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India - South Asia and Chinese retreat -The Asian Age

 
In recent statement External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson of India said, "Our relations with Bangladesh are time tested and historic. We appreciate their consistent stand that Jammu and Kashmir and all its developments are India's internal matters. It's a stand they've always taken,"

Indian external affairs minister Dr. S Jaisankar recently said India wants safe return of Rohinga refugees timely. It indicates direct support of India for Rohinga refugees' repatriation immediately. Some quarters are raising issues regarding border killing and Teesta water sharing. We hope these problems will be resolved by large scale interactions of security forces and by enhancing process of cooperation.
 
When India gained independence in 1947, the new Indian Government recognized Bhutan as an independent country. In 1949, India and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which provided that India would not interfere in Bhutan's internal affairs, but would guide its foreign policy. Still India and Bhutan are maintaining good relationship from time of treaty. In all sectors, India and Bhutan are cooperating. In all economic and social indices, Bhutan is developing in a remarkable way. Now political and democratic systems are gaining momentum. Bhutan has developed its hydro power and exporting excess power to India. Education and health sectors are also developed in a significant way. Elected government runs the administration there. 

The Maldives' nearest neighbors are Sri Lanka and India, both of which have had cultural and economic ties with Maldives for centuries. The Maldives gained total independence from the British on 26 July 1965. The socio economic development of Maldives in last few decades is significant especially in the sectors of tourism, fishing, education and health. It is evident from per capita income and other indices. Democracy is being practiced in Maldives though undemocratic forces tried to capture power but due to help of democratic India, democratic process is continuing. 

The history of Sri Lanka is intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent and the surrounding regions, comprising the areas of South Asia, Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka was granted independence in 1948 but the country remained a Dominion of the British Empire until 1972 when it got the status of a Republic. A constitution was introduced in 1978 which made the Executive President the head of state.

The Sri Lankan Civil War began in 1983, including an armed youth uprising in 1971 and 1987-1989, with the 25-year-long civil war ending in 2009. But Sri Lanka has been continuing democratic process since independence though there are conflict amongst different groups and parties but it has overcome the situation and democratic practices are continuing. In different phases of its political, economic and social development, India has been cooperating, even in 21 April, 2019 on Easter Sunday three Churches and three luxury hotels were targeted in a series of coordinated Islamic terrorist suicide bombings. Total of 267 people were killed, including at least 45 foreign nationals, three police officers, and eight bombers, and at least 500 were injured, which then resulted in the imposing of an immediate Curfew and a complete Social Media Ban by the government.

There was a serious problem regarding security. There was a political serious crisis in October to December in 2018 where there were two prime ministers and there was deadlock in administration. At that time Parliament, Supreme Court and democratic countries like India, UK, USA and UNO played a vital role to overcome the situation. It may be remembered that during ethnic conflict with Tamil tigers, India had also cooperated and supported to resolve the crisis. In socio economic development, Sri Lanka is being also assisted by India. It is mentionable that in human resource development Sri Lanka has done a remarkable progress. 

We know that China is bordered with South Asia, South-east Asia and Central Asia.  It has built several establishments along with borders. Naturally India also built road, bridges and other establishments. India's external affairs ministry accused China of breaking an agreement of 1993 to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley. We know China is conflicting with nearly 22 countries for border issues and control in South China Sea. It includes Japan, Australia, South East Asia, Central Asia and also South Asia including India.

It may be remembered that it doesn't obey the verdict of  International Tribunal in 2016 and at the same time, it is showing its muscle power in Indo Pacific ocean where major portion of world transportation is going through this area. To maintain peace and tranquility for navigation and other activities USA, India, Japan and Australia have formed QUAD. Due to Covid-19, China is cornered in the world for the hiding policy of information for the pandemic. It is known to all, in 1997, when UK transferred Hong Kong to China, it agreed for one country two systems, but due to human rights violation by China, there is a mass upsurge in Hong Kong and then China introduced special security law violating the agreement with UK and so there is condemnation by democratic countries across the world.

At this situation, to divert the attention of the world community and countries, China started conflict in LAC with India. When, it observed the attitude and unity of the Indian people and strong retaliation from Indian government along with the support of the democratic World that is the support of the democratic countries and people of the world, it came forward to settle the issue in LAC and now, de-escalation and disengagement have been started. Indian security advisor Ajit Doval talked with Chinese foreign Minister Wang Yi and several talks between the senior officers are going on.

China's mammoth infrastructure investment plan - also known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - is highly controversial and widely criticized for saddling many countries with debt.

Sri Lanka is often portrayed as a country that fell into a debt trap as a result of public investment projects financed by China. One such investment project was Hambantota port. Due to rail way project and lucrative Mombasa Port, Kenya is also debt trap of BRI. A recent Center for Global Development report found eight BRI recipient countries-Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, and Tajikistan-are at a high risk of debt distress due to BRI loans.

But World Bank and IMF are providing loans in less conditions and interests compared to BRI. Bangladesh and other developing countries may get loans and grants from G 7 and G 20 developed countries as well as World Bank and IMF. 

We know China has achieved economic power and growth deviating from communist party manifesto and cooperation from Western countries and America since 1977. They will have to follow the pluralism in political system as in the case of Russian Federation system. USA and other democratic countries of the world are taking actions against China.

Southeast Asian leaders opposing China's claim  in the South China Sea said, "We reaffirmed that the 1982 UNCLOS is the basis for determining maritime entitlements, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and legitimate interests over maritime zones,"

We hope that SAARC countries excluding Pakistan, a client state of China should come forward to express solidarity in favor of India and other democratic countries. PM Sheik Hasina expressed solidarity at the time Balakot incident. It may be remembered that father of the nation and one of the greatest leader of the world, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wrote a letter to the then prime minister P Jawaharlal Nehru expressing solidarity with India and seeking cooperation for independence of Bangladesh in December 1962 after India - China war. 

In 1971 India emerged as an Asian giant under the leadership of Indira Gandhi and now under the leadership of Narendra Modi, India becomes one of the big powers. In recent Security Council votes in UNO, India got 184 votes. Only few countries like China and its client state Pakistan could not avail the opportunity to support India and other democratic countries. We hope that the fight of world people under the leadership of the democratic forces against expansionism, terrorism to ensure peace, democracy and progress will bring full success.

    (Concluded)


The writer is an academic,
former ambassador,
leader-student action committee 71 and freedom fighter.