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(This is Part-1 of a two-part article, with focus on certain external policy dimensions.)

While Article 370 was being discussed in Aug 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah repeatedly asserted in parliament that Farooq Abdulla (ex-CM of JK, now MP) was NOT detained or arrested. By evening it was clear that it was a lie. Farooq is still in prison, along with a few thousand in JK. Telling lies is thus a part of their ‘nationalism!  So it is regarding Pakistan and China being India’s enemies. Hatred towards China and Pakistan are shown to be criteria of ‘patriotism’ by pseudo-nationalists including Sangh Parivar.

In fact ‘patriotism’ has been reduced to jingoism, particularly ranting against the two countries, China and Pakistan, accusing them of joining hands against India, more so in the media, and also with an eye on domestic politics.

Now Modi supposedly pulled off a diplomatic victory, befriending China and isolating Pakistan, more so on Kashmir. An unsaid part of this welcome summit with Jinping is to convey, in a subtle manner, that China has been won over to ‘our side’, thus isolating Pakistan and obfuscating the Kashmir issue.

This is not true. Facts are otherwise.   

It is in this context that Modi’s Informal Summit-2 with Xi Jinping needs to be viewed. It is a welcome summit, a step towards peace albeit with some false claims, pushed between the lines.

Now Modi supposedly pulled off a diplomatic victory, befriending China and isolating Pakistan, more so on Kashmir. An unsaid part of this welcome summit with Jinping is to convey, in a subtle manner, that China has been won over to ‘our side’, thus isolating Pakistan and obfuscating the Kashmir issue.

Congress also plays to the gallery, resorts to one-up-manship, blaming Prime Minister Modi that he was not bold enough to question President Xi Jinping !

PTI reported on Oct 11:  Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh said Modi should tell Jinping that the issue of Kashmir is bilateral and will be sorted out between India and Pakistan. You should settle the Dokalam issue with China,” he said.

“As Xi Jinping supports Imran Khan on Article 370 Modi Ji look him in the eye at Mamallapuram and say: 1) Vacate 5000 km of land in PoK occupied by China trans-Karakoram 2) No Huawei in India for 5G. Show your 56 ki chhati!” Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said in a tweet.

On Thursday, the Congress said why does Prime Minister Modi not say that India is watching the muzzling of pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong when Xi says he is watching Kashmir.

https://www.news18.com/news/politics/raise-issues-like-dokalam-and-huawei-with-xi-congress-kapil-sibal-to-pm-modi-2342547.html

Xi Jinping supports Imran Khan on Article 370, Sibal says. What is the stand of Congress on Article 370? Modi, soon after the Summit, challenged Congress and the Opposition in general : Oppose it if you can. Can you dare to include restoration of Art 370 in your manifesto?

Thus both the parties, the A-team and B-team of ruling classes, indulge in jingoism, and ditch Kashmiri people. The ‘Opposition’ counters BJP, not by opposing, but by indulging in more jingoism! A sham opposition.

There is the need to see through this game, reject jingoism, and expose all such poisonous and Goebbels’ propaganda. Some current as well as historical facts are presented here in that context, and in particular the tech-savvy, GenNext brimming with social-media-driven patriotism,  need to be told about them.

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Till three days before the summit, the shrill anti-China campaign, linked with its stance on Kashmir and Pakistan, was going on in the media. The results of the Summit were not anticipated: No statements would be released, claimed the media. It was however, a Summit that was under-pinned by economics, not much highlighted except in a section of the media.

www.indiatoday.in reported October 11, 2019 :

Ahead of the summit,  129 Memorandum of understanding (MoUs) were signed between the Indian and Chinese companies for sectors like – agri-related products, minerals, textiles, food-processing, yarns, minerals etc.

Chinese and Indian investments in each other’s countries have grown many folds in the past few decades with the Chinese players like Xiaomi, Oppo becoming household names in India.

Speaking at the India-China Business Meeting and Signing Ceremony, organised by the FICCI, China’s envoy ZHU Xiaohong said, “With a combined market of over 2.7 billion people and GDP of 20 per cent of the world’s total, China and India enjoy huge potential and broad prospects for economic and trade cooperation.”

ZHU Xiaohong added that from the current $75 billion trade, both the countries are looking at moving towards trade worth $100 billion.

Chinese enterprises have responded positively to the strategy of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ and their investment in India has exceeded $8 billion.

“In the next 15 years, China will import $30 trillion of goods and $100 billion of services from the world. As the only two major developing countries with a population of more than 1 billion in the world, China and India are focusing on development,” LIU Changyu said.

