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India should exactly reciprocate Chinese actions: Bharat Karnad

Updated: April 30, 2013, 5:55 PM IST
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India should exactly reciprocate Chinese actions: Bharat Karnad
Can India force the Chinese to abandon their positions on the Indian side of the LAC in Ladakh?

The Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers have pitched their fifth tent in Ladakh after their intrusion, almost 18 km into Indian territory from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was first detected. How should India respond to this? Does India have the political will and other required capacities to force the Chinese to go back to their side of the LAC? Strategic affairs expert Bharat Karnad joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. Why are we such a weak nation? China scares us being a bigger country & Pakistan scares despite being a smaller country. Why are our leaders so weak? Asked by: Ankit

A. Indian leaders and the government they head lack in vision, lose their nerves easily in even the smallest crisis, and simply don't appreciate the utility of hard military power of the state because of their oft-mentioned belief that as a "responsible" state India shouldn't rattle its sabres. When these elements are combined what you get is the kind of defensive inaction we see today.

Q. How do you read Chinese negotiating behaviour against India? Do you think they will eventually withdraw from the occupied space under diplomatic bargaining or India has to exert military pressure to push them out from the current position? Asked by: Gyana

A. Yes, they will but not before proving to the world that India does not have the guts to face them down in the Depsang Valley, and after extorting some concession or the other. Talk of military pressure is, in the circumstances, so much hot air!

Q. I have a question related to this incident and the guts and lie of congress rule Indian Govt. In 1986/87 Chinese occupied/intrude "Sumdorong Chu" as I came across through some discussion in various TV channel. I want to know whether Chinese are still there or it is under the control of Indian administration. If it is still under Chinese control, than there is no reason of discussing all these non sense. The ruling govt as it is doing and will keep doing secularism and communalism. Asked by: Satya

A. The Chinese have withdrawn from the forward position they took on the Somdurong chu in 1987. The reason India compelled China to back down was because then army chief Gen. Sundarji did not follow procedure, didnot consult MEA, etc and immediately ordered an airlift of troops, positioning of guns on the surrounding heights, and a tentage presence just 10 meters from the Chinese camp! The PLA lost its nerve!

Q. To my mind we are in catch 22 situation-as we do not have good road newtwork-have to depend on ALG s in DBO & Fukuche-we just can not abondon that option-so the situation will be resolved-understand Chinese have objection to fukuche (where exactly is is located ?) Asked by: avinash

A. Well, the Chinese have this fantastical notion they are trying to ram down Manmohan Singh govt's throat that while it is alright for them to build up in strength on their side of LAC, India shouldn't do the same -- bldg up ALGs, border roads, etc.for the sake of peace and tranquility!

Q. Don't you think its completely our fault having not build infrastructure, still thinking about proposed 2 mountain division and now we are helpless? What answer should India give? Asked by: Jayesh Joshi

A. It is entirely our fault -- the fault of the Indian govt in not directing the army to concentrate on the major adversary, China, and of the army for misorienting to the lesser threat, Pakistan, and spending the national resources on the western front.

Q. Assuming we give them a hard response, something like pulling off economic ties by taxing them more or put more & aggressive forces on lac, what do you think their response would be? Asked by: Ankit

A. It would be foolish for the hard response to be a severance of trade and economic links. It has to be military action --like warning the Chinese it will shoot down any helicopters seeking to resupply the forward Chinese unit, and if this warning is disregarded, shooting down any PLA helicopters!

Q. Assuming we give them a hard response, something like pulling off economic ties by taxing them more or put more & aggressive forces on lac, what do you thin their response would be? Asked by: Ankit

A. PLA response can be expected, so India better prepare for it by airlifting mountain Divisions to the Leh, 14 Corps, sector just in case.

Q. Can you please compare the depth and scope of the intrusion with that of Kargil? Asked by: Venky

A. The armed intrusion here is 19 kms. In Kargil it was less -- some 10 kms!

Q. I suppose India has excess imported product sales from china. Is this the reason behind India's silence over this incursion issue for a long time? If not, what is the reason behind the delay to take decision? Asked by: Shobana

A. India is in a neo-colonial trading pattern with China -- we export raw materials, like iron ore, they export finished products. It is best to cut off that kind of Chinese exports altogether, India won't lose.

