SP's LandForces - - LEAD STORY -

In the re­cent past we have seen a num­ber of warn­ings is­sued by China voic­ing her an­noy­ance on the Dalai La­maÕs visit to Tawang in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. On April 5, China gave a stiff warn­ing that it would take Ònec­es­sary mea­suresÓto de­fend its ter­ri­to­rial sovereignty af­ter In­dia al­lowed the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang and other dis­puted parts of Arunachal Pradesh. They said this was a move that could cause Òse­ri­ous dam­ageÓto the bi­lat­eral ties. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously China also lodged a protest with In­di­aÕs Am­bas­sador in Bei­jing, Vi­jay Gokhale, over the Dalai La­maÕs visit.

The his­tor­i­cal fact is that full state­hood was granted to Arunachal Pradesh on Fe­bru­ary 20, 1987 when Ra­jiv Gandhi was the Prime Min­is­ter and it be­came the 25th State of the Union of In­dia. Area-wise, Arunachal Pradesh is the largest state of the NE re­gion of In­dia.

Since 1962 Indo-China war, China con­sid­ers Arunachal Pradesh as Ôdis­puted ter­ri­to­ryÕ and leaves no op­por­tu­nity to lay its claim on the land. In­dia, in the past, had can­celled the per­mis­sion to the Bud­dhist leader to visit Arunachal Pradesh. But this time the Modi Govern­ment al­lowed the Dalai Lama to travel to Arunachal Pradesh, es­pe­cially Tawang Monastery con­sid­ered im­por­tant for the Bud­dhists.

Chi­nese ob­jec­tions re­gard­ing the Dalai La­maÕs Arunachal Pradesh visit seem to be the re­sult of an ap­pre­hen­sion on the im­pact on the peo­ple of Ti­bet. China had forcibly oc­cu­pied Ti­bet since 1959 and the Dalai Lama had taken refuge in In­dia with his fol­low­ers. But there have been move­ments go­ing on to free Ti­bet from the Chi­nese slav­ery and hence the ap­pre­hen­sion and sen­si­tiv­ity of China.

In­dia and China have been ne­go­ti­at­ing to re­solve the bor­der dis­pute for more than 20 years but an agree­ment is yet to be reached. The dis­pute cov­ers the 3,488-km line of ac­tual con­trol (LAC). China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of south Ti­bet. The re­gion of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh was also the birth­place of the sixth Dalai Lama, fur­ther com­pli­cat­ing Chi

From the above ac­tions and re­ac­tions it is ob­vi­ous that the Dalai La­maÕs Tawang visit among other places in Arunachal has rat­tled China. The in­ten­sity of Chi­naÕs re­ac­tion this time is in­deed sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing that it has been de­lib­er­ately drag­ging its feet in re­solv­ing the bor­der dis­pute along the line of ac­tual con­trol (LAC) and has not even ex­changed maps to clar­ify their per­cep­tion of the LAC.

The stri­dent notes emerg­ing from the state-con­trolled me­dia in China have been the cen­tre point of many de­bates and dis­cus­sions in In­dia and some of the rea­sons at­trib­uted to the strong Chi­nese re­ac­tion to the Dalai La­maÕs visit this time are: The emer­gence of a na­tion­al­is­tic right-wing govern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi which seems to be get­ting po­lit­i­cally stronger by the day es­pe­cially af­ter BJPÕs win in the Ut­tar Pradesh state elec­tions. Un­der Modi the na­tion is bound to be­come stronger in all re­spects and thus per­haps have a more dom­i­nat­ing pres­ence in the re­gion which is wor­ry­ing China.

The un­pre­dictabil­ity of Pres­i­dent Don­ald TrumpÕs China pol­icy and its im­pact on One China pol­icy with re­spect to Tai­wan and Ti­bet.

The per­ceived po­lit­i­cal close­ness that may de­velop be­tween In­dia and the US un­der the TrumpÕs regime.

The sen­si­tiv­ity of China to­wards Ti­bet and the im­pact the Dalai Lama, cov­ered by the in­ter­na­tional me­dia, may have on the peo­ple of Ti­bet who have been sub­ju­gated by China.

