Is India’s PM Modi Appeasing China? – OpEd


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be receiving the Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mahabalipuram near Chennai in India shortly. One can be sure that Modi will leave no stone unturned to give grand reception to the Chinese President, similar to the other reception that was hosted by Modi to Xi Jinping in Gujarat earlier. In the last few years, both the leaders have met several times not only in India and China but also in other places during international meetings.

It is really not clear as to what is the objective of Modi meeting the Chinese President at the present time, just after he has completed high level meetings with Russian President Putin and US President Donald Trump.

If there are any strategies for Modi, it has not been convincingly explained by Modi so far.

Despite of several meetings, hand shakes and smiles exchanged between Modi and Xi Jinping, there is no change in the stance of China towards India on several issues. On the other hand, China has been hostile and un yielding in dealing with India in recent years.

The latest is China’s hostile attitude towards India with regard to Kashmir issue in the recent United Nations General Assembly meeting. China openly supported Pakistan and termed India as an occupier of Kashmir. China has blocked the efforts in UNO to declare as terrorist one of the known Islamic extremists in Pakistan. It is now occupying for the last several years sizable land in Aksai Chin in north east India which it occupied during the Indo China war in 1962. China continues to claim that Indian province Arunachal Pradesh is part of China and has even refused to give proper visa to the residents of Arunachal Pradesh to visit China.

China has aggressively entered Tibet around six decades back , mercilessly suppressed liberation movement in Tibet which resulted in the respected Holiness the Dalai Lama leaving Tibet along with the followers to stay in India with refugee status. China has been objecting to any friendly approach of India towards the Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees, forcing India to play soft in the issue.

In such circumstances, what is the need for Modi to have repeated meetings with the Chinese President, when China adopts such stubborn attitude towards India.

Modi’s repeated meetings with Chinese President reminds about British Prime Minister Chamberlain meeting Hitler before WWII, despite of knowing Hitler’s hostile attitude and aggressive postures. It also reminds about former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s appeasement policy towards China and the then Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-lai, which proved to be costly later on.

At present, China is facing difficult situation on several fronts due to it’s slowing economy, trade confrontation with USA, unrest in Hong Kong etc. With the US market for China getting constrained due to US President Trump’s hostile trade policy towards China, due to which Chinese industry and economy have been significantly impacted, China is facing uncertain future. In such conditions, China desperately needs alternate market for it’s products and Indian market can provide some relief for China. One gets a feeling that today China needs India’s support more than what India needs from China.

No one is in doubt that China has ambitious expansionist policy and it is adopting various methods to achieve this end. It has invested billions of dollars in Pakistan and has now a definite stake in Pakistan’s economy, making Pakistan excessively dependent on China. Many believe that China now views Pakistan as it’s extended territory. Pakistan has gifted part of the land in Pakistan occupied Kashmir to China. Therefore , China is unlikely to change it’s stance on Kashmir and will never support India in the Kashmir issue.

China’s economic corridor projects are clearly intended to expand China’s influence in the global sphere and also find outlet for China’s market in other parts of the world. This is a long term policy of China with definite expansionist ambitions in mind.

Why is Modi repeatedly meeting Chinese President and making friendly gestures inspite of China’s hostile attitude towards India? Is Modi trying to keep China in good humour, so as to prevent China from joining with Pakistan to have military confrontation with India by starting a border war?

It is in India’s interest that China has to be resisted, just as it is in the interest of Japan, USA and other countries to resist China.

Unfortunately, Modi is giving an impression that he is trying to appease China to buy peace with China. Peace with China cannot be bought by appeasing, but only by resisting.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

2 thoughts on “Is India’s PM Modi Appeasing China? – OpEd

  • October 6, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    India is following a pragmatic policy of engagement with China given the Western nations cannot be trusted, for they make U-turns with a straight face when it suits their interests. China’s lack of democracy actually makes its approach more consistent & predictable and is lower maintenance to manage. The other shared story is their ancient cultural & religious links besides the centuries of loot, plunder & divide/rule by the Westerners, albeit India bore the brunt through colonisation.

  • October 7, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Modi faces a tough choice and the situation for the predicament goes a long way back starting from the neglect of national security by successive predecessor governments since independence. Nehru was largely responsible. Hopefully, Modi will reveal in time his game plan to change the situation.


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