Surrender before China
Lt General Prakash Katoch
News headlines of May 9 say “Salman to give tough message to China”. This would have been very believable if the news was about a coming Bollywood movie with a different Salman. To expect Salman Khurshid giving a tough message to China is akin to believing Hafiz Saeed converting to Hinduism even though Sushil Shinde eulogises him as “Shri Saeed” in Parliament.
Can you expect a mouse to roar? Remember Salman ran off to Jaipur to host Raja Pervez Ashraf on a private visit against bureaucratic advice from within MEA, while Raja returned to head a resolution in the Pakistan Parliament condemning hanging of Afzal. Surely, Salman had not gone seeking funds for his wife’s NGO. Look around India’s neighbourhood and see what respect India commands with the policy of bending backward pursued by our political hierarchy headed by Manmohan Singh, who is referred to by former Ambassador Gajendra Singh as Sonia’s three monkeys wrapped into one.
The Government says there is no deal with China in exchange to withdrawal of their intrusion from Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO). How can you believe this in the first place to in a torrent of lies emerging from the apex like “notional” loss in 2G Case, CBI without government interference, Coalgate, Railgate and what have you. But coming back to ‘no deal’ made with China the facts on ground expose the lie. If there is no deal, then why have we agreed to demolish our bunkers at Chumar? Why the attempt to describe these fortifications as ‘tin sheds’? With such a deep intrusion (19 kms acknowledged officially though it is 30 kms from the northeast extremity of J&K at KK Pass) inside Indian Territory, why have we withdrawn our troops? If this is not a deal, what else is? Page 18 of The Times of India of 4th May (Delhi edition) stated that surveillance imagery captured by spy drones shows that the PLA made three simultaneous incursions in adjoining areas in the DBO Sector in mid April this year. What has been conveniently left vague is that whether the Chinese continue to sit at these three other locations or have gone back. The hard fact is that there have been numerous intrusions by China over the years, which have been hushed up by the political authority on account of being petrified by China. Former Ambassador P Stopden (who hails from Ladakh) stated on national TV recently that in Ladakh alone, India has lost over 400 square kilometers of territory to China, over and above her illegal occupation of Aksai Chin (36,500 sq kms) and Shaksgam Valley (5,800 sq kms).
This particular Chinese intrusion at DBO (that would give China another 275 sq kms over and above the 400 sq kms disclosed by Ambassador Stopden) too would have been perhaps hushed up had it not been for some enterprising journalists to have spilt the beans. Even then, what appeared in media (on obvious government behest) described the intrusion only 10 kms deep. Only when the map of the intrusion at Raki Nala appeared in media that government extended the distance to 19 kms, which again is false.
What actually showed our meek mentality was both Manmohan and Salman going on emphasising that the intrusion was a ‘localised’ issue. How can one be so naïve knowing the Chinese system where every unit and above are virtually ruled by the posted Political Commissar and the PLA Chief reports directly to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and not the Chinese Government. In fact the timidity of our hierarchy has encouraged China to blatantly intrude into areas well inside Indian territory despite being signatory to the Macdonald- McCartney proposals in 1899. Such an intrusion has NOT happened first time in DBO / Ladakh / India territory and by keeping these intrusions under wraps is the mother of all scams involving national security, which amounts to treason although the ruling polity dupes the population under garb of “Chinese perception of LAC”, while actually the intrusions are much deeper and beyond the LAC perception of even the Chinese, as in the instant case. Chinese perceptions also keep changing – take case of earlier to Tawang expanded to entire Arunachal Pradesh in 2006. For that matter, Chinese claim to Tawang was based on Tawang Monastry where Tibetans want to worship. So what stopped India from staking claim to Mansarover where thousands of Hindus go every year for pilgrimage?
Details of China’s loot of Indian Territory (including the 400 sq kms mentioned by Ambassador Stopden) need to be made public but the government will not unless someone knocks on the doors of Supreme Court and takes up proceedings on emergency basis in interest of national security. To add to India’s woes, the hierarchy has ensured the road communications and infrastructure in border areas has remained totally neglected, as have the equipping and modernisation of our military. AK Antony as the longest serving Defence Minister has ensured the crippling of the military-industrial complex to such an extent that even assault rifles and carbines are planned to be imported. Ironically, as per intelligence sources, Antony may well be the next Prime Minister candidate of the Congress. The deliberate leak of a letter by Gen VK Singh to Manmohan Singh created ripples but the military drives home these deficiencies every six months during Army Commanders Conference, as well as during the Unified Commanders Conference besides periodic reports writing.
What we should expect during Salman’s Beijing frolic and Li Keqiang’s trip to India is Chinese making noises that India likes to hear and then do exactly the opposite. It would be worthwhile to send our national hierarchy on attachment to a country like Vietnam for they only visualise nuclear and cyber attacks from China if we do anything other than meek diplomacy, as if there is nothing in between.
(The writer is a former Lieutenant General of Special Forces)