Delhi, Beijing must fight terror together

Sino-Indian ties are on firm footing in almost every dimension of diplomacy today.

A view of the city's skyline from the Beijing Yintai Centre building at sunset in Beijing (photo credit: REUTERS)
A view of the city's skyline from the Beijing Yintai Centre building at sunset in Beijing
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Great ideas and civilizations cannot stay apart for long. over the course of history there may crop up some aberrations here and there in their ties. But it is very much in the nature of advanced civilizations to get back to an auto-correction mode sooner than later. This seems to have been the pattern of Sino-Indian relations throughout history. There has been a multi-faceted dialogue between the two civilizations since ancient times. Notwithstanding the friction in their relations on account of the 1962 war, this process has continued. Both nations have been known for their accommodation of divergent schools of thought. This reality finds its best manifestation in the fact that the two lands have remained absolutely insulated from any occasional waves of anti-Semitism in the world.
This brings me in total agreement with what Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has observed in a recent interview to an Indian news magazine: "Terrorism is a common enemy of mankind...It requires solidarity and stronger cooperation among the international community to eradicate terrorism and safeguard security and stability in the region and the world. China and India, having both suffered from the menace of terrorism, share common interests and face similar challenges in fighting terrorism. China stands ready to deepen counterterrorism cooperation with India to better safeguard the development and security interests of our two countries."
Beijing seems to have of late increasingly realized that the ongoing Islamist terrorist attacks in its territory today are being inspired, funded and militarily aided by the same sources as those against India and other secular nations are. I would suggest New Delhi and Beijing must forge a close partnership to fight this evil.   
Given the imperatives of fighting together Islamist terrorism, it is disquieting to read what India’s former National Security Advisor M K Narayanan has recently said in a leading Indian newspaper (The Hindu, May 29, 2015). Accordingly,  Beijing has hosted secret talks between Afghan and Taliban leaders in China. This was attended by the representatives of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence. China continues to stall India’s moves in the United Nations to have Hizbul Mujahideen chief and head of the ‘United Jihad Council,’ Syed Salahudin declared as a global terrorist. Narayanan has been known for his valuable service to India. It would not be wise to disbelieve him. I would hence suggest Beijing may keep New Delhi in the loop and take appropriate steps to fight terror together. It has to be borne in mind that all the above-mentioned terrorist categories are ultimately detrimental to India and China both (and other civilized nations as well).
The moment to march together against Islamist terrorism is opportune too. Sino-Indian ties are on firm footing in almost every dimension of diplomacy today. Former Indian Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narsimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpyeee and Manmohan Singh came to evolve a highly reasonable framework with their Chinese counterparts to improve ties between the two nations. During the period of Prime Minister Rao, the two nations signed crucial agreements, including the Treaty of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control.
When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was India’s Prime Minister, a mechanism of Special Representatives was established between New Delhi and  Beijing to solve the border issue. As a result, New Delhi and Beijing have already formulated a road map for the settlement of the boundary question, signed an agreement on political parameters and guiding principles and reached an important agreement on a package settlement through making meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments.
The Rao-Vajpayee process is being carried forward by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the current Chinese leadership to enhance Sino-Indian strategic and cooperative partnership so as to achieve a negotiated settlement of their border dispute and, in due course, all other irritants between the two.
Needless to add, the Modi government is unlikely to be influenced by any thesis of a cold war between New Delhi and China today. Habits die hard. Some vested interests now discern a threat to India in China’s planned road and pipeline network and  moves in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. This thesis is devoid of substance. Today China and India cooperate under multilateral frameworks, including in the United Nations, BRICS, G20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Both the Indian and Chinese economies are growing and they see opportunities in each other's development.
In the current scenario New Delhi and Beijing are very unlikely to clash. There is a solid Border Defense Cooperation Agreement to maintain peace along the Sino-Indian border. It is accompanied by highly sophisticated military-to-military cooperation between the People’s Liberation Army and the India Armed Forces. Besides, India today is a nuclear weapon state with far advanced conventional military capability.
The Sino-Indian scenario is dominated by the reality of constructive cooperation. Speaking at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the ‘Indian Medical Mission to China 1938’ in Mumbai on June14, visiting Chairman of China’s National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang rightly said the exchange of the recent visits by Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi had ensured a new environment of friendship and co-operation between the two countries. Zhang said the legendary work of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis in his country would always be remembered and this ‘Kotnis spirit’ of friendship and service must be preserved.
The author is a senior Indian journalist based in New Delhi.