In an interview before he became Prime Minister, Narendra Modi questioned a journalist ‘How can you expect me to tell how I deal with Pakistan’? The message was simple. Let your actions speak while you shut your mouth tight.
The so called standoff between India and China is now a month old. The glaring difference between the way things have precipitated in India and China has highlighted China’s advantage of having no opposition. True, Opposition represents the other face of democracy. Then, opposing for the sake of opposing has become the hallmark of current opposition. Well, some journalists question how BJP and its allies have disrupted Parliament when Congress was in power. What they intentionally fail to mention was many a Union Ministers of UPA-2 were enjoying hospitality of Tihar jail then and Corruption had become synonymous to Governance. Did they expect the opposition not to rake the issue of corruption?
Those in Congress, who know exactly what has happened have not commented on the current impasse at Doklam. All we hear is about the ramblings of halfwit second run leaders who are petted by the party only to provide sound bites to the media (Should it not be bytes, in digital age?).
What happened in Doklam?
On a piece of land that is under dispute between Bhutan and China, China started to construct road, to which Bhutan and India objected. On behalf of Bhutan, under obligations of its treaty with Bhutan, India moved into the area preventing road construction work by PLA. China objected to India entering into the area saying India cannot act on behalf of Bhutan into a land that is claimed by China and Bhutan. For over a month now, both armies of India and China have been standing few metres away, fully armed but guns pointed down. Back-up forces are mobilised by both countries to deal with eventualities of any type.
Bhutan, meanwhile objected to China constructing roads in the disputed area and protested officially. Officially, except the statement of Arun Jaitley on reminding China that India in 2017 is different than what it was in 1962, there were no statements – till MEA Sushma Swaraj explained India’s case to the Parliament – adhering to democratic norms. China too had responded to Jaitley’s statement explaining even China in 2017 is not what it was in 1962.
China advocated its case through its official mouth piece Global Times, demanding India back-off and vacate Doklam for any dialogue to happen. Well, now Sushma Swaraj rejected it seeking simultaneous vacation of Doklam.
Who argued the case best for China? Was it any Chinese minister or secretary? No! It was Wancha Sangay, a Bhutanese blogger. It is not wrong for a Bhutanese person to have a different opinion from that of his government. Sangay argued consistently how Bhutan is playing second fiddle to India. He expects Royal Bhutanese outposts to prevent Chinese constructing roads in the disputed land at Sino-Bhutan border. Only his government thought otherwise. Maybe the Bhutan government has learnt lessons on how China had annexed Tibet, Taiwan and Hong-Kong.
However, the actions of China at that particular border affects Indian security concerns directly, as they would be close to the Chicken-Neck or Siliguri Corridor that connects Rest of India with the North-East. What China fails to explain is the necessity to pave roads in Doklam area pending the solution to border disputes with Bhutan.
Why China felt the need to provoke India at all? Maybe China felt threatened by the new friends India is making in the world. Or only to satisfy its sadistic friend, Pakistan. Or simply wanted to test how India responds. China is frustrated at the way India responded. India did not fire a single shot, as did China. The weather in Doklam now is not too harsh and so it is convenient for both armies to pitch tents and stay there. This is the game of who blinks first. And, so far both have not blinked, though Indian Opposition and Chinese official tabloid have been talking in various tongues.
The impasse has again exposed the frivolous behaviour of Indian Opposition. Every other Congress leader blamed government for the current standoff. Did they offer any suggestions? No. Do they want Indian Army to move back and let PLA proceed with road construction? Only they can explain.
The VP of Congress, known for his imprudence had an unscheduled meeting with the Chinese envoy, along with his sister and brother-in-law. The denial and subsequent acknowledgement of the said meeting by the Congress and removal of the media post by Chinese rake many an unanswered questions by the grand old political party of India.
As the leader of opposition, Rahul Gandhi is well within his rights to meet Chinese envoy. Even earlier, many visiting dignitaries visit not only opposition leaders, but even chief ministers of particular states – but such meetings are announced and pre-scheduled. No clandestine meetings have taken place earlier that were advertised not by the opposition leaders but by the other country involved. Even while he was in meeting, Rahul Gandhi should have informed Ministry of External Affairs and should have got briefed about the stance of the Indian Government, beforehand so he or his representatives could articulate the stand of India well.
And, even the best of the lawyers Congress have cannot explain why Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra have met the Chinese envoy?
The Congress argued -Why Indian ministers were visiting China and enjoying their hospitality, amidst the standoff. It is laughable how Congressmen argue when they were trying to protect their masters. For both Indian and Chinese governments, the standoff at Doklam has no bearing on routine affairs.
According to China, India has a strategic advantage against them
Allow me to explain -According to China, Indian Army already occupied Doklam that is a Chinese territory. So, what should India do – even if it is true? Nothing. Keep the advantage they’ve gained. Stand still. And that is what Indian Army is doing.
After gaining such advantage, why India should mingle this military situation with economic ones? There is absolutely no reason. Let the economic activities take their own course. Augment the military at Doklam and make it a permanent base.
For China, however the matter is not that simple. So are the conflicting views they present on the impasse. China talks of how such military standoffs lead to stagnation of economic activities. In fact, they quoted how the China-Japan-South Korea treaty became a bilateral treaty between China and South Korea, after China and Japan had similar situation.
After failing to induce India to be part of its OBOR initiative, China wants RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) to be settled soon. China explains even how India will be benefited from such an early settlement. But, not only India, even Japan and New Zealand wanted a qualitatively better RCEP. As the service sector accounts for 50% of India’s GDP, India wants greater mobility of highly skilled professionals from India. In its current format, the agreement is not allowing this, and so the resistance from India.
If China wants to grow an economic super power in the new world, why the talk of war?
With the gradual withdrawal of US from world forums, China is now trying to learn climbing ropes of international diplomacy. Becoming a global economic superpower means nothing, unless the world recognises the military might. Remember Japan before the rise of China? Despite being the economic superpower, Japan was part of American alliance. There is a need to showcase the military might of China. And, who is the better opponent than India. Yet, China knew the necessity of engaging India on economic front, even as the impasse continues. Waging a war against a democratic country, especially when all friends of China are designated rogue-nations doesn’t enhance its global image. So, the military stand-off.
China uses its media to present the case for war. As both governments do not and cannot encourage the war talk, Indian media, Opposition and some short-sighted Bhakts are enhancing nuisance value by talking of the war. Does it mean the current situation may not precipitate into a war?
Skirmishes of short range at Doklam and other sections of borders are still a possibility, without evolving into a full-fledged war, as both India and China can’t afford.
Only fools talk of war in the present scenario, from both sides. Those who consider themselves to be sane, better watch their words lest they may be playing into the hands of the opponent. After all, national interests shall be above individual TRPs.