The pragmatic realism of the kind that the Indian foreign minister appeared to promote at the lecture actually falls short where China is concerned.
There appears to be a lack of willingness by the Indian government to call China out publicly on its double standards and its unmet promises even as it continues to be obliquely referred to as a concern by several BJP leaders.
India will need to match China with a capable and expanded foreign service working in coordination with political parties, business communities, intellectual elites and its diaspora but also display adherence to values that are genuinely attractive to the peoples of other nations to push an ‘Indian model’ of politics and development that can challenge the Chinese one.
In the second Modi term, New Delhi will have to do a better job than issuing statements on the BRI or ignoring it altogether and be willing to offer credible alternatives if it is retain any standing among its neighbours and further afield.
What does the election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party say about China in national security terms?
What does the election manifesto of the Indian National Congress say about China in national security terms?
India’s democracy and its largely free and fair elections and the uncertainties they throw up, strongly challenge the ideas China’s communists have about order and stability, of ‘harmony’ in society and politics as represented by one-party rule.
For democracies to compete with the Chinese model, they will have to ensure both economic and social well-being and political accountability.
The current shake-up in the Sri Lankan system is unlikely to ruffle the Chinese too much. Across the board, no matter what their personal views on China, Sri Lanka’s politicians have learnt to do business with Beijing.