When you have a sworn enemy it’s a problem. When you have a government who still talks about bonhomie with the enemy even though they regularly taunt us, it’s a bigger problem. You see, we all in the back of our heads know the truth about China. Problem arises when the ruling class fails to understand the situation and shows a total lack of spine.
It is one issue to not do anything about it, it’s a totally different issue to not even talk about it. For the first ten days, our establishment was busy denying tooth and nail any incursion from the Chinese side. Once they were forced to accept it, the response was so timid that even Sub-Saharan third world countries must be laughing. We are not war-mongers but protecting the sovereignty of this land is of prime importance. Let us take you through the problem step by step.
What is the problem?
Chinese have taken up their aggressive border policies since last decade when they asserted their claim on Arunanchal Pradesh in 2006 just before the visit of Hu Jintao. This time they have started creating trouble in Ladakh. Chinese troops have come in 19 kms and according to latest reports, have set up a camp at a place called “Raki Naka” with banners reading “You are on Chinese territory”. This has rattled the people of India and one can only imagine the plight of people in Ladakh. This incursion has largely taken place in a sector called “Daulat Beg Oldi”. Daulat Beg Oldi is a strategic point from where one can take control of the water ways and Glaciers of Aksai Chin. They have only sent 1 platoon to set up the base. One chinese Platoon has 50 soldiers.
Entire political high command is busy playing ostrich at this crucial juncture. Lets review what they did step by step. They kept denying this incident for good ten days. Then finally when they had to accept it, foreign minister started giving random statements as to how the problem will be resolved before his visit to China. Then Prime Minister came out and publicly asserted how it was a “local issue”. The author to this date has no idea what in god’s good name does a local issue mean. If you see, Chinese have to this date not emphasised anything about their great friendship with India like we always do. They played a bigger and better move. ‘How’, you ask? There is a protocol for meeting of two nation heads. According to protocol, it is Manmohan Singh’s turn to visit China. China has tried to play the bigger and more sensible brother by discarding all protocol and saying that “Li Kequiang”, the Chinese premier would come to meet Indian PM to resolve this issue and how India is an “ally” and “peace is important”. While the Indian political classes rejoiced stating it as a diplomatic win, they failed to see what was happening. China’s president was scheduled to visit our friendly neighbours- Pakistan. All he did was to add a small stopover before going there. His jet would not burn a lot of fuel but the political mileage he will get in international community will be tremendous. This will cement China’s position as a peaceful country which tried to resolve the problem by all means!
Question is, what is in it for China? They have an imperial mindset and would do anything to expand their territory. Since there is no change in government ever, foreign policy is decided once and then rigorously followed. All we can safely say is, China is not very happy with our strengthening of military bases in the border region. To the credit of our politicos, India has finally green signaled cranking up infrastructure in border regions which China has been doing since years now. China has been raising objections over the construction of bunkers and ALGs (Advanced Landing Grounds) by the Indian side within its area along its perception of the LAC. It had raised objections over the activation of ALGs at Fukche and DBO area in the last four-five years by the IAF and has also registered its protest on the road construction activities of the Border Roads Organisation in that area. The IAF operates its Antonv-32 transport aircraft in these air fields and had even practiced the landing of its latest C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft there.
What should have been done?
First and foremost, a strong diplomatic reply should be given. Let’s assume for a moment that we cannot do anything to expel those 50 soldiers, but what is stopping the government from firmly registering a protest? What we are doing right now is not acceptable. Center and all it’s ministers, including the Prime Minister, should be able to give one strong reply in unison whenever asked about the question. How can you dismiss it as a local problem? Haven’t you already lost millions of sq.kms to China? Or has our political class started thinking on the lines, “What is 19 kms when we have give 38000 sq.kms?”
What should we do now?
Evict those Chinese soldiers out. If you are too scared of the consequesnces, give them a first class ticket and return gift as well, but do throw them out. Seal the borders properly. Why was ITBP (Indo-tibetan border police) given the responsibility of manning such a crucial sector is beyond me but I believe we need to give Army the sole responsibility and no conflict should arise in the chain of command. Once this is done, it would be necessary by the parliament to create some noise on the issue. Pass a few bills, send a few delegations, give a few strong statements and let the world know that we, as a nation, are serious about our integrity. One way to force China’s hand would be for the Indian army to intrude and occupy a highly strategic area elsewhere across the line of control and use that gain as a trade-off. As a strategic move, India can also start supporting Taiwan in international community just in way China supports and colludes with Pakistan. Our
peaceful cowardly attitude has cost thousands of lives and billions of rupees. Let us be a little aggressive in our foreign policy. Be under no illusion, China is ready to bite no matter how peaceful you are. These deliberations are neither sudden nor are they momentary.
One must remember the chinese saying, “Respect the strong, Blackmail the weak.”
[P.S- Image courtsey: http://chindia-alert.org]
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