Amidst the repeated threats made by Imran Khan that Pakistan would continue to fight for the freedom of the people of Kashmir, peace has quietly ushered in all the regions of Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh. The crucial one year since the terrorist-infested state was bifurcated in the three centrally governed regions on August 5, 2019, has passed off peacefully. During this period, most of the areas experienced return to normalcy except sporadic violence that too inspired from the across the border.
Pakistan’s efforts to incite people failed and during this period the separatists too felt that with the reduced support of arms and funds, it is difficult to sustain war against the democratic India. However, both the separatists as well as Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), hoped that China might intervene diplomatically as well as, if need be, militarily to force India to rescind its decision to restore special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
During the Doklam standoff, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited China to resolve the issue. He had been frequently meeting the Chinese president Xi Jinping at various international meetings. On the Indian side, it was communicated that India is responsible for the security of Bhutan but is not averse to the border talks between the representatives of China and Bhutan. China was also told that it cannot coerce Bhutan to concede its territories under the might of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
It appeared that both sides realized and respected their respective views on the issue. Xi Jinping also agreed to visit India, reaffirming ties that date back more than 2500 years. It may be recalled that the trade and cultural exchanges flourished during the reign of the Pallavas. The Tang dynasty in the eighth century had forged a military alliance between the Tamil rulers and the Chinese emperor, who had appointed Narsimhavarman-II, the General of the South China to protect the Chinese from the aggressive armies of the Tibetan empire.
The knowledge of Siddha (medicine) reached from the Indian shores to China. The Kalaripayattu helped Chinese to develop martial arts form of Shaolin Kung Fu. The Buddhist monks, Buddhabhadra and Bodhidharma had traveled to China to spread Zen Buddhism and had established the Shaolin Monastery. The Tibetan empire incorporated vast lands comprising its western borders extending till Ladakh and the eastern and southern borders touching Bhutan and even the southern China. The dragon claiming itself a successor to the Tibetan empire is seeking or intruding in the region.
Earlier, Tibet’s vast areas were incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. However, in 1913, Tibet regained its freedom, the Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet. In 1951, the communist regime of China re-annexed Tibet. With the exit of Dalai Lama from Tibet, Tibetan territories, now under the autonomous region of Tibet, are almost one third of the original area of Tibet. The Chinese negotiators will become furious if their Tibetan policy is revealed and analyzed. Xi Jinping’s visit to Tamil Nadu was a part of India’s policy to continue engagement with China despite its support to the Pakistani terrorists.
Earlier, China had liberally funded the insurgents of Nagaland and Mizoram with money, training and arms. India’s efforts have been to reason out the northern neighbor for peaceful co-existence and also never try to hurt the much-trumpeted image of an invincible PLA. In the Nathu La clashes of 1967, India had lost around 80 soldiers and the PLA’s 300 men were wiped out, but India never claimed superiority of its armed forces. The policy has been to engage and constraint the aggressive neighbor. It, however, appears that India could not really persuade China to abandon its policies adversely affecting the ties between the two countries.
Instead of addressing the Indian concerns, Xi Jinping told Modi to restore the earlier political set up in Jammu and Kashmir with the special status within the Indian constitution. He further asserted that China too is a party in the Kashmir dispute. Any Prime Minister of India cannot accept such demands. India may be forced to tell China that it should restore the original geographical areas of Tibet and democracy in Hong Kong. Xi Jinping’s predecessors had promised that China would retain Hong Kong’s democratic system for the next 50 years when the territory would be transferred to China in 1997.
China has forgotten the commitment to the world but if his government continues to adopt aggressive designs, India too may be forced to react to the Chinese belligerence. Indian media had not highlighted the Chinese assertions regarding Jammu and Kashmir in the past. However, the Chinese media continued to spread its President’s assertive message. The truth is that the India-China summit became a non-starter for cementing closer ties between the two nations.
India was quite apprehensive of the Chinese designs in the region. During the past one year, the Indian forces have remained on a high alert on the borders. Meanwhile, India has also continued to strengthen its infrastructure in the Himalayas bordering Tibet, including in Ladakh. India’s security establishment was apprehensive of PLA’s aggression in the region. The Galwan Valley faceoff this year has reaffirmed the Indian suspicion. It has also further resolved India’s commitment towards the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. In spite of the India’s cautious approach and refusal to talk about the Chinese casualties, the world is now aware of the reality that PLA is not an invincible force.
India deliberately did not reveal the number of the Chinese casualties. The Indian agencies did not want to hurt the Chinese ego but the non-communist Chinese media revealed the truth eroding the PLA’s supremacy. The Ladakh fiasco is the first setback to Xi Jinping’s well-planned war game. He must realize that world is now aware of the ancient Chinese board game ‘Go’ and the strategy to pursue simultaneously the policy of aggression and negotiations. It is different than chess.
It suggests an abstract strategy in which the rivals try to encircle the opponent for gaining more territory. It is taught in China as a war game. The Indian policy makers are quite aware of the Chinese war games. The world is now learning it too during the Covid-19 pandemic. The neighbors will find India quite alert if they hatch any new conspiracy from Kashmir to Nagaland.