Congress may deny tickets to 40 Rajasthan MLAs

NEW DELHI The Congress in Rajasthan may be...

Lessons for MPs on using tablet computers, mobility app

Due to initial irritants being faced by...

Checkmating Xi, the G20 Delhi way

Editor's ChoiceCheckmating Xi, the G20 Delhi way

The inclusion of the 55-member African Union has been rightly hailed as a positive step towards involving the African nations into the international system more intimately. But this is also a step towards freeing China’s suffocating grip on the United Nations and other international institutions.

The decision of Chinese President Xi Jinping not to attend the G20 Summit in New Delhi resulted in much speculation. Some believe it was his way of snubbing India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Others believe that it was beyond his tolerance level to see PM Modi in the international limelight. Some more China watchers think that the absence reflected Xi’s sense of insecurity and uneasiness due to internal troubles in Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army. But now that the Summit is over, it is time to see what impact the G20 may have on the world’s relations with China.

One thing which no China watcher can afford to ignore is the more than visible China-centricity of the Summit’s deliberations and decisions. Many decisions taken at the New Delhi Summit were focused at challenging the arrogance, aggression and authoritarian conduct of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its “Paramount Leader” Xi Jinping, who is visualising his PRC as the “Middle Kingdom” and himself as the “Divine Power” assigned by the heavens to rule the earth.
The most visible decision of the Summit was the announcement of the India, Middle East, Europe Corridor (IMEC). Mainly the brainchild of US President Joe Biden, this is a direct challenge to President Xi who launched his Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, just a year after he took over the reins of China. The MOU on IMEC was signed by the US, India, European Union, UAE and Saudi Arabia. It involves integrating the already operative road, rail and sea links from India to Eastern Europe to establish a dedicated and a fast freight corridor for common use of all the countries along the route and the European Union. The corridor can be later extended to cover the African continent also. It looks like the first stage of Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better World” project, which was launched by the G7 in June 2021 as a counter to Xi’s BRI.

Through the BRI, Xi started investing hundreds of billions of dollars in the development of infrastructure projects like roads, sea ports, railway lines and airports in nearly 150 countries. The idea attracted not only poor countries but even well to do countries like Italy, Austria, Brunei, Czech Republic, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Singapore and South Africa. Thanks to PRC’s fine art of bribery, intimidation and corruption, most agreements on BRI projects are turning out to be too expensive to be viable for the host countries. As a result, China, the cunning moneylender, has started confiscating the projects in the name of settling accounts. Pakistan’s Gwadar port, which is part of China-Pakistan’s CPEC from Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea, and Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port and the Colombo Port City are some glaring examples. Despite multilayers of secrecy and camouflage, popular estimates say that Xi has already invested far above equivalent of US$1 trillion and has plans to touch $8 trillion if everything goes as per Xi’s dreams. With the Chinese economy nose-diving for many reasons beyond Xi or his Communist Party’s control the IMEC can prove to be BRI’s last nail.

The inclusion of the 55-member African Union has been rightly hailed as a positive step towards involving the African nations into the international system more intimately. But the impact which this step is going to have on freeing China’s suffocating grip over the United Nations and other international institutions is hardly being discussed. It is on the strength of the votes of many of these African and other economically vulnerable, small countries that China has been holding organisations like the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and World Health Organization (WHO) to ransom. Records of voting in UNHRC over the years show that leave aside discussing and reprimanding China for its appalling record on human rights in its colonies like Tibet and East Turkistan (Xinjiang), Beijing could use these votes every time to stop the world body from even taking up the matter for discussion. India’s emergence as a new bridge between the developed western bloc and Africa is going to make it difficult for China to keeping dominating developing countries and grab the rich natural resources of these poor countries.

Similarly, the new approach adopted by G20 about the role and financial capacity of multilateral development banks is going to be a great relief for most developing countries. The presence of heads of leading financial institutions like the World Band (WB) and International Monitory Fund (IMF) at the G20 further made it reassuring. Higher allocation for funds on much easier terms as compared to the opaque Chinese system is bound to wean away the developing world from Chinese financial and political influence.

Another major achievement of the G20 New Delhi Summit was infusing fresh air into North-South relations. A good part of the credit goes to the personal efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to the unprecedented support offered by western leaders, especially US President Joe Biden. A world which had got used to seeing North-South relations being marked by bickering and confrontation for decades, can now hope for a new atmosphere dominated by cooperation and goodwill. This also underscores the realization of a US-led western bloc that relations with a comity of nations, which, despite being economically weak, holds the levers of power balance both in terms of numbers as well as geographic spread in the context of the ever increasing clash with China, cannot be ignored.

This change is bound to inflict a serious blow to the ballooning arrogance and aggression of President Xi on the one hand and establish a new power bloc of developing nations under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Moreover, Modi’s idea of shifting the international discourse from its GDP-centric values to human-centric values too holds potential for a better and peaceful world where the role of rogue states like Xi’s China is bound to be limited.

Hence, Xi Jinping may not have participated in the G20 Summit at New Delhi, but sooner than later G20’s fallout may start showing how the New Delhi gathering dealt a premeditated blow to Xi and his China.

Vijay Kranti is a veteran China watcher and Chairman, Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement, CHASE.

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles