‘Deception integral element of Chinese strategic culture’
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Stressing that "deception" is an "integral element" of China's strategic culture, former foreign secretary Shyam Saran on Wednesday said while China is dismissive about India's emergence it is also "wary and watchful" and occasionally "respectful".
Saran, who was also PM's special envoy on the Indo-US nuclear deal and climate change, said closer India-US relations would make China to be more amenable. "I do not accept the argument that a closer India-US relations leads China to adopt a more negative and aggressive posture towards India," he said, adding that Delhi's stronger links with countries like Japan, Indonesia, Australia and Russia will make sure that India has "more room" in its bilateral ties with Beijing.
On China's ambivalent approach towards India, the former foreign secretary — while delivering the second annual K Subrahmanyam memorial lecture on the topic 'China in the 21 st century: What India needs to know about China's world view' — said, "Since 1962, most Chinese portrayals of India and Indian leaders in conversations with other world leaders...have been starkly negative. An Indian would find it quite infuriating to read some of the exchanges...in recent times, Indian aspirations are dismissed as a dream. There are repeated references to the big gap between the 'comprehensive national power' of the two countries," he said.
On China's "deception", Saran said, "It is easy to accuse the Chinese of betrayal, as Nehru did after the 1962 war, but a clear awareness that deception is, after all, an integral element of Chinese strategic culture, may have spared us much angst in the past...there is no moral or ethical dimension attached to deception and the Chinese would find it odd being accused of betrayal, in particular, if the strategy of deception had worked. What is required from our strategists and diplomats is to understand this important instrument in the Chinese strategic tool-box and learn to deal with it effectively."
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