A hundred years have passed since the diabolical plan to split India was first conceived and tabled, and yet successive generations in both India and Pakistan, and in Kashmir, have failed to see the truth for what it is.
‘The corruption levels in the state has created an economic disparity which is going to create mayhem! The administration has forgotten what happened in 1947 and 65. Money is pouring in, but it never goes beyond a select few.’
The army chief, General Shankar Roy Chaudhuri saw the tapes, so did the PM, Narasimha Rao. Lt Gen Padmanabhan was the DGMI (later chief) and we screened the four tapes shot with the Hizbul, unedited, to a select group of Ambassadors and Military Attaches and editors.
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.
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.
Pandemics are not created in a vacuum. A whole mix of ingredients makes up the conundrum. When the coronavirus pandemic wanes, China should become a case study and warning to the rest against a government that suppresses people brutally, a thieving autocratic dictatorship indulging in excessive surveillance and propaganda, and of how all these create conditions that endanger not just one country, but all of humanity.