Monday, October 19, 2009

dr subramanian swamy on his visit to china

    1. I returned yesterday from a four day visit to Beijing, China, where I had gone to address the Asian African Development Research Institute [AADRI] of the State Council of the Chinese Government on “South Asia and Sino-Indian Relations”. The State Council is the equivalent of India’s Cabinet, and AADRI is its think tank that prepares policy documents for the Chinese government.
    2. I also met Mr. Ai Ping, Director General of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party and had a detailed discussion with him on the current state of Sino-Indian relations and how it could be improved.
    3. At present there is possibility that India and China may be sucked into a serious border conflict by miscalculation and self-fulfilling hype. Such a war will end in a stalemate, and damage the economies of both nations.
    4. Much of the hostility to India in the Chinese media is seen in Communist Party organs such Peoples Daily and Global Times newspapers. This is claimed to be in reaction to Indian media’s “false anti-China” reporting that Chinese allege is motivated by the Indian government sources. In India much of the hostile anti-China reporting is based on events such as border incursions by China, which events used to sporadically happen earlier but did not come to media’s knowledge and was not reported. These local events, Indian media hold are directed by Chinese government.
    5. Both these presumptions are wrong. Hence, the Prime Ministers of the two countries should use the “hotline” set up recently, before the Bangalore BRIC meeting, and clear the air. The two PMs should see to it that media reports do not generate a hysteria in the public, which could spiral into an armed conflict on the border by miscalculation on both sides.
    6. Border incursions have been made by units of Chinese internal security armed police and not by Chinese army as reported in Indian media. Moreover, India has now moved a squadron of Sukhoi jets to Tezpur and strengthened Ladakh cantonment. Hence, a rational Chinese strategist would recognize that an armed border attack today will not be of the same result as in 1962.
    7. The situation has spiraled because Indian opinion today unfortunately is dominated by the trauma of 1962 and the public perception of a repeat “Chinese betrayal” when in fact 1962 border war was the outcome of the foolishness of Prime Minister Nehru in failing to first develop defence capability before asking the army to “throw the Chinese out”. Our jawans had to fight on the icy hills with tennis shoes. To hide such truths is why the government is still refusing to provide the Hendersen-Brookes Inquiry Report under the RTI.
    8. In China too, the people and Chinese media exhibit the same kind of trauma with regard to Japan’s alleged militarism, despite Japan being one of the most peace loving countries today. This is because of the savage invasion and occupation of China by Japan in 1937-45 period.
    9. India has accepted [vide agreements signed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, and by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2003, thus making this acceptance bi-partisan] that the border has to be negotiated and settled on the ground. At the moment there exists no legal border. Till such a border is negotiated, border crossings by China’s Tibet police and by our ITBP are inevitable. The media should report it, but the people should not get into a hysteria.
    10. However, our defence preparedness for a possible Chinese attack should always be up to date, even as our foreign policy should strive for friendly relations with China. India and China will have to create a new global order as two very large and fast progressing countries. We should not allow ourselves to be derailed by micro events but be guided by macro and global perspectives in Sino-Indian relations.
    11. I urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to be intimidated by jingoism in the media but to boldy and frankly talk on the hotline, and discuss with visiting Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiaobao in Bangalore next week on how the two nation can moderate the current negative hype, and get back to developing a productive strategic partnership with each other, especially against the common terrorist threat arising from the Taliban ascendancy in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and well as the fragility of the global financial architecture.    

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