China Praises Hinduism, Says India Doesn’t Suffer from Radical Islam Because of Hinduism

China’s harsh tone on India has subsided considerably after its state media’s regular rants of war against India during the Doklam stand-off. The latest of comments of China’s media on India came in an article in Global Times which applauds Hinduism for preventing the spread of radical Islam.

This is what was written in the article –

“Why does it seem that Muslims in India have remained largely apart from the radicalization that has happened to Muslim groups in other parts of the world? Indian Muslims seldom have extreme organizations compared with groups in many other Asian countries. In the southern part of the Philippines, extremists backed by Islamic State have turned their occupied cities into horrible places. In southern Thailand, terror attacks staged by Muslim extremists take place almost every week.”

The article points to an ‘arc of Islam’ that covers Asia but somehow India has been able to break this arc. Here’s what’s written about it: “In Asia as a whole, Islam forms an arc that includes the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Thailand, southern Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Central Asian countries. There are tensions at various degrees at junctions in this arc where it encounters other religions and ethnicity, but a dent exists in the Indian portion of this arc.”

It goes on to praise India lavishly when it says that this absence is due to Hinduism, and because India breaks this ‘arc of Islam’ it stands tall in the world. It says that this is a reason why India is reckoned by the US, Japan, Russia and European nations when it comes to their Asia policies. “The lack of Islamic extremists in India has helped determine its role in Asia,” it says.

But this article is in drastic contrast to what Global Times wrote about Hinduism in June. It went to the extent of blaming Hinduism for misunderstandings between China and India. Even recently during the Doklam stand-off, the media accused ‘Hindu nationalism of leading the country toward war’. Here’s what the June article said: “Indians attach great importance to spiritual matters while Chinese are more concerned about material matters. Such different worldviews are the source and explanation of all differences between China and India as well as the misunderstandings the two peoples harbor toward each other.”

One does wonder if this sudden change of tone is due to Prime Minister Modi’s visit to China for the BRICS summit? BRICS is most important to China as it has invested a lot in the initiative. Also, it is China’s prime desire to create a counter-block to NATO, and nullify the economic dominance that the West enjoys. Without India’s active support, this can’t be possible as India is rising rapidly economically. Russia is going through a terrible economic downturn which will linger on for quite some time. South Africa is a much smaller economy and is plagued with corruption. Brazil too has lost its economic sheen and is no more a burgeoning economic force. India is, and China knows India is crucial to BRICS.

Vinayak Jain