INDIA has done well to raise some of its real concerns with China when Foreign Secretary Mr. Vijay Gokhale called on Chinese Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi in Beijing. One of the crucial points raised by Mr. Gokhale was as regards blacklisting of terror mastermind and chief of terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Masood Azhar. Mr. Gokhale also raised a few other points as well, as media reports have us believe. But the issue of proscription of Masood Azhar is most crucial in terms of India’s position as regards fight against terror. An astute diplomat that he is, Mr. Gokhale supplied to China all evidence about Masood Azhar’s terrorist identity and activity, and insisted reportedly that China must alter its position in that regard. This firmness is the hallmark of India’s current diplomatic posture and a moment will come soon that China will take notice of the Indian concern. Internationally, China stands rather isolated on the issue, even though it would try to stick to its position on proscription of Masood Azhar. As for India, it was necessary to restate its position on the issue and try to push China into a tight spot. It must be stressed that India and other countries like France, the United States, the United Kingdom are not seeking just a symbolism through effort to have Masood Azhar blacklisted.
Their effort is to corner Pakistan that has often offered shelter to terror activities for decades. That China is using its veto power to foil those attempts, has not made much difference as other members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) are seeking the route of a direct resolution. Thus, China stands isolated on the issue, something that may make Beijing reconsider its stand at a moment in future. Of course, India has many other concerns as well vis-a-vis China, such as the continual Chinese effort to claim some parts of Indian territory as its own. So obstinate has China been on a few occasions that it objected to the visit of Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh.
That India did not care is one part of the story, but China has continued to bother India all the time by claiming Arunachal Pradesh as its own. Mr. Vijay Gokhale must have raised this concern as well with Mr. Wang Yi during their meeting in Beijing. Whenever India raised this concern, China tried to soft-pedal the point in an attempt to stave off a possible verbal confrontation. To the credit of Indian diplomacy, it must be said that New Delhi has never tried to win only an argument, but has ensured that there is no deviation from the official position during discussions. The Chinese follow a blow-hot-blow-cold policy during diplomatic meetings. And to any such attempt, India responds in a cool but firm manner. China’s discomfiture of late is due to India’s growing military assertion, as a support to diplomacy.
No matter what ploy Beijing has tried of late, India has often insisted upon leveraging its growing military prowess. In numerical terms, the Chinese military capabilities may be better than those of India. Yet, on technological front, India is closing the gap very fast, the latest of its assertion coming through its successful anti-satellite missile test under project name Shakti. Let alone the actual numbers of such missiles in India’s possession, which may be much lesser than in China’s kitty, the psychological import of he development has sent a fairly stern message to Beijing. This is China’s real point of jitters vis-a-vis India. Again, Masood Azhar is just one of Indian concerns, but it is not just a symbolism. For, in actual terms, it would mean chastising Pakistan in the most effective manner. On this count, its opposition to global tilt against the terror mastermind apart, China appears to realise that it may have to accept a compromise sooner than later. This is the point India is driving at.