New Delhi: BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has called for long-term engagement with China for the benefit of both New Delhi and Beijing, amid a war-or-words between the armies of both sides.
Swamy said that he had a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on China-related issues, but declined to divulge details.
Speaking to News18, the BJP national executive member admitted that tensions had indeed escalated between two countries. Swamy said that China’s current stand on India had been building up for a while.
“It all started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan. China has been having doubts for a while now. It’s about time India tries to have long-term engagements with China for the benefit of both nations,” he said.
The temperature along India’s northern border rose by several degrees on Thursday when China asked India to withdraw its troops from the Donglong area in Sikkim sector as a precondition for a "meaningful dialogue" to settle the boundary issue, warning that the Indian Army should learn "historical lessons", in an oblique reference to the 1962 war.
The Chinese reaction came the day Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat visited Sikkim.
Swamy said that while the skirmishes along the border were not to be directly linked to the recent meeting between Modi and US President Donald Trump in Washington DC, the fact that the Chinese thought that India was “too close for comfort” with the US cannot be denied.
“US has fatigued in terms of international relations. We are not junior partners of the US; we are equals. There can be no world peace without India and China joining hands,” Swamy said.
China had recently refused entry to around 80 Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims through Sikkim’s Nathu-la pass. The Indian government said it had raised the issue with Chinese authorities.
Swamy, who enjoys a personal rapport with the Chinese government, had played a role in re-establishing a good relationship with China during India Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi’s administrations.
The BJP leader, however, said that he would not do the same this time around unless he was asked by the ruling party to be its envoy.
“During Indira Gandhi’s time, I was not part of her party. So the Chinese spoke to me. This time, they know I’m part of the ruling government. Unless I’m made an official envoy, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to talk to the Chinese government directly,” he added.
Quizzed on the rising tension with China and Pakistan at the same time, Swamy said that it was definitely a defence nightmare for India.
“I’m not saying that we’re not competent, but it’s like we’re pitted against two nations now. We have to handle two forces,” he said, adding that tensions with Pakistan must be dealt with on priority basis.