What more can be good news for the Indian Big Business in crisis, and for a regime down with falling growth rates? Jingoism after all does not bring in dollars.

Who could have anticipated this report a few days before the summit? Thousands of Indian students don masks of Chinese President Xi to welcome the Communist leader ahead of his visit to the country, reported UK’s dailymail.co.uk, with some photos :

“Trade relations the focal point of the discussions”

Why this sudden bonhomie?  business-standard.com reported on October 11, 2019 :

After winning his second term, Modi formally extended an invitation to Xi in June at the Bishkek summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which the latter accepted. This is the second informal summit between the two leaders, after Wuhan, which was held in April, 2018, in China. Notably, China has been importing rice and sugar from India following a request from the Prime Minister in the first informal summit.

During the summit the PM particularly thanked Xi for this.

Not much highlighted was the 200-Member delegation that was arriving in a separate aircraft, reported by The Hindu. The context of the Summit, under-written by economics can be seen in the points, given below,of PMO’s Press Release Oct 12, 2019:

  1. Both Leaders shared the view that the international situation is witnessing significant readjustment. They were of the view that India and China share the common objective of working for a peaceful, secure and prosperous world in which all countries can pursue their development within a rules-based international order.
  2. The Leaders recognized that India and China have a common interest in preserving and advancing a rules-based and inclusive international order, including through reforms that reflect the new realities of the 21st Century. Both agreed that it is important to support and strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system at a time when globally agreed trade practices and norms are being selectively questioned. India and China will continue to work together for open and inclusive trade arrangements that will benefit all countries.
  3. Both Leaders also underscored the important efforts being made in their respective countries to address global developmental challenges, including climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals. They emphasized that their individual efforts in this regard would help the international community achieve the targets.
  4. They shared the view that an open, inclusive, prosperous and stable environment in the region is important to ensure the prosperity and stability of the region. They also agreed on the importance of concluding negotiations for a mutually-beneficial and balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
  5. The leaders were of the view that the positive direction of ties had opened up possibilities for taking bilateral relations to greater heights. They agreed that this endeavor also required strong public support in both countries…
  6. In pursuit of their efforts to further deepen economic cooperation and to enhance their closer development partnership, the two Leaders have decided to establish a High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue mechanism with the objective of achieving enhanced trade and commercial relations, as well as to better balance the trade between the two countries. They have also agreed to encourage mutual investments in identified sectors through the development of a Manufacturing Partnership and tasked their officials to develop this idea at the first meeting of the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue.

Trump, seeking to take U-turn from Globalization pursued and thrust on the world for decades by the West, has been steering USA with an erratic protectionism that hurts many in the world, including India and China, the most populous countries with heavy stakes. He unleashed a Trade War that is ever escalating. Growth rates, more so in India, have been alarmingly falling.  And in many matters including economics, attempts at regime-change, and climate questions, Trump, unreliable and unpredictable, cares little for  a rules-based international order.

The Indian Big Business is keen on this cooperation with China, the biggest dynamo of economics in the present world, notwithstanding BJP’s politics of jingoism. The informal summit with no agenda has yielded results that are far beyond any formal Summit could have achieved for them. All this, despite differences on Kashmir and China being shown as hostile to India on that question.

Trade, defence, new era of ties: 2-day Modi-Xi Chennai Connect informal summit ends, is the headline of a report by India Today Web Desk October 12, 2019:

They both spoke on national visions, govt priorities, trade-related issues, economic issues, investment opportunities, trade deficit and trade imbalance over a sumptuous dinner. Trade relations were said to be the focal point of the discussions.

State-craft Vs Modi’s political craftiness

It was part of a fine state-craft that Modi had the informal summit-2 with Xi Jinping, who revealed that the useful process was begun with Modi’s initiative. This state-craft has indeed some apparent contradictions with Modi’s political craftiness with an eye on domestic electoral politics. If Modi appearing there in Tamil attire is one thing, he utters a few Tamil words while inviting Jinping, who does not understand it. Perhaps Modi seeks to undo the damage caused by Amit Shah’s remarks on Hindi, particularly in Tamilnadu.

Combined with this state-craft is political engineering and media manipulation by launching a political tirade against China. Both immediately before and after the latest Mahabalipuram informal summit with Xi Jinping, with an eye on domestic politics, sections of Indian media unleashed a parallel anti-China tirade that Jinping is like Hitler, and China is untrustworthy. This they did, even while they celebrated Modi’s gala show with an inconsistent and unreliable Trump, only a few weeks ago.

