Gideon Rachman writes that India has picked a side and that it is going to drop the high-wire balancing act between the United States and China. In my view, India has been hedging its China risks rather slowly (too slowly in some view) and imperceptibly (again, there are harsher ways of putting this) over the years. The recent stand-off and loss of lives might push India over the edge.
Gideon Rachman thinks that a Biden administration might be willing to extend a security alliance to India more than a re-elected Trump. Interesting. I hope he is right although I am not sure he will be.
Some think that the rest of the Quad had been somewhat reticent in condemning China for its aggression. Well, Mike Pompeo issued a statement. US media (esp. WSJ) has featured an Edit and at least two articles on this issue. USA Today has a good piece on how China’s Western Command actually planned the attack.
A former Under-Secretary of Defence in the US Government wrote this piece for FT. His piece is a call for the Quad countries to get closer.
If the rest of the Quad countries did not react officially to the border clashes, it can also be said that India had not reacted to recent China aggression (non-military, of course) against Australia. Of course, there is a difference. There is loss of lives for India. Not so for Australia. So, as a former diplomat put it, more noise from the three remaining Quad countries would be welcome.
Trump had offered to mediate. I wonder why. His government is suing China’s mask manufacturer and has named four more Chinese news organisations as foreign missions because they are not disseminating new but peddling propaganda. Quite. So, not sure what is the underlying message of his offer to mediate.
[Parenthetically, it has to be mentioned that the Wall Street Journal broke a story on how some 1300 medical suppliers to the United States used a bogus address]
In the meantime, this note from the Observer Research Foundation on why India voted with America against the issuance of new SDR by the International Monetary Fund is interesting. If true, it reflects strategic thinking on India’s part.
I do not go along with much hand-wringing over India’s handling of the diplomatic fallout and over India’s official communication on the bloody border clash. It is not as though India has handed over the narrative to China. By now, even Germany (if not the officialdom) seems to have wisened up to China.
Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of the European Policy Centre, notes a significant shift in the mood among EU businesses, including in Germany, where exporters remain particularly reliant on the Chinese economy. Previously, there was an expectation that misbehaviour in China would be corrected over time, he explains. Not any more.
“There is a recognition that is not going to happen, and if the EU wants to insist on a level playing field in its variety of forms it will have to take strong action,” he notes. [Link]
It may be too soon to conclude thus. Interested readers should check out the tweets of Christopher Balding on a regular basis (@Baldingsworld).
In sum, I am not sure I would characterise India’s handling of the matter as disastrous. Far from it, in my view. But, then I am no diplomat nor foreign service man nor a security analyst.