The recent hysteria, especially in New Delhi, over Chinese troops crossing into Indian territory in eastern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir has been replaced now by calm caution. The story has slid off the front pages. Even television has other things to report. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called it a “localised” problem, while Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has likened the stand-off to a developing pimple in an otherwise beautiful face.
According to Khurshid, just because the face has been temporarily scarred by this eruption, doesn’t mean it will remain so permanently. Khurshid has decided to go ahead with his visit to Beijing on May 9, signalling that Delhi wants to give Beijing another chance to turn back its troops from their 19-odd kilometre transgression across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) into India. This is a mature thing to do. Both countries have to realise that 2013 is hardly 1962, when Indian troops lost to the Chinese on the icy fields of eastern Ladakh and fought pitched battles some 4,000km away in the eastern sector, now known as Arunachal Pradesh.
Today, both India and China are new countries, bound together by the umbilical cord of $72 billion in annual trade. Indian minerals are shipped to China to make steel — although some controls have been recently imposed — and Chinese goods, from idols of Hindu gods like Ganesh and Lakshmi to heavy engineering equipment for the power sector, as well as trade and investment in the telecom sector, are also growing by leaps and bounds.
There is a second reason why Delhi is hoping reason will displace the current tense, eyeball-to-eyeball situation in the Depsang area in Ladakh: Chinese premier Li Keqiang announced that he will pay his first visit abroad as prime minister to India on May 20. This was meant to signal China’s interest in revamping relations with a fellow Asian power and put it on a par with relations with Europe and the US. Can Comrade Li come to India when Chinese troops have camped 19km inside Indian territory, notwithstanding the different interpretations of the LAC? Certainly not, which is why Khurshid’s visit to Beijing on May 9 will allow both sides to look at several face-saving ideas that accompany a return to status quo.
Clearly, this is as good a time as any for both sides to seriously look at settling the border issue, just over 4,000km from Jammu and Kashmir in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east, but it is common sense that the status quo ante must be maintained before that can happen. Still, it is in this light of China’s growing importance not only in India but across South Asia that the recent imbroglio between must be seen.
In Pakistan, the “all-weather relationship” with China has been strengthened by the latter taking control of the Gwadar port. In Maldives, the eviction late last year of the Indian company, GMR, was followed by the Chinese offer to strengthen a security relationship with Male. In Sri Lanka, the Chinese are building roads and other infrastructure. In Nepal, former prime minister Pushpa Kumar Dahal recently called upon China to develop roads and hydropower facilities and develop the birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini (this has raised Indian eyebrows). In Bangladesh, the Chinese have offered to develop the Chittagong port. And in Myanmar, the presence of President Thein Sein at the Boao Forum earlier in April and his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping signals that Beijing is still Myanmar’s most important partner. Interestingly, India is doing to China’s neighbourhood what China has been doing to South Asia. In recent years, India has ramped up engagement with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Australia, which hope to balance their separate strategic partnerships with India with its deep-rooted economic engagement with China.
The recent crossing of Chinese troops inside Indian territory has an older context: in 1962, Chinese troops took large parts of Arunachal Pradesh in a short time but equally soon returned to its positions on its own side of the McMahon Line, unable to maintain supply lines. In Aksai Chin, on the other hand, Chinese PLA troops fought hard to take the region because it was integral to its strategy to keep control over neighbouring Tibet. Today, as India begins to build and modernise infrastructure near the Line of Actual Control for the first time since 1962, the Chinese feel that the Indian presence is too close for comfort. The Chinese must withdraw and return to the status quo. Too much is at stake in the relationship to throw it away over a region in which hardly a blade of grass grows.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2013.
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@asim daud: Donot worry about china that is Indian problem,think about paki army
Chinese have withdrawn. And that's pretty old news.
Indians have been calling Pakistan a coward when it comes to US drone strikes in Pakistan.Now what should we call them when Chinese troops have intruded almost 19 Km inside the Indian territory and they are just helpless to even confront them.Bravo India.
