File photo. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons) Photograph:( Others )
The probable way out for China from the policy impasse it has imposed upon itself is to break the glass ceiling first; they have to patch up with their perceived regional rivals before embarking on global outreach. In that, China needs to move away from their strategy of manipulating their unsubstantiated history and territorial claims without corroborative evidence. In order to rebuild their image, China needs to reach out to both global as well as regional bigwigs by showing genuine cooperative approach, shedding their confrontationist attitude.
In the South China Sea, the international court had found no proper evidence of historical sovereignty of China over disputed island territories as claimed by them. Hence, China should gracefully accept the verdict in order to reduce the existing political friction with the US and her neighbours in Indo-Pacific. China would be the biggest beneficiary as it would facilitate the transit of their energy supplies and trade without any military threats, reducing their insecurity syndrome which happens to be the main factor of their political irrationalities.
China should also not forget that success of their economic model is contingent on continued patronage of western countries who use China as their manufacturing hub and operate as markets for Chinese finished goods. In the recently held world economic forum at Davos, the president of US has already conveyed their plans of a protectionist regime. If the US decides to manufacture their own goods, it will have a tremendous effect on China. The Chinese ‘position of strength’ lies in the continuation of her robust economy, and it is certainly not a good idea to undo their hard-earned achievements by indulging in futile self-defeating aggressive politics. China has to be a part of the team first, so as to be a team leader at an appropriate time.
Closer home India, with her politico-economic buoyancy and strategic strength, is not a pushover anymore as China perceives. The Doklam episode has not only clearly exposed the Chinese bluff, it has thrown light on India's political will and military capabilities to neutralise such coercive attempts.
China cannot ignore India. Their economic agenda would be severely impacted as India dominates Chinese logistics network both on western as well as southern flanks. Therefore, unless India is on board, Chinese outreach to rest of the world would always suffer from insecurity syndrome.
Moreover, commissioning of Chabahar port as an alternate safer and economical route for Eurasian countries and CARs has potential to make a dent in the viability of CPEC scheme. Therefore, it would be most sensible for China to come around the Indian point of view if they want to ensure the success of CPEC, their biggest political investment in recent times. Hence, there is a need to revisit the strategic priorities based on professional logic and rationale instead of typical Chinese egoist emotional hype in their political forays.
A pragmatic solution lies in the recognition of the legitimacy of J&K as an integral part of India, as agreed by the Maharaja. It would be in Chinese interests to persuade Pakistan to accept the correct legal position of J&K.
A reconciliation between China and India will reduce Chinese security concerns over land as well as in the Indian Ocean, a big strategic take away which China desperately needs. It would resolve most of the contentious political issues, restricting peace and prosperity in the region.
Such a statesmanship on part of China would catapult her on a high moral pedestal and set precedence for others to follow.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)