By Tathagata Satpathy, ex- MP

WE ARE told there is a thaw in tensions in the Galwan Valley. After the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a skirmish with the Chinese PLA soldiers mid-June, the border face-off between India and China had drawn international attention. Reports claim that after a discussion between India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, both troops withdrew about 2 km on each side.

While this is the story produced by the Indian media susceptible to certain inducements, other reports claimed that a flash flood occurred in river Galwan, forcing troops of both countries to withdraw to higher dry grounds. Nevertheless, the so-called easing of tension may not be as comfortable as it is painted. Social media has produced sample of a report of Sunday July 15, 1962 of a prominent national English daily which had reported similar Chinese troop withdrawal with the heading ‘Chinese Troops Withdraw from Galwan Post’. Below that line was a sub-heading that read ‘Delhi Warning has Telling Effect’. This hilarious self-exposure can’t be overlooked because less than a month after the publication of this news in 1962, the Chinese army launched a full-fledged assault against India. That was the Sino-Indian war of ’62.

Currently, the withdrawal of the PLA seems to be very similar in tactic. And we in India are being, similarly, told how our government is in total control of the situation as it was in 1962.

Undoubtedly, India of 2020 is not the same as ‘62. However, China too, has emerged as a global military power over these years. Gone are the days of occupying a whole different country as used to happen till the mid-20th Century. Germany under Adolf Hitler had occupied not only France but Belgium, Poland, Holland and most of Europe. Similarly, Japan under Tojo had occupied not only Philippines and Burma but also China.

Obviously, China would not be interested in making India an occupied country. Today’s military needs are limited but economic requirement is unlimited. If China wants a certain strip of Indian land, it is clearly with a view to using it for strategic purposes. China’s dreams of becoming a global power must be including a situation where its neighborhood plays complete second fiddle to Beijing’s whims and fancies. It possibly will not desire India to emerge as a military launch-pad for Western powers. The recent signing of an accord between India and Australia which permits both nations to use each other’s military infrastructure could be acting as a thorn in China’s underbelly. 

The world is aware that Australia is no military power that anyone would bother about. However, as all major past wars across the globe have proven, from World War I, WWII, Korea-Vietnam, up to the Middle East wars which can be taken as examples, Australia has always acted as a vassal state to allied Western militaries.

Reports have appeared in sections of Indian media that an unnamed spokesperson of the White House has supposedly claimed that the US is prepared to intervene militarily in favour of India should there be a confrontation with China. On the same day, the New York Times has carried a story which states that the US and other Western countries have, since long, wanted to persuade India to join them and become a closer military and economic partner in confronting China. While this proposition might sound bright to a section of the Indian officialdom as well as the populace, the pitfalls of such a coalition can be easily verified from many instances of history. Some of the best examples are South Korea and the former South Vietnam. Such a situation could turn India into the main battlefield since Western forces would expect to use India’s military infrastructure in case of a direct war with China.

Using Asia as a test case has always been a favourite pastime for Western military powers. The greatest example is the Second World War where, although Germany was the toughest Axis power, yet it was Japan which had two atom bombs dumped on it. Obviously, Europe could not have been nuked. Keeping these points in mind, one can easily visualize how India could get battered if it allows foreign military to operate from its territory.

War is a foolish game where no one truly wins. In these modern times, it is more so. While China has a massive appetite for growth, it can have ample space on earth without stepping on the toes of India. Similarly, India too has to become wiser and understand that a unified and cohesive society at home gives an image of unity of purpose. That image is capable of taking any nation to great heights where nobody wishes to mess with it. Along with this, India has to build and strengthen its domestic military-industrial prowess if it has any dreams for future growth as a nation to contend with.INDIA HERE AND NOW email:indianow99(

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