Its ok we don't need high growth rate and we'll keep Kashmir, thank you very much. As long as India is reducing poverty growth rate is just another number.
Before you contest me on this let me paste the UN MDG report link.
But, I must appreciate your concern for India.
"The fact remains that the Indian people didn’t have the kind of courage and temperament required for expeditions to foreign lands."
Was East Pakistan then part of India, eh? I thought you thought Kashmir is a foreign land. So there you go, you are contrasting yourself.
Pakistan will always condemn Indian oppression of the Kashmiri people; support, raise voice, and stand for their basic human rights, and is not afraid of the threatening postures of a much bigger country, or of the vicious machinations of her establishing supremacy in the region.
As long as India has hot disputes with the major countries of the region, achieving a consistent high economic growth rate will always be a remote possibility, no matter who is in power – save for the transient periods of high growth caused by international geopolitical events, as was the case in the recent past. It is in India’s own best interest, and the region’s other countries as well, to solve the pending Kashmir dispute with Pakistan, and abandon her hostile hegemonic stance towards other big and small neighbors
The fact remains that the Indian people didn’t have the kind of courage and temperament required for expeditions to foreign lands.
BTW, what was the topic under discussion?!
Dear Sirs and Madams,
We CAN and WILL retaliate and defeat China on the battle-field. Contrary to common claims, in 1962, China almost lost Tibet, while they only held on to Arunchal Pradesh (then East Sector). In addition, the Indian army has bases in Japan, Australia, Vietnam and South Korea. The author mentions this in her article. We have also secretly set up bases in Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
In a misadventure from the Chinese side, China will be attacked from the South West (Indian territory), East (Japan and neighbouring countries), South East (Australia and Vietnam) as well as North (Mongolia and Kazakhstan). In additions, Indian agents are actively reviving the Tibetan revolt from the Gobi desert.
No misadventure will be tolerated and China will be divided into greater than 40 countries. For detailed maps on the proposed divisions, visit the Indian Army Chief's house. We can take on China using our conventional weapons. No need for nuclear weapons - it is carcinogenic.
India very well knows this harsh reality that China is far powerful and superior than India in every field this is why India is only trying to resolve all the issues with China in peaceful manners with talks and negotiations on the table but as compared with Pakistan the India's attitude is totally opposite and is also negative and aggressive to resolve all the burning and core issues because India falsely thinks that Pakistan is so weak that can be easily swallowed.
@Romm: "In democratic states, army chiefs are shown door for such like comments."
Interesting lessons in democracy and civilian supremacy from a country where not less than a week back 75 army people went and tried to intimidate prosecution for trying a former general in a court of law and where the army has ruled for almos half its life directly and strongly influenced security policy and foreign policy even during the so called democratic stints..
In US a general was dismissed because he gave an interview where he was openly disrespectful of the VP Joe Biden. The army is required to take orders from civilians but army is not barred from expressing their opinions, even forcefully as long as they do not refuse to carry out orders. - even when it is against received political wisdom. General Petraeus did precisely that when he pushed for a surge in Iraq and was even promoted to the position of CIA head.
In India too no General dare disobey civilian orders in times of peace. Even in times of war, they have the freedom to choose tactics of war but not the overall strategy regarding when to negotiate or when to fight.
@Lala Gee: Thanks for the history lesson. But, I noticed that your exposition of history ends at the year 1957.
It is helpful to remember that; 1) Pakistan ceased to exist as on 26 March 1971 2) Pakistan "donated" part of Kashmir to China without any consideration to the opinions of the parties involved including "Kashmiris"
So, Neither Kashmir nor Pakistan exist anymore. I can't see what all this hullabaloo is about.
In democratic states, army chiefs are shown door for such like comments. The way US commander in Afghanistan was sent home by President Obama. No morr coments on the issue as indians can not accept the hard realities.
