What is the matter with China which, for quite some time now, has been behaving like a medieval country led by leaders of the dubious status of Timurlane and Chenghiz Khan? Does it really think that it can get away with armed intervention in neighbouring countries? It speaks with a forked tongue. On the one hand, it makes threatening noises concerning India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh. On the other, it speaks of advancing its strategic “cooperative partnership” with India, by holding a number of “commemorative activities” to celebrate sixty years of Sino-Indian diplomatic relationship.
As things stand – whatever the results of the “extensive” exchange of views between leaders of both the countries in Bangalore and elsewhere – China thus far has proved itself to be untrustworthy. It apparently has no sense of gratitude. It respects no mutual agreement. In 2005 when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited India, an agreement was drawn up between the two countries on modalities for resolving the boundary issues. One of the clauses (Clause 4) of the agreement was that there will be no transfer of population. The Chinese are now cheekily reneging on this clause because of Tawang. Arunachal Pradesh, incidentally, has returned Congress to power with a resounding majority in the freest and fairest elections.
China claims to be friendly towards India. But every recent step it has taken has been most unfriendly. It began with the Chinese Communist Party calling Jawaharlal Nehru “a running dog of Anglo-American imperialism”. It went on to supply Pakistan with nuclear technology and missiles. It has been projecting India as a “hegemon” in South Asia. In June, it blocked an Indian move in the UN to declare the Pakistani Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafeez Mohammad Saeed as a terrorist, on the ground that the evidence against him was not sufficient. Earlier this year, the Chinese opposed an Asian Development Bank assistance to India for development projects in Arunachal Pradesh.
True, China failed to get its way, but its viciousness is on record. It is common knowledge that Chinese troops along the India-China (Tibet) border have frequently transgressed the 1993 Peace and Tranquility Treaty (PTT) and the 1996 Confidence Building Measures agreement, both signed at the highest level. Beijing has no excuse to provide for its current provocative activities. India is now seen – as is evident in an article published in the official daily Ta Kung Pao – in a strategic alliance with both the United States and Russia. India must now move to make strategic alliances with South Korea, Japan, not to speak of Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia to encircle China, just as Beijing is attempting to make common cause with Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and even Bangladesh, though Dhaka under a new government is showing signs of resisting China’s overtures. Beijing must be clearly told that it takes two to play a game. It must further be warned that it is playing with fire.
But let us consider a scenario when Beijing sends troops into Arunachal Pradesh. How many will it send? Brigade strength? India thereupon takes reciprocal action. There is shooting. The fighting excalates. Indian, long alert, responds strongly. More killings. Then one of two things can happen. One, excalation of conflict leading to the use of nuclear weapons with both countries paying a heavy price. Two, the UN Security Council springs into action, demanding an instant Cease-fire. India may agree, provided China withdraws its troops from Arunachal Pradesh and elsewhere. A status quo ante is maintained under the powerful prodding of an enraged Security Council. But what if China refuses to comply with a Security Council resolution to halt escalating conflict? Where will that leave India? Does India have the right kind of friends in the United Nations? But even if it has no friends, will it be in the interests of various powers to see China militarily lording it over Asia? Alternately, will the Security Council insist on sending the Sino-Indian border dispute to be settled by the World Court or by an international arbitration body? That may help both India and China as a face-saving device. That is a possibility that cannot be discounted.
The more important question is: will China provoke a war that could get out of hand and result in millions of deaths, just to win a few square miles or disputed territory? Is its pride such that it would rather see the world destroyed, than to compromise and come to reasonable terms with India? There are reports that we are at the end of Kali Yuga and may soon witness a pralaya. Judging from current trends a pralaya seems most likely to overtake the entire world. But then, another doubt arises. Can it be, can it just be, that China is behaving the way it is currently behaving, to turn India’s attention away from Pakistan which is on the verge of total collapse? If Pakistan cannot prevent a jehadi attack on its own Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi, then what remains of it as a nation? It seems that it is about to break into a thousand pieces, one cannot dismiss the likelihood of the Pakistan Army, in its desperation, asking China to keep India engaged, lest it takes the present opportunity to attack its western neighbour, and complete the latter’s dissolution.
India may not have anything of that sort in mind. Pakistan is in an self-destroying mode and it is best left alone. The pillars of Pakistan are being pounded from within, one after another. On October 15, the militants – call them by whatever name – attacked three law enforcement agencies in Pakistan, the fifth major strike in that god-forsaken state in a little over a week and four days after an audacious assault on the Army HQ itself. The October 15 attack on the regional hub of the Federal Investigation Agency and two Police Training Centres resulted in the killing of 29 people that included 14 police officers, five civilians and ten militants. Another 11 people were killed in a suicide car bombing taking the day’s toll to 40. It indicates that Pakistan’s military, political, economic and cultural life have been breached. Pakistan is in danger of imminent collapse. Is it to prevent a possible – just possible – Indian intervention that China is trying to draw Indian attention away from Pakistan? Anything is possible. The important thing is that China has shown that it cannot be trusted, the MOU on Climate Change signed on October 21 with India notwithstanding. It is time for Delhi to be on the red alert.