Book Review | Dragon bites elephant: Why?

Why has China under Xi become so arrogant and revived its historical expansionist policy. Does Xi want to project himself as more patriotic and nationalist than his party rivals to gain popularity and to strengthen his hold on power?  Why are Chinese dragons spitting fire all around? Why has the Dragon bitten the elephant?

dragon bities elephant
The author has linked the aggressive expansionist behaviour of China with its middle kingdom syndrome and explained how the Chinese rulers have been adhering to its expansionist policies and grabbing neighbouring territories.

By Poornima

Ever since Xi Jinping has taken over the reins of Zhong Guo i.e. Middle kingdom in 2013, China’s belligerence towards India has increased. In fact President Xi , who is looking for his third five year term after the 20th CPC Party Congress to be held in October- November ,  has a greater  ambition to not only corner India on all fronts, but set his evil eyes on all maritime  and land neighbours . Why has China under Xi become so arrogant and revived its historical expansionist policy. Does Xi want to project himself as more patriotic and nationalist than his party rivals to gain popularity and to strengthen his hold on power?  Why are Chinese dragons spitting fire all around? Why has the Dragon bitten the elephant?

These questions and doubts in the minds of common people has been  aptly answered by Ranjit Kumar , a senior strategic affairs journalist  , in  his book written in Hindi titled Bharat Cheen Rishte – Dragon ne hathi ko kyon Dasa ( India China relations – Why did the dragon bite the elephant) . Ranjit Kumar has lived in China during 1984-85, when China was undergoing radical transformation from Communist beliefs to capitalist values under the guise of Communism with Chinese characteristics, For all practical purposes China today, ruled by Communist Party, is a capitalist economy and wants to dominate the world not only in the economic domain but also aims to control the world.

 Chinese leaders and diplomats often say that Dragons and Elephants should dance together. But the dragon seems to be backstabbing the elephant by luring it to dance. The way Chinese PLA has behaved on the Ladakh borders and refusing to leave the area since last two years clearly demonstrates China’s deceitful behaviour towards India. But the Chinese continue to insist that India should ignore the border issue in the larger interests of maintaining good relations so that the two Asian giants can benefit mutually. Very strange offer. On the one hand China has grabbed India’s collars and on the other hand China expects India to cordially hug them . 

 Ambassador Shashank, India’s ex- foreign secretary has written in the foreword of the book that China is following Monroe Doctrine as it wants to compete with USA and become most developed country and top superpower on earth by 2049, the year when China would be celebrating  centenary year of the establishment of People’s Republic of China  . We have to understand China in this backdrop. Ranjit Kumar has closely  observed the evolution of Chinese capitalism from communism  in the eighties while he lived in China during 1984-85. Ranjit Kumar has authored this very timely book on the changing mindset of the Chinese people and leaders.

The author has dwelt in detail, the traditional expansionist tactics of the Chinese leaders in a very lucid manner. Following the preachings  of its  ancient strategic thinker Sun Zhu , the Chinese leaders cleverly manipulated its neighbours and grabbed either its land or established suzerainty. Inner Mongolia, Tibet , Xinjiang are the prime examples .

The author has linked the aggressive expansionist behaviour of China with its middle kingdom syndrome and explained how the Chinese rulers have been adhering to its expansionist policies and grabbing neighbouring territories. During the 17th and 18th centuries the Qing empire of China  snatched a big area of Mongolia  and brought Tibet and Xinjiang under its control .  The Chinese people think that their country  is located on the middle of the earth from where they oversee the entire world, hence the middle kingdom mindset. Even the official name of China in Chinese  is Zhong Guo meaning Middle Kingdom .  The present rulers of China still see similar dreams of ruling the entire world from the “ Centre of the Earth “where China is claimed to be located. This is why, If we see in the present day context,  they have launched the Belt and Road initiative to lay a network of transport connectivities and connect China with the entire world. These highways of trade and strategic linkages will help China dominate the entire world.

Xi Jinping felt insulted when India not only refused to join but objected to his dream project.  This may be one of the reasons why the Chinese army transgressed Indian areas in Ladakh and taught India a lesson. Also China finds India coming in its way to be sole arbiter of Asia and dominate the world. Ranjit Kumar has deliberated on these issues in the book.

 Book published by Prabhat Praksashan, New Delhi and available  online on Amazon, Flipkart etc.

(Reviewer of the book is an independent writerViews expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited).

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