Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Aug 2017 12:31:55

By Vijay phanshikar,

EVEN as she insisted that war was no solution to the issues between India and China, Minister of External Affairs Mrs. Sushma Swaraj underlined the need for both the countries to understand how their mutual economic interests intertwined and how both the countries must resort to dialogue. This statement demonstrates the maturity with which India wishes to approach the silent hostilities that prevail between the two countries. 

There is little doubt about the substance in Mrs. Swaraj’s statement which represents the policy and approach of the Government towards China.

The problem, however, is about the approach of the Chinese who keep needling India time and again through military incursions and also issuing threats of military action in the same manner as they did in 1962. In the past two months, China issued military threats to India at least four times, starting from the Chinese media to official spokespersons.

Mrs. Swaraj’s statement has considered all these dimensions in a nutshell and highlighted what needs to be done actually by the two countries. Of course, it is difficult to comprehend how China would respond to this statement of good intentions by India.

For record, obviously, China would carry along on more or less similar lines, but insist that their territorial claims are non-negotiable. And that approach, if China really resorts to it, would bring everything to a naught. This has been the history of India-China relations, and this will be the future of India-China relations. Keeping in mind this reality, India will have to chart its course of thought and action. In fact, India has been following this line for decades, though to no avail.

This is the real concern, which India has tried to address. It is this concern that has driven India to great distances in diplomatic zone to accommodate the Chinese habit of broaching trouble every now and then. This aggression, unfortunately, has become an integral part of the Chinese method and manner.

It has great confidence that it can cower India down in no time, thanks to its military prowess.
Of course, China knows that what happened fifty-five years ago would never be repeated now. China has watched India’s rise as a regional military power since the debacle of 1962. Despite this, the Chinese leadership has often chosen to needle India time and again. And that is the concern India is trying to address -- by reminding China of its trade and business interests in India and how India, too, has its trade interests intertwined with the Chinese commercial engagement in India.

For China, such conciliatory approach might not have much value. Its leadership would keep working to expand Chinese commercial interests in India, but also keep India under an uneasy feeling of suspicion.

The current Doka La stand-off is an outcome of the Chinese brazenness as a reflection of its military muscle. The Chinese don’t seem to care much about Indian intentions, and would keep issuing threats to India. They may not seek war -- as they threaten all the time. Yet, they may try to extract certain trade concessions -- undesirable from the Indian point of view. It appears, the Chinese are continuing with the stand-off with that intention also in mind.

Much will depend upon how India responds to such possibilities. The Indian insistence that it would not withdraw troops from Doka La is well known and acknowledged by the world.

But what will matter is how India can broker a dialogue with China whose leadership has been avoiding negotiations. Unfortunately, India has to operate in a very narrow lane of opportunity, with only a little space to negotiate critical obstacles. Yet, there is no doubt that India will succeed in pushing its method to a great extent -- and avoid unnecessary confrontation with the neighbour whose military brazenness is all too well known.