Speakers at a panel discussion on “India's Strategic Perspective in the 21st Century,” organised by the College of Defence Management in Secunderabad on Thursday, felt that New Delhi had no clear-cut policy towards Beijing and that it was time the world's second-most populous country developed a strategy and showed preparedness.
“India's emergence as the major economic power during the last two decades has been the major irritant to China,” Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said.
However, he said, India was way behind its strong neighbour in defence spending due to economic constraints — at just 2.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product against China's six per cent.
To meet China's prowess and win the race, it was necessary for India to develop a long-term strategy, modernise its weaponry, understand China's vulnerabilities, and cultivate countries like Indonesia, as China was getting 80 per cent of its energy supplies through the Malacca Strait, Dr. Swamy noted.
“India must also work out a triangular relationship with the United States and China, keeping in view the intensifying Sino-Pak nexus, the implementation of several strategic projects in PoK [Pakistan occupied Kashmir] by China, and the U.S. role in the region.”
India had a mindset problem, he said.
There was no need for it to have a stand on the Nobel Peace Prize 2010 awarded to Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo as the award was long tainted by politics.
“When the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Jayaprakash Narayan, who spent a lifetime fighting colonialism and imperialism, are not given the award even posthumously, one can gauge its significance,” Dr. Swamy said.
He also sprang a surprise, predicting that the Chinese economy would face a major financial crisis, being induced by the U.S., in the next three-four years, and forecast a crash in the country's stock market in a month.
Panellists on defence and strategic affairs, including Professor A. Narasimha Rao, Vice Admiral (Retd) S.C.S. Bangara, Jayadev Ranade, D.S. Rajan and Indrani Bagchi, participated in a session on ‘Indian and Chinese national aspirations: conflicts and concerns' moderated by Shivnath Thukral.
Keywords: India-China ties