Every Indian wants the 60-sq km occupied by China back and is willing to shed his blood for it. There are no two ways about it. But the fact is that this is not going to come easy and not before China accomplish what it seeks to, which is obvious from the Modi governments foreign policy for the last 6 years.
Since the coming of Narendra Modi to power in 2014, broadly our foreign policy has been either of: bullying or cold-shouldering our immediate neighbors on the one hand, and sucking up to Donald Trump’s United States on the other. Incongruous though this may appear to any sane policy maker, but it is not to the BJP government driven by RSS Hindutva ideology.
Part of the ruling BJP’s Hindutva agenda is the schizoid dream of an Akhand Bharat which includes either entire or part of the territories of our neighbors. It precludes domination of our neighbors. This idea is rooted in the mistaken belief that India is a major power that can call the shots in the region, which is not the case. China – the superpower in the neighborhood, which is also a global superpower, and India are no match in most respects that matter.
Sadly, the ruling establishment completely overlooked a fundamental principle of governance that the country’s foreign policy is closely aligned to its domestic policy. Modi’s style of governance divided the people and united the neighbors pushing them to China. The misconceptions and outlandish ideas of the ruling BJP government have led to foreign policy wherein we have alienated our traditional neighbors. We have dealt with Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar, Pakistan and China not with diplomacy but aggression either in action or in rhetoric. On most bilateral issues with these neighbors we have brazenly cold-shouldered them or shown them the door when what was required was to maintain status quo which has worked out very well for the nation thus far.
For its political benefits, the BJP has indulged in actions and rhetoric that may get it votes internally, but externally they send a militaristic message. Public statements like ‘Ghar me Gus Ke Marenge’ and Amit Shah’s statement in the Parliament before abrogation of Article 370 that POK included Aksai Chin which India claims is part of Ladakh, and that he was willing to shed blood for it, is part of the militaristic rhetoric.
What pushed things over the tipping point was the actual abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir the way it was done. By doing so, technically speaking we have also annulled the deed of accession. So as of today, entire Kashmir is for the taking for anyone who can do so.
More importantly, for the Chinese, as for others around the world, with BJP’s Akhand Bharat illusion in mind, abrogation of article 370 was akin to militarization of the Rhineland which was the precursor to the World War II. That was when Hitler could have been stopped. Over and above the government’s belligerent conduct with its smaller neighbors like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, our generals have not helped the cause by making statements pertaining to taking over POK. Now none of our neighbors save Maldives are our friends or allies. They have firmly settled in the Chinese camp at India’s expense thanks to the lunacy of the government and its leadership.
It is one thing to have the epiphany that you are the dominant force in the country because you have 303 parliamentary seats, which has been used to destroy all opposition and democracy to pursue power and an archaic, out-of-time Hindu Rashtra, and quite another to think your internal theatrics can be extended without consequences to the larger regional canvas where we have a global superpower as our neighbor.
Even though we have just entered the security council, we also cannot expect the international community to easily get involved in adjudicating the conflict because India has consistently taken the stand within the United Nations as well as outside that India rejects mediation and all issues are to be solved bilaterally.
Besides, China is going to give two hoots to what the UN thinks because as far as China is concerned, they want to prevent a war in the sub-continent which it sees as a possibility given the fact that the present Indian government is totally incompetent and cross-border conflicts in the last 6 years – which some say were deliberately created aka Phulwama – have been used by this government to shore its political longevity. India has proved to the international community that it is in the hands of a bunch of nutcases only interested in retaining power with the sole purpose of creating a theocratic state built on nonexistent past glory at virtually any cost.
At the same time, China is no fool to out of the blue suddenly want a war a time over a decades old border issue when more or less the global winds are going against it after the corona outbreak which started in Wuhan, China. Relocation of manufacturing units by MNCs in China will take place and because of this China is already looking at heavy economic losses in the months and years to come.
Rather, China has entered Indian territory to provoke and cut down Prime Minister Narendra to size. Beijing is aware and conscious that India and its people are united and will fight against the aggressor with all the might at their disposal. India and its people per se are not the target of China, though we have lost lives. Modi is the target, who has been courting US President Donald Trump to encircle China. Beijing has been working at it diligently along with Pakistan.
The Chinese know that the Prime Minister basically has 3 options – all of which spell disaster for Modi. One is that he could keep ignoring the problem and underplaying its seriousness to hide his government’s foreign policy failure. In which case we can expect even more incursions all along our Chinese border and further escalation of the present situation.
The second is to start a war in which case in the ultimate analysis we could not only lose the entire Ladakh region but also Kashmir valley with a two-front war. Obviously, China has made all of its moves keeping in mind that Pakistan is its ally and that the Indian nationalist government’s foreign policy and rhetoric indicate the possibility that it is leading India into a war with Pakistan, which affects the entire region. Third, he has to swallow his rhetoric, ensure that article 370, which is the trigger for the Chinese action, is back in force.
It will be foolhardy to expect this conflict to end any time soon or prevent any further conflicts with China as long as Modi is in power. He has repeatedly proved himself not only to be a threat internally to the very idea of India, with all sane Indians fighting him tooth and nail over that, but also as a fomenter of discord and conflicts in the region. The region was bound to fight back. Even tiny Nepal is being belligerent.
The PM has said that he would give a befitting reply to China, but one wonders what this reply could be. Any military action will trigger a war even if it is a small scale one which, irrespective of the military outcome, is going to destroy a big part of whatever is remaining of India that the government has not destroyed.
It is not about possessing nuclear weapons or military capabilities. We have one of the finest armies in the world but an army is as strong as the nation’s economy is. Our own generals are on record saying that we don’t have the means to fight even a 2-week intense war. Besides, it is not the RSS or BJP cadres who are going to get killed. It is our young 20 year something sons who will get killed to prop up the stupidity of the most pernicious, incompetent and bigoted regime in India’s history.
In Doklam, whatever the rights and wrongs of both sides, the Chinese were at an advantage and were gracious enough to allow him to save face, but nothing was learnt from it. Chinese present stance and belligerence has shown that Beijing is not going to give him a second chance. You don’t go and kill 20 Indian soldiers, open six conflict zones spread over a 2000 km front without having first prepared and being ready to wage a war if needed.
It is now up to the BJP as a party to take a call regarding the future course of the government. The future of both the BJP and Modi rests heavily on this crisis which cannot be seen in isolation but as a result of the pursuit of Akhand Bharat and Hindu Rashtra, while the border dispute is only a ruse. India as a nation is going to be the biggest loser. Nation wants every inch of its territory back.