@Parvez: You are the voice of reason my friend.
In my view what China did was only to ' test the water '. China and India are huge economies and very big trading partners both are mature enough to realise that a military conflict makes no sense. Down playing this incident was the correct thing to do.
(Dear Moderator: My comment is not longer than the comment of @jona you allowed. It is highly unfair not to allow me to answer directly addressed comments).
"Sir, would you be kind enough to educate the ET readers with what the UNSC resolution on Kashmir says?"
"@Lala Gee Yes, Indeed. What about the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir? They ask Pakistan to first vacate the areas it has illegally occupied."
Here is a brief history of the Kashmir conflict which should answer most of your questions. Please pay special attention to the dates of the events, and you could clearly see the India's deceit and insincerity to honor her commitments and repeated promises of plebiscite made to the Kashmiri people and to the world community..
1948: India takes the Kashmir problem to the United Nations (UN) Security Council on 1 January.
1949: On 1 January, a ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani forces leaves India in control of most of the valley, as well as Jammu and Ladakh, while Pakistan gains control of part of Kashmir including what is now Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan. Pakistan claimed it is merely supporting an indigenous rebellion in Azad Kashmir and Northern Territories against repression.
1949: On 5 January 1949, UNCIP (United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan) resolution states that the question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through a free and impartial plebiscite. As per the 1948 and 1949 UNCIP Resolutions, both countries accept the principle, that Pakistan secures the withdrawal of Pakistani intruders followed by withdrawal of Pakistani and Indian forces, as a basis for the formulation of a Truce agreement whose details are to be arrived in future, followed by a plebiscite; However, both countries fail to arrive at a Truce agreement due to differences in interpretation of the procedure for and extent of demilitarisation one of them being whether the Azad Kashmiri army is to be disbanded during the truce stage or the plebiscite stage.
1949: On 17 October, the Indian Constituent Assembly adopts Article 370 of the Constitution, ensuring a special status and internal autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, with Indian jurisdiction in Kashmir limited to the three areas agreed in the Instrument of Accession, namely, defence, foreign affairs and communications.
1951: First post-independence elections. The UN passes a resolution to the effect that such elections do not substitute a plebiscite, because a plebiscite offers the option of choosing between India and Pakistan. Sheikh Abdullah wins, mostly unopposed. There are widespread charges of election rigging which continue to plague most of the subsequent elections.
1947-1952: Sheikh Abdullah drifts from a position of endorsing accession to India in 1947 to insisting on the self-determination of Kashmiris in 1952. In July 1952, he signs Delhi Agreement with the Central government on Centre-State relationships, providing for autonomy of the State within India and of regions within the State;
1953-1954: In 1953, the governments of India and Pakistan agree to appoint a Plebiscite Administrator by the end of April 1954. Abdullah procrastinates in confirming the accession of Kashmir to India. In August 1953, Abdullah is dismissed and arrested. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed is installed in power, who then gets the accession formally ratified in 1954. Pakistan and US sign a Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement in May 1954. Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru states that he is concerned about the cold-war alignments and that such an alliance affects the Kashmir issue.
1956-1957: On 30 October 1956, the state Constituent Assembly adopts a constitution for the state declaring it an integral part of the Indian Union. On 24 January 1957, UN passes another resolution stating that such actions would not constitute a final disposition of the State. India's Home Minister, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, during his visit to Srinagar, declares that the State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and there can be no question of a plebiscite to determine its status afresh. India would resist plebiscite efforts from then on. Kashmiri activists continue to insist on the promised self-determination.
"His speaking up forced our politicians to take note and due corrective actions were implemented at political level."
And I thought civilian leadership was in-charge in India. Thanks for demystifying the the myth.
@Romm: "Ms Malhotra, your Army chief roared like a circus lion during tension on LOC just to pasify the criticism at home but Alas! in this scenerio he can not even speak publicly about the brave provocation by Chinese."
