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Friday, July 5, 2013

language of China - visit of A K Anthony.... border issues

Atithi Devo Bhavah  (Sanskrit: अतिथि देवो भवः]'The guest is God' is a Sanskrit verse, taken from an ancient Hindu scripture is almost the code of conduct of Hindu society……   ~ Sanskrit is not known to every part of the World !!!

Luo, the deputy-director general of the world military research department at a People’s Liberation Army academy, describes himself as a “reasonable hardliner.” His articles appear prominently in state media and he has 320,000 followers on Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblogging site. He made waves last year with comments questioning the legitimacy of Japanese sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands,  and have now uttered something at the time of Indian Minister’s visit to China. “India is the only country in the world that says that it is developing its military power because of China’s military threat,” said Luo…

China has not been a friendly neighbour ~  it is another matter though that none of the other countries have been…. A war was fought and lost in 1962 ~ things have not changed since.  There has been a sense of growing hostility not only in the border but also in the competition of economic order.  China’s  recent  intrusion in Ladakh lends itself to a suspicion that Beijing, emboldened by its economic prowess, is beginning to expect that its neighbours behave like “vassal states”.  At that time, Chinese military helicopters flew over Indian air space dropping food packets, cigarettes cartons and hand-written notes which could only be viewed in New Delhi as a brazen act of defiance.  Sadly, India seldom displays its seriousness on such brazen issues !  Just a few months ago, Chinese soldiers pitched their tents deep inside India’s Depsang Valley in Ladakh.  A few months earlier to that, China showed Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as its territory in maps of the country on their new e-passports, India retaliated by issuing visas, containing Indian maps including these regions as part of it. Their  troops had intruded as much as 19 km inside Indian territory

Sovereignty over two separated pieces of territory have been contested between China and India. One of them is the uninhabited  Aksai Chin, located either in the Indian province of Jammu and Kashmir, or the Chinese province of Xinjiang. The other disputed territory lies south of the McMahon Line ~ Arunachal Pradesh. McMahon Line is a line agreed to by Britain and Tibet as part of the Simla Accord, a treaty signed in 1914. It is the effective boundary between China and India, although its legal status is disputed by the Chinese government.

Now Indian defence Minister AK Antony is on a 4 day official visit to China~ the previous visit occurred 7 years earlier.  Before he could land, Chinese fired a salvo.  Major General Luo Yuan, an unabashed soldier known for his jingoistic views, told reporters in Beijing on 4th  July that India should not trigger “new problems” by ramping up its military infrastructure along the Sino-India border. Luo’s views are regularly carried by the state media in the form of signed articles.

By now it is becoming part of the strategy to rattle the opponents.. this is a ploy by the Chinese – a high ranking official airing warnings which cannot be simply shrugged off; though they may not be official communiqué.  One should not expect the Chinese foreign ministry to roll out a red carpet for the visiting foreign dignitary and have the Chinese foreign office speak sweet nothings. It is not even veiled – but a direct warning – not to increase the troop level along the border and not to take on China militarily.  Antony is accompanied by a high level delegation including Defence Secretary RK Mathur, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, Lt General Dalbir Singh; FOC-in-C, Southern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Satish Soni and other senior officials of the defence ministry and the armed forces.

Sure, there needs to be discussion on the position in the border and on  Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), a new proposal by China. The main provision of the BDCA is that India and China must not disturb current troop levels at the borders and also not beef up the military infrastructure at the border. India has already rejected the Chinese proposal.

Antony cannot afford to lower his guard and needs to speak to the Chinese in the language that they best understand. China needs to be conveyed that it cannot dictate what India should be doing. China can shout but India should march on in its perceived intentions without any shake.   But……… the statement of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid makes a sad and confused reading. He is quoted as stating that - India and China will not rush to resolve differences over their contested border even as there has been steady progress in the overall relationship. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th July 2013.

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