Opinion Columnists 01 Apr 2020 How the virus from W ...
The writer is an alumnus of the National Defence College, and the author of China in India.

How the virus from Wuhan has taken the world to the brink: Is the economy next?

Published Apr 1, 2020, 8:35 am IST
Updated Apr 1, 2020, 8:35 am IST
How did 21st century India forget the 'yellow peril' that battered the global economy in the guise of globalisation?
A couple carrying an infant walk along an expressway hoping to reach their home, hundreds of miles away, as New Delhi comes under lockdown. (AP)
 A couple carrying an infant walk along an expressway hoping to reach their home, hundreds of miles away, as New Delhi comes under lockdown. (AP)

It is now clear to the entire world how China has done the unexpected and unthinkable, and ruthlessly employed Sun Tzu’s theory of indirect warfare: through “surprise, deception, deceit, mobility, cunning”. Both India and the West have been taken for a ride, and to the brink of the cliff. Wuhan was where India had tried to “reset” its relations with China; and now the virus from Wuhan has come to afflict over 150 nations, including those which are part of Beijing’s much-hyped Belt and Road Initiative.

I have always maintained that the Communist Party of China will resort to any strategy to contain, if not crush, not only the Indian economy, but also to make various parts of this country as well as its neighbourhood “client states” captive to Chinese consumer goods and other products. The Chinese have studied India all too well, both its strengths and its weaknesses, and the CPC has mastered the craft of cracking through India’s political faultlines.

Indians, on the other hand, are usually indifferent to, and thus largely clueless, about the Han Chinese. Seldom do they learn the Chinese language, or bother to study its history, as most Indian businessmen are interested only in importing cheap, substandard goods from China, and selling these at a high premium in the domestic market.

Today’s India is in a tearing hurry for shortcut profits from Chinese products, thus also helping Beijing attain “global factory of finished goods” position, and specially for the past two decades. Indians, not surprisingly, misread Chinese minds, being largely ignorant on the Hans’ history, geography, economics, philosophy, psyche, the art of war, Mao’s Red Book and the Thoughts of Xi (Jinping).

China had captured chunks of Indian territory around half a century ago, and New Delhi has not only found it’s impossible to retrieve its lost land and territory, but appears scared to even raise the matter forcefully for over 50 years at the diplomatic level. After trade, industry, banking, finance, etc faced a battering, the China-origin virus now endangers the very existence of India and the rest of the world, inflicting a body blow to the global economy. China crossed the “lakshman rekha” to destroy the world’s demography, geography and economics.

China lockdown

These aren’t just the stray, rambling thoughts of a China-baiter. Amid the ongoing unprecedented nationwide shutdown in the face of the coronavirus threat, we also need a complete lockdown on anything and everything Chinese or from China. Let’s give up our brazen overdependence on, and craze for, Chinese goods, material and investments, including China-made Hindu idols of gods and goddess. If India can’t take care of its citizens’ health now, in the face of China’s biological/chemical warfare strategy, unmitigated disaster looms.

The already-devastated Indian economy needs immediate attention, as no one really knows the outcome of this economic tailspin. India was divided at the time of Independence in 1947 and, left unchecked, China will inflict many times more damage to India’s demography, polity and geography, through chemistry, biology and economics, if laidback India continues with its usual lack of resolve to thwart China’s unscrupulous economic and trade practices, diplomatic pressure and geopolitical blackmail.   

Today, while focusing on India, it might be instructive to take a look at Italy and Iran, two of the nations hit hardest by the “China virus”. Italy was left devastated by rapacious Chinese traders who destroyed its fashion industrial hubs of Florence and the Lombardy area. Exactly a year ago, when president Xi Xinping paid a state visit to Italy on March 21, 2019, warning signals were sent to Rome by Washington and the European Union. But all in vain. In one stroke, president Xi penetrated the Italian ports of Brindisi, Genoa, Napoli, Palermo, Trieste, and Venice on the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea, the tender underbelly of Europe. Sadly, Italy’s devastation also originates from its open society, comprising the second-highest number of “most old people” -- 28.2 per cent of its total 60 million population being “aged 65 years or over”. Italy is realising only now its fatal mistake in embracing Beijing, but can do little to unscramble the scrambled egg. The irreparable damage is done.

China embrace

Earlier Iran, with a population of 82 million, also fell for China’s deceptive charm offensive, during president Xi Jinping’s January 2016 Tehran visit. Beijing filled the vacuum in the Persian Gulf left by the strained US-Iran relations. The excessive presence of the Chinese, expectedly, led to Iran’s adversity. Tehran is paying the price for an apparently unavoidable China embrace, now brutally signalled by the China virus through dollars over Iranian dead bodies.

Coming back to India, make no mistake, if the two countries of Iran and Italy, with a combined population of 140 million, are thus afflicted, imagine what lies in store for India’s 1.3 billion populace? As things stand today, the 100 per cent lockdown of India has already led to the catastrophic fall of macroeconomics. It’s impossible to retrieve the situation anytime soon, given the exploding unemployment, the crashing growth rate, negative GDP and the more-than-possible high inflation, followed by the inevitable price rise. Also, if India falls for IMF, World Bank or Chinese loans, even God Almighty may call it a day; expressing utter helplessness over bailing out the 1.3 billion people of a country that till the other day had boasted a growth rate of eight per cent-plus. Under the present physical, financial and now chemical and biological China-virus rampage, if India attains 0.5 per cent growth, it would be a miracle of sorts.

The 1.3 billion people of this country are now staring at the brink, waiting for an unprecedented economic-cum-health crisis to unfold. In the 1950s and early 1960s Jawaharlal Nehru had tried “Hindi Chini bhai bhai”, only to die broken-hearted due to the Chinese betrayal. Some Indians have still not forgiven the Congress for putting so much trust in the Chinese. Some years later Hindu Bengalis, in the garb of Naxalites, fell for Mao Zedong’s charm offensive in the late 1960s. How then did 21st century India forget the “yellow peril” that battered the global economy (and health) in the guise of globalisation? Will India ever learn the lessons of history, and act accordingly?



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