Even as its own aggressive foreign policy is being widely frowned upon – from Bhutan to South China Sea, China appears more keen on advising India on how to deal with neighbours. A Chinese daily recently sought to question India’s approach to countries around it.
State-controlled Global Times said India is disillusioned about China’s growing influence in South Asia. “India should stop treating those small countries around it as its mistresses and showing no tolerance when they interact with other major powers,” read a report on the news website. “They believe that South Asia and the peripheral area of India should be New Delhi’s turf. Every nation in the region should respect only India and reject developing relations with other countries.”
The report was published on the backdrop of the first-ever dialogue between Foreign Ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Beijing assumes the meeting has tickled India the wrong way. After all, the joint press release after the meet outlined that none of the three countries would allow terrorist outfits to operate from its soil.
The irony of it all though is in the fact that Kabul has repeatedly accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorist groups in Afghanistan. The irony is also in the fact that recent reports have suggested that China has been fortifying its border with Afghanistan because of a possible threat from rising Al-Qaeda here. At times like this, many diplomatic and security experts firmly believe that join statements tend to remain statements at best.
Instead, China – a country that has openly rejected a judgment by an international tribunal in The Hague favouring Philippines’ claims in South China Sea – seeks to repeatedly establish itself as a peaceful country committed for closer economic co-operation with the world.
And while preaching about how relations are maintained with smaller countries, China often tends to forget that its activities in disputed Doklam have been strongly contested by Bhutan, that China was dragged to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea by the Philippines over its ‘nine-dotted line’ claim in South China Sea, that it has disputes here with even Vietnam and Malaysia, that it does not even recognise Taiwan, that it is accused of human rights violation in Tibet and that it is engaged in a tussle over The Senkaku Islands with Japan.