WHY OCTOBER 25, 1971 IS IMPORTANT FOR INDIA

25 October is an important day for China. It was on this day that China was voted in by the United Nations General Assembly and Taiwan was thrown out.

It was on this day in 1971 that China, as we know the country today, started on the path to become a global power in a true senses – with its place as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – and a roadmap laid before it where it would have access to geopolitics and global markets.

October 25, 1971 is also important for India. It was on this day that India was officially pushed to the league of nations that didn’t matter, nation who had no say in the global matters, the pariah nations who were at best tools to populate international organisations like the UN. The process of India’s official downfall had started much before but India’s hara-kiri was cemented on this day.

There are no second thoughts about it that despites being India’s largest trading partner, China is India’s main adversary, has fought a full-scale war with India and is engaged in a bitter border tussle. China, in fact, has illegally occupied a large swath of the Indian territory in Jammu & Kashmir and claims Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian state, as its own.

And it leaves no opportunity to express its displeasure, be it the visits of dignitaries, like it did with US Ambassador Richard Verma’s Arunachal visit yesterday or its practice of not issuing or issuing stapled visas to people having Arunachal Pradesh association.

China, in fact, uses every opportunity to humiliate India. It leverages the highly skewed trade balance in its favour to challenge India to take tough stand on Chinese overtures like opposing India’s move to ban JeM terrorist Masood Azhar in the United Nations or blocking India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or provoking or equipping Pakistan against India.

And China has been doing it for long, ever since it betrayed India’s and Jawaharlal Nehru’s trust with the 1962 war. Yes, it was because of the Nehruvian policies that India was forced to trust a deceptive country like China and it was because of Nehruvian policies that China could get what should have been rightly India’s – be it the UNSC membership or nuclear capability.

And it owes its genesis to the Nehruvian foreign policies, especially in regard to China, that pushed India decades back and China decades ahead.

Much before China, India was offered the UNSC seat. For the world powers of that movement, after India and China began their sovereign journeys, India as a democratic nation and China as a communist dictatorship, China was like a pariah. India, in fact, was offered the permanent UNSC membership, in 1950, in 1955 and other times but Pundit Nehru blundered here in counting China’s goodwill in making his mind. Whenever it came to a decision in this regard, Nehru always thought what China would do (and not what such a big change could do to India’s future).

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

DEMILITARIZING SIACHEN?

With the February 3 avalanche and with the passing away of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad (or Hanumanthappa, the way you spell this brave son of Mother India’s name) today, another round of debate on ‘demilitarising’ Siachen has started intensifying.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said today – “We strongly feel that the time has come to ensure that more lives are not lost due to harsh conditions in Siachen.”

He was referring to an idea (or a proposal) mooted by Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the UN General Assembly September last.

And he is not alone. In fact, whenever any tragedy happens in the Siachen area, such calls start making inroads, from India and Pakistan, but only to die down later – because India cannot trust Pakistan – because Pakistan cannot be trusted with its military’s aversion and hostility towards India – and because it has been a hard fought and won battle there at Siachen – with China still lording over the Aksai Chin region. Besides being rich in mineral resources, the whole Siachen region is also important to keep a keen eye on movements on Pakistani and Chinese sides and across Baltistan and Shaksgam valleys.

And because it is Pakistan that made the blue ice caps of Siachen a battlefield in 1984 triggering a response from India to retake what was its righty.

Before that, Siachen was serene and aesthetic – like its vast expanse of white snow and nature’s music – with the fact that avalanches are a reality of snow laden mountain caps across the world – before or after 1984.

Pakistan forced us to wade into that territory when it disturbed that calm.

And since then, it has been a continuous battle for survival for Indian soldiers there – putting efforts to be able to coexist with nature – and its fury for trespassing through this virgin territory.

In the last three decades, India has lost around 900 soldiers in Siachen, mostly in tragedies like avalanches or due to other threats of inclement weather. But over the years, we have learnt to live with nature there, minimizing loss of lives every passing year – with increasing scientific and defence prowess of India.

While Pakistan, the country that is in a poor strategic shape in the Siachen area, in fact being forced out to the lower hills on the other side of Siachen, continues to lose its civilians and soldiers in greater numbers with the huge 2012 loss that saw some 140 civilians and soldiers losing their lives in an avalanche.

