In­dia should re­spect bor­der agree­ment, with­draw troops

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

More than two weeks af­ter In­dia sent troops across the Sikkim bor­der into China to ob­struct con­struc­tion of a road by the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army in the Don­g­long re­gion, the sit­u­a­tion there re­mains wor­ry­ingly tense, with a stand­off be­tween soldiers of the two coun­tries still on­go­ing.

That the sit­u­a­tion has not flared out of con­trol is thanks to the great re­straint ex­er­cised by the Chi­nese troops. But the ten­sions re­sult­ing from the in­tru­sion will surely grow if there is not a to­tal with­drawal of the In­dian troops.

Un­like pre­vi­ous in­ci­dents that have oc­curred along other parts of the 3,500-kilo­me­ter bor­der be­tween China and In­dia, the lat­est in­ci­dent hap­pened at a sec­tion that has long been de­mar­cated by an 1890 his­tor­i­cal con­ven­tion and reaf­firmed in doc­u­ments ex­changed be­tween suc­ces­sive Chi­nese and In­dian gov­ern­ments since then.

The trans­gres­sion by In­dian troops there­fore vi­o­lates that con­ven­tion and the ba­sic norms that guide in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions. China has made it ex­plic­itly clear that it is “un­wa­ver­ing” in its re­solve to up­hold its territorial in­tegrity and will take what­ever mea­sures it deems nec­es­sary to do so.

In­dia may be try­ing to make a point. It is re­port­edly wor­ried that the Chi­nese road con­struc­tion may rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant change in the sta­tus quo with se­ri­ous se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions for In­dia, ac­cord­ing to its for­eign min­istry.

But such wor­ries could have been al­layed through di­a­logue and con­sul­ta­tion us­ing the mech­a­nisms that are al­ready in place and which have long helped the two sides main­tain peace and tran­quil­ity in the re­gion since their short bor­der war in 1962.

Yet in­stead of calls for talks, what we hear is clamor for war by the In­dian mil­i­tary, with its Army Chief Gen­eral Bipin Rawat declar­ing re­cently that In­dia “was ready for a two-and-a-half front war (China, Pak­istan and in­ter­nal se­cu­rity)”, and its De­fense Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley say­ing that the In­dia of 2017 was not the In­dia of 1962.

Per­haps its de­feat in that war was too hu­mil­i­at­ing for some in the In­dian mil­i­tary and that is why they are talk­ing bel­liger­ently this time.

And doubtlessly such ir­re­spon­si­ble acts and rhetoric re­flect the “strate­gic anx­i­ety” over China’s rise har­bored by some In­dian politi­cians and their ap­pre­hen­sions about the China-pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Yet as Chi­nese of­fi­cials have em­pha­sized on many oc­ca­sions, the ini­tia­tive aims to pro­mote eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and con­nec­tiv­ity and has no bear­ing on sovereignty is­sues. There is no need for In­dia to be sen­si­tive about the ini­tia­tive.

The tres­pass­ing by the In­dian troops runs counter to the In­dian govern­ment’s long­stand­ing and right­ful po­si­tion. It should re­spect China’s territorial in­tegrity and with­draw its troops back across the bor­der.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.