Modi govt keeps propagating Sino phobia, seems reluctant to mend ties with China: experts

Anti-China sentiment and related actions within India have not eased

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Although China-India border tensions have eased somewhat as the two sides are seeking a solution through negotiations, the anti-China sentiment and related actions within India have not eased but keep simmering with more biased and hostile voices from some Indian scholars and Indian journalists, proving that New Delhi has no intention to control such a dangerous atmosphere and fix bilateral ties, Chinese experts said on Tuesday.

The latest move made by the Indian government is “informally telling airlines not to fly Chinese nationals into the country” as “a retaliation” for China’s decision to refuse the entry of some Indian nationals into China for epidemic prevention, according to reports from some Indian media outlets on Monday. Unfortunately, such a hostile move of New Delhi against China’s reasonable decision was praised by many nationalist Indian web users on social media networks.

It’s not only nationalist web users who have been voicing aggressive comments online, some Indian politicians, scholars, journalists, NGO activists and religious figures are also embracing the sentiment of Sinopobia, pushing such sentiment into real action in order to harm China-India ties.

Chinese analysts said anti-China sentiment or Sinophobia is “political correctness” in India at the moment, and the Indian government has no intention to control it but continues to use it to cover up their failed handling of COVID-19 epidemic situation and poor economic performance this year. In the short term, there is no hope of fixing bilateral ties, they said

Brahma Chellaney, a scholar on geopolitics at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research, is a representative among Indian scholars who holds extreme hostile views against China. For instance, he has groundlessly accused China’s hydropower project on the Yarlung Zangbo River of using data for a “water war against India.” He also wrote articles for international media to hype up China threats, accusing China of “exporting” COVID-19 and wooing countries to follow the US’ containment of China.

There are many scholars or former officials in India who benefit from hyping up anti-China sentiment or the “China threat theory”, said Chinese experts, such as Chellaney, former Indian ambassador to China Vijay Gokhale and defense commentator C Raja Mohan, because smearing China or labeling China an enemy will get applause from the US and it serves the interests of Narendra Modi’s government, said Chinese experts.

Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, said that Indian researchers or commentators’ incitement of anti-China sentiment have reached fever pitch in 2020.

“The indulgence of the Indian government is behind this anti-China fever pitch with some officials continuing to lash at China to distract domestic attention away from the horrible epidemic situation and sluggish economic performance,” Qian told the Global Times. Another reason is the ongoing talks on border issues have been followed with several stand-offs along the border.

Lin Minwang, a professor with the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times that India’s anti-China “political correctness” renders Indian scholars who hold friendly or at least objective views on China very difficult to speak out because praising China or even saying something to balance the extreme anti-China sentiment will bring them trouble and criticism for being non-patriotic.

“Sometimes, Indian scholars are forced to prepare ‘two faces’ as they would speak positively when talking to Chinese colleagues, but badly smear and accuse China to win applause when conducting exchanges with US scholars or officials,” Lin said.

However, to what extent Indian scholars and politicians can still please the US in the future remains a profound question, because US President-elect Joe Biden is likely to abandon or at least adjust its so-called “Indo-Pacific strategy” made by Donald Trump’s administration, Chinese experts said.

In order to curry favor from the Trump administration, the Modi government have done much to offend China, even making Russia unhappy as it moves too close to the US. Once the US adjusts its strategy and shifts US input away from Asia to Europe, or even starts to fix ties with China, those Indian politicians and scholars who are being extremely hostile toward China now will get headaches, said Lin, noting “that’s why they are panicking and asking more countries to team up with them to contain China

 

 

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