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'Convergence of interests counts in strategic matters'

November 09, 2012 19:18 IST

Question is not on whose side we are, but whose interests' suit ours, says B Raman, strategic thinker and former RAW official, who appeared on the Rediff Chat to take questions on what the regime change in China and the US means for India.

Netaji : How would you handle India's foreign policy if you were in charge of it, boss?

Hi Netaji. Our first attention should be to our neighbiourhood---big or small. Equally important will be China, US, Russia and EU. We will have to harmonise our policies to serve our national interests.

Nikunj : Is us of obama still important for world?

Yes, Nikunj. China might equal US in economic power, but it won't catch up with US in science & technology. We can get economic help anywhere. But we can get latest technology only from US.

sameerr : Do u think that we should focus more on Shanghai cooperation org and BRIC rather than focusing on USA

Hi sameer. SCO is important for us. At same time we will have problems in SCO. China treats Tibetans & Uighurs as extremists. We can't agree. China does not look upon LET as a terrorist group.

Diskhit : Your thoughts on the underway China communist party congress sir?

It is important. A new and younger leadership is taking over control. It is assuming charge at a time when social networks are becoming important means of ventilating grievances. How to deal with mushrooming netizens assertive online? That is an important question for it.

JIntao : why do we need to be friend with American and not CHina as China will be future leader and not America

Hi Jintao. It is in our interest to maintain good relations with China. At same time US support will be important if border dispute proves intractable and leads to a military conflict.

Bruce : China China China... How it transformed itself from an agrarian society to a superpower is incredible, isn't it? Oh how Nehru must be kicking himself in the shin for pushing China's case for the UNSC, especially considering how Beijing repaid us, isn't it? History is SO full of lessons, sir...

Hi Bruce. I agree with you that Nehru was short-sighted in pushing China's case for UNSC seat. We should have assumed that seat. We had as much right as China.

lee : Why Obama is not doing anything about Saudi/wahabi fascism which is a great global threat..not even Roomney is talking about it?

Hi lee. Saudi Arabia is as much worried about Wahabi extremism as the US. But it has to be careful becoz unwise moves can lead to domestic instability. US understands that.

dp : did USA using India against emerging china? through print media and electronic media ?

Hi dp/. I would not agree. There is a convergence of national interests between India & US on China. We are not using each other. We are cooperating.

Kriti : Do you think Congress is better poised to serve India's foreign policy goals than BJP?

Hi Kriti. Both are equally well placed. NDA did well when in power. UPA doing well now.

raja : Mr Raman, can India and China ever be friends?

We can't be totally trusting friends becoz of border dispute and China's strategic nuclear and missile relationship with Pak. But since we are neighbours we have to find ways of getting along with each other.

Seeni : Hello Mr Raman, as someone who has see the state of nations ebb and flow, what do you think about India's attempt to balance itself between China and the US?

It is a question of strategic management of relations with a neighbour WITH WHICH WE HAVE HAD A WAR and with a S&T power whose co-operation we need for emerging as a power on PAR WITH CHINA.We are doing fairly well

Ajith : Realistically Speaking how long before we compete neck to neck with China on all fronts.

It is a difficult question to answer. In my view we are at least 10 yrs behind China in eco development, infrastructure development & military modernisation. We will be able to confront China effectively only if these gaps are quickly filled

vineetkamat : should we not decide on whether we should be on the side of china or US... they(US and China) dont see each other as friends..ultimately they do look for loyalties..

In strategic matters what is important is convergence of interests. Question is not on whose side we are, but whose interests suit our interests. We have to keep our strategic eggs in both baskets.

saky : Hi, I would like to know, how china sees india role in Afghanistan?

China's Afghan policy will continue to be influenced by its national interests and Pak interests. China will support only those Indian interests in Afghanistan to which Pakistan is not opposed. It will help Pakistan in limiting India's strategic influence in Afghanistan.

Shruti :  Sir, how do you see Obama's victory changing the Sino-US relationship?

China will continue to be important to US from the point of view of its economy and peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific. Obama will focus on both these aspects. We will have to see what elbow room there can be for India to bring about a convergence of US & Indian interests.

Why are you softer to US and harsh on China?

I will not put it that way. We have problems with China .We shd sort them out. At same time we have had a military conflict in 1962.We may have another if the border issue aggravates. So we need a fall-back position on the US. It has to be a well-thought out strategy

piyush : Why India Not attacking POK & Aksai chin to take back Every Inch of Territories?

Hi Piyush. Direct military attack is out of question in POK.I have always been suggesting indirect covert action by taking advantage of the alienation of the local population and co-operating with them.

Shruti :  which are the major changes that China's transition of power will bring in on world stage?

China's focus will continue to be on Asia-Pacific. It will resist US influence in South & East China Seas. While keeping its border dispute with India alive, it will avoid a military conflict so long as tensions continue in Asia-Pacific.

AliKhan : Dear Raman,can you brief us how china new leadership will impact on Uighurs Muslim soverginity and thier religious freedom.

Hi Ali Khan.The Chinese leadership thinks it can deal with Uighur problem through eco development and Han colonisation. It won't work.

Lucky :  Do you think China's new chief is Pro-India?

Hi Lucky. He is not pro-India, but he attaches importance to cordial relations with India.