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Time to tame the dragon

Time to tame the dragon

Impose ‘Covid cess’ on Chinese imports, the Confederation of All India Traders or CAIT said Monday. Some are demanding a blanket ban on Chinese products. Others want a detailed probe on how coronavirus originated in Wuhan and then locked down the rest of the world. But does China really care about what you, me or even the President of the United States of America is saying about them right now? Not really.

The Chinese have resumed normal activities and also their usual games on the borders. How else would you describe the latest confrontation between the Chinese and Indian troops in Sikkim’s Naku La with soldiers from both the sides exchanging blows and engaging in stone pelting? Scuffles have also been reported from the Ladakh region in the north. “Temporary and short duration face-offs occur as boundaries are not resolved. Aggressive behavior and minor injuries took place from both sides. They were disengaged after dialogue and interaction at local level,” sources reportedly said.

While the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t release any official statement on the incidents, not even in the detailed account of Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian's ‘regular press conference’ today, Indian news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) reported Zhao assuring that both countries continue to work together in the 70th year of establishment of the diplomatic relations between India and China.

"Under such circumstances, both sides should work together with each other and properly manage and handle the differences and earnestly uphold peace and stability in the border region so as to create enabling conditions for our bilateral relations as well as joint fight against Covid-19. As to the China-India border issue, our position is clear and consistent. Our troops there are committed to uphold peace and stability. This serves the common interests of our two countries and two peoples.

We hope India will work with China to uphold peace and tranquility in the border regions with concrete actions,” PTI quoted Zhao as saying. “Committed to uphold peace and stability”—with blows, he forgot to add. Talking about peace and stability, while being aggressive on the border—this is typical of China. It is almost reminiscent of the Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai of yore. The Chinese aren’t bothered, or are cleverly ignoring, the issue right now. Just like accepting the blame for the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

A reporter who asked the foreign ministry spokesperson about the comments made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (that the virus originated in Wuhan and the Chinese government didn't act fast enough to share the information) was fired off a stinging reply from Zhao. “This is not the first time for Mr Pompeo to spread such fallacies. As is seen by all, he is merely telling the same old lies. But repetition doesn't turn a lie into truth, and it certainly won't obstruct the Chinese people from forging ahead along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

We advise the US politicians to stop their deceiving tricks and avoid more self-inflicted humiliation,” he said. The dragon is in no mood to crouch as of now. “The pandemic has made the world arrive at its moment of truth: It must break China’s stranglehold on vital supply chains, including by incentivizing foreign manufacturers to move out of China, or else risk a situation in which Beijing weaponizes its leverage,” Brahma Chellaney, strategic thinker, author and commentator, wrote today in The Japan Times. Will India take the lead, is what everyone’s asking right now.