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Chinese Takeaway | The Indian Express | Page 2

If the army feels it requires continuation of the AFSPA to discharge its responsibilities, no other agency is qualified to credibly challenge that view. ry moment when many Asian nations are looking up to India. INDIA INVESTED. India has no reason to present itself as a knee-jerk opponent to China in East Asia. At the same time, India can’t ignore the implications of China’s maritime disputes for Delhi’s own boundary negotiations with Beijing. One does not have to be a geopolitical genius to figure that if China prevails over Japan and the ASEAN, Beijing might be a lot less accommodative of India’s interests along and across the Great Himalayas. India’s approach to the East Asian territorial disputes, then, must be based on considerations of both power and principle. Delhi must take into account the specific historical background to each of the disputes, oppose claims that are blatantly against international law, ensure there is freedom of navigation, prevent any restrictions on India’s right to exploit the natural resources in the waters of the western Pacific, and underline the importance of peaceful resolution of territorial disputes. Although some of these positions have found expression in South Block’s statements over the last couple of years, Delhi has been hesitant in highlighting India’s genuine concerns apparently for the fear of offending Beijing. Worse still, the UPA government’s strategic ambivalence and administrative dysfunction have prevented India from deepening economic and security cooperation with key regional powers like South Korea and Japan without a reference to the Asian territorial disputes. As its decade-long tenure draws to a close, the UPA government has an opportunity to make a few amends this month. The writer is a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, Delhi and a contributing editor for ‘The Indian Express’
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