Indo China border is approximately 3000 kms long and years of negotiations to settle it have made no progress. China continues to claim large Indian territories particularly along the Western and Eastern borders as its own, missing no opportunity to remind the World of its claims. Chinese protests over the Indian Prime Ministers visit to Tawang, the Dalai Lamas visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the refusal to give a visa to the MP from Arunachal, saying as a Chinese Citizen he did not need one, vetoing of Asian Development Bank’s loans for projects in Arunachal, are all designed to remind the world that China has not given up claims over land which it claims is its and is, according to China, under illegal Indian occupation. Repeated incursions by the Peoples Liberation Army into Ladakh & Uttarakhand, Chinese claims over Lahul & Spiti Valley in Himachal and its continued occupation of what was until recently, a part of Jammu & Kashmir – the Askai Chin region, remind us of the dangers of the Dragon along the Western section of the Indo – China border. India gave up its option of retaliating when it accepted that Tibet is a part of China.
China misses no opportunity to lash out at India, even advising the visiting Indian Foreign Minister to control the Indian press, while its own writers debate over the need to break up India into smaller countries. Even if the author of the article was an independent analyst, one must remember that nothing can be said publicly by people in Chinese without official approval. Can any so-called independent analyst ever even criticize the Communist Party, leave alone talking about breaking up China?
It is difficult for most of us, living in mainland India, to imagine the plight of Indians living near the Chinese border. As someone who has travelled along the border in Ladakh and talked with locals and servicemen there, I can say with absolute confidence that the Indian mindset at the Chinese border can be described with one single word – FEAR!
Fear is all pervasive. The local villagers fear the Chinese, the Indian soldiers there fear the Chinese. It is one thing to accidentally stray into Indian Territory and retreat, as the Indian Government wants us to believe, and another to cross over, go to the Indian Army outposts, snatch the weapons, rations and fuel of the soldiers there and walk back. This is what actually happens along the so-called “peaceful border”. An ex-serviceman living in the area claimed that once while he was posted at a border post in Chushul area, the Chinese soldiers even took the soldiers belts. (an ultimate sign of insult in the military world) An Indian soldier who was recently transferred there from the Pakistani Border said that the contrast could not be starker “over there we are the kings, the Pakistani Army fears us, over here, we are worse than rats!”
With the Indian Army under strict orders not to fire at the Chinese under any circumstance, the soldiers there are helpless. Add to this is the remoteness of the area, absence of roads and the thinly spread out Army outposts, the feeling of fear is overwhelming and cannot be described in words. (To those who are cynical, a visit to the area would be educating) While the Chinese are reportedly even building rail tracks on their side of border, the Indian side has dirt tracks for roads! While China stations its nuclear tipped missiles in Tibet facing India, the Indians are fearful of even operating their advance landing strips along the border.
How else can one explain that with approximately an intrusion a day over the last decade, even one shot has not been fired nor any intruder captured along the entire border?
Equally hilarious is the claim of Indian Foreign minister that our troops occasionally go into the Chinese territories. The truth is that some patrols go upto the border in disputed sectors, AFTER ensuring that the Chinese Army is nowhere in sight! If we remember the Chinese in 1962 launched the attack on India after claiming that 33 Chinese sheep had been abducted by the Indian Army and gave India 48 hrs to return them. Nehru’s attempts at giving 33 Indian sheep to pacify them failed when the Chinese claimed that the returned sheep were not Chinese! To think that Indian troops can go into Chinese territory and write India on stones there is plainly stupid.
Also one cannot understand why there are border area in Arunachal Pradesh where the Indian Army is prohibited from going upto the border, while the Chinese Army is right on the border. In other areas the Army is prohibited from carrying weapons, while the Chinese patrols are fully armed. Does this not indicate over-submission?
As Kiraj Rijijiu, an MP from Arunachal said recently ““We as a country believe ourselves to be at a lower level when dealing with China. We are not dealing with them on equal terms. There is an inferiority complex on our part. I’m not saying we have to be aggressive in our dealings with them, but we have to be firm. I’m an advocate of perfectly cordial relations with China,”
The Indian Government points to the “peace” statements coming out of the Chinese government as a sign that all is well. Can one forget that the Chinese are known to be double faced? In 1962 slogans of “Hindi – Chini Bhai Bhai” were raised on both sides of the borders, even as China prepared to strike. For six months prior to the 1962 war the Chinese Army stockpiled weapons, ammunition, fuel and medicines on the border while yelling the infamous Bhi Bhi slogan. India was foolish enough to allow China to ship in food supplies for its border troops through Calcutta Port! And when the attack came, India was unprepared.
Are we again missing signs of Chinese preparations? They have made highways parallel to the entire border, Indians go on mules there. Chinese Army has enhanced its troop strength in Tibet, stationed nuclear missiles and has been regularly intruding across the border. To think that just because we have nuclear missiles capable of reaching Beijing, we are safe would be erroneous, because in any possible conflict with China, India cannot use nuclear weapons even as the last resort, because Chinese nuclear retaliation will be disastrous for India.
To put it bluntly, India is way behind China in economic, political and military terms. To be lulled into complacency by Chinese Diplomacy would be foolish and inviting a repeat of ‘62. Our Foreign Minister seems to act more as an apologist for China by trying to give “logical” reasons for “harmless” Chinese incursions. Perhaps George Fernandes was the only politician brave enough to publicly call China, India’s number one threat. In 1962 the Indian Parliament passed a resolution proclaiming India’s intention of regaining “every inch” of Indian land under Chinese Occupation, including Akai Chin. Has the present day Congress forgotten this demand of its own leader, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru?
Therefore, this so-called peace, on the “peaceful” Indo – China border is illusionary and based on India subjugating itself to bullying by China. The moment India asserts its claims on the borders; the “peace” will vanish in no time.
Wake up India or one day to save the mainland we may have to barter away our Himalayas.
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