Well our army chiefs have actually won wars unlike yours who start wars only to lose them. 1965, 1971, 1999. Your disrespectful language does nothing to change the ground reality.
The only reason our army Chief ended up having to speak in January is that our political leadership was trying to sweep the incident under the carpet. His speaking up forced our politicians to take note and due corrective actions were implemented at political level. In this case, the political powers that be were already taking action Also, in case you are not aware, India army had already pulled up and Chinese camps were in sight. So there was no need for words, when a combination of ground level actions combined with diplomacy achieved the stated goal.
@Romm: "2nd point was regarding stupidity committed by indians in siachen… none has given a reasonable answer."
Siachen is strategically important to India. Even though it was not part of physically demarcated area, conceptually it was on Indian part of LoC which was defined NJ9842 due North. When it became clear that Pakistan planned to occupy Siachen ( a fact admitted by your own armed forces), India occupied it to protect its land. Despite several attempts to dislodge India, Pakistan has not succeeded. To me it speaks of valour not stupidity. Clearly our definitions of stupidity differ and hence most Indians probably did not understand because no one thinks there is anything foolish about defending a strategically important post where another country has shown clear intentions to occupy if allowed.
"All those talking about kargil operation. Just check what is the significance of point 5777 and who is holding that."
You keep referring to that in several earlier posts also. The fact is the whole Kargill episode which was started by Pakistan hurt Pakistan who had to suffer the ignominy of unilateral ceasefire and also had become isolated at that time. India's responsible behavior in not escalating the war and crossing LoC even though it would have saved some lives instead of the frontal attack it chose, paid dividends a few years later when it got the nuclear deal. So I am not sure what your point is.
All those talking about kargil operation. Just check what is the significance of point 5777 and who is holding that. 2nd point was regarding stupidity committed by indians in siachen... none has given a reasonable answer. The bone of contention between was fortifications by indian army and they have stopped that. So Chinese have achieved their objective. In disputed territories, Indians can not construct even one meter of road witout the permission of chinese army. Indian friends to pls have a heart and accept the hard realities.
@Lala Gee: Sir, I have been reading your comments in the ET columns for quite some time. It seems to me that you have nothing but deep-rooted hatred for India and anything Indian. Sir, would you be kind enough to educate the ET readers with what the UNSC resolution on Kashmir says? Regarding Siachen Glacier, the answer was given by the Indian army chief to one of your newsmen in Delhi recently which you can check on youtube. As regards, the issue addressed by the author, let me inform you kind Sir, that the Chinese forces withdrew on Sunday after Delhi told Beijing that the upcoming visits of Indian foreign minister to China and Chinese PM to India could be impacted by the stand-off. And it was not done by shouting from the rooftops, but diplomatically. That's how mature nations behave, but alas, the word " mature " is an anathema for your ilk. regards
Post 1962, Chinese tried twice to pull the same trick. And the Indian response was so swift and brutal that they literally begged India for a ceasefire (guess they realized Nehru wasn't around anymore). Chinese historically are known take what they can when it's easy and leave when it's a little difficult. They are known to cancel invasion of ancient Korea as the Chinese generals (presumably well versed in "Sun Zu's art of war") withdrew after noticing the courage of the Koreans. Even in the recent history, they got a solid beating from the Vietnamese in the 60s~70s and even on that occasion, they withdrew. You see, they never fight a war on principle. Only funny thing here is your historical ignorance. Especially of the Battle at Longewala.
@Maria: It seems that an educated person like you will not go 'by the word' of the UN resolution. Remove your Army and then talk. Double dare?
@gp65 Ha ha ha ha ha... You answer is just for the sake of answer.. This substantiaets my point of view that Chinese are wise not stupid. Relax, take a sip of coffee and then try to understand my my point.
