Thursday, September 17, 2009

India wakes up to Chinese threat

Better late than never! The government has finally woken up to the China threat and its incursions into the Indian territory. Even as National Security Adviser MK Narayanan holds a high-level meeting here tomorrow to take stock of the situation on the Indo-China border, the Indian armed forces claim to be handicapped due to paucity of the latest weaponry needed in the event of any skirmish.

Shockingly, as the country’s top most strategic planners finalise India’s response, the forces are saddled with weapons that are of 1970s and 1980s vintage. Hardly, the ones needed to ensure military domination.

The NSA’s meeting is likely to be attended by Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekhar, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Home Secretary GK Pillai, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, services chiefs and top officials of intelligence agencies. At least Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor may not be able to make it since he is not in the capital, sources here said.

Narayanan is India’s point man for ties with China in his capacity as India’s special representative for talks on the lingering boundary dispute. The External Affairs ministry has sought to play down the latest incursions by China, saying there was a difference in perception between the two countries on the delineation of the line of actual control (LAC). The strategic establishment, however, is worried over the frequency with which these violations have been taking place.

Sources said the armed forces will plead in the meeting for taking urgent steps to replace the weapons. Take a look: One variety of the Air defence guns placed along the Sino-Indian border are of 1974 vintage and can fire only till 5000 feet. Another variety was inducted in the 1980s.

The surface-to-air missiles, considered a deadly weapon in the mountains, were bought in the 1980s while another purchase was made in 1990s. The major purchase of self propelled guns, though not deployed in high mountains, were carried out the last time in 1975 while another small quantity was purchased in 1995.

In the case of the big guns of the artillery, the last purchase was in 1985 when the Bofors was procured. Since then India has started the process a few times but did not finalise anything. The project to purchase the ultra light howitzer, that can be slung under a chopper and dropped anywhere in the high mountains, has been put in cold storage.

Meanwhile, amidst mounting tensions, the annual Indo-China military exercise between the two countries is not likely to be conducted this year. As per the agreed rotation policy, it was China’s turn to host it this year. However, no dates have been conveyed so far. Normally, by this time the dates are decided and all logistics are in place.

China wants to keep its options open

by G. Parthasarathy

ONE abiding feature of our relations with China is our propensity to swing from elation and ecstasy to despondency and despair. Shortly after the visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to India in April 2005, our media, China scholars and sections of our Mandarin-speaking mandarins proclaimed that the festering “boundary question” with China was all but resolved. The Manmohan Singh-Wen Jiabao Declaration asserted that India-China relations had acquired “global and strategic significance” and that the two countries would establish a “strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity”.

An agreement laying down “Political Parameters and Guiding Principles” for resolving the border issue said that while respecting the “Line of Actual Control”, India and China would reach a boundary settlement which shall “safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas”, while using “modern cartographic and surveying practices and joint surveys”. Our “scholars” and media ecstatically proclaimed that the reference to “settled populations” in border areas meant that China had given up its claims to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. They were in for a rude shock. Within a year China started publicly and aggressively asserting that the whole of Arunachal was a part of “South Tibet”.

While talks on resolving the border issue have continued regularly after the visit of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in December 1988, the problem of Chinese intrusions into our territory arises from the fact that while the Line of Control is defined and demarcated by mutual agreement between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, the “Line of Actual Control” (LOAC), which both sides have pledged to determine and respect, along the China-India border, has never been demarcated. It was decided that the issue of demarcation would be addressed by India and China exchanging maps about the precise location of the LOAC and reconciling differences through negotiations. While maps were exchanged on the Central Sector (adjoining Uttarakhand) and India provided its maps on the LOAC in the western sector (Ladakh) to China in 2002, China refused to provide maps outlining its version of where the LOAC lies, either on the western sector (Ladakh) or the eastern sector (Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh). In the face of this impasse, it was decided in 2003 that the two countries would seek a “political solution” to the border issue.

