The dragon has once again raised its ugly head to cause the lion to roar and pounce on it in retaliation. The dragon and the lion came face to face after a long face-off on the Himalayas. The result was that both suffered casualties and injuries. The dragon has been provoking the lion for quite some time, though the lion has remained unprovoked and exercised utmost restraint till a clash has been forced on it.
This analogy is only to draw and depict the natural instincts of these two iconic beasts representing two countries – China and India. China is suffering from identity crisis while India is climbing up of the popularity barometer among the majority of the world nations.
In the recent days, China’s image has been suffering a severe setback due to its attitude in hiding the facts and not revealing to the world about the Covid-19, which took its birth in Wuhan. The whole world has become a victim of the pandemic.
This attitude of China has angered the US, whose President Donald Trump has threatened to impose sanctions against this aspiring super power. Trump has also appealed to multinational companies to shift their production bases from China to other friendly countries.
With the June 15 flare-up on the Ladakh border, China, with its provocative and dubious instinct, has driven India to the wall to vow a retaliation. The year 2020 is not to be construed as the year of 1962. The whole world knows the strength of rising India. As far as China is concerned it should realize that India has already mustered the support of the US, France, the UK, European and other developed and developing nations
Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, described India’s relationship with China as “Bhai-Bhai.” However China did not behave like a brother, but backstabbed India in 1962. Jawaharlal Nehru, and with him the whole nation, were shocked by China’s treachery. Since then 57 years have lapsed, but during this period China continues to indulge in blatant border violation multiple times. Now the time is ripe for India to say “Bye-Bye” to China.
In the year 1967 China attempted to annex the Indian territory along the Sikkim border. In the process, 88 Indian soldiers — and perhaps as many as 340 troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) — were killed in the course of skirmishes near Nathu La and Cho La, the gateways to the strategically-vital Chumbi valley.
In 1975 China opened fire along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh forcing India to retaliate. The PLA had ambushed an Assam Rifles patrol at the Tulung La pass in Arunachal Pradesh and killed four personnel. However, in 1976 India and China agreed to have diplomatic relations after a gap of 15 years.
Again in 1986 and 1987, Chinese troops tried to occupy Arunachal Pradesh, but the Indian Army launched a strong retaliation that was known as “Operation Falcon.” And the standoff ended through negotiations between India and China. Following the negotiations, India and China agreed in 1988 to set up a joint working group on the boundary. Also subsequently in 1993 India and China signed an agreement to maintain peace and tranquility as a mark of recognition to the LAC, and in 1996 the two countries signed a confidence-building agreement.
Taking advantage of India’s engagement in the Kargil conflict with Pakistan in 1999, China had built a five-kilometer-long track up to the southern bank of Panagong Tso on the Himalayan range in Ladakh. This has helped the Chinese soldiers to build permanent roads and set up bunkers inside Indian part of the LAC in Ladakh’s Aksai Chin in the year 2000.
With all these buildups, Chinese troops in the year 2013 intruded into Depsang Valley in Ladakh, leading to a standoff with the Indian troops. But the standoff was eased through negotiations and signing of the Border Defense Cooperation Agreement by both the countries.
But violating the negotiations and agreements had become a routine habit for China. The Chinese soldiers in 2014 once again attempted to build a road in Chumar area of Ladakh. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi took up the issue with the visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and stalled the road-building attempt.
In a pro-longed 73-day confrontation in 2017 on the Bhutanese territory of Doklam near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction the Indian troops blocked Chinese troops from extending a road. The two armies moved more infantry battalions, tanks and missile units towards the border before the faceoff was defused. But the fallout has been that the PLA has permanently stationed troops and built helipads in north Doklam area.
With this background of several attempts to violate the border, China has been building roads and amassing troops all along the LAC that stood for the border between India and China, which is not decisively demarcated line of border and it has become the cause for disputes among Indian and Chinese soldiers. Nonetheless China is not ready to honor the status quo ante.
For the past few weeks, India and China have been amassing troops. The armies of the two countries have been moving in heavy equipment and weaponry including artillery guns and combat vehicles to the rear bases close to the disputed areas in eastern Ladakh as the two militaries remained engaged in a bitter standoff along the LAC.
As de-escalation talks were in progress, the armies of India and China were locked in a violent physical skirmish in the Galwan Valley region of the eastern Ladakh on June 15 night, in which 20 Indian soldiers including a colonel were killed and several others were grievously injured. It was also reported that 43 casualties on the Chinese side, though China was silent on it. The Chinese soldiers were reported to have used stones and iron rods studded with nails. However, no shots were fired by both the armies in the clash.
A defiant China, which has been picking up rows also with Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan and some other countries, is “pitting” Pakistan and lately Nepal against India on border issues. Nepal is playing into the hands of China. By picking up a border row with India, Nepal has opened up a proxy warfront for China. Nepal is a landlocked nation and it must realize that it needs India’s ports for its imports and exports. The cordial relations between India and Nepal have been age-old. Pakistan has already been identified in the world as home for international terrorism.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi, joined by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Cabinet, has vowed that the sacrifices of the Indian soldiers would not go in vain and India would not compromise on its integrity and sovereignty, it is time for the Opposition leaders to join their hands and lend their unequivocal support to the ruling government.
– Contributed by Mr. J.V. Laskshmana Rao, a former National News Coordinator of Express News Service, New Delhi, and former Chief Editor of US-based India Tribune. He frequently travels between India and the US.
Picture Credits: Reuters / theedgemarkets.com