Rajnath Singh arrived in the UK on Monday night. The ongoing visit is the first by a sitting Indian Defence minister to Great Britain in 23 years.
Citing a recent article published in the Chinese state-controlled Global Times, hailing India’s growth story and its rising gobal stature and heft, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said Beijing’s perspective has altered drastically with the emergence of New Delhi as a ‘strategic power’.
“A columnist for the Global Times, which, in a way, is a mouthpiece for China, published an article with the headline ‘What I see about Bharat narrative in India’. This article is a ringing affirmation of the changing Chinese perspective on India. It seems the Chinese government has come to accept that our economic and foreign policies, as well as our changing strategic interests, have helped Bharat emerge as a key global economic player and a strategic power. We don’t see anyone as our enemy but the world is aware that the relationship between India and China is currently under strain. However, we wish to cultivate good ties with all our neighbours and countries across the globe,” Mr Singh said in London on Wednesday.
Addressing community reception at the India House in London, the Defence Minister noted that the columnist, the Global Times piece, asserted that the Chinese government now accepts that India cannot be ignored at the global level.
“The writer also noted that the Chinese government now accepts that whether you like Bharat or not, our image and rising global standing can longer be ignored. Previously, when trade imbalances were discussed, India would count on Beijing to minimise trade imbalances between the two countries. However, that trend is no longer in vogue,” the BJP leader added.
Expanding on the country’s rising global standing, Mr Singh said, “I believe that the courage shown by our jawans during the standoff with Chinese troops at Galwan (Valley in Arunachal Pradesh) helped alter Beijing’s perspective on Bharat. We are no more a weak country in the eyes of the world. We are a rising global power. Ab aisa nhi hai ki Bharat ko ankh dikha ke jo chahe so nikal jaye (No longer can anyone show us a red eye and get away with it).
Earlier this month, the Global Times applauded India’s economic policies and diplomatic achievements over the past four years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a column titled ‘Bharat Narrative’.
It stated that New Delhi’s strategic thinking in “foreign policy has evolved, moving towards a great power strategy.”
The opinion piece, written by Zhang Jiadong, the director of the Centre for South Asian Studies at Fudan University, Shanghai, also underlined India’s ‘remarkable achievements’ across driverse fields and sectors over the past four years.
It also acknowledged India’s robust economic growth, improvements in urban governance, and a shift in attitude towards international relations, notably with China.
“For example, when discussing the trade imbalance between China and India, Indian representatives earlier used to primarily focus on China’s measures to reduce the trade imbalance. But now they are placing more emphasis on India’s export potential,” Jiadong wrote.
The article also commended India’s proactive approach to fostering a ‘Bharat narrative’ and emphasised the nation’s strategic confidence.
The author further stated that with its rapid economic and social development, India has become more strategically confident and proactive in creating and developing a ‘Bharat narrative’.
“In the political and cultural spheres, India has moved from emphasising its democratic consensus with the West to highlighting the ‘Indian feature’ of democratic politics. Currently, there is even more emphasis on the Indian origins of democratic politics,” he added.
The rare acknowledgement of India’s advancements and PM Modi’s strategic vision by the Global Times indicated the growing recognition of New Delhi’s burgeoning global influence and the implications of its assertive posture on the international landscape.
Earlier, on Wednesday, Mr Singh called on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London.