The general honest Australian question seeking answers in good faith for the origins of pandemic and how another one can be prevented in the future. The retaliation by China on Australian goods has ignited debate to reduce the economic reliance on China. Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has stated that ‘Answer to almost every question about China is India’ and advocated a free trade agreement between India & Australia. He has also stated that both nations are like minded democracies and revived Quadrilateral Security Dialogue will cement the security ties between nations. The Malabar joint military exercise between QUAD members reaffirmed the commitment of democratic countries to defend the Indo Pacific region from Chinese prying eyes. The former leader from Australian Liberal Party added that India was an emerging economic power and India was the second largest producer of steel and pharmaceuticals. The annual trade between India and Australia is approximately US$30 Billion.
The recent public spat between Australia & China following Australia pushing to ensure fair & transparent probe into origins of the coronavirus pandemic has led to damage in relationship between the two trading partners. Beijing has responded by implementing trade barriers against Australian goods including coal, wine and barley. The strategy of economic coercion adopted by Communist Party of China against Australia has not gone out well with the policy makers cutting across party lines.
The views of former Australian PM Kevin Rudd from the opposition Labour Party regarding the success of QUAD posing a major threat to Beijing’s ambitions in the South China Sea point’s out bipartisan consensus in Canberra. In his observation he added the strategic competition against China is aimed at unifying a multilateral coalition of resistance aiming to thwart global domination of China economically, technologically and militarily. Following the clash in June 2020, between Chinese and Indian forces along the shared border he stated that QUAD foreign ministers met in October 2020 with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advocated for institutionalization of QUAD into true security framework. The Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar engaged more intensively on matters of national security with Washington and other partners. Japanese Premier Yoshihide Suga raised concern regarding over Chinese assertiveness in the East China Sea and concerns about human rights and Hong Kong. He further added that QUAD is likely to emerge as could serve as the foundation of a broader global anti-Chinese coalition and draw other Asian countries, the EU, and NATO into efforts to confront or undermine China’s international ambitions.
On the one hand there is bipartisan consensus in Australia & United States against China, In India Left Leaders Sitaram Yechury, D.Raja attended an online seminar organized by The Chinese Embassy as part of centenary celebrations of the Communist Party of China. The presence of Indian Opposition leaders to celebrate centenary celebrations of adversary China in light of the clash between the armies of India & China which resulted in martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers and death of 43 Chinese soldiers have raised eyebrows in the international community. The strategic partnership & cooperation between Indian National Congress & Communist Party of China signed in 2008 and the contents of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has not been disclosed. The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) has received grants from the Chinese Government. The transaction between China and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation undermines the nation’s sovereignty, unity & integrity. In the past Sonia Gandhi, President of Congress party, had attended the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Chinese hosted Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi & Robert Vadera in a generous way. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi met a Chinese envoy amid a standoff last year. Similarly in 2017 he met the Chinese envoy after Congress denied earlier in the day.
Similarly the left parties in India share the loyalties towards China and not India. The Left parties have a long tradition of opposing the national interest and harbouring extraterritorial loyalties. The left considers the Chairman & Founder of CCP as their Chairman. The Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) all congratulated the Chinese Communist Party for completing 100 years. The popular joke in India is that it is easy to buy out the Indian Opposition rather than having confrontation with Indian Defense forces. Opposition parties in India are clueless today. The overwhelming popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his decisive actions pertaining to Kashmir has changed the game completely. The Congress is fighting a survival battle and it’s at the mercy of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and DMK president M.K. Stalin. In its quest for survival & maintaining the relevance of Dynasty the Congress has compromised with nation security and interest in aligning with China in 2007. Manmohan Singh described the alliance with China as imperative necessity and junked the QUAD in his tenure.
On the contrary, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, India is gaining respect & role as a superpower transforming itself into Vishwaguru. As chair of debate “Enhancing Maritime Security — A Case for International Cooperation At United Nation Security Council attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi emphasized on five-principle framework highlighting SAGAR (‘Security and Growth for all in the Region’) — a 2015 Indian framework for regional maritime security. He further added that maritime disputes should be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law, Fight threats from natural disasters & non-state actors, conservation of marine resources, and promote responsible maritime connectivity. The Indian initiative is a wake up call for the International community to recognize the real & imminent threat to maritime security & ensures that UNCLOS is being followed by Beijing & abandoning its global imperialistic ambitions.