Q. Hi..I think just before the FM's visit to China, these guys will abandon the post and go back so as to soften India's response..I think if they do not do it then the FM should cancel the visit..Also do the Chinese military generals actually have more power than projected publicly and they seem to be flexing their muscles with most of their neighbors? Asked by: JK

A. PLA now has more political power and influence in the Chinese govt than was the case earlier, what with Xi Jinping becoming President of China with the military's help.

Q. What is the Ideal way of dealing with Chinese? Asked by: Rakesh

A. India should exactly reciprocate Chinese actions and policies in all spheres, and not be in a hurry to resolve the border dispute because Beijing believes the longer the wait, the better the deal they can extract out of India.

Q. Will this be a right time to recognize Tibet as a sovereign state by the Indian Government along with military aid to counter Chinese intrusion? Asked by: Raja

A. Tibet card has to be begun to be played by India. Not with recognition to start with but by withdrawing from our position of accepting Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.

Q. Are we helpless in front of the mighty Chinese? or are we lacking the leader of the caliber of Indira Gandhi who even faced the US during liberation of Bangladesh? Asked by: Prathap

A. India lacks a strong leader who will take no guff from any foreign country.

Q. What impact these Chinese incursions have on trade of imported Chinese products in future in India? Asked by: Rohan

A. I thought I replied to this: the present neo-colonial [pattern of trade with china has to end - one in which India exports raw materials like iron ore to China, and imports finished goods.

Q. Intrusion in 19 kms, Was our army sleeping? Asked by: Ankit

A. Perhaps.

Q. Can we expect a limited conflict like the Kargil war with the Chinese and if our leaders are bold enough to do so what will be the repercussions? Asked by: Raja

A. No, China has too much to lose, it will, with its belligerence, frighten away the few friends it has in Asia and the world.

Q. Is raising mountain division the right way to deal with China? any suggestion from your side? Asked by: Roshni

A. Mountain Divisions, I have argued, will be useful only if they are specially tasked for offensive warfare, not for the kind of defensive LAC-hugging presence Mtn Divs are presently deployed in.

Q. Is PRC's occupation of Tibet in 1959 the main cause of the border problem? Will border problems resolves if Tibetan issues resolve? Asked by: Tenzin

A. Absolutely! China had no legal right to Tibet. But might is right, so they annexed it.

Q. Will the govt end neo-colonial trade with china? Asked by: Rohan

A. This govt seems disinclined to do anything. Anything at all!

Q. The youth of this country are disillusioned with non alignment policy pursued by the Government. In the name of the outdated non alignment policy Govt. cannot take affirmative action in dealing with recalcitrant countries like China. Do you think the time has come to get rid non alignment and adopt a new foreign policy that is reflective of today's times? Asked by: Bhumish Khudkhudia

A. The present phrase for the nonalignment concept is "strategic autonomy". We need friends, of course, like Japan and the US to deal with China. But the Americans won't fight the war for us. That we'll have to do ourselves! But, a strong willed Indian govt would have replied to this Chinese adventure with appropriate harshness.

Q. Do you think Leaders like Namo, if came to power, will change the situation? Asked by: Ankit

A. From what one can make of him, yes. In fact, he criticized the Indian govt for taking the Chinese aggression lying down.

Q. Can India air force give befitting reply to China? Asked by: Mukesh shah

A. Possibly. But IAF has never been a proactive force where China is concerned, and will act intimidated should the Chines AF heave into view.

Q. What should India's approach be towards both Pakistan & China, so that they refrain from any kinds of incursions? Asked by: Rohan

A. Very different approaches: Pakistan should be co-opted with all kinds of economic and other inducements. The better to marshal our national resources to confront China militarily and in every other way.

Q. Is Give and take a viable and permanent solution for this border dispute? If yes, what will go and what will get? Asked by: Tenzin

A. No. The Chinese have already taken a good part of Indian Aksai China. We have taken nothing. So, where's the give on the Chinese part?

First Published: April 30, 2013, 5:55 PM IST
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