NEW DELHI: Playing the ‘China threat’ card is an “unwise” poll strategy for the BJP to employ as it will “jeopardize the nation’s political and economic development”, said an op-ed in the hardline Chinese state media outlet Global Times.
The op-ed referred to recent Indian media reports which said the 2018 training material for the BJP tells its cadres that China is a threat to India.
“India’s 2019 general election is less than a year away and it seems that the BJP has started to gear up for the next round of campaigns through playing the China card,” said the op-ed in Global Times, which is run by People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party.
The Global Times piece also had strong words about what it said is rising “Hindu nationalism,” which has “turned into a narrow-minded, conservative and highly exclusive mindset”. And it added that the BJP’s ideology is similarly “nationalist in nature”, which is how it went from being a “regional party” to a national one “through propagating Hindu nationalism”.
This may help the BJP win polls, acknowledged Global Times, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi though “should seriously consider that improving New Delhi’s ties with Beijing can be an effective way to help him score extra points.”
“If the country does regard economic development as its fundamental goal, the improvement of Sino-Indian relations will bring it more benefits…Boosting employment is the biggest challenge for New Delhi right now. In order to promote economic growth, it still resorts to deficit financing – expenditures in excess of public revenues – which is normally made possible by borrowing. As a result, its rising deficit has led to global markets’ concern over India’s financial problems,” warned the op-ed.
Therefore, said Global Times, even if a ‘China threat’ perception may be beneficial to the BJP, it is also a double-edged sword.
“Whatever the reason, the (China threat) hype is inappropriate against the backdrop of thawing ties between Beijing and New Delhi. The BJP should be careful not to lose sight of the forest for the trees,” said the op-ed further.
The thawing the piece refers to relates to the informal meeting between Modi and President Xi Jinping in Wuhan + in April, as well as the two leaders’ bilateral meeting during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Qingdao. These meetings, the op-ed believes, have eased tensions between the two nations since the 73-day border standoff last year in Doklam.
“When it comes to diplomacy, BJP ideology is nationalist in nature as reflected through New Delhi’s constant disputes with Pakistan and its attempt to disrupt development of the China-led Belt and Road initiative in South Asia and the Indian Ocean,” said the Global Times op-ed.
It said nationalism is “a mixed blessing” in these times.
“Today’s Hindu nationalism has turned into a narrow-minded, conservative and highly exclusive mindset. It may help the BJP to win a majority in polls, but it will also jeopardize the nation’s political and economic development,” the op-ed warned.