By Vijay Darda | 03-07-2017
The Dragon is showing dangerous intentions on the border in Sikkim, but it should understand that India is no longer a weak nation
To understand the latest controversy between India and China, first take a look at the eastern part of India’s map. You will see a thin strip from the Siliguri area of West Bengal to Guwahati. It is called Siliguri Corridor, or Chicken Neck in terms of war. It is called Chicken Neck because it is narrow like a chicken neck. A part of this Chicken Neck connects our Sikkim state and neighbouring Bhutan. On the other hand, the borders of Sikkim and Bhutan abut China. The international border between India and China is clear in Sikkim. According to the McMahon Line of 1914, the border is also clear between Bhutan and China. However, China does not accept this position and continues to infiltrate into Bhutan’s territory.
In the Dokalam sector where the situation is tense right now, China has built a road in its part of the Chumbi Valley and wants to extend the same across the border in Bhutan to ensure an easy access to Chicken Neck in case of war. Strategically for India, this area is most important because this corridor connects the eastern states of India. When the Chinese soldiers started building road here in the first week of June, the Indian soldiers stopped them. Chinese soldiers then tried to transgress the Indian border, but our soldiers formed a human chain and pushed them back. The next day the Chinese soldiers destroyed our two bunkers. Since then, the situation is extremely tense. Three thousand soldiers from either side are face-to-face. The situation can be gauged from the fact that the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the 17th Division of Indian Army is looking into the matter himself. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat also visited the area.
This is not the first time a dispute has erupted on this border. Earlier in 2008, Chinese troops had tried to enter the area only to be driven away by the Indian Army. Prior to that, India and China’s armies have fought here in 1967. At that time, the Chinese army had suffered heavy losses and ceasefire was announced five days later.
In fact, China is dreaming that it will capture a large area of Arunachal Pradesh. China has been laying its claim on 90,000 square kilometre area of Arunachal but the Indian government has been rejecting it. In 1962 war, since China had captured our 36,000 square kilometre area of Aksai Chin (in the Kashmir region) which we could not reclaim, it is daydreaming that it can wrest Arunachal too from us. When the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama visited Arunachal this year, China made a lot of hue and cry. However, India adopted a tough stand following which China could do nothing.
China wants to build road near Chicken Neck with the only intention to quickly rush its forces to Indian border as and when a war breaks out. China, it seems, thinks that if Chicken Neck is captured, it will not be possible for India to defend the northeastern states. It has already built a network of roads close to the Indian border in Nepal. India knows that China’s presence on the plateau of Dokalam is not good. Secondly, it is also our responsibility to protect Bhutan’s sovereignty according to our treaty.
One of the main objectives of all these acts of China is also to check India’s growing power in the world so that it does not even think about overtaking China! Strategically therefore, it issues threats too. This year, the Chinese media wrote that in case of a war between India and China, the Chinese army can reach Delhi within just 48 hours. The Chinese media also wrote that if the help of parachute was taken to send troops, then Delhi can be attacked within 10 hours. If the media writes something in China, it means that the government there is saying so. After this threat, Chinese media on February 17 this year advised that India should learn from China how it (China) likes to remain on the “back seat” when it comes to taking advantage of relations with the United States. This means China wants that India should not make any effort to overtake it. The Chinese government media in May 2017 wrote that India’s desire to become a superpower will pose a challenge for China. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India can make efforts to establish close relations with the US, Japan, Australia and other countries.
It is clear that China is in a state of anxiety vis-a-vis India. It knows that if there is any country that can challenge it in this area, it is only India. It does not digest the idea of India getting close to the US. It is afraid that America can try to control it with the help of India. It is looking at India’s growing international power as a challenge for itself. China made a four-point proposal in May this year, which stated that there could be peace between the two countries if India accepted the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. India has already expressed its strategic concern over this project. This concern is quite reasonable too.
Through all these developments, it is clear that China wants to restrain India in every situation. It wants to frighten us by reminding us of the 1962 war but it should keep in mind that it is not India of 1962 that had attained independence only 15 years back. Now the world knows the might of India. I have never been a supporter of war personally. Every issue can be resolved through dialogue. But if there is any attempt to impose war, then China should keep in mind the statement of our Army Chief General Bipin Rawat that we have the capability to fight two-and-a-half war (China, Pakistan and terrorism) together.
However, one big issue is of economic battle. Chinese goods are so cheap that for many things we are becoming dependent on China. The figures of 2015-16 show that we imported goods worth about $52.26 billions from China, which is about 15 per cent of our total imports. In contrast, China bought from us goods worth only $7.56 billions. Apart from this, China is also notorious for sending shoddy goods here. Our government should clarify the policy on whether we should have economic relations with China that always tries to browbeat us? The reality is that if we stopped buying Chinese goods, it will not take time to fall in line. How come that we keep buying goods from somebody who keeps threatening us?
Before I conclude…
Cyber attack is a matter of serious concern for the whole world because the internet is now an integral part of our lives. From personal work to trade to business and bank systems, everything requires an internet access. Even one cyber attack can destroy many countries simultaneously. Millions of people are victims of ransomware. A question that arises in my mind is that can the countries around the world not unite to bring such cyber attackers to book?
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