives? Our strategic analysts are working themselves into a frenzy; it is necessary to calm down and size up national priorities. Just step out of the ivory tower and drive for less than an hour out of Delhi to comprehend the sad Indian realities. 
Incidentally, deputy chairman of our planning commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia who shared the podium  at the Habitat, put Mahbubani’s speech in perspective when he pithily observed that India today stands not less than 3 decades behind China in economic growth. In short, all things being equal, it will take our country 30 years to catch up with China as the latter stands today. A very sobering thought, indeed, when all this cacophony of xenophobia is being drummed up by the US lobbyists in our strategic community on the basis of the self-serving western propaganda that India is locked in a “rivalry” with China for “global supremacy”. 
The US lobbyists who move around in the nationalist apparel, especially the NRI varieties, will have a hard time to digest the CCP overture to BJP, which, in fact, follows earlier moves by the Chinese side to bond with RSS. Will Gadkari be received by Hu Jintao? Interesting question! The Chinese ambassador in Delhi Zhang Yan said Beijing regards this as an “extremely important visit” and will extend a “very warm welcome in China” to Gadkari. Significantly, Zhang pointedly singled out Atal Bihari Vajpyee’s China initiative in 2003 and characterised it as “historic”. How come national leaders like ABV, Gadkari or Narendra Modi understand the meaning of China’s rise so well? The biggest scale of Chinese investment in India is today going on in Gujarat state. The Chinese are present in a big way in the power sector in Kutch; their factories are preparing well in advance to line up along the two sides of the Gujarat part of the highway corridor that Japan is helping us to build in western India; they are serious investors in Gujarat’s SEZ. Surely, ABV, Gadkari or Modi is no less in their commitment to Indian nationalism than me or our strategic analysts. 
Read the Pioneer report on Gadkari’s China tour….           

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