India-China standoff: Time the media 'shut up'
Let us start off by saying that the media is entirely to blame for the escalating tension between India and China. Amidst the standoff which is into its 5th week at Doklam, the two nations are clearly not in the mood for war.
Aggressive posturing by both the Indian and Chinese media has only led to the tension escalating feels V Balachandran, former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat. The question now is what needs to be done. What has had to happen has already happened says Balachandran in this chat with OneIndia.
We have had similar problems:
We have had similar problems in the past as well. It may not have been of this magnitude and intensity. However India always took a pragmatic view considering the border was not demarcated. This is about what we feel and what they feel about the boundary, Balachandran says.
In the past when such issues arose, a flag meet would be immediately called for. The issue would be resolved by stepping back. However now the atmospherics have changed, explains the former officer who was with the Research and Analysis Wing.
Media needs to calm down:
While there is tension already, the media on both sides have become aggressive. This is only adding to the problem says Balachandran. Everything is being blown out of proportion. When a Malabar exercise is held, the media projects it as though it is a confrontation against China.
The Malabar exercise is going on for several years now. When we conduct an exercise with China, it should not be projected as though it is a message for some other country, Balachandran explains.
Such statements only breed hostility. It is time for a dialogue which I am sure our NSA also realises. Another important thing to do is stop sitting on either sides of the border and hurl threats through the media. It is time to cool down. The media needs to stop being hysterical. The aggressive posturing by the Indian media is now being matched with hysteria by the Chinese media too, Balachandran says.
Stop being a satellite of another nation:
Running to the United States is not the solution for India. The US does not have time and they have far too many problems to deal with. The present government should stop being a satellite of another country.
We have to use our own diplomacy and deal with China directly, the former officer explains. This is a direct issue with China and it would be prudent to deal directly on it, Balachandran also says.
The deterioration of ties after Pokhran 2:
There was a time following the visit by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when ties with China had improved considerably. I however did not understand the need for the government to dash off a letter to the Clinton administration after Pokhran 2.
India wrote to the US justifying Pokhran 2. It was said that this was not targeted at Pakistan but at some other nation. The letter was leaked in the press and subsequently published. China did take offense to the letter as it felt that India was trying to target it. China wondered why India had complained to the US about it. Following that episode, the ties with China have never looked up and all subsequent meetings with their leaders have been more of photo ops, Balachandran also says.
The Myanmar fiasco:
The government must also reign in on its ministers who make brash statements. Do you recall the statements given by people not connected with the issue following the Myanmar incident? A minister said that India had entered Myanmar and shot down cadres of the NSCN(K).
These people must not speak out of turn. Moreover in the case of China diplomacy and not a muscular policy will work. It is time to gather our heads and find a solution diplomatically. If we withdraw from the tri-junction then it would be a loss of face. I am sure our NSA will find a diplomatic solution to the problem. The next time, we need to ensure that the situation does not reach this stage.