The original of an interview published in the Maharashtra Times, Pune in Marathi on 31 July 2016.
1. Why is China so aggressive in the South China Sea case? Are there any chances of war between China and other parts of the world?
A: China has a strong sense of having suffered from Western and Japanese colonialism and of being wronged. The so-called ‘century of humiliation’ is something that every Chinese man, woman and child is familiar with and hence, they have a great attachment to territory as a sign of their historical greatness. Right now, Chinese leaders seem their country as being militarily more powerful than their neighbours and so think they can also claim the territory they want in the South China Sea. But this is not simply a case of China versus its ASEAN neighbours. China is in the main trying to keep the United States from exercising power and influence in China’s neighbourhood. Chances of all-out war are low. China is smart enough not to damage its chances of growth and prosperity by going to war.
2. China has tense relations with almost all ASEAN countries. But, their Maritime silk route vision includes Southeast Asia also. Both these things stand in contrast. How will they manage?