With­drawal of its troops is In­dia’s best re­course

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

The tres­pass­ing in Chi­nese ter­ri­tory by In­dian troops has now dragged into a se­cond month. The longer they re­main on the Chi­nese side of the long-de­mar­cated and mu­tu­ally rec­og­nized Sikkim sec­tion of the bor­der, the less room there will be for peace­fully end­ing the cri­sis. Con­sid­er­ing that both sides have re­port­edly sent more troops into the Donglang area, the face-off be­tween In­dian and Chi­nese troops, if not prop­erly han­dled, could eas­ily be the fuse that ig­nites a mil­i­tary clash be­tween the two coun­tries.

Es­pe­cially as some In­dian of­fi­cials and me­dia are bel­li­cosely pro­claim­ing that In­dia to­day is dif­fer­ent from the In­dia of 1962, im­ply­ing the coun­try’s mil­i­tary mus­cles have grown since then.

They should be aware that the same ap­plies to China, if not more so.

China has so far ex­er­cised the ut­most res­traint and is still try­ing to defuse the sit­u­a­tion in a peace­ful man­ner. How­ever, this should not be mis­in­ter­preted by In­dia as a sign of weak­ness, as that would likely lead to it mak­ing a dan­ger­ous mis­cal­cu­la­tion. It should be aware that China has both the nec­es­sary means and the will to safe­guard its ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity.

Since the In­dian troops have not been with­drawn from the Chi­nese ter­ri­tory, de­spite China’s re­peated urg­ings, their tres­pass­ing bears ev­ery em­blem of be­ing an in­cur­sion. If China’s ap­peals for In­dia to see sense and re­spect the de­mar­cated bor­der con­tinue to fall on deaf ears then a mil­i­tary re­sponse may be­come in­evitable.

This would not only dis­rupt the good mo­men­tum in ties that had seemed to be on the cards af­ter re­cent bi­lat­eral high-level meet­ings, but also the peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment the two economies need for their de­vel­op­ment.

De­spite their dis­putes over other parts of the bor­der, the Sikkim sec­tion of the China-In­dia bound­ary has been de­lim­ited by treaty, and the In­dian gov­ern­ment has re­peat­edly con­firmed in writ­ing that it rec­og­nizes this part of the bound­ary. Yet In­dian troops en­tered Chi­nese ter­ri­tory to ob­struct the con­struc­tion of a road.

In­dian claims that the area where China is con­struct­ing the road is dis­puted by Bhutan and it is help­ing it as ob­li­gated by their friend­ship treaty. How­ever, this is dis­sem­bling its real rea­sons, which stem from its own un­founded sense of in­se­cu­rity and fear that it is los­ing out to China in re­gional in­flu­ence.

Re­ports from In­dia, suggest its troops in the Donglang are pre­par­ing to stay for the long haul. How­ever, that will not be al­lowed. It is high time In­dia cor­rected its wrong­do­ing and re­spected the de­mar­cated bound­ary by with­draw­ing its troops from Chi­nese ter­ri­tory.

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