Even while Kashmir  is shut down for more than eight weeks, and four thousand activists are detained in the latest round, they have the temerity to join US and West to say that China has no democracy. And that, in a situation wherein hundreds of journalists from across the world are reporting from Hong Kong about lakhs of people protesting in the streets for weeks now! The West and USA issue warnings to China, US openly funds, aids and abets the protests in Hong Kong, promoting a sort of color revolution they had indulged in Mid-East.

US presses and warns India not to do business with Iran, and India buckles under pressure. Trump warned  India of sanctions if it clinches arms deals (S-400  missile system) with Russia. While not acting about this brazen intervention, Indian spokespersons ‘warn’ China not to interfere in India’s internal matters in relation to JK, which is recognized as an international dispute, also acknowledged by Indo-Pak Simla Pact-1972.

It has also been asserted that except for Pakistan and China, no one found fault with India’s Kashmir policy. Modi is the new Father of the Nation hailed by Trump, and recognized across the world, we are told.

Kashmir issue cannot be obfuscated

By way of double-talk, it is now said that China diluted its support for Pakistan, more so on Kashmir, just before the summit. It was being hinted that China changed its stand on JK, and that Jk and Pakistan stand isolated. Facts are otherwise. Situation before and after the Summit,  can be understood from the following.    

Foreign Minister Wang Yi had expressed “ China’s serious concern over the recent escalation of turmoil in Kashmir. Wang said “the Kashmir issue is a dispute born out of the region’s colonial history and should be properly handled in a peaceful way in line with the UN Charter, relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India.

Both Pakistan and India are China’s friendly neighbors and major developing countries at the crucial stage of development, said Wang, who called on the two sides to prioritize their national development and peace in South Asia, and to properly handle historical grievances, break the zero-sum mindset, avoid unilateral actions and seek a new path of peaceful coexistence.” ( Xinhua 2019-08-09)

That remains the same now. Xi met Imran just before the summit.

Xi told Imran, latest , “no matter how the international and regional situation changes, their friendship is unbreakable and rock-solid, they are all-weather strategic co-operative partners, opposed to terrorism. China is paying close attention to Kashmir and the facts are clear.” 

Chinese President Xi told Imran Khan that he was watching the situation in Kashmir and would “support Pakistan in issues related to its core interests.” Xi, however, added that the parties [India and Pakistan] should resolve the dispute through peaceful dialogue.

( Xinhua 2019 Oct 9).

A leading German media agency reported just before the summit:

A Chinese government spokesperson said Wednesday Oct 9 the Indian move was “unacceptable,” adding that China would help Pakistan defend “its legitimate rights and interests” in the Kashmir region. India’s Foreign Ministry hit back at China, saying it was “not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India.”

https://www.dw.com/en/modi-xi-summit-china-and-india-identify-terrorism-as-common-challenge/a-50806221

Not only China, the reality is that the entire world and the UN see JK as a dispute between India and Pakistan. Not even five countries support Indian claims in toto.

It is falsely claimed that all Gulf countries supported India. The reality is : The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) reaffirmed the UN Security Council Resolutions on the internationally recognized status of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and its final disposition through a UN supervised plebiscite. (http://saudigazette.com.August 31, 2019).

OIC has 57 Member countries, all of them also in UNO, and hail from Asia, Africa, and Europe too. Obviously they are not endorsing India or Modi.

Many in EU, France in particular, raised the issue. Malaysia’s veteran Premier Mahathir Mohd said in his latest UN speech : Kashmir “had been invaded and occupied” by India and India’s action there is “wrong”. (PTI). He said he told Modi the same thing.

Like China, and so many other countries, Mahathir said: Resolve it peacefully through dialog.

This advice needs to be viewed in the context of India’s rabid statements about POK. But it is not just POK, nor even areas ceded by Pakistan, but much more, as can be seen below. 

BBC map given here is widely accepted across the world. In fact it shows areas controlled and administered by China also. Brahma Chellaney, Professor Of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, spoke out about “a widely disseminated fiction on the Kashmir dispute” as follows:

“The original princely state of JK, says Chellaney, is divided not just between India and Pakistan. China occupies one-fifth of the original JK state,” he said. This was what was hinted at in 1947-48 itself, by JK king Hari Singh also, as in his Covering Letter, sent along with Instrument of Accession, to Governor General Mountbatten, dated Oct 26, `1947, when he wrote JK has a “common boundary with Soviet Republic and China.” And his regime, despite claims,  was not in control on the ground. (See BBC Map below)

(The author is a political commentator who contributed to countercurrents.org.)


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