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India needs to change the narrative in the ongoing LAC standoff talks – Part 2

5. Tibet sought assistance from India. But India failed them and did nothing. Thereafter in 1951, China imposed a 17 Point Programme for the peaceful liberation of Tibet. This was done under duress. This kind of trick is being practised by China even now. Pakistan and all other countries being affected by CPEC are talking of an economic advantage being given by China. What they fail to understand, that this is a ploy of China for countries to surrender their economic freedom. The words spoken by Chinese president about economic bonanza through the ‘CPEC’ projects are equally misleading………and akin like the peaceful liberation of Tibet as given in the 17 point programme actually has already resulted in the opposite. Tibet has already been plundered and Tibetan culture has been subjugated and in a way erased.

6. In consequence to above, in 1956-1959, there was a Tibetan uprising at Amdo. Tibetans were crushed by the PLA and Dalai Lama escaped to India. Thereafter swiftly, China repudiated the 17 Point programme, to which the International Court of justice agreed. However, the Tibetans have been struggling since then. Human rights activists have even gone to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  Since1960 Onwards,-the ICJ examined evidence relating to human rights within the structure of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as announced by the General Assembly of the United Nations. After taking into account the human, economic and social rights,  they stated: “ that the Chinese communist authorities had violated Article 3, 5, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Tibetirman”.  Further, during the period from 1951 to 1959, the regions which were under the control of the Dalai Lama was renamed the Tibet Autonomous Region or TAR in 1965.But in spite of this, the international community remains divided on the perception pertaining to the legal status of Tibet. Both Europe and the USA feel that Tibet is historically a part of China. But the facts as mentioned in the matrix above speak differently. Overwhelmingly, it stands out that if you consider the last 2000 years as a base year then in that case, Tibet has been free for more than 1300 years or more. The only other period when China had some control over Tibet was through suzerainty and not sovereignty. Therefore, this issue of ascertaining Tibet’s history needs to be re-visited at the U.N. level to clearly define the moralistic legal status of Tibet, especially in view of China’s OBOR and the CPEC project of which Tibet happens to be the heart and the strategic powerhouse of Asia. The world has to take initiative for freedom of Tibet.Strenthening India could be the beginning towards this end.

7. Thus the formation of ‘QUAD’ is like a force multiplier to India’s military capabilities .This grouping does not get barred and limited only to be confined to the seas. It is the Indo-Pacific theatre, which obviously should include the Himalayan region too at least as far as the naval and air support is concerned. This then creates an overwhelming combat superiority in favour of India. This closes China’s dream of a blitzkrieg in the Himalayas for capturing Ladakh etc. Similarly, the involvement of the European Union (EU) in the Indo-Pacific theatre is again a welcome step. It only adds a feather In India’s defence capabilities. A strategic partner like India can become an important pillar of the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy. The forthcoming India-EU Summit scheduled to take place on May 8 will give an opportunity to India to enhance policy convergence on Indo-Pacific. This then, makes India the hub of very crucial defence partnerships with many countries. The sum total of these politico-military alliances would foreclose China’s military options against India. This should in turn give freedom and more strategic space to India’s foreign policy direction, where India can now afford to annoy China on moral grounds of human rights and freedom to the ‘Oppressed Population’ in the Himalayan region. India should now clearly change the narrative of the vexed border problem to that with Tibet and not China. In fact, Nehru was compelled by lack of military sustainability and thus had bargained at that time by accepting Tibet to be a part of China. Since then, even later, Atal Bihari Vajpayee again accepted Tibet to be part of China and in lieu India was given its claim over Sikkim. But today, history is on India’s side and that telling China to vacate Tibet would be the right geo-strategic step. Because China cannot bully India any more. De-escalation on the LAC will then, not only be on India’s agenda, but China too will have to play by the rules of the game. Thus chances of disengagement at the remaining points at Gogra, Deepsang Plains and at Demchok may actually get hastened up. Let us at least give it a try rather than pleading and pleading only to China, who has already refused to budge. India has now only one option, to either lump it or change the narrative.

8. Chinese do the opposite of what they say. Presently they are busy in convincing the world that the OBOR is a gift by the Chinese to this world. In fact, let us recollect what they had told the Tibetans before signing the 17 Point Programme. They had then said: “Arrival of the People’s Liberation Army in Lhasa following an agreement for liberation with the Central People’s Government”. The word liberation actually meant imprisonment, plunder and exploitation of Tibetan resources. In the wake of the OBOR, one is likely to see most of the states becoming economically bankrupt. The case of Sri Lanka is an example.  Therefore, the world has to show caution of these after-effects as has always been done by the Chinese to exploit the weak resources of countries. In December 2020, U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe had rightly said that China is the greatest global threat to democracy and freedom since the end of World War II.

9. As a consequence of the above facts, the present Indo-China standoff – and the recent Chinese declaration, for refusing to withdraw from the remaining friction points at Gogra, Deepsang and Demchok should all the more convince India of refusing to participate in fruitless marathon talks. Now, India should openly declare that if the pre-April 2020 positions are not restored as was promised before India withdrew from the Pangong Tso- Chusul strategic Heights means that China is not sincere in having peace. India should make its position unambiguous on this aspect. No more talks and the on-going tensions on trade and bilateral relations cannot be restored till then. India has to reiterate time and again that it vacated the strategic heights on the word of mouth then. Sector-wise discussion is not logical. India should have a simple case that the whole area opposite Ladakh along the LAC has to be negotiated all together and as one piece. Ipso-facto, if India has vacated the strategic Heights then in turn China has to pull back to pre-April 2020 positions holistically, meaning Deepsang and Demchok too. Because, the strategic heights which India had occupied would have changed any advantage to China in this sector. Their Moldo garrison and many other depth positions would have all made their defences untenable. India therefore, needs to re-calibrate its stand accordingly both at the tactical and operational level.

10. In addition to above, the fact remains that as on today, many countries are standing behind India after China showed its belligerent hand in early 2020. QUAD and the EU’s stance appear to be clearly on India’s side. It has resulted in a comprehensive strengthening of India. This is thus the best historical moment In India’s geopolitical and geostrategic clout. This in turn should encourage India to be bold. India should thus change the narrative to the correct legal status of Tibet, which is at the core of the Sino-India border problem pertaining to the ‘Freedom of Tibet’. With this geopolitical weight on India’s side today, India needs to become candid and project that China had captured Tibet and that they need to vacate the area for world peace. Similarly, the US and the other allied forces should also change their negotiating stance concurrently and the case for ‘Freedom of Tibet’ needs to be reviewed at the UN’s forum accordingly. India has nothing to fear any more. China has to fear now, as gradually the world unites, and also as the democracies of the world converge against a reckless and belligerent China. This is at the time of a world pandemic, where most fingers are already pointing at China for launching a pre-planned Bio-attack on the world.



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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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