Ajaz Ahmad War
There are various versions to how far Chinese have intruded into what India believed to be its territory for decades. What is widely believed is that People’s Liberation Army has taken control of 1000 sq km that was perceived as Indian area and which the Indian Army patrolled prior to LAC row. Once in possession of the territory, China has just refused to talk about it, as if it never existed as Indian territory. Instead, it is now threatening India to vacate the areas occupied by the Indian Army that are on the Indian side of the LAC.
India has not only been dominated by China militarily along the LAC but has also been subdued on the table. India kept downplaying the explosive situation initially with the hope that a dialogue might resolve the crisis, but to no avail.
So far, top commanders of the PLA and the Indian Army have had five rounds of deliberations to defuse the potentially dangerous situation but without any success.
Defence and foreign ministers of India and China also met on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Moscow recently but without anything coming of it.
What the political leadership of India wanted to keep under wraps without letting its public know the exact reality is out in the open now. While the largely pro-BJP media continues to toe the government line that includes presenting India as a power that is not overawed by China, several media houses have gradually started giving out the real figures which don’t support BJP government’s claims.
Despite India’s lofty claims that it wields a global clout, there has been no international condemnation of Chinese action on the LAC. Also, government’s initial response to it didn’t help India’s cause either. India’s decades-long friend Russia hosted India and China to provide a platform for dialogue but without taking any position on LAC crisis. Even the much talked about ally US didn’t take a clear stand either. Trump, as he often does, offered to mediate but without taking on its biggest economic and military rival and without siding with its ally India. That speaks volumes about what the respective standing of China and India is internationally. US’ response to the India-China crisis also raises questions about India’s foreign policy. India went out of its way to sign strategic cooperation agreement with US, annoying China big time. India also lost its high value strategic partner Iran because of its close alliance with US and compliance to its demands. A lot of mess that India has created for itself in the neighbourhood is largely the result of the last six years of diplomacy since Modi’s ascension to power and the alliance with US is central to all these developments.
Given the internal discord and the divisive politics of BJP, India might be in for a lot of trouble. At a time when its economy is tanking, unemployment is at an all-time high, polarisation is widespread, India needs to tread cautiously and ensure that it reconsiders some of its recent decisions which are largely responsible for the mess it is beset with.
It would be safe to say that LAC flare-up and the abrogation of article 370 are related. China is a massive military, economic and technological might and it won’t take any Indian highhandedness hands down, even if it’s not directed at it but affects it indirectly. India can’t hope to be friends with China and continue its aggressive posturing and policies towards its ‘iron brother’ Pakistan and neither can it expect a thaw in relations with Pakistan in the middle of a crisis with China. India needs to reconsider many of its policies and think rationally and try to resolve all issues with two of its mighty neighbours, Pakistan and China, as also with others. That’s the only way forward to peace and prosperity in the region.