New Delhi: In a meeting of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar with Members of Parliament from the Rajya Sabha, the senior diplomat refused to get embroiled in a debate with China on the basis of what the Chinese media has been reporting or claiming in the wake of the military build-up on the Doklam plateau on the India-Bhutan-China border. He said nothing of what some newspapers and websites of China are saying about India with respect to the military situation has been communicated to India by China through the official channels.
The foreign secretary was briefing the parliamentarians of all political parties yesterday on the prevailing tension in India’s relations with China. Getting into the details of political and military positions along the international border from Aksai Chin to Arunachal Pradesh — including the McMahon Line in between — Jaishankar said that India would maintain its Army positions in the border areas, especially between Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, until a solution to the standoff is reached between the two countries. At the same time, he said, there was no point engaging the hyperbolic Chinese media in a debate.
An MP quipped in between that the Chinese newspapers and websites being quoted were mouthpieces of the Communist Party of China and, thus, the counterpart of Sangh Parivar’s media outlets like Organiser and Panchajanya. He said, “Let our media respond to the Chinese in the same language.”
The members of the Indian National Congress and the communist parties took exception to the fact that India had refused to send its representatives to the One Belt One Road (OBOR) meet. Jaishankar responded to them by saying that even if a lower rung bureaucrat had been sent to the OBOR meet, it would have lent credence and legitimacy to the Chinese agenda. Indicating that India was of a view that China was currently following a policy of veiled imperialism, the foreign secretary said that India would not be a part of the Chinese design.
Endorsing the view, an MP from the ruling party said that, while India should not drop its guard, it was quite unlikely that China would launch a military attack on us. Sharing Jaishankar’s speech with सिर्फ़ News, he talked of the US $71.18 billion worth of trade between China and India, where China enjoys a trade deficit of US $47.68 billion. “That money is more valuable to China than about 10 km of inroads into a stretch of the Indian territory where nobody lives and nothing grows.”
The parliamentarian added, “However, in the case of any Chinese misadventure, they will get a lesson of their lives. After we suffered humiliation due to ill-preparedness of the Jawaharlal Nehru government in 1962, our soldiers defeated China in several low-intensity conflicts along the international border in that very decade and later, which is rarely spoken of.” The Indian media, he said, should remind the Chinese of the battles it lost.