India cannot afford to play soft with China

Published: 26th April 2013 08:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th April 2013 08:37 AM   |  A+A-

Despite China’s continued belligerence over blatant intrusion of India’s territory by its People’s Liberation Army, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has announced that he would visit China to prepare the ground for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s scheduled visit to India next month. By refusing to vacate its aggression despite visual evidence to the contrary, China is repeatedly indulging in acts of provocation. Its demand that India must dismantle its apparatus near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) amounts to dictating terms of engagement. India should not continue to deal with the Chinese in diplomatic and evasive manner, but step up its troop movement in the area and respond confidently and boldly to the incursion.

Khurshid’s response at a media conference recently that the perception over the LAC varies between the two countries and when perceptions vary, sometimes disagreements on the ground can take place is typical pussy-footing which is deeply regrettable. Chinese troops entered Indian territory in Daulat Beg Oldie area of Ladakh on April 15, have established a small camp in the Indian area and have refused to go back to their side of the LAC. By making it seem that all is well, the Manmohan Singh government is doing a great dis-service to the nation.

The Opposition has already promised the Central government its full support and even Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has called for tough measures. Instead of pushing China’s inimical moves under the carpet, the government must respond with firmness and determination to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and territorial sanctity. The Chinese must be told in no uncertain terms that they must dismantle the camp that they have set up in the Indian area or else India would regard it as an unfriendly act. It is imperative that India strengthen its defences and the road leading up to the border be speedily repaired so that logistics support to our troops reaches them fast in the event of any escalation by the Chinese.

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