No Mr. China this is not done, says India - your true face is exposed! Amb Vishnu Prakash
New Delhi, July 01: The Indian Army is preparing for a long haul amidst the tense stand-off with China. In the midst of these tensions, the question is what should be India's next move.
OneIndia caught up with Vishnu Prakash, former Indian envoy, who has served as the Ambassador to Canada and South Korea, to discuss the various aspects relating to the ongoing stand off with China.
Prakash, who has also served as the Consul General to Shanghai and was the Foreign Office Spokesperson says that this was an issue waiting to happen. Ever since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, there have been more stand offs happening. However, I must say that Doklam was a surprise for them as India intervened and stood its ground.
China was the first country to recover from COVID-19, while the world was still trying to fighting the pandemic. China takes advantage of every opening. They have always tried to contain India as they do not want to see our rise, Prakash says.
The Chinese might thought it was a good time to escalate tensions as they wanted to bring us a couple of notches down. India's growing infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control could have also been a concern for the Chinese. When they do it, it is right and when we do it, it becomes a challenge for them, Prakash adds.
- Trust deficit owing to massive build up between India-China military level talks
- At Indo-China military level talks, the need for physical distancing discussed
- At LAC, India preps for a long haul with no immediate disengagement in sight
- Consensus does not mean, disengagement along LAC will happen overnight
Further India's relations with the world, the US in particular, our desire to attract companies leaving China, may have all contributed to this aggression by the Chinese. In May last year, India joined the US, Japan and Philippines in conducting a joint exercise in the Sea of Japan may also have been an irritant for China. The two BJP MPs attending the swearing-in-ceremony of the Taiwanese president could have also irked the Chinese Vishnu Prakash points out.
These could be some of the reasons for this attitude by China and what could be a better time for them do so, especially at a time, when everyone is fighting the pandemic. Prakash says China always looks at an effective power balance. It is not a static but a dynamic concept.
Post 1962, we had downgraded our relations with China, but never snapped it. In 1988, when Rajiv Gandhi went to China, the economic differential was much less than what it is today. They were more amenable talking to us then. Today, they perceive the differential to be much more. They want to create their own world order and India is an irritant for them, Ambassador Prakash also says.
The road built by us at Ladakh was seen as direct challenge by the Chinese. The Karakoram Highway is very important for them to access Xinjiang and Tibet. Further, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is also very important for them. They want to pressurise India and the strategic value of having heights in the Galwan Valley is very obvious, Prakash also says.
What next for India:
Ambassador Prakash says, first let us see what they want. There is a Chinese saying, which goes, " the person who ties the knot first is the one who unties it." Had India provoked, the ball would have been in our court. That being said, it is very typical on China's part to go on the offensive.
Their foreign minister, Wang Yi said that it is India who did this. This is their typical attitude to blame others. Then, their spokesperson say that both sides should meet half way. Have the Chinese become so magnanimous, that we provoke and they want to meet us half way, asks Prakash. This is a classic Chinese strategy, where they say, ' I will take two steps forward, you take one back.'
A bully will always keep on pushing until there is a push back. Hypothetically, if we accept their suggestions, then there will be more Galwan Valleys and more incursions, Prakash points out.
It is not 1962 for both nations. We are in a defensive position and hence better off in some ways. When you are on the offensive and want to engage tactically and militarily, you need greater capabilities. When, on the defensive, you can manage with lesser resources, Prakash says.
We have the resources, the political will to thwart them. At Galwan Valley, what happened on June 15 was unfortunate. They outnumbered our men, but our soldiers showed a great amount of valour and discipline. We fought back and gave them as good as we get. India will defend and will never let the perception at the LAC change.
Prakash, adds that it cannot be business as usual. We cannot trust them as they have thrown all agreements signed with them in the past 30 years out of the window.
However there is the reality geography and we cannot change it. We cannot politely ask the Chinese to relocate to another geography. We have to live with them and hence both sides cannot afford a permanent state of hostility, Vishnu Prakash also says.
We need to take calibrated measures and make it clear that there will be a cost. The banning of the 59 apps is the first step and many more would come. I am very confident that against China, it would become a movement and that it would be contagious.
The global angst against the Chinese has never been this high. There must be ban for security reasons on Huawei and ZTA as they are extensions of the PLA.
In the days come, India could issue an advisory against travel to China and vice versa. We can limit the number of Chinese 'journalists' many of who are moles of the Chinese intelligence. If necessary, we could decide to downsize diplomatic presence. We could also build a consensus at the international level against China, as they cannot be contained, but can very well be restrained, Ambassador Prakash also says.