Friday, October 16, 2009

Indian hegemony continues to harm relations with neighbors

Nobody can deny that today's India is a power. In recent years, Indians have become more narrow-minded and intolerable of outside criticism as nationalism sentiment rises, with some of them even turning to hegemony. It can be proved by India's recent provocation on border issues with China. 

Given the country's history, hegemony is a hundred-percent result of British colonialism. Dating back to the era of British India, the country covered a vast territory including present-day India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh as well as Nepal. India took it for granted that it could continue to rule the large area when Britain ended its colonialism in South Asia. A previous victim of colonialism and hegemony started to dream about developing its own hegemony. Obsessed with such mentality, India turned a blind eye to the concessions China had repeatedly made over the disputed border issues, and refused to drop the pretentious airs when dealing with neighbors like Pakistan. 

Many Indians didn't know that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, had once said that India could not play an inferior role in the world, and it should either be a superpower or disappear. 

Although the pursuit of being a superpower is justifiable, the dream of being a superpower held by Indians appears impetuous. The dream of superpower is mingled with the thought of hegemony, which places the South Asian giant in an awkward situation and results in repeated failure. 

Throughout the history, India has constantly been under foreign rule. The essence for the rise of India lies in how to be an independent country, to learn to solve the complicated ethnic and religious issues, to protect the country from terrorist attacks, to boost economic development as well as to put more efforts on poverty alleviation. 

Additionally, the hegemony can also be harmful in terms of geopolitical environment. The expansion of India is restricted by its geographic locations. It has Himalaya Mountain to its north, a natural barrier for northward expansion; it has Pakistan to the west, a neighbor it is always at odds over the disputed border issues. 

To everyone's disappointment, India pursued a foreign policy of "befriend the far and attack the near". It engaged in the war separately with China and Pakistan and the resentment still simmers. If India really wants to be a superpower, such a policy is shortsighted and immature. 

India, which vows to be a superpower, needs to have its eyes on relations with neighbors and abandon the recklessness and arrogance as the world is undergoing earthshaking changes. For India, the ease of tension with China and Pakistan is the only way to become a superpower. At present, China is proactively engaging in negotiations with India for the early settlement of border dispute and India should give a positive response. 

By People's Daily Online
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