India announced Wednesday the successful test of an anti-satellite missile. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a televised address that “our scientists have hit a live satellite 300 kilometers away in low-Earth orbit,” and said the country has become the fourth country to acquire such an ability after the US, Russia and China, and “registered its name as a space power.”
Despite doubts from opposition parties that it’s the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s bid for the upcoming election, most Indian media outlets trumpeted the success and said this capability can help counter China’s space power and intimidate Pakistan.
China carried out an anti-satellite missile test in 2007, which were strongly criticized by the US and other Western countries. India conducted the same test, but instead of condemning the country, the West viewed it from the China-India competition perspective. Only a US official warned nations of space debris caused by the test, without any moral accusations.
The Chinese people are getting used to the US and Western countries’ obvious double standards on China.
China was the world’s third largest economy in 2007, which was clearly rising. Today’s India is developing rapidly, but its economy is only a fifth of China’s. India’s development is uneven. Its manufacturing and infrastructure are relatively weak and there’s a huge gap between rich and poor. So, Western countries haven’t formed an “India threat theory.” For them, India is more likely a counterweight to China. China should partly understand India’s strong nationalism against China. There is a wide gap between India and the US. India regards China as a standard to motivate itself. At least in the next few decades, India’s dream is to catch up with China. India’s nationalism should also be warned. Indian people believe China and Pakistan will be afraid as long as India achieves military progress, as if the new deterrent should be immediately used in India’s relations with the two countries. Such an opinion is naïve and dangerous. India should understand that it will trail China in military and comprehensive strength for a long time.
China is not concerned about India’s rising military strength, because it hasn’t shown a trend of surpassing China. India understands that if it attacks China, Beijing’s retaliation will be unbearable. Chinese believe that India is rational in this regard.
Likewise, India’s limited strength can’t deter China, nor is its deterrent to Pakistan as strong as some Indian people think. We hope Indian society clearly understands this.
Western media praise and even coax India, but we notice New Delhi has maintained strategic sobriety and insisted on an independent foreign policy. Nationalism against China is more likely to be an inevitable political friction under the Indian system.
China and India changed their fate during the same period of globalization. Their ways of development are different, but their demands on international rules and order are similar. Their interests are interconnected, and they are not in a zero-sum game. The West hopes China and India engage in long-term strategic friction.
The essence of the Indo-Pacific strategy is to promote China-India confrontation. India should remain vigilant against the strategy rather than making use of it.