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How far will India bend before China?
Publication Date : 03-09-2012
The Indian government will once again demonstrate to the world that it is no longer an independent entity. China’s defence minister General Liang Guanglie started his three-day visit to Mumbai yesterday to discuss revival of joint military exercise and more confidence building measures between both countries.
The first exercise was held in China in 2007 and the second in India in 2008. This is the first visit by a Chinese defence minister in the past seven years. Both governments will discuss ways of strengthening their defence ties. How sick can our quisling government get?
Currently China has reiterated that Arunachal Pradesh belongs to China because it is “south Tibet”. Earlier last week, external affairs minister of state E Ahmed informed the Rajya Sabha that China was claiming 90,000 sq-km of Indian territory.
He informed the House in a written reply: “China disputes the international boundary between India and China in the eastern sector and claims approximately 90,000 sq-km of Indian territory in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. China illegally refers to Arunachal Pradesh as ‘southern Tibet''. The minister consoled the House by stating that China has been informed that Arunachal Pradesh was “an integral and inalienable part of India”.
Is that enough? The Chinese must be laughing their heads off over this ritualistic empty claim while New Delhi continues to promote “confidence-building measures” with Beijing. It should be recalled that in 2005, Beijing gave a solemn written undertaking to our then foreign secretary that related to the Sino-Indian Boundary dispute that China will not disturb any settled populations while making territorial claims.
Later, Beijing brazenly rubbished its own pledge. New Delhi shamelessly continued with its business-as-usual approach with China. One can well imagine how Beijing would have reacted had India brazenly reneged on a written agreement with China.
Does our government know at all what needs to be said when talking to Beijing? Or for that matter when it talks to Islamabad? Recently, as our Prime Minister repeated parrot-like his stale expressions of hope to President Zardari in Teheran, the Pakistan army reneged on its 40-year-old agreement with the Singapore Port Authority that was developing the crucially strategic Gwadar port in Baluchistan. As a result, the Singapore authority was compelled to cry off. As preplanned, the Pakistan army gave over the development and control of that port to China.
As in China, so in Pakistan, the civilian government is but a mask for the military Generals that rule both nations. Pakistan’s politically-impotent ports and shipping minister Babar Khan Ghauri lamented that the Pakistan army behaved like a real estate company while the land belonged to Pakistan. He considered it “shameful” that a friendly foreign partner had to end operating because of the navy’s arbitrary and shifting stand. He said: “We have not been able to meet contractual obligations and resolve land issues. Now the Chinese will take over Gwadar port.”
In the light of all this, what purpose does it serve for New Delhi to talk to either Beijing or Islamabad when our government is incapable of raising the relevant issues that affect our national security? As long as the cultural nationalism of the entire South Asian region is not recognised and acknowledged by the People’s Liberation Army and its proxy puppet, the Pakistan army, no amount of talking with either nation will serve any purpose. China must stop undue meddling in South Asia. Pakistan must accept that above all else, its commitment and future lie with its neighbours in South Asia. Anything less than that should be unacceptable to India.
America can afford to wait indefinitely for China to liberalise and become accommodative. India cannot. An alternative diplomatic option is available to us. It has been written about earlier in these columns. I will not reiterate it. Is it not time that we adopt it?
The writer is a veteran journalist and cartoonist.