Panelists hail move but warn that New Delhi should take cautious approach in view of Beijing’s past shenanigans
India and China ended their over-two-month-old standoff in Doklam plateau with New Delhi issuing a statement that it had reached an understanding with Beijing following diplomatic communications and agreed to an “expeditious disengagement” along the border, pulling back troops. The Chinese side has only confirmed the withdrawal of Indian troops; the status of its own troops in the disputed territory and any future road building activity remains unclear. The development between Asia’s top two most populous countries has received international media attention and the issue was taken up by APN’s popular debate Mudda anchored by Anant. Participants included defence experts Prof. Praful Bakshi and Col Shivdan Singh, former diplomat JK Tripathi, Congress’ Dr Hilal Naqvi, BJP’s Ashok Thakur and APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.
Welcoming the move, Tripathi said the direct and foremost effect will be seen in the trade between the two countries, as the thaw shall give a boost to the overall economy. He said India’s stand has been vindicated, and as Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes to China for the BRICS summit on September 3-5, a congenial atmosphere has been created.
Prof. Bakshi warned that China’s tactical moves need to be watched. “China is good with rail and road links, is an arrogant neighbour, and we need to be on the watch, though India itself is in a good position politically and militarily,” he said.
Col Singh agreed with Bakshi and said that “we have seen the Chinese aggression in 1962 and then the Arunachal intrusion in 1982, so while we rejoice, we must remain guarded”.
Dr Naqvi said that our defence preparedness needs to be in order.
Ashok Thakur of the BJP said that there are three points to consider. “One is that our army is strong; second is that because of India’s strong leadership, China has been tamed; and thirdly, he said at the ground level, people’s support has helped this victory, as an atmosphere of boycott of Chinese-made goods had been created by the people.”
JK Tripathi said that in view of the general elections due soon in China, it has been cautious in its reaction. “China has territorial ambitions, wants to lord over North Korea and in the region. So the reaction is a mix of diplomacy and politics,” he said.
Govind Pant Raju said that he would like to agree with Mani Shankar Aiyar’s view, who had said in his reaction on TV, that the development signifies neither win nor loss.
Prof. Bakshi pointed out that while 70 percent of Chinese exports are defence exports, India is largely importing in defence. “We need to keep politics behind and reassess our defence strategies,” he said.
Col Singh that it might just be a temporary truce, as of late China has been aligning with Pakistan, especially in view of the fact that US has been warning Pakistan on the militancy issue. The entire road building exercise of China was to dominate the Siliguri corridor, which is the lifeline of the North-East, he said.
Tripathi said that China makes both quality products as well as cheap products which makes it a strong economy. “We are not on war with China, but tension will remain,” he said.
Naqvi said that BRICS provides a good opportunity to the Prime Minister to make his point diplomatically.
The second part of Mudda was taken up by the nomination process for four Member of Legislative Council (MLC) seats in UP. The voting for the four MLC seats will be conducted on September 15 at the Tilak Hall in the UP Assembly. The last date for filing nomination is September 5. Ashok Thakur of the BJP said his party had no reason to worry, while Naqvi of the Congress said that tainted members should be kept out.
Compiled by Niti Singh Bhandari
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