For the fourth time in succession, China managed to stall India’s efforts to declare Masood Azhar as a globally designated terrorist. In fact, that was to be expected. China is one of the five countries that have a permanent seat in the United National Security Council (UNSC). This gives them the veto power to strike down any decision even if the majority has a view to the contrary. This is the veto that China has used even in the past. What should India do?
Up the ante on terrorism
Quite justifiably, India has adopted a more measured stance on the China action. Unlike on the previous occasions, India has not made China’s action look like the end of the road for India. Terrorism is India’s problem and that is something India needs to deal with in its own way. What India has done in Pulwama was absolutely justified. The fact that China said little about India’s actions means that beyond a point China does not really care about the whole issue. For China, Pakistan is an economic interest considering that they have a stake of more than $70 billion in the Pakistani economy. Even in the past, these efforts of India have been stalled in various forums by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and China. In a way, China’s action was expected. For China, Masood is just a bargaining chip to make India relent on its support to the Dalai Lama. That is exactly what India must refuse to do. They are just not comparable.
Make the UNSC redundant
During the American war on Iraq and Afghanistan, the US amply proved that the UNSC is relevant only as long as other countries choose to make it relevant. India needs to pursue its war on terror irrespective of the UNSC outcome. One thing is clear that India does have the support of other permanent members of the UNSC. The focus for India is not Masood Azhar. He is purely incidental. The focus should be to make it extremely expensive for Pakistan to harbor terrorists like Masood Azhar on its soil. That is an agenda that India has already started pushing. If that can be managed, Masood Azhar and China hardly matter.
Make China pay economically
Interestingly, China runs the second largest trade surplus with India; next only to the US. Hong Kong trade is not genuine so we can ignore that. What the US proved in the last few months is that when squeezed on the trade front, China starts to buckle. There is no way that China would want the trade surplus with India to reduce. India just needs to make it more expensive for China to export its goods to India. Instead, India must focus on the countries that have stood by them. It would be more productive to run a deficit with the US than with China. That would be too much of a gamble for China. It is time for India to walk the trade talk! ©