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Indo-Pacific Forum

On April 19 this year, in anticipation of an adverse ruling by the UN tribunal at The Hague known as the Permanent Court of Arbitration, that was delivered on Tuesday, the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, as part of a global diplomatic offensive by Beijing, had invited some scholars from various think tanks in New Delhi to a presentation on China’s claims to the South China Sea (SCS). 

 
 

In 2010, Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi famously declared, as he glowered at his Singapore counterpart, that “China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that’s just a fact”.

 
 

Tuesday’s ruling on the South China Sea disputes by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague is bound to mark a definitive moment in the evolution of international maritime law and Asia’s geopolitical order. 

 
 

The International Court of Arbitration is set to give its ruling on the South China Sea disputes on July 12 amid strong opposition from China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, has said: “I again stress that the arbitration court has no jurisdiction in the case and on the relevant matter, and should not hold hearings or make a ruling.”

 
 

A draft Democratic Party "platform" - American for manifesto - has described India as an "important Pacific power," while pledging that it will continue to invest in a long-term strategic partnership with New Delhi if Hillary Clinton wins the White House.

 
 
As of now, the Maldivians are literally basking in the duality of attention and successfully playing China against India. The language of the Sino-Maldivian diplomatic engagement is a clear indicator of the shifting sands under President Abdulla Yameen.  
 

There is no letup in China’s effort to give body and substance to its initiative of reviving the fabled Silk Road. In its earliest form, this was a caravan route across the heart of Asia to carry Chinese products, silk above all - hence the name - to markets in Europe where they were greatly prized.

 
 

A year before Narendra Modi began his campaign as prime ministerial candidate in the general election, his friend Shinzo Abe had fought and won a landslide victory in the national election in Japan.

 

India under the Narendra Modi government has made no secret of its desire to play a more assertive role in the larger Indo-Pacific. As Modi himself underlined in his address to the joint session of the US Congress last week: “A strong India-US partnership can anchor peace, prosperity and stability from Asia to Africa and from Indian Ocean to the Pacific. It can also help ensure security of the sea lanes of commerce and freedom of navigation on seas.” 

 

Few Indians have read Chinese writer Sun Tzu who, 2,500 years ago, wrote the Art of War. Sun Tzu wrote: “The art of war is of vital importance to the state — a matter of life or death, a road either to safety or ruin.

 


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