NSG 2008- 16:Flogging a dead horse : What China looses is more than it could gain- lessons from NSG meet


As the NSG meet concluded yesterday 24th June 2016, there were many lessons for India, China, US and the world at large (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/us-senator-praises-nsg-after-india-failed-to-get-membership-edward-markey-2874651/). Here are some of the key take aways that everyone needs to know and think. The Chinese are experts in flogging a dead horse. The United States have to regain their leadership or they will find more Trumps in the days to come. And the tendency of some of the opposition leaders in India to criticize without dwelling at depth also depicts the poor readings of these leaders and also their habit of making glee over nations loss. (http://www.news18.com/news/politics/after-india-fails-nsg-bid-opposition-calls-it-failed-modi-diplomacy-1261858.html).

It is also wrong to say that India should not have gone whole heartedly for the NSG membership. It was a good diplomatic exercise at the international level and keeps the country in good relations with all. It can be treated as a refreshing exercise and testing friends and foes in real times but without loosing much.(http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/nsg-membership-push-ill-advised-unwarranted-says-m-r-srinivasan/articleshow/52915124.cms). The fact that China has seen the growing support for India itself is a big gain if not the NSG membership. It was left alone practically and stand exposed should be an eye opener for policy makers in China. Such open and brute display of enmity and hatred can be witnessed only from nations like China who have a tendency to show crass and crude force right from Tibet to south china seas. The world must take a note of this.

