China is keenly watching Donald Trump’s India outreach but it is not yet clear whether this has upset China or tamed it because this could easily go both ways.
The apparent Chinese withdrawal from some intrusion points in Ladakh may lead some to conclude that Beijing is easing up border pressure to ensure Modi does not get any closer to his ‘good friend’ Trump.
But going by the past, it could upset a gung-ho PLA topbrass who may like to “teach India a lesson.”
The last time ,though, the Chinese tried someone a lesson, they got it back in full measure. Vietnam butchered 33,000 Chinese troops and send the PLA scurrying back to the Han homeland in 1979.
The PLA also knows the Indian army is not the one their predecessors faced in 1962 .
The fierce bravery and martial regimental traditions that sustains the fighting spirit of the Indian army makes it a formidable force even when not backed by logistics and armour. But on both counts, despite occasional revelations, the situation is much better than in 1962.
Within a day of Trump’s proposing India and Russia for G-7’s expanded membership , the US president spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invite him to the grouping’s next meeting due in US end of this year.
In the 40-minute conversation , President Trump and PM Modi also discussed other issues such as the India-China border standoff and the reforms of the World Health Organisation, a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The two leaders are learnt to have shared their perceptions about the Ladakh border standoff between India and China . It is only expected Trump would warn Modi about Chinese intentions after his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the Chinese Communist regime for ‘troubles all across Asia from South China Sea to the Himalayan Heights.”
The convergence in the views of the two leaders was also reflected in their view on the reforms at the World Health Organisation.
Both leaders have strongly advocated reforms in the WHO but have chosen to take a vastly different approach. US President Donald Trump threatened to quit WHO to pressurize it to carry out the reforms, but PM Modi decided to stay in the WHO and push for reforms from within.
PM Modi also expressed concern regarding the ongoing civil disturbances in the US, conveyed his best wishes for an early resolution of the situation, a PMO statement said.
“The phone conversation points to the strength of the India-US relationship,” a senior PMO official said.
The Chinese reaction on this meeting has to be closely monitored , say senior MEA officials.
It could either way : push China to adopt a conciliatory approach to the Ladakh stand-off so as not to push India totally into the US camp or hit India hard to treach it a lesson , as Mao did in 1962 , upset with India’s ‘forward policy’ and backing for the Tibetans.