Is the Dragon Breathing Fire?

India’s Muted Response to China’s Border Violations is Well Though Out

Do not major in minor things, especially when someone like China is provoking India through border incursions. There is a heavy debate in the media over the issue of Chinese recent incursions. India’s muted response came into severe criticism from one expert and all in the news channels. The facts are otherwise.

It is true China has been provoking India a number of times. First when Chinese military helicops strayed into Indian Territory last month. The latest being 1.5 km long incursions into Ladakh by PLA, where the Chinese painted the stones red with some Chinese inscriptions. They left thereafter.

It was also reported that the Chinese not only strayed into Indian Territory but also taken over three areas which belonged to India. Not resting with that the Chinese threatened the local shepherds there in Kuyul area in January last and asked them to leave the place, as that place belonged to them.

After Sikkim, Ladakh has seen a steep rise in Chinese troop intrusions right from Trig Heights, Chumar, Pangong Tso Lake, Spanggur Gap to Demchok.

New Delhi has reacted to the incident saying border violations are not an issue and stem from different perceptions of the Line of Actual Control. India’s Foreign Minister says these borders are the most peaceful in the region. Such things bound to happen. But Indian troops never crossed the line of actual control at any point of time in the past.

Meanwhile, China conducted its biggest ever military exercise involving four military commands and 50,000 troops. The troops could also spearhead any future Chinese attack on Ladakh and the signals are ominous.

“We don’t have a forward strategy and the Chinese seem to be having a forward strategy. They are pushing bit by bit Indian nomads Champas inside. Chinese nomads are being pushed inside by Chinese military inside Indian territory,” says security expert Phunchok Stobdan.

China has already laid a claim to Arunachal Pradesh. It says, like Sikkim, the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to them. The Chinese designs are sinister and clear. They make a frequent visit in the areas of Tawang. Upper Subansiri and Walong. India cannot afford to go to war on such incursions.

It is not that India has not responded properly wherever required. It has deployed its armoured vehicles for defence when the Chinese were seen in the Bara Hoti grazing grounds and also in Sikkim’s Finger Area. But the experts feel it is not enough.

The Chinese incursions into Indian territories have been happening almost on daily basis and if India reacts violently to such incursions, it would lead to a full scale war in the area. India plays it down for obvious reasons. But the experts feel when India’s response to Pak’s cross border firings or incursions meet with strongest response, why such muted response to Chinese incursions in Ladakh?

“We don’t have an active deployment right on the edge of the LAC. We are deployed in the defence civil area. So both sides of the border or the LAC there is a vacant area because of tactical reasons so it is easy for both sides to venture into this area and leave tell tale signs,” says Lieutenant General RK Sawhney, who is also the former director general of Military Intelligence.

The Ministry of External Affairs have a different thing to explain why they are singularly unperturbed condoning China’s actions by saying they stem from differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control.

“I would like to reassure everyone concerned that our boundaries are intact and we will certainly take care of such incursions,” is all External Affairs Minister SM Krishna says.

Maybe media is reading too much into such cross borders aberrations with China and making a big fuss of it. India is aware of the Chinese designs. It has surrounded India from all sides through as many sea bases and trying to provoke India through such incursions. In the given situation, India is responding cautiously but preparing itself to counter Chinese threats through up gradation of its military presence in Maldives and its sea fleet in Indian Ocean. Borders are safe and secure.

There is no need to panic as of now. India would react properly at the appropriate time. Media should not unnecessary hype such incidents as a war like situation with China. We have enough problems tackling the Pakistanis, China can be tackled differently. Jai Hind.

A.M. Jamsheed Basha
A.M. Jamsheed Basha is a Chennai-based columnist, political commentator, who writes on matters of importance, political, social and self-improvement.