@BruteForce: You can try to hide behind words but ask the majority of Kashmiri families where their loyalty lies- then you should be honest enough to vacate occupied Kashmir because most Kashmiris do not see themselves as part of India. I know you feel that most Tibetans too see themselves as Chinese but try not to deceive yourself on both counts.
@Romm: "Nothing but wishful propositions without any viable options Indians can consider."
You are probably not aware that India has quietly negotiated with China and China has withdrawn its forces.http://www.sify.com/finance/india-and-china-withdraw-troops-from-himalayan-face-off-news-economy-nfgaudjefge.html
Both India and China are responsible nuclear powers and recognize that a wr fought with them can have no winners - only losers all around. Quiet diplomacy prevailed between two countries where military is under civilians and there is a greater concern about welfare of citizens than going in for ego boosting wars.
It was fun to read this article. Nothing but wishful propositions without any viable options Indians can consider. Chinese are just making this clear to Indians that developemnet of long range missiles does not gurantee that they won't be penalised. Secondly Chinese did not withdraw from Askai chin due to lack of supply, rather they went back as planned. The difference of appraoch between india and China is that of Indian stupidity and chinese wisdom. They could retain askai chin like indians are holding Siachen but here comes the difference. Ms Malhotra, your Army chief roared like a circus lion during tension on LOC just to pasify the criticism at home but Alas! in this scenerio he can not even speak publicly about the brave provocation by Chinese.
Guess what people? The Chinese pulled back.
So much for Pakistani pipe dreams.
Now about the drones and thr TTP.......
Indian army was again shown its strength by the chinese....haha
@Pakistan: Wait and see how ong it will be an ally
China is our ally. Why are we publishing this in our newspaper?
China gets what China wants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Both countries have to realise that 2013 is hardly 1962, when Indian troops lost to the Chinese on the icy fields of eastern Ladakh and fought pitched battles some 4,000km away in the eastern sector, now known as Arunachal Pradesh."
Haha India should realize that China can still defeat them because they do not own russia's used and faulty defence equipments :)
Madam Malhotra,the pictur that we get from main stream Indian media is quite different,we know that Indian Army Chief has recommended a military strategy of pushing Chinese back from Daulat Beg Oldi. Indian military think tanks like Bharat Rakshak have recommended a proadtive strategy and military counter strike and even declaring Tibet as a separate country. Please dont give us false impression of peace and tranquility across the Himalayas. Indian political reaction to so called Chinese intrusion has been quite knee jerked,BJP maestro Mr Jaitley remarked in The Hindu that India's patience was running out. 19 kms in high mountains is a game changer,it is not acne or pimple on a beautiful face but a scar that could mean Indian humilation,please consult a military analyst. India has to learn good neighbourly behaviour,before it is too late.
What about Kargil? Was that fair game?
What about Kasab being celebrated like a national hero when he was caught on live cameras killing innocent civilians.
As far as kashmir goes, here's a copy of the truce agreement:
TRUCE AGREEMENT (United Nations)
Simultaneously with the acceptance of the proposal for the immediate cessation of hostilities as outlined in Part I, both Governments accept the following principles as a basis for the formulation of a truce agreement, the details of which shall be worked out in discussion between their Representatives and the Commission.
A. (1) As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State. (2) The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting. (3) Pending a final solution the territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the Commission. B. (1) When the Commission shall have notified the Government of India that the tribesmen and Pakistan nationals referred to in Part II A2 hereof have withdrawn, thereby terminating the situation which was represented by the Government of India to the Security Council as having occasioned the presence of Indian forces in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and further, that the Pakistan forces are being withdrawn from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India agrees to begin to withdraw the bulk of their forces from the State in stages to be agreed upon with the Commission. (2) Pending the acceptance of the conditions for a final settlement of the situation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Government will maintain within the lines existing at the moment of cease-fire the minimum strength of its forces which in agreement with the Commission are considered necessary to assist local authorities in the observance of law and order. The Commission will have observers stationed where it deems necessary. (3) The Government of India will undertake to ensure that the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will take all measures within their power to make it publicly known that peace, law and order will be safeguarded and that all human and political rights will be guaranteed. C. (1) Upon signature, the full text of the Truce Agreement or communique containing the principles thereof as agreed upon between the two Governments and the Commission, will be made public.
