Rajat Sharma

China knows its game is up

akb3010As the coffins of 20 Indian army martyrs moved to their native places on Wednesday, a tearful nation paid homage to the brave warriors who gave the supreme sacrifice in defence of the motherland. The coffins were sent to Samastipur, Hyderabad, Patna, Meerut, Mayurbhanj, Patiala, Gurdaspur, Madurai, Rewa, Birbhum, Sahibganj, Kanker, Kandhamal, Hamirpur, Sangrur, Mansa, Bhojpur, Saharsa, Vaishali, East Singhbhum. There were emotional moments among family members, even as local villagers demanded that India must retaliate.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his opening remarks to Chief Ministers at a video conference on COVID situation, said, the sacrifice of our martyrs will not go in vain. He vowed that India will firmly protect every inch of the country’s land and its self-respect. Modi said, for us, India’s integrity and sovereignty is supreme and no one can stop us from defending it. “Nobody should have any iota of doubt about this.”

The Prime Minister also said, “India wants peace, but if provoked, India will give a befitting reply.” These were measured words delivered in a balanced manner by the Prime Minister in the nation’s hour of grief.

On the other hand, China adopted a belligerent attitude. Its foreign minister Wang Yi, during telephonic talk with our External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar asked India “to probe the conduct of Indian troops for crossing the LAC and severely punish those responsible.” Wang Yi went further and said, “India must not misjudge the situation or underestimate China’s firm will to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.”

In response to the Chinese foreign minister’s belligerent words, our EAM Jaishankar responded sharply and said, “premeditated and planned action by Chinese troops was directly responsible for the violence and this unprecedented step will have a serious impact on bilateral relations.” He said, “the need of the hour is for China to reassess its actions and take corrective steps”.

What Jaishankar said was correct. The Chinese soldiers had come prepared to Galwan valley carrying iron rods, blades and sharp stones and their intent was to suddenly attack Indian jawans. Though our jawans were not prepared for this sudden attack, they fought back valiantly, and additional reinforcements joined in the fight inflicting heavy casualties on the Chinese side. The Chinese foreign minister’s anger was clearly over the casualties that their army has faced.

The people of India salute the valiant martyrs who gave their supreme sacrifice and refused to yield an inch of land. The measured words that Prime Minister Modi used in his remarks will send a clear signal to the Chinese leadership.

India will respond, at a time and place of its own choice. The Chinese know this, and are therefore resorting to many subterfuges. For 36 hours, they did not admit that their army had suffered big casualties, and instead blamed India for the violence. The Chinese know that the world will not accept its lies, and in order to obfuscate issues, circulated a propaganda video of a military drill to claim that Chinese troops are carrying out exercises to stop “Indian incursions” in Galwan valley.

On Ground Zero, both sides have disengaged from the flash point area in Galwan valley, and there was three-hour long talk between Major Generals of both armies on Wednesday, but this did not yield results. The satellite images from Planet Labs on June 16 clearly show how China had amassed more than 250 trucks and other military equipment in Galwan valley. There is tension in the area and the armies on both sides are on almost war-like alert along the LAC.

Looking at the mourning faces of relatives of our martyred jawans, every Indian’s blood is today boiling with anger. The entire nation wants that China must be taught a lesion so that it may never carry out such misadventure in future. For the sake of our martyrs, it is our collective responsibility to remain united, irrespective of political thinking, and stand firmly behind Prime Minister Modi in this hour of crisis.

The message must go to the families of martyrs that the entire nation stands united behind them and is prepared to give China a taste of its own medicine. India’s economy has already suffered a lot due to the COVID pandemic and lockdown, and another conflict with China may cause more losses to the economy. But we have to retaliate, come what may, at any cost, and our Prime Minister said so in so many words, that the sacrifices of our martyrs will not go in vain.

China’s allegation that Indian troops crossed the LAC and entered their territory is a plain white lie. The Indian army commander with hardly 50 jawans was supervising the withdrawal of Chinese troops, but the Chinese had come with murderous intentions. The whole world has seen how China stabbed India in the back in 1962 after chanting “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” slogans, and how it attacked Indian troops in 1967 in Nathu La on Sikkim border. China will have to pay the price for its treachery. This is a New India, not the India of 1962, when its army suffered reverses on the battle front.
China knows the strength of the Indian armed forces and it also knows India has a strong political leadership. The question is: why did China opt for the path of confrontation? Why did its troops treacherously attack our jawans?

The answer: China is worried that India has chosen the path of self-reliance (atma nirbharta) to become an economic power and it has changed its FDI policies to attract foreign companies. China knows that India is trying to attract multi-national corporations that are leaving China in the wake of COVID pandemic. Naturally, the Chinese leadership is looking towards India warily.

There are also domestic pressures in China due to economic losses it has suffered in the wake of the pandemic. China now wants to show to the world that the Big Powers cannot harm it, come what may. China wants to tell the world that a rising economic superpower India can never be a big challenge.

China was unhappy that the US President wants to include India in the Group of 7 summit. China does not want India and the US to come together. Already, the Chinese are facing worldwide criticisms over Hong Kong and Taiwan issues.

It is because of these reasons that China wants to flex its military might by creating tension on the Indian border. It also wants to divert attention of the Chinese people towards border dispute, but the Chinese leadership has probably failed to realize that the India of 2020 is not the India of 1962.

The Chinese saw how India did not stop construction of road near the LAC, and deployed army and air force to counter the Chinese threat.

On top of it, India’s Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister made tough remarks in the face of Chinese belligerence. The Prime Minister issued a clear warning to China, and our External Affairs Minister replied to his Chinese counterpart in a matching tone. The Chinese leadership did not expect that the Indian army would inflict heavy casualties and the Indian Prime Minister would adopt a tough stance.

China will now have to retreat from Galwan Valley because its planning has failed. China has realized that very few countries support it on the border issue in the international arena. China cannot win a war against India nor can it win a diplomatic battle with India. The Chinese leadership will soon realize that it will have to pay a big price for its misadventures.

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