India is known worldwide for its peace-driven policies, strategies and diplomacy. However, India’s recent strategic strides in various fields are forcing adversaries like China and Pakistan to catch up with India rather than being the other way round. Some events in the past few days highlight this change.
Developments in Africa
A couple of weeks back, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Africa. Visit to Comoros was one of the halts of his tour. However, even before Yi landed in Comoros, the Indian Navy’s INS Kesari had already docked there to help the Comorian Coast Guard. A few months before it, India was the only country to send food and medical aid to Comoros at the height of the pandemic.
Mauritius is a strategic and traditional ally of New Delhi. This country is crucial for India to counter the spread of China’s naval bases in the Indian Ocean Region. A week back, various India-built projects were inaugurated in Mauritius. It included housing, educational and power projects. Moreover, India extended a further ‘Line of Credit’ for more developmental and infrastructure projects in Mauritius. With it, India has ensured its sustained influence in this island nation.
Mutual wins in Asia
This Friday, the Philippines signed a deal worth $375 million with India to supply BrahMos, one of the world fastest and best tactical supersonic cruise missiles. The Filipino decision is a shift in their pro-China policy under President Duterte, which comes as China continues to bully the Philippines using fishing militia, fishing ban and wrongful claim over Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. For New Delhi, it is a notable strategic gain that forms a part of its reply to India’s encirclement by China’s using its ‘String of Pearls’ strategy.
Likewise, Sri Lanka was another nation leaning towards China. Under the reign of the Rajapaksa family, growth in Chinese debt led to a worsening economic crisis. The situation went so bad that there was no money left to buy food, fuel, power, essentials, etc. This was when India stepped in and granted financial aid worth over $900 million to Colombo to overcome the crisis. The Indian intervention delivered a setback to China, which had almost turned Sri Lanka bankrupt and into its colony.
Pakistan was taking pride in the take over of Afghanistan by the Taliban. However, the noise over this so-called success was short lived. Within just a few months of Afghan victory, the Taliban declared that they would not honour the ‘Durand Line’, the border that separates Pakistan and Afghanistan.
After this, when Pakistan refused transit to Indian humanitarian aid to starving Afghanistan, Iran offered India a route to send aid for Afghans. Moreover, the Taliban, which has always opposed India, praised India’s efforts.
Later, the National Security Advisor of Pakistan, Moeed Yusuf, had to cancel his Afghanistan visit because of a planned anti-Pakistan protest in Kabul. The cancellation is viewed as adding insult to injury. Many experts attribute Pakistan’s loss of face to India’s widespread goodwill and deep contacts at all levels in Afghanistan.
It appears that willingly or after things deteriorate, a growing number of countries are getting along with India and saying “No” to China-Pakistan. And for this, the Indian diplomacy, armed forces and intelligence agencies must be commended for being a step ahead of adversaries in protecting and projecting national interests.