India-US consonance on Arunachal riles China : The Tribune India

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India-US consonance on Arunachal riles China

From the snowy heights of Sela, the Chinese shenanigans have spread to the Indian shoreline.

India-US consonance on Arunachal riles China

Misplaced outrage: The recent opening of the Sela tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh by PM Narendra Modi drew a sharp reaction from China. ANI

Abhijit Bhattacharyya

Author and Columnist

DESPITE 21 rounds of India-China military-to-military talks and 29 rounds of diplomatic meetings, it’s a full-throttle escalation of the Dragon’s pincer assault on India — right from Sela (or Se La) in Arunachal Pradesh to Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. It’s time to talk straight and ask candid questions: What ails Beijing? Is the Communist Party of China (CPC) top brass showing signs of mental fatigue or an irreversible breakdown? Else, how can a foreign power be so ignorantly arrogant as to object to the recent opening of the Sela tunnel by Prime Minister Narendra Modi? Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind about Arunachal Pradesh being an integral and inalienable part of sovereign India?

Thus, there is nothing wrong about the US stating the obvious that it “recognises Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory, and strongly opposes any unilateral attempt to advance territorial claims by incursions or encroachments, military or civilian, across the Line of Actual Control (LAC)”. China, however, has a knack for causing chaos, confusion and confrontation where none exist, but that doesn’t in any way undermine the normal discourse of non-Chinese diplomacy.

The point made by the Chinese is preposterous: “China strongly deplores and firmly opposes (the US stand)… the China-India boundary has never been delimited. Zangnan (the utopian Chinese name for Arunachal) has always been China’s territory, a basic fact that’s undeniable.” This is an amazing hallucination. Can China decipher its own ‘undeniable’ lie-cum-falsehood? If the China-India boundary has never been ‘delimited’, how come the so-called Zangnan has always been China’s territory?

The Chinese, who pretend to possess ‘know-all’ wisdom despite having an acute lack of it on the ground, need to be told that Sela is situated at an altitude of over 13,500 ft, about 20 miles south-east of Tawang, south of the McMahon Line — and it indisputably falls in Indian territory. The tunnel-opening by the PM, therefore, is his legal and sovereign right, and also his constitutional duty and responsibility as the head of the government.

Coming back to the ‘unacceptability’ of US views on the India-China bilateral, let us consider Beijing’s statement for its counter-applicability. Jammu-Kashmir-Ladakh has been a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan since the invasion of the Kashmir valley in October 1947 — when the People’s Republic of China was not even born — by Pakistani forces and tribal militias. Doesn’t China know about it? Why then did China get involved and brazenly violate India’s territorial sovereignty?

The US has only made a factual statement on the legal position of Arunachal being part of India. But China had been consistently instigating the Pakistan army and the ISI to resort to a proxy war through terrorists and occupy Indian territory in Gilgit-Baltistan. When will China cease to occupy Indian land before sermonising others?

From the snowy heights of Sela, the Chinese shenanigans have spread to the shoreline, where the CPC’s moves are anything but friendly. It’s a ceaseless provocation. The island nations around India, being weak and vulnerable, have been penetrated by the Dragon and at least one of them (the Maldives) is being meticulously manipulated to wage a potential proxy war, in line with Beijing’s land war against India through Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

India is scheduled to test-fire another nuclear-capable inter-continental ballistic missile from the eastern coast in April, for which NOTAM (notice to airmen) has been issued about avoiding the 1,600-km stretch across the Bay of Bengal. But China will have none of it. The CPC is determined to scuttle India’s sovereign rights in every possible way and in every possible sector because it has identified New Delhi as the biggest stumbling block to Beijing’s brand of communist imperialism.

Hence, the CPC deployed four spy ships to gather minute details of India’s missile launch from its own land and sea zone. Chinese spy ships have already extensively used the Maldives port as a base to tail the Indian Navy’s ships in its own waters. To the CPC leadership, any landmark Indian deed is unbearable and unacceptable. India experienced this pattern of Chinese disruption in December 2022, when it had to cancel long-range missile tests owing to the Chinese spy ship’s intelligence-gathering operations around the Indian coastline.

The hostile acts of China have reached a critical stage, notwithstanding successive Indian governments’ desire for friendship with China ending in failure and fiasco. New Delhi’s flexibility has consistently been countered by the CPC’s horrendous intransigence. The tradition goes on.

Contextually, the just-concluded fruitful Bhutan visit by the Indian PM is bound to be raked up soon because of Beijing’s intense and sustained efforts to open an embassy in Thimphu. Back in 1939, Mao Zedong had referred to Bhutan as ‘lost’ territory, which was “part of the empire of the Emperor”, whose Amban (representative) in Lhasa wrote in 1904: “Bhutanese are subjects of the Emperor of China, who is the Lord of Heaven, and Bhutan is the gateway on the south.”

Indeed, the propensity for make-believe is so deeply ingrained in the CPC psyche that even The Times correspondent Neville Maxwell, in his rabidly anti-India and pro-China book India’s China War, unapologetically mentioned the “Chinese tactic of turning truth on its head” with regard to the 1962 war. That one line from the ‘half-truth’ manuscript revealed the power of the ultimate truth and nailed the CPC’s lies, deception and deceit.

#Arunachal Pradesh #China

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