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
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