It is evident that despite having agreed in principle that there could not be any change in the status of populated areas in 2005, China is now insistent that it would expect territorial concessions in the populated eastern sector, if it is to accommodate Indian claims in Ladakh. Because of the importance of Tawang as a Buddhist Monastery town, where the sixth Dalai Lama was born, China seeks control of Tawang to secure a fig leaf of legitimacy for its rule in Tibet. India has flatly rejected Chinese claims to Tawang, with Mr Pranab Mukherjee asserting: “Any elected Government in India is not permitted by our Constitution to part with any part of our land that sends representatives to the Indian Parliament”.

Thus, as long as China remains insistent on its claims in Arunachal Pradesh, there can be no settlement of the border issue. India has also indicated that it intends to improve communications near and along its land borders with China, boost its military presence in Arunachal Pradesh and also strengthen its eastern air defences. The entire problem of border intrusions today arises from the fact that China wishes to keep its options open by not spelling out where, in its view, the LOAC lies, so that it can continue to intrude, at a time and place of its choosing, into populated areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh and undermine public confidence in our border areas, in New Delhi’s will and ability to defend our territorial integrity.

Apart from border issues, China has made every effort to undermine Indian security interests in recent years. Pakistan is being assisted by China in boosting its nuclear weapons capabilities by supply of plutonium reactors and reprocessing facilities. Chinese supplies of ballistic and cruise missiles to Pakistan continue, as does the supply of fighter aircraft and frigates. China assists Pakistan-sponsored terrorism by blocking moves in the UN Security Council for action against the Jamat-ud-Dawa and the head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hafiz Mohammed Sayed.

While pledging aid for hydro-electric projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, China seeks to block assistance for economic development in Arunachal Pradesh in the Asian Development Bank, on the ground that its status is “disputed”. More ominously, there is now evidence that China is using areas controlled by its protégés in the Kachin State of Myanmar to arm and train our north-eastern insurgent groups in Manipur and elsewhere, in its Yunnan province. One sees similar actions by China to undermine India’s relations with Nepal. Despite this, our mandarins glibly talk of a “strategic and cooperative partnership” with China.

There are areas like climate change, the WTO talks and the development of a multi-polar world order, where India and China have shared interests. China’s actions along India’s land and maritime frontiers and its efforts to undermine India’s regional influence by its policies in countries like Pakistan and Nepal will, however, remain sources of differences. We landed ourselves in disaster in 1962 because we glossed over the realities and misled public opinion domestically and globally. Our mandarins in South Block will do well to remember this when misrepresenting and avoiding a focus on the realities of our relations with China. We should, however, avoid resorting to rhetoric that escalates tensions.

Our Ministry of Defence unfortunately delays action on the acquisition of crucial equipment like fighter aircraft and artillery. Actions speak louder than words. Rather that talking about how we propose to increase troop levels, or modernise our air defences along our borders with China, we should act to expeditiously strengthen defences and road communication networks along our borders. In the meantime, there should be a continuing dialogue and exchanges with China aimed at ensuring that incidents which escalate tensions do not occur along our borders.

We should remember that China still has festering disputes on its maritime boundaries with Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia and that China settles its border disputes only when a weakened neighbour succumbs to its pressures. In the meantime, China does not hesitate to assert its presence across disputed boundaries with militarily weaker neighbours the like Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam. The Chinese respect national power and will respect India only if our economic and military strength warrants respect for us as a people and as a country.

Dalai Lama can visit Arunachal: Krishna

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Wednesday dismissed China’s objections to Dalai Lama’s proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh later this year, and said that the Tibetan leader is “free to go anywhere in India”.“Arunachal Pradesh is a part of India and Dalai Lama is free to go anywhere in India,” Krishna told a news channel here. “The only question is that he is not expected to comment on political developments,” Krishna said.

Dalai Lama has sought the Indian government’s permission to visit Tawang, a monastery town in AP, which is claimed by China.Tibet’s exiled leader plans to go there in November to inaugurate a hospital for which he had donated Rs.20 lakh.China has voiced “strong concern” over the proposed visit saying it “further reveals the Dalai clique’s anti-China and separatist essence”.“We firmly oppose Dalai visiting the so-called Arunachal Pradesh,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu. Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile headquartered in Indian town of Dharamsala, rubbished Beijing’s objections to the Dalai Lama’s visit.

