AVINASH MOHANANEY | 16 JULY, 2020
National unity need of the hour
A month after deadly clash between Indian and Chinese armies in which we lost twenty brave soldiers, the military commanders on our side are carrying out difficult, protracted and presumably exasperating talks with their Chinese counterparts to ensure restoration of status quo ante as it existed in early April.
Four rounds of talks have already been held with no significant outcome in terms of Chinese withdrawal. The indications are that we may be in for a long haul.
These negotiations are unlikely to yield anything significant, as the occupation of what we always believed to be Indian territory is not a rogue operation by local Chinese commanders, but a well thought out political and strategic move by Beijing. So, be sure that Chinese are unlikely to just melt away back to their old positions along the line of actual control (LAC) without India dealing the issue very firmly.
They can only be pushed back by concerted diplomatic and political moves at international level while at the same time maintaining military pressure on the ground.
The country hopes that the political leadership has corrected the position taken by prime minister at the all-party meeting on June 19 of no intrusion by China. Politically, diplomatically and strategically, it was a self-inflicted wound. On the other hand, Chinese are very clear from the beginning in asserting that their troops are deployed to protect territorial integrity of China and see the conflict between the two sides in Galwan Valley on June 15 in this context.
It was good that Indian side made the record straight to tell the world about Chinese aggression in the interview given by Vikram Misri, Indian ambassador in Beijing, to Press Trust of India. Referring to the Galwan Valley, he said “it is very surprising that they (Chinese) should have chosen to, in the context of these recent developments, to do this kind of thing in a sector (Galwan) which has never before been a sector of concern”.
On the other hand, Sun Weidong, his Chinese counterpart in India, repeatedly asserts that Galwan Valley lies on the Chinese side of LAC accusing India of violating the same and aggression.
Dealing with Chinese aggression will not be easy and require the entire nation speaking in one voice to protect the territorial integrity of the country. Not only on the Chinese issue, country needs a united approach to deal with growing Covid19 pandemic despite harshest lockdown in the world and the consequent economic distress. As a result of growing unemployment, more Indians are likely to be pushed towards margins.
But, instead of working for national unity and addressing the issues, the ruling party is busy in petty political games to destabilise opposition ruled state governments and thereby creating political dissensions. The Congress led Rajasthan government has survived for now but will remain on tenterhooks in days and months to come. The game of toppling opposition governments is not new. Congress did it for many years when in power at the centre and now it is turn of BJP to do so. BJP has been successful in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh and it is a matter of time that it would proudly add Rajasthan to its kitty.
On the issue of Chinese aggression, rather than taking the nation into confidence, the government is banking on its spin doctors in print and electronic media, who masquerade as strategic experts. For operational secrecy it is not necessary that all details should be revealed, but the nation needs to be prepared for all eventualities. Reports quoting government and military sources are being published without authentication. The effort is to save the image of a leader and a political party rather than territorial integrity of the country.
Unnecessarily constructing a new vista in Delhi at huge public expenses will not ensure a name in the history. Similarly, ambitious projects like bullet train meant for rich businessmen need to be scrapped in a country where poor migrants could not even get a second-class compartment to travel to their homes. Many such wasteful expenditures need to be curbed with focus on spending in social sector and jump starting the economy.
Every ruler should remember that no one can write the last word in the history. Similarly, the facts have an uncanny tendency to pop out when least expected and thereby humbling high and mighty.
In the interest of the nation, the focus of the government should be to create national unity to deal with myriad problems that the country is facing rather than push to rule every nook and corner of the country.
Avinash Mohananey is former Intelligence Bureau officeer who served in in Jammu&Kashmir and Pakistan