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Uneasy truce

To curry favour with the US, China and Pakistan are suddenly talking peace with India

The US is firmly back in the saddle as the global cop, if the happenings in the Asia-Pacific region are anything to go by. What else can explain the fact that, in a little over a month since US President Jeo Biden took office, the three neighbours — India, China and Pakistan — are suddenly talking peace as they wait to see how Biden will shift the US policy in the region. Not only did India’s and China’s top diplomats on Thursday discuss plans to disengage troops from their Himalayan border, which last year saw the deadliest clashes since the 1970s, the External Affairs Ministers of the two hostile neighbours had an hour-long phone call and decided to set up a hotline to ensure “real-time communication” in the wake of the months-long border crisis. On the other hand, India and Pakistan on Friday issued a joint statement that they would strictly observe all ceasefire agreements along the Line of Control (LoC) and in other sectors. This goes to show that the space of the world leader, which former US President Donald Trump had all but ceded to an increasingly aggressive and expansionist Xi Jinping, is now under the US control again.

It was the Chinese dream to be at the centre of the Earth, or ‘tianxia’, and over the years, Xi embarked on his goal of achieving greatness for China by 2049. However, what until a few years ago was a covert plan became extremely overt during the Trump regime. Consequently, not only was 2020 the year of the pandemic, it was also a year that saw one of the most deadly fightings on India’s frontiers with China. In all this, the Dragon was abetted by a more-than-willing Pakistan and there was a point when the danger of a two-pronged war became very real in India. Now, the easing of pressure and hostilities among the three nuclear-armed nations is good news, coming as it does when the COVID-ravaged global economy needs to be the focus of attention. The detente shows that the neighbours are responding to initiatives from the Biden Administration, which is formulating a policy towards the region. While Islamabad wants to show Biden that it’s not too close to Beijing, China wants to lower the hostilities it had ramped up as the US woos India to be its partner in trade and policing in the region. One can only hope that this uneasy peace will not be shattered anytime soon.

Monday, 01 March 2021 | Pioneer

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