(By Lt General Dr Mohan Bhandari (Retired)
“Tibet is China’s palm. Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh & the North East Frontier Agency of Assam are the FIVE FINGERS. Now that the palm has been restored to China, the FIVE FINGERS should go with it”- Chinese Communist Propaganda.
Various geopolitical undercurrents shrouded in the mysticism & symbolism in the long record of India-China history institute directly towards the ongoing hostility between the two countries. The tension appears to have sprouted owing to a dogged & bizarre behavior or so-called Sino-centrism of the Middle Kingdom -- an attitude the Yellow Race has amassed after the cultural revolution of the forties & because of the humiliation she suffered from the West for the past 350 years.
The present standoff between India & China in Ladakh & Sikkim has to be viewed keeping in mind that the latter’s desire to succeed the US as the global hegemon within the next few years - hoping that its reign shall change the world in the most profound ways by signaling the end of Western Universalism.
Communist China as the People’s Republic with rigid inseparability to Marxian ideology has emerged alarmingly as a Hydra Headed Monster casting a gloom & destructive arm in South Asia with particular reference to India & South East Asia with the sole aim of bulldozing the weaker nation-states by abusing its political, economic & military strength thus amassing its ideological, power & territorial lust.Amazingly, China had claimed territories in 19 Countries including islands & seas & had published a Map showing Peking’s dominance as early as in 1820! What logic?
The above irrational attitude cum behavior of Dragon has been appropriately termed ETHNOCENTRIC with utter disregard for International Law.
In view of the foregoing, it is imperative to take on the present standoff in the backdrop of the fact that India has today the highest number of coronavirus cases in Asia with the marked recession in her economy. At this juncture, India is battling the Pandemic & the Chinese increasing transgressions on the Line of Actual Control.In the Ladakh Sector, troops of either side are facing each other at Galwan Valley & in & around areas Fingers at Panking Tso. In Sikkim, the face-off is at Naku La.
Between India & China, the boundaries have not been demarcated over the years & this has compounded the issue of frequent claims /counterclaims by both countries especially by the enthusiastic local commanders.After Nathu La, Doklam & Chumar incidents, a number of mutually accepted mechanisms & border pacts were signed since 1993. The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement of 2013 is a case in point.
China has come under great pressure from almost all countries of the world blaming her for the corona crisis.US has spearheaded this movement with Trump calling it outright as Chinese Corona! Well, Dragon has not liked the growing clout between the US & India. China also dislikes India for supporting Taiwan looking for an observer position in WHO. Somehow, China seems to be convinced that India is outrightly trying to harm her economic interests worldwide. The single big pain China has developed against India is the latter’s heading to the Executive Board of WHO. So all these are enough indicators of growing jealousy & hatred of China towards India.
In International Relationship, there are no permanent friends & foes but only permanent National Interests that matter & these are firmly based on National & International Law. China must realize that sheer bullying & claiming territories all over the world would finally prove highly detrimental to her. With the shape of events as these are in Hongkong & growing unrest inside China (The outside world does not know inside story of China), perhaps it is not far when China shall disintegrate like USSR!
Diplomacy is undertaken from a position of strength & India knows it well. Gone are the days of 1962. India is asserting & it MUST - to send a suitable message across. Time is on India’s side with the entire world watching the Dragon’s oft-repeated Drama especially at this painful & sad juncture of a pandemic humanitarian crisis. China is losing whatever little friends it has. This is where the Land of Kautilya must exercise caution & restraint yet continuing to increase her forces all along. Let it be a long haul. The Indian Armed Forces are prepared for it. India must make China realize the futility of her continuing habit of “DADAGIRI or DOMINEERING”!
THE ELEPHANT & DRAGON MUST DO the TANGO & SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS MUTUALLY.
(Dr. Mohan Bhandari is the author of books such as 'Solving Kashmir', and was the chairman of the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission post his retirement.)