Case of Kulb­hushan Jad­hav

Another is­sue which has made head­lines re­cently, is the case of Kulb­hushan Jad­hav for­mer Com­man­der of the In­dian Navy who has been ar­rested by Pak­istan from Balochis­tan prov­ince, as de­clared by them, on March 25, 2016, and on April 10, 2017, the Pak­istanÕs army said that Jad­hav was con­victed by a mil­i­tary tri­bunal for es­pi­onage and sab­o­tage and sen­tenced to death. A state­ment by the Pak­istani mil­i­taryÕs public­ity wing, the In­ter-Ser­vices Pub­lic Re­la­tions (ISPR), said Jad­hav was de­clared guilty of wag­ing war against the coun­try and has ac­cused him of be­ing an - ysis Wing (RAW), In­di­aÕs ex­ter­nal spy agency.

Pak­istan Army had also re­leased a Òcon­fes­sional videoÓof Jad­hav who is pur­port­edly heard say­ing that he was serv­ing the In­dian Navy. In the video, Jad­hav al­legedly says he ar­rived in Iran in 2003 and started a small busi­ness in Chah­ba­har.

In­dia, on the other hand, main­tains that he is a busi­ness­man who was ab­ducted from Iran and falsely im­pli­cated as a spy to dis­credit In­dia.

In­dian Par­lia­ment has shown a rare sol­i­dar­ity in rais­ing its voice against the man­ner in which Pak­istan has han­dled the case of Kulb­hushan Jad­hav. The Govern­ment of In­dia has said that if the sen­tence Òis car­ried out, the govern­ment and peo­ple of In­dia will re­gard it as an case of pre­med­i­tated mur­derÓ, it said.

While many dis­cus­sions and de­bates have been held in the TV stu­dios re­gard­ing In­di­aÕs op­tions, the one thing that is clear is that most an­a­lysts feel that In­dia un­der Prime Min­is­ter Modi can pos­si­ble that if the death sen­tence of Jad­hav is car­ried out, will be se­vere.

Stone-pelt­ing in Kash­mir

the coun­try is the rest­less­ness of the youth in the Kash­mir val­ley. Stone-pelt­ing has be­come a way of life in the val­ley where the youth take to pelt­ing stones at the se­cu­rity forces, with­out any provo­ca­tion. The re­cent to a jeep went vi­ral in the so­cial me­dia and many ob­jected to the tac­tics adopted by the Army. The crit­ics sit­ting in Delhi have no other work ex­cept to pick up an is­sue which would give them some TV cov­er­age. This in­cludes some from our vet­eran com­mu­nity and most of us are gen­uinely ashamed of these peo­ple. What is per­turb­ing is shout­ing match which en­sues and our veter­ans are at the fore­front not re­al­is­ing the dis­taste­ful spec­ta­cle be­ing ex­hib­ited.

The in­ci­dent per­tains to the mob of stone-pel­ters who had gath­ered at the po­lice booth at Budgam which was at­tacked on April 9. The mob was throw­ing stones at the Indo-Ti­bet Bor­der Po­lice (ITBP) and Jammu and Kash­mir Po­lice to pre­vent vot­ers from cast­ing their votes. The ITBP per­son­nel on duty re­alised that they would not be able to get out alive and called for Army help. When the 17-strong Army Quick Re­ac­tion Team ( QRT) ar­rived, they too re­alised they were out­num­bered. The com­man­der of the QRT de­cided it es­ca­late ten­sions, de­spite the fact that res­cu­ing the men in­side was im­por­tant. He caught the al­leged stone-pel­ter Dar, tied him on to the jeep and drove past the mob of 900, sav­ing the ITBP and J&K Po­lice per­son­nel and his own boys.

Hav­ing spent 40 years of ser­vice in the Army and hav­ing fought two wars (1965 and 1971), and enough ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind me in han­dling tricky sit­u­a­tions, I think this was the most thought­ful of the QRT who should be re his pres­ence of mind.

We are all aware that the level of vi­o­lence has gone up ex­po­nen­tially since Chi­naÕs strate­gic lodge­ment in Gil­git-Baltistan. It is not a co­in­ci­dence that Chi­nese Val­ley. Con­nect the dots of Chi­nese sup­port to Naga and ULFA in­sur­gen­cies and you can re­alise what is sys­tem­at­i­cally creep­ing upon us.

This is­sue car­ries ar­ti­cles on Armed Forces Spe­cial Pow­ers Act; Cy­ber Ter­ror­ism and China Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor among oth­ers.

Lt Gen­eral V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

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