And then there is this small matter of large piece of land of “disputed territory”, as acknowledged by Pakistan ambassador, illegally ceded to China. How can you sell, cede, surrender something that you don’t legally own ?
@Lala Gee Yes, Indeed. What about the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir? They ask Pakistan to first vacate the areas it has illegally occupied. And what about the parts of Kashmir which Pakistan ceded to China?
@Lala: I think u need to reread "Simla Agreement" and "Simla Accord". U missed some thing there. India don't claim all lands based on year old maps (Asoka or British Indian empire) but Chinese do with BC maps. Even a KG kid knows its a joke of claims.
I remembered once an opposition member in Parliament replying to the same line used in this text "hardly a blade of grass grows". I am not as old and experienced as the people who wrote such articles. We are out of line in many aspects the way people react for the situation, well its a person gets his own money from a govt. office to the situation written right here. Ours is ours, its not the one in power who own what you worked for. What we lag is intention to ease and stream line the problems. When you want to eat a fruit you get it from tree not wait until it falls of from it.
No blade of grass may grow in Aksai Chin, but why leave it to nature to prove what enough Chinese boots on the ground can ensure. - Power respects strength. - The Chinese are practitioners of brute power since times immemorial and not given to self indulgent lectures. They were poor in 1948 but they fought the US led United Nations to a divided Korea, they again stood up to the US, USSR and cut India to size - all within a decade (60s)! During this time they acquired the all important veto bearing seat in the UN. Then agreed to rapprochement with the US on their terms. They invested in their economy and military relentlessly. Rest is history as they say. India during thi time period, chose to play second fiddle and ignore itself. - But now it wants to become big without paying the necessary price for it. Smug, it wants others to see the "magic" of its democratic ethos and be given the status of a big power. But power, like nature, is unkind to the weak and never given. Mr. Khurshid, like his predecessors, will pay many a visit and see his country frustrated. Worse yet, Chinese will keep what they have with a smile, a gun and promise to meet again.
@Shariat: Occupied Kashmir is disputed territory. The real issue is not that China has had border incursions into illegally occupied Indian Kashmir, but rather the UN should demand that India allow the people of Kashmir to vote in a referendum to gain their freedom in accordance with international resolutions. I can't understand how India supports the Tibetans but then suppresses the Kashmiris. If India can illegally occupy parts of Kashmir against the wishes of its people, why shouldn't China be allowed to do the same? I am sure the people of occupied Kashmir would welcome the Chinese more than the Indians.
"Delhi is hoping reason will displace the current tense, eyeball-to-eyeball situation... This was meant to signal China’s interest in revamping relations..."
Since when is HOPE a policy? Did chinese every said what they meant by that? Assumption shows lack of thinking, intellectual bankruptcy, and self-delusion.
"Too much is at stake in the relationship to throw it away over a region in which hardly a blade of grass grows." What does this even mean? What meaningful relationship can we possibly have with others, if you can't/don't speak up and stand up for yourself? Do you really believe this is just about a piece of land?
"The Chinese must withdraw and return to the status quo. Too much is at stake in the relationship to throw it away over a region in which hardly a blade of grass grows."
Amazingly hypocrite Indian people. When it is in their advantage, they forget every law and principle of fairness. And, when they are the on the losing side, all the rules of fairness suddenly become relevant. Madam, what about the UNSC resolutions about Kashmir, and the India's illegal occupation of Siachen Glacier in open violation of Simla Agreement.
Stop all imports from china as well as expor,china will on table begging to start again,India has given enough time to get out of indian tretory ,