China - The Big Boss
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Last Updated: Saturday, September 12, 2009, 23:54
China - The Big BossKamna Arora

China’s recent helicopter incursions into Indian airspace in Leh and then the violation of the International Border in Ladakh region have left New Delhi at the receiving end of Beijing’s augmenting hostility.
While the Indian External Affairs Ministry has refuted reports of Chinese incursions by describing the border shared with China as “one of the most peaceful”, the Army has admitted that Chinese soldiers did enter India territory in Ladakh. China, on its part, has described the incursion reports as “untrue” and “groundless”.

According to reports in the Indian media, Chinese troops crossed over into India`s territory in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region. Reports further claimed that the Chinese troops marked boulders and rocks as deep as 1.5 km inside India’s border with red spray paint.

It is not for the first time that reports of Chinese incursions into Indian territory have emerged. As per reports, the Indian Army logged 270 border violations and about 2,300 cases of “aggressive border patrolling” by Chinese soldiers in 2008.

What is India doing about it? Literally nothing! Not even a single strong comment from the government has followed any of the Chinese incursions. In fact, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna wants to use the option of “standard mechanism” while handling such cases of Chinese incursions. But the question is: Why a “standard mechanism” to deal with such high-priority security issue?

India and China share approximately 3,200-kilometer border in the Himalayas.

China sees India as a competitor, or probably as a threat. Without doubt, China wants India’s rise as an economic power and an influential player in South Asia to subside, by keeping it busy with the problems emanating from its neighbourhood.

Were the recent intrusions intended at conveying any message to India, or China’s show of might?

China has emerged strongly as far as military might is concerned. Its economic rise has left every other country on this planet breathless. In fact, the US’ Asia policy revolves around China. But what is India doing to match up with this Dragon called China? Today, Beijing has not only knocked at the doors, but also established its hold in all the continents, while India continues to lag far behind.

China has even started entering US strongholds such as Saudi Arabia, while India has let its diplomatic manoeuvring wane.
According to former Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the power gap between India and China “is just too wide to bridge and is getting wider by the day”.

Mehta further noted, “China is in the process of consolidating its comprehensive national power and creating formidable military capabilities. Once it is done, China is likely to be more assertive on its claims, especially in the immediate neighbourhood.”

The Navy Chief’s statement should have been taken very seriously, but it seems New Delhi has not heeded to it carefully.

If one observes it closely, the militarily strong China now follows a defined and assessed policy of intensifying diplomatic and military pressure on India by adopting a hard line on the border issue.

At first, China seemed to be yielding its claim on parts of India`s Northeast in exchange for Indian recognition of Beijing’s control over a part of Ladakh. Then it became more interested in bilateral ties. And then it increased its military incursions while aggressively laying claim to Arunachal Pradesh.

According to sources, China not only keeps a tab on the developments going on in Arunachal Pradesh, but also criticises them in its commentaries.

Furthermore, talks between India and China over territorial disputes over a long period of time have continued to be futile. Grabbing the advantage, China is continuing to influence the Himalayan balance in its favour.

By constructing new railroads and highways in Tibet, China has gained strategic depth. Beijing can now swiftly locate its troops at the border and target India easily. While India finds border with China as the “most peaceful”!

If India fails to take concrete steps to take stock of China’s intrusions and deters them, the so-called aggressive ‘Big Boss’ in the international affairs will pose a greater threat in the near future.

First Published: Saturday, September 12, 2009, 23:54

(The views expressed by the author are personal)
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