Commentator and Author
BLACK’S Law Dictionary defines status quo (Latin for state in which) as ‘the situation that currently exists’. The situation that currently exists at Ladakh is that the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) ‘conscript militia’, euphemistically described as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is inside Indian territory, having forcibly crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) controlled by India, adjacent to the Tibet border in Ladakh. The hostile moves started in April-end; the Chinese troops upped the ante in early May; and the killing of 20 Indian soldiers took place in June.
So, what was the situation before May 2020? It was status quo ante (Latin for state in which previously), ‘the situation that existed before something else occurred.’ Before that month, the Indian and Chinese troops were operating within their respective LAC, though not formalised, yet broadly followed — and through mutuality and tacit understanding of sorts — periodic pinpricks and muscle-flexing notwithstanding.
More than six months have lapsed and CPC chief Xi Jinping continues to show avoidable inflexibility. Delhi’s diplomacy has been roundly rejected, as the de facto LAC now stands extended several kilometres inside Indian land with an avowed CPC intention to turn it either de jure, or an LAC with future Chinese gain and Indian loss. How? Through a proposed buffer zone (BZ), by making both the Indian Army and the PLA withdraw a specific distance from the November 2020 status quo position, thereby creating a ‘no man’s land’, which will be ‘BZ’ between the Indian border guards and the CPC Red Guards. Result? The present status quo will open the door for bigger territorial expansion for the Dragon.
Thus, the proposed ‘withdrawal’ of China is its ‘gain’ and India’s ‘withdrawal’ a ‘loss’ because Delhi retreats from its own claimed LAC. How bizarre the Han formula could be? How brazen, naked and diabolical the Dragon’s territorial expansion could be? If India is compelled to ‘dismantle structures built during the stand-off since April-May 2020’ within its claimed LAC, then what happens to the Indian PM’s call (November 10) to the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) member-states to ‘respect territorial integrity’? Then, why is the head of the government’s call not being seen to be followed by officials and ministers pertaining to loss of ‘territorial integrity’ in Ladakh? Why then should the muscle-flexing, ‘expansionist’ Xi be given undeserved respect at the cost of the Constitution, sovereignty and territory integrity of India?
Let’s recall July’s Galwan disengagement plan involving both the Indian and the Chinese pulling back 1.5 km, creating a 3-km ‘buffer zone’, thereby resulting in India conceding her own claimed territory (to China), falling well within the Indian side of LAC, ending India’s right to patrol a strip of land it used to control and reconnoitre.
Today’s Chinese proposal of a ‘buffer zone’ around the Pangong lake would also result in an unexpected heavier-than-ever-before loss of land if a repeat Chinese invasion occurs (in future) as the CPC reportedly penetrated at least 8 km within the India-claimed LAC. Which Indian then, in future, will take responsibility for today’s failure to see through China’s repeat mala fide? Will it be a 1962 Chapter-II, with critics pouncing upon the PM as well as the Defence Minister?
An experienced Indian citizen cannot accept such broad-daylight CPC fraud and naked territorial aggression and expansion, having seen enough of ‘Chinese betrayal’, as aptly inscribed by former Director, Intelligence Bureau, BN Mullik in his three-volume magnum opus The Chinese Betrayal.
Regrettably, history shows that collectively, Indians usually have little time to learn the lessons of history and tend to be supremely indifferent to the subject of geography, being busy with petty internal politicking and comparatively smaller issues of local business, trading interest and transaction, thereby missing the bigger picture confronting the state from across the frontiers. Little wonder, there existed 565 princely states within India as late as 1947.
So, the bigger Chinese game is to penetrate deeper into fractious Indian hinterland, far beyond the LAC which could very well be left ‘rotational, seasonal and flexible’, to the detriment of Delhi’s national interest, and a ‘win-win situation’ for the Dragon’s combat division.
So, why this Xi-led CPC’s obstinacy? Is it owing to the profit-making, CPC-controlled companies operating from deep inside India? For instance, Qingdao-headquartered Haier began commercial operations in Delhi in January 2004. By 2015, it had 33 Indian ops centres and was listed among the top 20 ‘most trusted brands’ in India, notwithstanding its reported mala fide means by the German media in 2014, accusing Haier of delivering smartphones, tablets etc, with pre-installed malware.
By 2018, however, Haier grew more than 50% in one year, and beginning 2019, reportedly was one of the top five brands in consumer electronics in the Indian market. Haier India vice president Song Yujun tom-tommed, “India is a dynamic and important market for the Haier Group. It will help us build a better presence in the country.”
Eminent Western economist Danielle DiMartino Booth says on the Chinese virus: “What China has done is no less than an ‘act of war’ by failing to report the outbreak while adding pandemic clause to their $200 billion trade deal agreement with the US.” Both China and the WHO should be held accountable. The ‘unfettered travel’ that took place because of China’s misinformation... the pandemic reached a point where “it’s impossible to contain, and the Xi-led nation be held accountable for the global pandemic along with WHO for its deference to China.”
China’s addition of the ‘pandemic force majeure’ clause to the China-US trade deal of January 15, in retrospect, makes things clear. Kill the demography of rivals, without firing, to make dollars over dead bodies. Seen in this light, God help India preserve her territorial integrity and sovereignty.
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