First, India needs to call off the ridiculous military to military talks and if you must, then engage the Chinaman through the existing diplomatic channels–after all Sun Weidong is there for a purpose other than writing op-edit pieces in leading Indian newspapers, a sign that he perhaps has little else to do. Generals are not meant for talking and by exposing a corps commander to the enemy, we are doing ourselves a huge disservice.
Unfortunately, in covering up for this big failure, and combined with the need to always appear on top of the other side, transparency went out of the window, opening the doors for what the Chinese have also perfected–the weaponization of dissent.
By occupying areas in Pangong Tso lake region till Finger 4, China’s PLA has effectively taken over India’s buffer zone territory and reduced its claim line by 8 km from what it was in 1960. There is another matter that is hardly occupying any media attention. The entire focus is on Chinese occupying the Indian side of LAC on the ground, but what about the mountain tops.
It is time we reminded ourselves of the prophetic words of Sardar Patel and Sri Aurobindo as we face renewed threats across the Himalayas. It is true the situation today is different from the one in 1950 or 60s. And yet the validity of the lesson remains: the firmness with which both spoke regarding national security has not lost its relevance.
It is often said that ‘those who forget history are condemned to repeat it’. The truth of this adage is seldom realized. With the brutal and savage killings of unarmed Indian soldiers by the death squads of the People’s Liberation Army [PLA] and the brazen claims of China over the entire Galwan valley of Ladakh and other vital territories that historically belonged to India, we seem to have come full circle from the debacle of 1962.
The hawkishness which informs the current chorus, “India of 2021 is not the India of 1962”, ignores the accompanying truth: China of 2021 is not the China of 1962. It is challenging the United States.
Successive governments have ignored the Chinese strategy of incremental land grab along the LAC and thereby strengthening its positions by building infrastructure.
The standoff in Ladakh takes the mind back to External Affairs Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee’s 1979 visit to Beijing. That visit was conceived in a context. Until 1971, with the Cold War at full throttle, a tiresome parity existed between India and Pakistan.