Many retired generals have written about the Galwan fiasco in Ladakh in which several of our brave soldiers laid down their lives. Despite what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just said, it was apparent from the various narratives from the strategic establishment that the Chinese have intruded into our side of the Line of Actual Control. And are refusing to vacate claiming their sovereignty over our land.

We remained silent and officially did not even acknowledge any such violation of our sovereignty by the Chinese, amounting to an act of aggression. PM Modi broke the silence last evening by insisting there was no intrusion into Indian territory. A situation has thus been created where we now cannot even cry foul before the international community.

It is imperative for the government to take the nation into confidence over the details, and answer the many questions that are emerging since the PM’s statements. Conceding to China now will not help us save the other territories that China claims, including Arunachal Pradesh. Any surrender to China at this stage will only increase its appetite for more territory.

Further, remember that unlike 1962, China is acting in close tandem with Pakistan, who would like to grab Jammu and Kashmir with Chinese help which it failed to do so in 1947. We should not be surprised to find ourselves confronted with the Chinese Army in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir at some stage, if Pakistan also joins in to enlarge the area of conflict and make things difficult for us.

Territorial gain against India is only a small part of China’s bigger strategy to dominate the world economically, politically and militarily replacing the other international bully, the US. China has, with all calculations, embarked on a strategy to force India to fall in line and detach itself from the US-Israel axis or be ready for the consequences.

So, how we deal with this rampaging new bully on the horizon in our neighbourhood?

A country of 135 crore with a huge youth population should not be scared and be willing to take the bull by horns provided the entire country falls behind the government. Rather than conceding territory to China, the Modi government should undo all domestic measures that have divided the nation. I am confident that China will not be able to prolong the confrontation in the long run against a united and confident India. Yes, early setbacks should not demoralise us.

Internationally, India should pursue an independent foreign policy so as not be seen as a lackey of some country. Pakistan-US relations should be a reminder as to how the US ditched Pakistan at crucial moments in its history. It would be no different with India. Win back all our old friends in the Muslim world. Arab countries and Iran are all- weather friends.

Much more has to be done domestically. For that to happen call a Parliament session and reverse all controversial laws passed by it beginning with August 5, 2019 changes in Kashmir. Just a reading of former chief minister Omar Abdullah’s tweet on June 17 that “those Kashmiris tempted to look towards China as some sort of saviour need only google the plight of Uighur Muslims. Be careful what you wish for...” should be enough to realise the mistake of imprisoning these leaders. So, release all those detained in after August 5, 2019.

Scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 that has generated anger in several communities across India and alienated the younger generation. Consequently, stop the witch hunting of youth in colleges and universities who have a different view point. They are needed in the forefront.

Release all those detained in connection with Bhima Koregaon and Elgar Parishad cases. Many Dalits are angry over partisan action.

Yes, Ram mandir can wait. Nation’s honour takes precedence over it. All funds collected for the temple should be made available for defence procurement and army recruitment. PM CARE funds should also be pooled for the same purpose. More funds will flow, if the country is taken into confidence.

This is a Plassey moment in our history. Either we fight together or gradually be devoured by this new imperialist bully called China. Subjugation in any form should not be acceptable.

Avinash Mohananey is a former Intelligence Bureau officer who served in Kashmir and Pakistan.

Cover Photograph : Srinagar-Leh highway today BASIT ZARGAR