A Toothpick to Leverage a Sledgehammer

National News

Article by: Wg Cdr Ravindran Achuthan (Retd.)
Very often in life, it pays not to act on a problem. The inaction provides an intended catalyst for a changed yet favorable scenario in future. In case of state craft, this tactic can offer changed dimensions merely due to flow of time and there strategic advantages.
In the case of Sino-Indian relationship, the issue of Masood Azhar can hardly be called strategic.

Even the much hyped attempt for entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), if nuclear experts and strategic experts are to be believed, does not offer India any strategic advantage. This is because the Indo-US nuclear deal and the subsequent deals signed with other countries have already given India most of the strategic advantage that it has sought. This, in other words, reduces the issue to mere symbolism or at best, something to dish out to the domestic audience.


By not acting or being merely indifferent on both these counts, China is only generating a halo around them. They hope that prolonged delay in addressing these issues will make India gradually accord more importance to them than is due. This would eventually help them to leverage an even larger issue for themselves from India – an issue that impinges on the very existence of “the establishment” in China. China is loath to “democracy” and the prominence given to “cultures” in them.

In the above vein, the Dalai Lama is an anathema to them. His benign yet influential presence gives them nightmares which dwarf other strategic issues like the South China Seas (SCS). The Chinese state has the ability to address the SCS issue squarely either diplomatically or militarily. However, the intangible yet potent mix of “culture” and a sublime leader who represents it is quite another matter

Hence the Chinese assume that a strategic silence on the Masood Azhar and NSG issues will make India eventually give a disproportionate relevance than they are intrinsically worth. This may force India to yield on the issue of Dalai Lama and Arunachal Pradesh thereby delivering a “sledgehammer” blow to culture and democracy by merely using “toothpicks”.

India has to be vary not to play into the hands of the wily Chinese for, the Dalai Lama and the Arunachal Pradesh are far more important to the Chinese than Azhar and NSG are for India

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