The hawkishness which informs the current chorus, “India of 2021 is not the India of 1962”, ignores the accompanying truth: China of 2021 is not the China of 1962. It is challenging the United States.
Successive governments have ignored the Chinese strategy of incremental land grab along the LAC and thereby strengthening its positions by building infrastructure.
“Globalization” may not have been part of the discourse 45 years ago when Indira Gandhi shelved civil liberties after declaring the Emergency but it is not possible to sketch that bleak episode on a wide enough canvas without touching such disparate points on the world atlas as Latin America and India’s cow belt.
The standoff in Ladakh takes the mind back to External Affairs Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee’s 1979 visit to Beijing. That visit was conceived in a context. Until 1971, with the Cold War at full throttle, a tiresome parity existed between India and Pakistan.
A passionate appraisal of the widespread anger at George Floyd’s murder by a white policeman that newspaper columns are full off, inspires no lasting change in race relations. Establishments have entrenched themselves too securely.
The Italian iconic folk tune - "Bella Ciao" - featured in the popular Netflix series La Casa de Papel aka Money Heist has once again been resuscitated as new 21st Century "resistance" anthem.
Pandemics are not created in a vacuum. A whole mix of ingredients makes up the conundrum. When the coronavirus pandemic wanes, China should become a case study and warning to the rest against a government that suppresses people brutally, a thieving autocratic dictatorship indulging in excessive surveillance and propaganda, and of how all these create conditions that endanger not just one country, but all of humanity.
Irrespective of the intense competition amongst China’s powerful BBAT companies – ByteDance, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent – the alarm in the strategic affairs circles in New Delhi is over the common intent of these Chinese firms – winning over the hearts and minds of India’s Gen Z and aligning them to Chinese values and foreign policy goals.