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November 20, 2017
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From South China to Chirabian Sea

Published: August 2017

China has been on the rise economically in the recent decades, and literally dominates the world as its powerhouse for consumer and engineering goods.

Nobody has challenged this rise, and even India has been supporting it with increasing bilateral trade, which happens to be much in China’s favour. In fact, every Indian festival, from Diwali to national days like the Independence Day and Republic Day see the inflow of a number of Chinese goods into India. Nobody has resisted that and China has been getting a place in our hearts as a soft power.

It’s different now.

For the past few years, in line with its imperialistic history, China has been trying to expand south, beginning with the South China Sea and now the Himalayan borders towards Bhutan and India. Except North Korea, all its neighbours around the South China Sea are upset, and down south on the Himalayan front, only Pakistan, a state known for fomenting terror troubles worldwide, is with it because Islamabad gets massive military and economic aid from Beijing.

Nonetheless, there has been a good measure of peace on the Indo-China borders and the Indian and Chinese leaders – in all fairness the latter included – have shown warmth towards one another.

The sudden move of the Chinese army to come closer to India and Bhutan, in territory, which like many other areas it claims, has disturbed the well-intentioned peace achieved between the two countries over the years. India is bound to resist.

Where actually is the need to bring troops and bulldozers so close to the borders of other countries! Peace is best for India, and certainly for China too.

But China has been threatening violence and war through its officials and official media.

Indeed India suffered badly in the 1962 war, inflicted despite the Indian leaders being kind to China. The US and three other UN Security Council members pleaded with India to be the fifth member, but Mr Jawaharlal Nehru, a statesman ahead of his times, insisted that it go to China.

Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has rightly said now that the India of today is not the India of 1962.

Nobody wants war, and hopefully, that includes China. I shudder at the bloodshed and loss of human lives it would bring on both sides of the border.

I may recall however what Mrs Indira Gandhi had told intelligence officers once: India cannot compete with China economically, politically and militarily. But if a war is thrust upon us, we must make sure to cause three times the damage than to us, and set an enemy behind by two to three decades.

The Prime Minister’s Office is institutional and I am sure this would be the thinking of the current incumbent, Mr Narendra Modi also. He is loved by us.

China already claims the South China Sea, and through its purchase and acquisition of Gwadar port from Pakistan, perhaps it has a vision of territorial waters in the Arabian Sea also.

What a dream: From South China to Chirabian Sea!

– Gulshan Rai Luthra




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