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Posts Tagged ‘Incursions’

Indo-China border engagement

September 15, 2009 2 comments

It takes India a few of its Indo Tibetan Border Policemen (ITBP) to be shot at and injured by Chinese troops to momentarily sit up and take notice of the repeated Chinese incursions that have been happening across the Indo-China border! But still, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is playing footsie and denying these reports categorically saying that no such incidents have taken place! “A media report about two ITBP jawans having been injured due to firing from across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has come to notice. The report is factually incorrect,” were the strong and emphatic words of External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash. However, the headquarters of the ITBP has neither denied nor confirmed the report.

The alleged incident came to light when a certain newspaper reported that personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police were injured when Chinese troops had fired at them in Kerang in northern Sikkim a few days ago. The newspaper further reported that following the shootout in Kerang, border personnel held an emergency meeting on August 30. The newspaper confirmed the firing incident citing a top intelligence source, who spoke in condition of anonymity.

General Deepak Kapoor, India’s Army Chief, brought to light a series of air incursions by the Chinese about a month ago, while the Indian government down played the incidents citing them as ‘routine and harmless.’ One would recall a series of further incursions a few days ago with Chinese soldiers having left red painted rock memorabilia for their Indian counterparts – in Indian soil!

Although the Indian government has further downplayed this incident, much like what it did previously, a number of people within and outside the establishment believe them to be true, unlike the responses from the establishment itself! That the government chooses to respond differently is a question left better best answerable to by the officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, who routinely downplay such incidents so as to remain in the good equations with the Chinese and not antagonize them!

If the report is correct, which in all probability it is, it will be the first incident of firing along the Indo-China border since the 1996 bilateral agreement which seeks either nation not to engage in opening fire, no matter what the provocation is, primarily aimed as a part of confidence-building measures.

Repeated border violations and now incidents of opening fire indicate a brazen and even more aggressive Chinese army backed by its government reiterating its policy of inch-by-inch take-over of the Indian Territory it lays claim to! Large parts of the Indo-China border are unattended and remain unguarded throughout the year, prompting easier access to the violator and also making monitoring and reporting difficult for the Indians. However, what is appalling is the Indian government’s lukewarm and lackadaisical response, contributing more fodder and will power to an already aggressive and violent band of Chinese, who know no pleasantries of peaceful co-existence!

China has, as is usual practice, officially denied any violation of the Indo-China border or the Line of Actual Control. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing has denied all reports of Chinese airspace violations and incursions in border areas. A team of Chinese officials have also met Indian media representatives based in Beijing in an attempt to convey a message, that India is China’s partner and not a rival – something that is more of a farce than fact!

Sun Weidong who is deputy director-general of the ministry’s Asian department, in a statement said that “China does not pose any threat to India. For us, the biggest task is to develop ourselves so that 1.3 billion people can lead a good life. I don’t think it’s logical to say that when a country grows strong it will bully others.” But this is far from true, given the aggressive policy that China follows in laying claim to portions of Indian Territory that it regards to be part of its sovereign!

New Delhi’s responses and reasons behind them are better best not discussed! The MEA and the political brass, in conjunction, it seems are more worried about cozying up to the Chinese, something which is ominously similar to the stand that Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s former Prime Minister, maintained in the run up to the Indo-China debacle in 1962. It is surprising that no lessons have still been learnt over a period spanning 47 years! Just when one thinks that there could be some measure to address this repeated misadventure, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statements while addressing a conference of state Director Generals of Police in New Delhi comes as a dampener!

His woes that “Infiltration across the Line of Control and other places like Nepal, Bangladesh and the sea has been going up” simply do not reflect the current state of affairs and appears well doctored in order to omit Chinese references. Such a partisan type stand echoes our inability, lack of will and seriousness over the issue, which is precisely being taken as a soft spot to further such incidents, that will only increase in the coming days!

So much for partnership and cooperation!

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Chinese threat of incursion – India's reponse

June 10, 2009 4 comments

The Indian government’s decision to establish a squadron of Sukhoi aircraft in the North-East comes as a decision quite late but certainly well thought of. According to the Union Home Ministry, a staggering 270 incidents of Chinese incursions into Indian territory were reported as occurred in the year 2008 and 60 such incidents have been reported this year. The Chinese have long been a party to violate the international border that divides their nation from ours and continue to do so at ease and significant advantage owing to their location and aided by belief in a flawed theory that large parts of Arunachal Pradesh are part of the red union as opposed to facts. The state of Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1030 km (650 mile) long border with the Chinese, making India very vulnerable to repeated incursions and violations which are routine operations conducted by the Chinese army.

China has long contested the McMahon Line, and claims 90,000 sq km (34,750 square miles) which is nearly all of Arunachal Pradesh, while already having encroached upon 8000 sq km (14,670 square miles) of Kashmir, better known as Aksai Chin. The McMahon Line, which was termed so following a 1914 conference initiated by the occupying British with the Tibetan and Chinese governments of the day, is an imaginary border, presently known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). They have, since the bitterly fought 1962 war, repeatedly violated Indian territory and continue to do so as part of their agenda to undermine the Indian sovereign.

History indicates that one needs to exercise a very cautious trust of the Chinese. One would recall that in 1956, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai repeatedly assured that China had no claims on Indian territory, although official Chinese maps showed 120,000 square kilometers of territory claimed by India as Chinese. Clearly, Indian Prime Minister Nehru had to pay a price in ignoring then Burmese premier Ba Swe when he warned the latter to be overly cautious when dealing with Zhou. Declassified CIA documents (POLO) indicate that Zhou purposefully led Nehru to believe that China had at the time, no border disputes with India. The 1962 war also demonstrated to the world that China even in its deepest economical problems, possesses the military might to stage bloody aggressiveness.

With an army thrice the size of that of Pakistan, whose capabilities, intent, poise and standing are almost always never known, the threat of an invasion looms large particularly in desperate situations when China may see India as a competitor to itself in the emerging global scenario. India being an ardent champion of democracy and by way of being proximate to the United States and other powers could also irk China into enacting a theatrical repeat of 1962. It is interesting to note that the 1962 war came at a time when the Indian establishment was patting itself on the back basking in the assumed success of the Panchsheel agreement which was aimed at fostering stronger bilateral relations between the two nations.

China, therefore is an obvious threat and will continue to remain so and needs to be checked from time to time. The establishment and upgradation of air-force bases across the North-Eastern Indian region, in close proximity to Chinese territory, will serve as one of the many such checks that the government can put in place to arrest any form of Chinese misadventure. That apart, the government also needs to seriously consider reviving and revamping the China desk of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) which currently obtains information related to China primarily through secondary sources that are often late or incorrect or during many times both!

The Chinese on the other hand have a very strong intelligence network operational all across India’s North-East, often engaging themselves in aiding trafficking of drugs and arms while also lending logistical and financial support to many outlawed organizations in the region. They are also known to deploy very aggressive patrols who often taunt their Indian counterparts on many occasions.

The Indian government must avoid downplaying the incursion incidents and should focus on establishing a very imposing military presence in the NE region in order to meet and neutralize any national security challenges that may pose themselves in the future.