'No War, No Peace'

While admitting the bitter reality of 'no war, no peace' situation prevailing all along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) despite dozens of diplomatic and military level talks between India and China, India's Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadhuria, said in uncertain terms that 'India had no option but to remain prepared for a show of strength'. Both sides continually issue statements that they would maintain tranquility along the LAC, only to mock at what they say in public. The ground reality is hardly presented in the media. Indian and Chinese troops along with all their sophisticated arms and armaments breathe down on each other's necks in a prolonged tense faceoff in eastern Ladakh. Given the uneasy calm, China is allegedly all set to raise their stakes, unless they get the boundary, proposed in 1959, at a summit between Jawaharlal Nehru and Chow en Lai.

The massive build up of troops and the escalatory spiral, in eastern Ladakh has been described by S Jaishankar, India's External Affairs Minister, as the " most serious situation since 1962". The People's Liberation Army (PLA), is said to have raised its combat readiness to the second highest level following several firing incidents along the LINE, just ahead of S Jaishankar- Wang Yi parley in Moscow. For all practical purposes the 5-point agreement they reached at Russia's initiative to maintain the status quo along the LAC, now makes little sense. China has reportedly inducted 10,000 additional troops to make the LINE hot again.

The hard fact is that India's top ranking officials, both civilian and military, have not yet dubbed China as the aggressor, albeit Rahul Gandhi, the crown prince of Congress Party, has been accusing Modi of surrendering Indian territories, in vague terms, to China, without really specifying the actual state of affairs. In truth, he is at worst trying to play with the gallery, to draw public attention. Surprisingly, even India's defence minister, was equally vague in his address to Parliament as he mentioned only Aksai Chin and Shaksgam. He didn't say a word or two about China's recent' occupation of a much larger chunk of territory' than what happened during the successive Congress governments.

Meanwhile, 'looking back at the events that led to the clashes in the Galwan Valley, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong underlines that the overall in the India-China border areas has now become stable and controllable' He further said that China is ready to work with the Indian side to properly deal with the current situation, jointly uphold peace and stability in the border areas, and ensure sound and steady development of bilateral relations. Mr Sun Weidong, however, didn't forget to make a pointed allegation that on May 6, the Indian border troops crossed the LAC in the Galwan Valley by night and trespassed into China's territory. He further alleged that Indian troops resorted to violent means to create a standoff between the two sides and built infrastructures in an attempt to maintain a permanent presence. Ironically very recently India and China celebrated the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

Chinese Ambassador Mr Sun Weidong in a video message on July 10,2020, said, on the occasion of 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations,' some people are trying to provoke confrontation, but those actions neither serve any good to the two countries nor the world'.

Sun's rhetoric sounds sweet but mere sweet words cannot wash. Whether the diehard pro-China elements in Indian Communist Movement admit or not, China's repeated provocative stance along the ever changing LAC seems to have pushed India further into the orbit of America. There is no denying the fact that America is visibly worried about the fast rise of its rival imperial power China. Even during the Mao era when China was regarded as a socialist state, Beijing didn't budge an from their pre-conceived perception of India-China boundary as mooted by Chow En Lai in 1959. China doesn't recognise Ladakh and Arunachal as Indian territories. Having lost patience in the quagmire of Himalayan wilderness, they are out settle the score by applying force because multi-level diplomacy has so far failed to deliver.

At the time of writing the foreign ministers of QUAD, comprising Japan, Australia, India and the US, are going to meet in Tokyo. China protested the move while apprehending a grand design to contain China. Moscow too sees in QUAD an emerging military grouping of Japan, Australia, India and the us in the Indo-Pacific.

The first QUAD meeting was held in 2019, soon after the Government returned to power for the second time, with a brute majority.


Vol. 53, No. 18, Nov 1 - 7, 2020