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While China built high-speed rail track, Indian liberals blocked highways around Delhi: Here is how the economy is a national security issue

The clock keeps ticking. We are winning neither the economic race nor the moral argument.

At long last, we hear of a thaw in the bitter India-China standoff that began last April in Eastern Ladakh. If we want, we can breathe a temporary sigh of relief.

But how much relief? China remains dominant, untrustworthy and likely to strike at the next possible opportunity. We lost 20 precious lives at the Galwan valley clash in June last year. At almost any time, this could happen again, anywhere along the LAC. Not to mention that China remains firmly in control of thousands of square kilometres of Indian territory. It is reinforcing positions it has held since 1959 by building entire new settlements. It is building huge networks of road and rail on their side of the LAC. Note that if China has moved over two hundred tanks out of Pangong Tso in just two days, this means they can also deploy two hundred tanks at Pangong Tso on a two-day notice.

The Chinese aren’t just bullying India. They are bullying every other power, big or small. In fact, China has borders with just 14 countries, but has managed to figure out “territorial disputes” with 17 countries! Last year a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson warned the “Five eyes” alliance that their eyes will be plucked out. The five countries in question were the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and … you guessed it … the United States of America!

Where is this fire in China’s belly coming from? Who would dare to warn the US military that their eyes will be plucked out? The firepower of the PLA is really only part of this.

Everyone knows that China’s real strength is its economy. The Chinese know how to use this strength both on the battlefield and within the borders of their enemies. The past year should have been one in which the whole world pointed fingers at the Chinese government for covering up the Coronavirus, thus unleashing this pandemic upon the world.

That’s the farthest thing from what really happened. The Chinese got as many as 15 countries, accounting for nearly 30% of global GDP, to sign up for their Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP. Let alone blaming the Chinese government for its actions, everyone agreed to make an exception to the norm of naming diseases after their places of origin, such as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) or the New Delhi ‘superbug’ NDM-1. Even President Trump, not normally known for moderating his words, stopped saying “China virus.” Such was the dominance of China in global affairs.

It is time for us to realize something. The economy is a national security issue.

Think about 2020. China was the only major economy to report positive GDP growth. In 2020, China went ahead with its plans to build 2000 km of high-speed railway track.

Meanwhile, our bullet train project is stuck in political and bureaucratic egos. While we fiddle, China builds thousands of kilometres of high-speed rail track. And imagine how much China laughed at us when at the end of 2020, professional agitators brought in people to choke the highways around Delhi. All for a simple reform that everyone used to support until yesterday. But then somebody went ahead and did it and now everyone else has to oppose this just for the sake of the opposing.

And soon enough, these professional agitators were opening up old wounds of Hindu-Sikh divide. And opening a whole new chapter of caste politics. Not to mention demonizing private enterprise with all the fiery rhetoric of a hard socialist from the 1950s. Who is the real winner here?

Just imagine how much China laughed at us when rioters stormed the Red Fort on Republic Day and raised another flag on it!

Okay, so we are a democracy. We can’t be China. But what return are we getting for all this tolerance? Is the world at least seeing the good in us? It’s a fantasy that many of us have in India. The so-called ‘free’ world will see us as one of their own. Not a match to the economic or military might of China, but certainly the one with the moral high ground. Is that happening?

Not a chance! On the contrary, the western media is saturated with propaganda about what a bad, evil and fascist nation India is supposed to have become. Million-dollar influencers are raising global ‘awareness’ against the Indian ‘regime.’ The Prime Minister of Canada has taken a personal interest in leading a global defamation campaign against India. It isn’t just the so-called farmers’ protest. It happened during the abrogation of Article 370, the anti-CAA agitation and then the anti-CAA riots. They labelled India an “occupier” in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. This happened exactly at the time China was preparing to intervene in Ladakh. Pure coincidence, I am sure. The Chinese just got lucky.

Meanwhile, China continues to rake in the good press. A recent New York Times article lavishes praise on the alleged Chinese “patriotism” for bringing the country roaring out of the Covid crisis.

In the West, “nationalism” is a bad word. They tend to associate it with Hitler. That’s why an Indian speaking up for their country is labelled as a dreaded “nationalist.” When the Chinese do it, it’s called “patriotism.” Because Americans like that word.

Yesterday, the Chinese went ahead and placed an outright ban on the BBC. Be rest assured that the BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times and the Washington Post will find more and more ways to praise Chinese “patriotism.” The worse China treats the global liberal media, the more they grovel.

No such consideration for India. The “liberals” can even storm our Red Fort on Republic Day and come out boldly playing the victim. The Indian state is “fascist” even for letting police jump into a ditch to save their lives when liberals came stomping in on their big machines. No matter how much we turn the other cheek, we are always the fascists.

The clock keeps ticking. We are winning neither the economic race nor the moral argument.

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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