For a nation that does not score well on human index it does not matter much that many placards were seen on indian social media with ‘Stop buying made in china as the news spread about Chinese blockade of India’s attempt to get NSG membership.
In 2008 the scenario was somewhat similar. China was dead against giving a ‘ waiver’, and exempting India from the NSG’s rules governing civilian nuclear trade. There were minor objections from few of the countries that were almost similar to this time. But there was one major difference. The United States was having the Bush administration under Republican party. This time it was President Obama, a fierce Democrat. Further the United States is undergoing a harsh election battle between Trump and Hilary Clinton and the entire US administration is busy for the farewell and waiting for the new administration. This has really made all the difference. Let us elaborate.
It was the efforts of US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and US ambassador to India David Mulford that made the whole difference. Soon after India got waiver, David Mulford the than US ambassador told , ” It was the biggest diplomatic effort I have witnessed in my experience since the 1980s.”. That captures the whole scenario.
The NSG meet was scheduled on september 06 in Vienna. What is known is that late on the evening of September 5, after the opposition from the smaller countries had crumbled, the Chinese delegation withdrew from the NSG deliberations. As decisions at the NSG are by consensus, the Chinese withdrawal threatened to prevent adoption of the waiver.While Rice has toured many countries in support of India, it was President Bush who telephoned his Chinese counterpart Hu and asked to support the waiver. (https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2008/09/nucl-s17.html). Thus the support from United States was full and complete. All though at that time too there were international events happening and also Chinese were as adamant as now.
The Vienna draft was painstakingly prepared by Nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar in view of the Hyde Act and despite international pressures India didn’t give much for the waivership, to the credit of than congress government. There were two three contentious conditions that were to be negotiated and were dealt with. ( Seema Sirohi – Outlook, sep 8 2008).
No international effort is earned without burning the oil for sure and the than congress regime under Dr Manmohan Singh did crucial hard work but so did Narendra Modi. And to be precise better than Manmohan Singh as many of the countries that resisted the move in 2008 were already taken into confidence by personally visiting these countries ( Switzerland, Mexico, etc..read further for their change of stance).
There is considerable difference between 2008 and 2016. Than we had a reluctant Prime Minister on the Indian side and a buoyant President on the US side. This time we have a dynamic Prime Minister on the Indian side but a reluctant President on the US side and that is significant difference to turn the tables and make the Chinese budge their position.
In a way it is a failure of the Obama administration to push hard enough as president Bush did. The best thing about President Bush was he used to take personal interest and got involved fully with any decision that he took – good or bad. President Obama always appears to be the reluctant President. Remember the debates between him and the republican candidate Mitt Romney during the electoral television debates. Some one had to remind the president Obama at that time, that if he does not wake up he is going to loose the election and than President Obama assumed his usual self confident posture and regained his debating skills.
Than the chinese premier was Hu Jintao and China was rising on the international scenario. Now there is Xi Jinping already empowered by the global presence of China and with many strategic moves under its belt. In 2008 United States was strong in 2016 compartively China appears more powerful than the United States.
In passing, this also explains why the people of United States want to see Donald Trump as President of United States despite all his diatribes that can make even a sane person go insane. The US administration is unable to club its own flock and that shows why NSG didnt get through. (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/us-senator-praises-nsg-after-india-failed-to-get-membership-edward-markey-2874651/).
Having lost to China, no wonder than, the Americans are soothing India with year end proposals (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/a-path-forward-for-india-to-become-nsg-member-by-year-end-us/articleshow/52905688.cms).
It is also important to see how China has once again isolated itself at the international level. In present times when the world is changing so fast that one never knows where and how the climatic conditions will affect an open enmity and stance of China represents a weakness in their power of thinking. After billions of investments in ghost projects the chinese would do well to learn how to abandon projects that are not feasible ( https://hbr.org/2003/02/why-bad-projects-are-so-hard-to-kill/). The chinese are stuck at the policy level too. Is it a case of collective false belief or local but the communist regime need some fresh thinking.
The danger to China and for the world is not nuclear threat but climate and environment. Had India got the membership it would have been easier for India to push with COP 21 declarations in line with Paris meet. But now things might just change (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/As-its-NSG-bid-fails-India-says-Paris-Climate-Agreement-ratification-may-be-delayed/articleshow/52906697.cms). China has simply followed the hardline approach without thinking and taking all aspects of threat to its geographical existence that has got nothing to do with India. India being its largest and immediate neighbourhood and with existence of centuries is the best bet for Chinese sovereignty and for its welfare.
By undermining India time and again China is making huge mistake. India has also opened its doors for international investors and in particular Japan and China for infrastructure. The Chinese could have won the trust of India and could have seen an investment opportunity running into billion of dollars (https://www.kpmg.com/IN/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/India-Soars-high.pdf). The Chinese investments in India is still small and holds immense potential (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/china-leaps-10-spots-with-956-million-fdi-in-india/articleshow/52909753.cms).
If one takes into account both the conditions and compare it with membership of NSG than the chinese would have realized that it is in their interest to support India,. As an expert from China confessed that India does not gain significantly from NSG except for international status so there was no big deal in India getting NSG membership (http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/china-won-t-soften-stand-on-india-s-nsg-bid-like-it-did-in-2008-expert/story-4d8JOtjbITW94YD0z3MPUJ.html). It was already getting under NSG waiver program that it could have earned through NSG membership. Therefore the chinese diplomacy of hard blocking and earning a highly negative marking in the eyes of common citizen is rather a crude policy that does not fit well in the twenty first century where countries must try a rather soft and subtle diplomatic stance.
The Chinese claim of testing India for more than eight years is also not convincing (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/China-blocks-time-bound-non-NPT-panel-too/articleshow/52911380.cms) given that time and again India has tried to approarch Pakistan for a peaceful settlement and has an historical reocrd of peaceful existence. It is perhaps one of the country that has never shown any aggressive behavior during a large part of its history since time immemorial.
A survey by Pew research has many interesting facts that cannot be overlooked. Accordingly, “The Asian public’s threat perception is more diffuse. Pakistanis (38%), Chinese (36%), Malaysians (26%) and Indonesians (25%) see the U.S. as the greatest danger to their nation (although the Indonesians also cite Washington as their strongest ally). Vietnamese (74%), Japanese (68%) and Filipinos (58%) view China as a threat. South Koreans (36%) voice such concern about North Korea. Bangladeshis (27%) are wary of India. Indians (45%), for their part, do not trust Pakistan.” (http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/14/chapter-4-how-asians-view-each-other/).
It is also worth to know that Chinese fears exceeds than any other country. As per the research, “Asians’ concerns about China reflect the fact that, as Asia’s largest economic and military power sitting at the center of the region, Beijing has territorial disputes with many of its neighbors. There is widespread concern among publics in East, Southeast and South Asia that these frictions could lead to military conflict. And that apprehension is shared by many Americans.” ( http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/14/chapter-4-how-asians-view-each-other/).
Therefore China needs to develop more amicable relations with its neighbouring countries besides at international level. Across 43 nations, a median of 49% express a favorable opinion of China, while 32% offer an unfavorable rating. However, its overall image in the United States and Europe is mostly negative. Roughly half or more in Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain and France give China an unfavorable rating. The United Kingdom is the only European Union nation polled in which opinions about China are on balance favorable. (http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/14/chapter-2-chinas-image/).
In view of the above facts and the recent sword dangling of China will certainly cast a shade on its approach to deal with neighbouring countries. China is still living in decade old policy and diplomacy that needs correction. Else it going to be find itself isolated on many critical issues in days to come. Only God knows what it can do with Pakistan as a puppet nation in one hand and surrounded by neighbours that it has not treated well, Be in Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Japan or Tibet for that matter.

As far as some of the other countries are concerned that didnt vote, the situation is similar to that of 2008. At that time also same countries with a few exceptions didnt favour India getting a waiver but were persuaded by US and other countries. They would have fallen this time too had China shown the inclination. It was just for the records and their image at international level that these countries put their soft negative vote for India’s membership. A good article summarises the efforts of NSG waiver deal of 2008 can be found here . https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2008/09/nucl-s17.html.

To summarise: Finally India has a strong case to protect itself from threats that now looks to be confirmed officially . It comes as a surprise to the modern thinking mind that how nations are still bounded by old theories rather than finetuning and adjusting to changing geopolitical and natural phenomenons. Instead of taking a fresh look China has demonstrated an obsessive framework for which It only can be blamed. It needs to think why other countries are supporting India .

Therefore a grand alliance between and or with Japan , Australia, Russia, US and other countries should be looked more seriously. That should not be a good news for China in days to come. China has all its cards open. Its allies and alliances are well know, Things on the other side were lying loose . They will just gain strength collectively. That is another loss for China to take care.

Asheesh Shah
Author: Asheesh Shah

No tags 0 Comments 0

No Comments Yet.