Responsible democracies of the world and groupings like the European Union should invest in India’s rise in Asia and welcome New Delhi’s advent on the world stage, a Member of the European Parliament has said. In an article for EP Today, Fulvio Martusciello, Member of the European Parliament, has particularly praised India for the forthright manner in which it has dealt with China and Pakistan over the past year.
He has welcomed India’s tough and no-holds-barred global campaign to unmask the Pakistani state’s nexus with terror groups. “(This) has started showing results, coming as it does, at a time when the world community is waking up to the fact that Pakistan has become the incubator of international terrorism,” Martusciello says in his article.
As regards China, Martusciello says New Delhi’s response to Beijing and particularly the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) ‘misadventure’ in Doklam in June 2017, most definitely caught the latter off guard and by surprise. “It was not prepared for this strong response from India, perhaps expecting a walkover, similar to the capitulation by countries in the South China Sea,” the Member of the European Parliament said of the attempt to build a road deeper into Bhutanese territory, near the tri-junction of three countries –India, China and Bhutan.
Martusciello further opines that this standing of ground by India in Doklam to protect its own security interests, as well as to uphold Bhutan’s territorial sovereignty, was a first for New Delhi, wherein, troops were sent into a third country. He says India sent a clear message to China that “its road building activity was an attempt to change the ground situation along the disputed border, thereby impacting the security matrix between the two countries.”
The military stand-off might have lasted for two months, but it finally saw the Chinese withdrawing after a series of closed-door deliberations with the Indians, he adds. Martusciello also uses his article to praise India for declining to participate in the Belt and Road Summit in Beijing, citing issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity. India, he says, has been consistently maintaining that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship BRI project, passes through Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan Administered Kashmir, which in New Delhi’s eyes are sovereign Indian territories under the illegal occupation of Pakistan.
He says, “By doing so, India had hit out against a Chinese ‘core issue’, something noted by the world community. In a candid statement, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj informed her Chinese counterpart that “India’s ‘One China’ policy must be congruent with China’s ‘One India’ policy.”
“Never before have I been struck by the maturity and confidence of India’s global outreach, and the manner in which it has been approaching international issues, as in the year gone by. Not only has the Indian economy been progressing at a steady pace, and is slated to become the 5th largest in the world this year, even overtaking the UK and France, but the country has also gone full throttle to make its presence felt, internationally,” Martusciello claims.
“While maintaining and strengthening its partnerships in the South Asia region, its engagement with the EU, the US, Africa and the ASEAN has also been unparalleled. The magnitude of this outreach was evident at India’s recent Republic Day celebrations, with Heads of State of 10 ASEAN countries in attendance. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has infused new vigour into India’s relations with nations globally, dramatically enhancing the country’s international standing,” he adds.
“At the multilateral level too, India has actively participated in, and contributed to, groupings such as the G-20, SCO, BRICS, IORA, SAARC and the ASEAN, to name a few. India has also hosted international events like the Global Conference on Cyber Space, the Global Entrepreneurial Summit and has institutionalised the Raisina Dialogue, an annual gathering of strategic thinkers, similar to the Shangri La Dialogue held in Singapore,” he says.
“All these send out a single message to the world community – it is time to recognise India’s rise as a regional power, a stabilising force in South Asia, with the potential to positively impact global policy. A politically and economically strong India would contribute substantially to the stability of the region, and to the overall global equilibrium,” he concludes.