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India’s former Foreign Secretary expresses deep suspicion about unilateral China

India’s former Foreign Secretary Mr Shyam Saran. (Photo courtesy: Livemint)
India’s former Foreign Secretary Mr Shyam Saran. (Photo courtesy: Livemint)

(TibetanReview.net, Jan31, 2018) – India’s former Foreign Secretary Mr Shyam Saran has on Jan 28 expressed deep suspicion about the rise of China due to its unilateral assertion and its disregard for other countries’ concerns. Speaking at a session on “India and the World” at the Jaipur Literature Festival, he has called the rise of China a defining challenge for India.

“I am deeply concerned at the implications of the rise of China… It is not so much about the rise of China as it is about the unilateral assertion. The unwillingness to consult, to take into account the concerns of other countries is what is worrying. We need to work with countries like Japan, Australia, the US and Vietnam to challenge this unilateralism,” the PTI news agency quoted the 71-year-old former diplomat, considered an expert on China, as saying.

“We have to acknowledge the fact that China has emerged as a great power, whether it is in terms of its economic or military capabilities and even scientific and technological capabilities,” he was quoted as saying.

In his view, the challenge for diplomacy today is how to construct a foreign policy that respects political boundaries but also transcends them, and brings about the commonality which is fundamental to the rational, cohesive security perspective that India should have.

He has referred to the inroads China is making in India’s neighbourhood, especially in Nepal in the context of the newly elected government in Kathmandu which is seen as being especially pro-Beijing. “There are roads coming up from Tibet in Nepal, linking up the East-West highway when the roads which link India with Nepal are not in good repair,” he has said.

He has said China might get a new consulate in Pokhara and a couple of banks in Tarari next to India’s border, while it is also building a huge project in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha Shakyamuni.

“So you will see a larger presence of China in Nepal and it is beginning to influence the domestic politics there, just as in Sri Lanka with respect to the Hambantota port. It is going to be the reality for several years whether we like it not,” he has added.

“You must compete with China in being the best partner that you can be… Why can’t you increase your influence by offering the best opportunities to your neighbours?” he was quoted as having asked.

Saran has also expressed strong confidence in India’s potential to measure up to the challenge of China. “I believe if there is one country which has the population, the area, the capabilities to not only catch up with China but also to overtake China, it is only India. There is no other country in the world which can do that.”

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