How serious is the threat of stand off between Indian and Chinese troops on trijunction with Bhutan becoming a full scale confrontation on the border between India and China. AS far as India is concerned efforts are on to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels, but China is adopting aggressive attitude and threatening that if Indian troops did not withdraw it could lead to humiliation of India as was the case in 1962.
Chinese media has been actively issuing threats to India and its aggressive attitude is online with Chinese approach to other countries in the region and has gone to the extent of suggesting that the entire process of negotiations to settle the border disputes between the two countries may suffer a setback. The danger is that India which at present is facing unrest in Kashmir which is actively supported by Pakistan may find yet another front being opened against it by China.
The prospect of twin threat from China and Pakistan has been considered by our experts from time to time and some steps have also been taken to deal with it, but there is little doubt that it would create a difficult situation. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has pointed out that India has changed and is not the same as in 1962 and there is no chance of Chinese troops having a walk over in North-East as was the case in 1962.
But China has also grown and has become a world power, its economy and Military might has grown in this period. More so in present times it would not be possible to depend on any other country for support as Russia has close dealings with China and USA has its own issues in dealing with China who is a major trade partner of USA and holds USA treasury bonds whose release in the market can create a major problem for U.S economy. Another point to be considered is that China has become a major trade partner of India.
Under the circumstances Indian Government is moving ahead with care and caution.
The first requirement is total unity on national front, Confrontation between opposition parties and ruling party has to be avoided. To start with opposition parties have supported the Government on China issue, but much more needs to be done. To start with efforts are needed to deal with internal problems in Kashmir, Darjeeling and North East. The present atmosphere of communal confrontation on suspicion of cow slaughter by lynching innocents has to be stopped.
Twin threat from Pakistan and China will be a threat which will require a consolidated effort. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a beginning by condemning mobs indulging in attacks in the name of saving cows, but he will have to do much more. He would have to use his clout to make State Governments in states like U.P, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand to deal firmly with self styled protectors of cows who are becoming a threat to minority community and Dalits dealing with animals trade and leather industry.
The challenge facing Prime Minister is grave. His policy of winning over Chinese leaders as well as Pakistani leaders through diplomacy has not worked. A time has come when India will have to meet the threat with force. He has to build a national consensus and take help of all political parties to deal with internal problems. In case a peaceful resolution of problems in Kashmir and Darjeeling is found half the problem will be solved. WE need to deal with our own people through negotiations while force could be used against outsiders.
Prime Minister at the beginning of Monson session of Parliament walked over to opposition benches and greeted Mrs Sonia Gandhi This has to be followed by steps to remove the impression that present Government was indulging in witch hunting and making all opposition leaders as their targets by using official agencies like CBI and enforcement directorate. It would not be easy as Mr Modi is a man of strong convictions, strong likes and dislikes. The situation, however, demands that he should become a statesman and national leader instead of being a leader of a political party and a figure which divides the nation. (Brij Bhardwaj is a veteran journalist and commentator) [IFS]