TIME TO GET REAL ON CHINA POLICY
At a time when China’s relations with the US is at a low ebb, China-Japan relations and China’s ties with some Southeast Asia countries are strained, one of the aims of the Modi Government’s Act East policy is to intensify India’s engagement with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Australia and countries like Vietnam, with whom China has territorial disputes.
India’s decision to sell its sophisticated Akash missile defence system to Vietnam will also enhance its strength vis-à-vis China in this region, as Beiijing has in the past objected New Delhi’s engagement in oil and gas exploration activates in South China Sea. Prime Minister Modi’s desire to work with the US and other countries, to ensure peace and security in the South China Sea and India’s participation with the US and Japan in the trilateral Naval exercise in June 2016 in the West Philippine Sea has been seen as a big move to put pressure on China.
The Modi Government’s inclination to accelerate bilateral ties with Taiwan is a very timely move at a time when the Democratic Progressive Party Government, under the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen, is asserting its position against China and has shown deep interest in expanding ties with India. It was in this context that the recent visit of a three-member women’s parliamentary delegation from Taiwan to India assumed huge significance.
The Modi Government has indeed given a new life to the relationship. While India has shown its willingness to foster economic, cultural and people-to-people ties with China, it has equally reflected its self-confidence to take bold steps to protect its national interests.