Criticism is a must in a democracy but motivated criticism as seen during the recent Galwan valley stand-off is a threat to the country
-Dr. Bommaraju Sarangapani
Biased and motivated coverage of certain sections
of the media favouring a political party have harmed India in matters of security
The long pestering Indo-China border disputes came to the forefront again with the recent Chinese intrusions into the Galwan Valley and the killing of 20 brave Indian soldiers there. Is give and take policy possible after this misadventure of China, the biggest of its sort since 1962?
China’s main tactic is to create false claims over its boundaries with neighbouring countries leading to a territorial dispute. It has territorial disputes not only with its immediate neighbours but also with its distant neighbours. Initially, it grabs a small slice of the territory of other countries, keeps it under its illegal occupation and claims its ownership through false propaganda. Over time, it becomes a fait accompli if other countries do not strongly respond.
Contrary to the common belief, Mao Zedong was a typical imperialist. The territorial hunger of China started with him. Immediately after coming to power, he invaded Inner Mongolia, East Turkestan, and Tibet. These three countries were not part of the Ming dynasty, which was the last imperial dynasty of China ruled by Han Chinese, and which ended in 1644. These were not even part of the Republic of China at its establishment in 1912. Still, he claimed them based on the false narration that every territory that the Manchu (QUING)ruled or exercised suzerainty and any territory that Mongol (YUEN) dynasty controlled belong to present-day China.
Popular news anchor Rajdeep Sardesai suggests that just as Nehruvians see the 1962 war as China’s “Great Betrayal”, Ladakh 2020 may face similar damnation in the future from Modiites. But he has forgotten to mention that Nehru’s India was unprepared for the betrayal while Modi’s India is well prepared for the misadventure of China. This time China’s attack is not sudden. It did not hide its expansionist intentions. China’s strategy to encircle India, its open support to Pakistan, its opposition to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, its condemnation of the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir, to protect its strategic interests in POK, are well known. No defence expertise is required to guess what is going to happen. The Doklam stand-off is fresh in the memory of ordinary citizens. Ladakh intrusion did not surprise anybody. When everyone is anticipating and prepared for the worst, one cannot call it a betrayal.
Rajdeep argued that Nehru’s outreach to China was founded on a romantic illusion of a great ancient civilisational compact. Even after Tibet was invaded in 1950, only lunatics will entertain such illusions. He criticises that the focus in the last six years has almost been on refurbishing Modi’s self-image as a game-changing and charismatic leader. What about Nehru, his daughter Indira and grandson Rajiv, who with their non-aligned ideology, tried to project themselves as world statesmen? Rajiv, in a short span of his tenure, visited more countries than any other Prime Minister.
He also argued that the ambush by Chinese troops amounts to military failure and the misreading of the Chinese strategic intentions amounts to a monumental political and diplomatic fiasco. Even when ordinary citizens are aware of China’s territorial hunger and expansionist designs, there is no question of a misreading of its intentions. That is the reason why Modi Government has invested so much in building border infrastructure, which antagonised China.
Who committed Himalayan blunder?
Rajeev also advises the government to secure the land in Ladakh before unleashing the high-pitched rhetoric of promising to recapture Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and not to blame this on Nehru. Who else should be blamed for it? It is recorded that Nehru committed a Himalayan blunder, going against every sound advice given by his deputy Sardar Patel, and his rivals like Lohia, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Rajaji and a host of highly seasoned and dedicated Army Generals. His mishandling of Kashmir and internationalising the issue are well recorded and need not be repeated.
Prejudiced anchors have eulogized Nehru and shy away from exposing his faults
but question Modi even over bold decisions
Nehru allowed China to capture the buffer state of Tibet and later the Aksai Chin region. When China invaded India in 1962, Nehru went from pillar to post with a request for arms and ammunition for which India paid a heavy price diplomatically. Even afterwards, allowing Pakistan to occupy Gilgit and Baltistan and cede part of it to China is a strategic blunder committed by successive Congress governments, for which the present and future generations of India have to pay a heavy price in terms of continued strife and conflict with the two nuclear neighbours. Even at the time of the liberation of Bangladesh, when we had the upper hand, India did not demand the return of Pak Occupied Kashmir. History will judge Nehru and his family heirs very poorly for their utter failure in safeguarding the strategic interests of India. According to Wikileaks, the Manmohan government seriously considered to give away Siachen to Pakistan as a goodwill gesture.
Motivated anchors like Rajdeep Sardesai always mention that Nehru’s India was unprepared for the betrayal but do not talk about how Modi’s India is well prepared for any misadventure of China
Surrender or Resistance?
At a time when the nation must stand as one behind the political and military leadership of the country, Rahul Gandhi, another Nehru family member, calls Narendra Modi as Surrender Modi. His lack of comprehension of the seriousness of the matter is understandable despite his recent interactions with Noble Laureates.
China made more noise than Pakistan over the revocation of Article 370 and turning Ladakh into Union territory. China’s core strategy is to prevent India from recapturing POK. Shaksgam valley that was bartered to China by Pakistan in 1963 is in POK. Besides, POK is very crucial for China’s prestigious Belt- Road Initiative (BRI). The proposed China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through POK. India strongly opposed the Corridor and perhaps is the only country which has not joined hands with China in its grand project of regional and world domination. The challenge to BRI substantially increased with the integration of J&K with India and Ladakh coming directly under the direct control of the centre. Hence the present transgression at multiple points into the LAC, including new areas of disputes in Galwan valley and Nathu La pass. China also opened a third front through Nepal.
The plain truth is that both politically and militarily, India is fully prepared this time and was not caught unawares as some anchors, analysts and Congress party are projecting. Apart from enhancing the military presence, during the last six years, border infrastructure has also been improved considerably
Indian and Chinese troops have been in a tense stand-off at three points along the LAC - the Galwan River Valley, Hot Springs area, and the Pangong Lake - since early May. The clashes took place in the Galwan Valley, which is in north-eastern Ladakh, west of Aksai Chin which is under the illegal occupation of China. India completed construction of a 255 km long, all-weather road abutting the Aksai Chin region. As India refused to stop constructing a feeder road and a bridge to Patrol Point 14 in the Galwan Valley from this road, the Chinese became impatient and intruded into the Indian side in Galwan Valley. China is refusing to discuss its intrusion in the Galwan Valley and is instead claiming ownership over the entire valley.
The plain truth is that both politically and militarily, India is fully prepared this time and was not caught unawares as some analysts and Congress party are projecting. Immediately after the Kargil war, the military establishment stationed a new Corps in Leh and during the last six years, the border infrastructure has been improved considerably. The situation has changed vastly from 1962, and in fact, turned against China. With improved surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, India is well prepared to take on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China and inflict heavy losses on it. China lost its credibility internationally due to its failure to provide information about the dreaded Coronavirus and is isolated. Is this not the right time to wage war against it to recapture the territory we lost to it in the 1962 war? Military and strategic experts must ponder over the issue.
China’s rulers are in the habit of talking something in public and doing precisely the opposite. They honour bilateral and multi-lateral agreements to the extent they suited them. They are masters in twisting facts and indulging in Goebbels’s propaganda. From Mao Zedong to Xi Jin ping, they have one common agenda of expanding their territory through illegal and forceful means. China’s present landmass consists of 60 per cent occupied territories. It often talks of Tibet being its palm and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Arunachal Pradesh being its fingers. Territorial expansion by hook or crook is their goal. The present generation of Indian leadership will not allow it to realise its imperialist designs. The Galwan Valley resistance is a defining movement in that direction.
(The writer is a retired Professor of Economics at Hindu College, Machilipatnam)