Three Key Reasons Why India And China Must Not Go To Conflict At A Time Like This.
The BRICS meeting in Xiamen in China last week was a timely opportunity for both India and China to end the high-altitude and potentially high-voltage stand-off at the Doklam plateau. Many political observers around the globe feared a spark, ignition and even a w@r. Concurrent “cross-continent” threats by North Korea aimed at the US brought the situation to the brink.
BRICS diplomacy, including its extremely well thought-out and carefully drafted declaration of 71 articles showed not only the mature intentions of five countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — in the messy world, but the sk!llful subtlety of India and China in avoiding a flash w@r in the Himalayas.
But diplomacy can never be a long-term winner. As Henry Kissinger famously said: “It is a mistake to assume that diplomacy can always settle international disputes if there is good faith and willingness to come to an agreement. For diplomacy to sustain the win-win framework, it has to go beyond the apparent faith and trust. It has to be backed by the mutually beneficial implementation of the strategy.”
Fortunately, there is a game-changing and long-term win-win opportunity for both India and China whose time has come. Though the BRICS declaration is multilateral, India and China can take away the potentially strong bilateral messages on collaborative approaches on a number of issues that would make both countries lead global development.
Such opportunity should not be allowed to be overshadowed by relatively trifling issues like territorial conflicts, trade w@rs, NSG admission and international naming of terr0rists and, above all, by media hype. Yes, border-protection is important, but more crucial is the protection of the people’s future that they want in both the countries.
Having disengaged from the Doklam plateau, China and India should now engage in availing themselves the huge opportunity of constructive and positive collaboration on Sustainable Development and Climate Change. There are three key reasons that offer higher takeoff points for Xi and Modi to engage in a strategy that benefits people of both the countries.
First, both of them have shown similar approaches to address the common challenges facing them on international platforms. Unprecedented air pollution, life-threatening climate change, resource-draining energy dependence, restless youth, serious unemployment, fast-urbanising population, the eroding agricultural base and terr0rism are the common challenges that the two largest- and fastest-growing countries have to face squarely.
In the UN General Assembly, President Xi in September 2015 talked of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “The dream of the Chinese people is closely connected with the dreams of other peoples of the world. We cannot realise the Chinese dream without a peaceful international environment, a stable international order and the understanding, support and help from the rest of the world. The realisation of the Chinese dream will bring more opportunities to other countries and contribute to global peace and development.”
At the same forum, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out India’s philosophy of “vasudhav kutumbakam” — the world as one big family — and noted that the country has always raised its voice for rights of justice, dignity, opportunity and prosperity not just for itself but for others. He went further to state that development of India’s people “mirrors” the SDGs.
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