Watch & listen carefully to what Secretary of State Pompeo said 10 days ago:
- “Focus on the most important piece here.. the most important piece here is that the American people remain at risk … the American people remain at risk …”
And what do we all need, not just Americans but the entire world? That was clearly communicated by Secretary Pompeo:
- “Be transparent, be open, be a reliable partner; … co-operation is about action; it is about opening up, about sharing this information; it is about details of where Patient Zero, where it began; … it is about knowledge which is in the possession of only the Chinese Communist Party”
Now think where will this battle for open reliable information take place? At the now infamous World Health Organization (WHO). Yes, the same WHO that has been angrily criticized by the entire world. What is the point of going back to the SAME WHO that has acted as if it is servile to China?
Ahh! But it is NOT going to be the SAME WHO six days from now. Because on 22 May, 2020, India takes over as the Chair of the WHO Executive Board. As Sreemoy Talukdar wrote on May 14,
- “As the head of the 34-member executive board, the Indian nominee will have considerable weight in administrative decisions and policies of WHO. Some of these decisions are contentious, and loaded with geopolitical significance such as opening a probe into the origins of the pandemic and Taiwan’s participation in next week’s World Health Assembly.”
- “As JNU professor Rajesh Rajagopalan points out, many partners with whom New Delhi shares values and interests will want India to take a firm stand on these issues and “it is also in New Delhi’s interest to ensure that China does not gain disproportionate influence over such bodies because that has consequences for India’s interests.”
So guess what happened a few days ago? First on the western border between China & India & then a few days later on the eastern border.
- “Four Indian soldiers and seven Chinese troops suffered injuries during the confrontation that involved around 150 soldiers.” The incident is said to have later been resolved at the local commanders’ level.”
Chinese helicopters flew near the confrontation zone & then India scrambled two SU-30 fighter interceptors on its side.
This by itself is not very unusual. Such confrontations have occurred in the past especially when China felt it needed to send a message. The last & most serious conflagration was in 2017 in Doklam near the Indo-China-Bhutan border as Jeff Smith of Heritage Foundation wrote in the Diplomat this week,:
- “The 73-day standoff was the longest and most volatile in recent history, with Beijing issuing unusually direct and escalatory threats to India: unilaterally withdraw or be evicted by force.”
China found that Modi’s India was very different from pre-Modi India and withdrew its forces after lengthy discussion. Jeff Smith added,
- “Washington reportedly provided the Indian government with “information on [Chinese] troop reinforcements and deployments” during the 2017 Doklam standoff.”
Given Chinese history of using intimidation to warn other nations, we do believe that the two military confrontations during the last two days were, as Claude Arpi wrote in The Asian Age, China telling India “You behave, or we shall press other painful points.”
Neither the Chinese Army (PLA) nor the Chinese Communist Party have learned from their past failed intimidations. Creating these military confrontations probably encourages the Indian military to deepen their relationship with the US military & it gives greater incentives for Indian External Affairs ministry to work with US State Department to push China within the WHO to become more transparent.
Already American opinion of China is getting more & more negative, as the new Gallup poll points out:
Given all of this, guess how China will feature in the US Presidential campaign this fall?
Given this, you would think China would try to win India over with promises of friendship & incentives to ensure India doesn’t lead the WHO executive board to a more tough posture re China. So why don’t they behave so? Is the truth so horrible that they will try virtually anything to keep the lid on the truth about CoronaVirus or do they really think & act like they are the hegemon of Asia? Guess what Jeff Smith thinks:
Well said, Jeff.
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