“Arunachal and its Tawang region are an integral part of India. If Dalai Lama, who is staying here for the last 50 years, is visiting any part of the country why does this bother China?” he said.“If he goes to Chinese territories it can raise objection, but in this case it has no business to interfere,” he added. The Tibetan-government-in exile is not recognised by any country in the world.China’s objections to Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal comes amid reports of Chinese incursions into the Indian territory which have revived the spectre of the China threat.India cited Chinese threat as its primary reason for going nuclear in 1998. Since then, the two countries have expanded their political and economic ties and are now trying to resolve the decades-long boundary dispute with negotiations.


We Indians are sleepy thinkers rather than thinkers even in sleep. That's why the moronic response that number of incursions are same as last year.
IAF has started work on DBO ALG, but without any strong force to hold it with. What stops China from sending a small commando team to capture the ALG and then land 2/3 airborne regiments? Chinese deployment of HQ-2 missiles in Lhasa and increased early warning radars along Indian border at various places opposite Arunachal, Sikkim and Ladakh should give us jitters. The Zu23 guns are no match to J10.
We must increase our presence, atleast in areas of our control. It should be a permanent deployment so that complete area is dominated to ensure territorial integrity.
Depending on his Holiness the Dalai Lama and his followers will be foolhardy since the religion itself preaches non-violence. They can only assist as fifth columnists.
We must also ensure that our militry hardware is better than China if not comparable. We totally are deficient in this regards. The Indian Army should not be left pleading, rather defense planners should provide at the earliest. Sooner we wake up to the realities, better for us.

We must also ensure that our militry hardware is better than China if not comparable
therein lies the dilemma of your strategy.

@ RAJ47,

Don't say we Indians !

It is the Congress party that has ruled the nation for most part, has turned India into a soft state.

The incompetent, self-serving and corrupt Congress politicians and the people that vote them to power agains and again, are responsible for India's pathetic state of affairs !

RAJ47 said "increased early warning radars along Indian border at various places opposite Arunachal, Sikkim and Ladakh should give us jitters"

Why should early warning radars worry India? The only way that it would worry India is if India was planning a surprise attack on Tibet.

Also to all the Indians here, learn some proper history, what the Chinese call "Southern Tibet" belonged to China 100 years ago, until the British "claimed" it and made it part of their Indian Territories. When India gained independence, they took over the British claims in the area, including the disputed territory with China called "Southern Tibet".

To put this another way, say there are two people called Britain and China. Britain steals a marble from China called "South Tibet" and puts it in a marble bag labeled "Indian Territories". Many years later, a third person called India comes along and Britain gives the marble bag containing China's "South Tibet" marble to India. China wants its stolen "South Tibet" marble back, but India won't give it back because they think its theirs fair and square even though Britain clearly had no right to give the "South Tibet" marble to them in the first place because they originally stole it from China.

Substitute your own name for China, your local bully or thug's name for Britain and the bully or thug's friend's name for India, and you'd probably know how China feels about the South Tibet issue and why they won't back down, espicially since they now have the power to fight back for what they believe is their's.

why doesn't someone like you, a famous historian, publish your name first? Is that part of your strength?
As for your "history", it is based on what the Chinese claim is theirs (i this instance, "southern Tibet" Leave alone southern Tibet, no part of Tibet was part of China, as Chinese historian has recently said. At best, Chinese claims on any part of Tibet is arguable.
The marble bag comparison is also ludicrous. China will claim all the marbles as its own and will provide proof that some dynasty nobody ever knew had some trade links there..
Further, bullying by means of military strength has its plusses and minuses. China has to show its desperation elsewhere.

Chinese thugs have been upgrading their infrastructure in that area for a while. Now that their effort nears completion, they are getting increasingly hostile to India. Chinese have been helping Pakis aginst India. They are also digging in Barma, SL, Bangladesh, and Nepal. They are advancing like rats in the loose. What Indian leaders have done to counter the Chinese eggression that has been practically already started. Take the case of these Bangis. India get them their free country from the cluches of Paki army. Now they are supporting more to China than ther immediate neighbor India. Bangis are so much dependent on India but they are very ungrateful. Almost same is the case will Nepal and Sri Lanka. India needs to jinx the impression of being a soft state.

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