CHINA BAR­ING FANGS : A VIEW­POINT

When the Chi­nese in­tru­sion is so very de­lib­er­ate in es­tab­lish­ing 10 kilo­me­tres in­side our ter­ri­tory, the least we could do is to es­tab­lish a post north of their po­si­tion, be­hind the Chi­nese in­tru­sion

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the author.

Re­quest­ing and hold­ing a sec­ond flag meet­ing with the Chi­nese by it­self was dis­play­ing weak­ness when the Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry had al­ready brazenly de­nied ‘any in­cur­sion’ into In­dian ter­ri­tory.

The fact that this is a de­lib­er­ate in­tru­sion is ev­i­dent from the ad­mis­sion by our Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs (MEA) spokesper­son that the Chi­nese were at least two-three kilo­me­tres in­side our ter­ri­tory even when go­ing by the Chi­nese per­cep­tion of the line of ac­tual con­trol (LAC).

It is ap­par­ent that this Chi­nese in­tru­sion is on a per­ma­nent ba­sis and the Chi­na­man is cooly jeer­ing the In­dian hi­er­ar­chy. De­fence Min­is­ter A.K. Antony’s state­ment that “In­dia will take ev­ery step to pro­tect its in­ter­ests” sounds very hol­low. Looks like it is more for his own com­fort. Hol­lower is the stance of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sal­man Khur­shid who is more both­ered about the visit of Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang than loss of vi­tal In­dian ter­ri­tory.

It would not be sur­pris­ing if some pet un­der­dogs will be asked to pay back favours by pub­li­cis­ing that Daulat Beg Oldi has no strate­gic sig­nif­i­cance, as was be­ing manou­vred in build­ing the case for withdrawal from Si­achen. The so-called “tak­ing ev­ery step to pro­tect In­dian in­ter­ests” has boiled down to the Indo-Ti­betan Bor­der Po­lice (ITBP) re­port­edly be­ing asked to camp ap­prox­i­mately 300 me­tres op­po­site the lo­ca­tion and iron­i­cally this move too has been kept on standby. The pos­si­bil­ity of the hi­er­ar­chy ac­tu­ally giv­ing ex­ec­u­tive or­ders to the ITBP to this ef­fect ap­pears re­mote in the first place. But even if such a mir­a­cle does hap­pen, does this con­sti­tute Antony’s dec­la­ra­tion of “tak­ing ev­ery step to pro­tect In­dian in­ter­ests”?

When the Chi­nese in­tru­sion is so very de­lib­er­ate in es­tab­lish­ing 10 kilo­me­tres in­side our ter­ri­tory, the least we could do is to es­tab­lish a post north of their po­si­tion, be­hind the Chi­nese in­tru­sion; cre­ate the catch-22— who is be­hind whom? Bet­ter still, why not make a sim­i­lar in­tru­sion else­where when we are sure up to where the In­dian ter­ri­tory is in ‘our’ per­cep­tion. We could even go deeper in con­sul­ta­tion with the Dalai Lama since we share a bor­der with Ti­bet and not China.

This Chi­nese in­tru­sion is all the more brazen since both coun­tries through mu­tual agree­ment had put the res­o­lu­tion of the bor­der on the back­burner. To say that this Chi­nese move is to but­tress its bar­gain­ing po­si­tion when the two coun­tries dis­cuss the un­re­solved bor­ders along Arunachal Pradesh and the un­der­ly­ing ques­tion of Ti­bet too is naïve con­sid­er­ing that res­o­lu­tion of the bor­der is way off. Why this deep in­tru­sion at this point of time?

The in­tru­sion is ap­par­ently timed with lit­tle ma­noeu­vring space of the In­dian polity on ac­count of forth­com­ing elec­tions and our for­eign pol­icy man­darins be­ing over­awed with the visit of Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang. Zhang Yan, the Chi­nese Ambassador in New Delhi, must also have fed the CCP re­ports of Home Min­is­ter Sushil Kumar Shinde invit­ing Rehman Ma­lik in both in­stances and hug­ging him as the lat­ter snubbed In­dia, plus Sal­man Khur­shid rush­ing off to Jaipur (again against bu­reau­cratic ad­vice) to feast Raja Pervez Ashraf on a pri­vate visit, with the lat­ter re­turn­ing to move a res­o­lu­tion in the Pak­istani Par­lia­ment against hang­ing of Afzal Guru.

It is the propen­sity of our polity to bend back­wards that both China and Pak­istan bank upon. It may be re­called that US think tanks had warned a decade and a half back that China will start flex­ing its mil­i­tary mus­cle since 2010. That as­sess­ment is com­ing true. If we make the mis­take of tak­ing the is­sue lightly, there will be more in­tru­sions in­clud­ing im­pact­ing ad­versely on the de­fence of Ladakh. In all prob­a­bil­ity, Chi­nese will now bring a dozer to the area, con­struct a road link­ing with Ak­sai Chin and si­mul­ta­ne­ously de­velop high al­ti­tude habi­tat and de­fence works in­clud­ing a he­li­pad. Ask­ing the ITBP to es­tab­lish a post 300 me­tres fac­ing the Chi­nese would be a highly stupid re­sponse, per­pet­u­at­ing the show of im­po­tence. The call of the time is to show some spunk. Is the hi­er­ar­chy ca­pa­ble of it?

LT GEN­ERAL (RETD) P.C. KA­TOCH

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