In his most direct attack against China’s encroachment on the Indian border, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said everyone should understand that the age of expansionism is over, and that the world today is determined and ready to fight any such power.
“Friends, the age of expansionism is over,” Modi said, in a thinly veiled reference to China’s expanding claims over territories that lie with its neighbors. Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese are estimated to have territorial disputes with over a dozen countries, including India, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“Whenever someone has come under the influence of expansionist philosophies, he has always created a danger for world peace,” Modi said.
“History is our witness that such expansionist powers have been erased from this earth or have been forced to turn back.”
“That has been the experience of this world, and on the basis of this experience, the whole world has come together again to fight expansionism,” the prime minister said in his speech to border troops on a surprise visit to Ladakh.
Modi’s reference was likely towards the fact that China’s neighbors, particularly Japan, Austrialia, the US, Vietnam and India are increasingly on the same page on how to deal with China, which has lay claims to islands, territory, fishing rights and other privileges of these countries. India has, in recent months, warmed to the idea of the ‘Quad’, a quasi military alliance with the US, Japan and Australia.
China believes that the 21st century belongs to it, and is getting ready to replace the US as the global super power.
Modi challenged such ‘expansionists’ to compete in the field of economic development, instead of military or territorial expansion.
“In the centuries gone by, it was expansionist philosophies that hurt humanity the most and threatened to destroy it,” he said in an obvious reference to the two world wars that were fought by imperialist countries eager to expand their boundaries and spheres of influence.
“This is the age of development. Only a development-oriented philosophy is relevant in today’s fast-changing era,” Modi said.
“Only development philosophy stands a chance, and only such a philosophy can be the foundation for the future…Today, the world is dedicated to the philosophy of development, and welcomes the open competition of progress.”
NO ONE RESPECTS THE WEAK
Modi also indicated that India will not negotiate from a position of weakness in its border dispute with China, which has been piling on more and more weapons and men at the border.
“Everybody accepts that we need peace and friendship for global peace and development. But we also know that a weak person can never bring about peace,” Modi said.
“The weak cannot seek peace. Courage is the prerequisite to peace. If India is extending its power to water, land and the air, its ultimate aim is only to benefit humanity,” he said, adding that while most photos of Krishna depict him with a flute in his hands, Indians also worship the Krishna with his sudarshan chakra (a legendary spinning wheel used as a weapon) on his finger.
Modi’s comments are intended as much at the local audience as it is at those who stand on the other side of the border.
China, which feels hemmed in from all sides by countries such as the US, Japan and Australia, has been conducting military exercises and preparations over the last few days, possibly in anticipation of some kind of physical attack on itself.
As part of its mobilization and readiness to fight any invasion by any alliance, the formerly communist country has also deployed troops to its south western border with India.
However, what did not go down well with India is its decision to occupy certain areas that were being either patrolled by both armies, or were being patrolled by Indian border troops.
The Indo-Chinese border, called the Line of Actual Control or LAC, remains largely an undefined entity, and is the result of the 1962 war between the two countries.