While demilitarization of Siachen makes sense for India and Pakistan both, it’s almost like imperative for Pakistan – the country that began the whole Siachen war zone stuff – like it has disturbed peace and tranquillity in Jammu & Kashmir by exporting and supporting terrorism there since the late 1980s.

India incurs some Rs. 5 crore (less than a million) per day in keeping Siachen supplied – that is nothing when we see India’s defence budget, yes but it would be really tough for Pakistan, a much smaller economy with a flurry of domestic problems. We cannot how much it costs for Pakistan there.

Bur the cost involved here is the ‘human cost’.

And Indian soldiers like Hanamathappa and nine others who lost their lives in February 3 avalanche are ready to sacrifice here with the human cost involved – as long as India doesn’t get sure about Pakistani and Chinese designs. We have paid the price with some 900 lives and we cannot let that go – by trusting two treacherous neighbours – Pakistan and China – the countries that have been historical adversaries of India – and have backstabbed India multiple times.

India is seriously working to maintain good relations with Pakistan and China but while China’s economic concerns can be trusted, Pakistan’s mercurial Army, that has been traditionally and existentially anti-India, can never be trusted. And we all know it is the Pakistani Army, and not its political establishment, that decides which way the country would go.

The whole nation was praying for Hanamanthappa. The whole nation is in a state of shock and is paying tribute to the ten bravehearts who lost their lives in the avalanche.

To keep Siachen safe and in India’s control would be the best service we can do to them, like Bana Singh, the Siachen hero, who captured a strategic post from Pakistani in 1987 which was later renamed as ‘Bana Post’ in his honour, said (in a Hindustan Times report) – “It’s tough to survive there but the moral and strength of an Indian soldier keeps him going. Weather adversaries shouldn’t make us think of ever pulling out of Siachen”.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

XI JINPING’S INDIA VISIT & CHUMAR STANDOFF: THANKFULLY, THE INDUCED BONHOMIE WORKED

India China bonhomie was in the air. It was in full throttle when the Chinese President was here earlier this month. And had a natural downslide after the visit. Even during the visit, yet another standoff on yet another Chinese incursion in Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir, was in full swing.

So, if the Indian hospitality in making the Chinese President Xi Jinping feel at home will be remembered, it will also be remembered for the cultural elements that enveloped the bilateral tension under the wrap of a makeshift bonhomie.

So, if it was 10%, the wrap of the cultural bonhomie made it 50%. The personal touch of Narendra Modi and the Gujarat element took it to 75% (Xi landed in Gujarat to begin his India visit). And the rest was done by the media, making it complete, taking it to the absolute figure of 100%, so much so that long discussions were held out on the possible (say proposed) $100 Billion Chinese investment in India.

No one can say from where this $100 Billion investment figure cropped up which was nowhere near to the actual $30 Billion that Chinese President agreed on while leaving the country.

The two Asian nations and neighbours fought a war in 1962 and there have been very little in the name of diplomatic ties and high-level bilateral efforts. The general perception about political and public sentiments has been of hostility, bilaterally. India has had an all-weather ally in Japan, China’s historical adversary. And China has done all to prop Pakistan against India, India’s backstabbing neighbour.

But times are changing and economic compulsions are rewriting the global equations. And economic compulsions forced the two most populous nations, and thus the larger markets, to looks for options to explore the avenues of enhanced economic cooperation. A strong trade tie between the two nations has the potential to rewrite the world economic order and can offer a great leverage in bringing their populations to the level of a dignified quality of life.

Though China is much ahead, both India and China have been growing strongly and at higher pace than the world average. The markets in the both the nations need investors and buyers now and two big and mature markets sharing a long territorial border can throw a wonderful opportunity.

The border that has been the main bone of contention between the two nations inciting a war and numerous incidents of incursions and standoffs.

And one of such prolonged standoffs was in full flow while the Chinese President was on state visit to India from September 17-19.

But, thankfully, the induced bonhomie worked, at least during the visit, and the incident didn’t mar the prospects of the visit. Even MoUs for $30 Billion are practically a good deal to talk about given the patchy history between the two nations.

It will take much more than a bilateral Summit talk to bring India and China on cordial terms, and much is needed to be done. The ice will break slowly because the temperature has been frigid for decades.

For the moment, the border standoff in Ladakh, at Chumar, has been resolved and the troops will be withdrawn completely by September 30.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/