Keeping vigil in the North

China has reminded India of the UK-China treaty of 1890 when India was a British colony and asked to abide by its provisions. China has, however, no answer to the question why it refuses to accept and abide by the MacMahon line which was arrived by the British and the then Chinese authorities at the Simla Conference in 1914. If the 1890 treaty is so sacrosanct to China, why should it treat the Simla agreement on a different footing? Moreover, The Simla agreement does not entitle China to claim Bhutan’s territory as its own. The latest Chinese reminder may be a portent for the future. If Xi Jinping is able to win another term in office after the Congress of the Communist Party of China, he may be more ambitious, aggressive and expansionist.
As far as India is concerned it has already shown at Doklam that it will not yield to any threat of Beijing either to defend Bhutan against foreign aggression or withdraw troops under Chinese pressure. The chiefs of the army and the air force have also assured the nation that the defence forces of the country have the capability to repulse any aggression. Any future military adventure by China in Bhutan or anywhere along the Sino-Indian boundary will run the risk of escalation and involve the army and navy also. China will also have to consider the likely reaction of other countries to its military adventurism, especially by USA, Japan and Vietnam. Will Xi in his megalomania expose his country to a war which may well go beyond Beijing’s plan?
As the Trump administration has served a virtual notice on Pakistan to stop terror activities or face the consequences, the Sino-Pakistan axis may become stronger, with the final break between Islamabad and Washington becoming a reality. In the circumstances, both India and the US should make it clear to both the countries that a military confrontation with India will not remain confined to land and India will not be left alone as happened during the 1962 war. But much will depend on the outcome of the CPC party Congress. It is known that there are critics and opponents of Xi in the party. Even during the Doklam crisis a difference in approach and tone was discernible between the party-controlled media and the official spokespersons of the Chinese Government. In any case India will have to remain prepared for facing any eventuality.

Tuesday, 10 October, 2017