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India lowers rhetoric on China: Will China respond?
Posted:Aug 13, 2017
 
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By N.S.Venkataraman
 
In the last few weeks, China has been blowing hot and cold over the standoff with India at the Doklam tri-junction in Bhutan.
 
The Chinese foreign office spokesman has warned India, directly or indirectly, that China would not hesitate to deploy its army and use force to settle the Doklam row. The statements from China amount to a war cry and give an impression that China is itching for war with India.
 
Despite provocative statements from China , the Indian government has handled the issue with firmness and dignity, further upsetting China, since India is not getting provoked.
 
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj stated in the Indian parliament that war was not a solution for any problem and ruled out war as an option both for India and China. She declared that India was negotiating with China not only on the Doklam row but on all bilateral issues between them.
 
When several parliamentarians in India expressed concern and raised questions on the standoff with China, Swaraj said that dialogue with China was the way out. She also called for patience and restraint in dealing with the war-like situation that China had created and urged Indian parliamentarians to be restrained in their observations. She also said clearly that India would keep patience to resolve the issue with China.
 
One is not sure whether China, in its present mood and with its internal political compulsions, will care to acknowledge and reciprocate the positive and healthy observations of the Indian foreign minister.
 
One hopes China would not come to the conclusion that India’s soft stand was due to India’s fear of China’s military power and India is not confident of getting the better in any military confrontation with China. 
 
China should understand that war would not solve any problem and, while it may appear victorious at the end of the war, it would never be so in actual terms. Swaraj pointed out that “even after a war, a solution is arrived at in the long run only through dialogue.” 
 
Today, no country in Asia has any doubt that China has definite expansionist plans and wants to browbeat other Asian countries with its economic or military strength or both.
 
Chinese designs and approach have become clear and apparent in China’s approach to the South China Sea, East China Sea, Scarborough Island and its claim on Arunachal Pradesh in India. There is real apprehension among Asian countries about the ultimate objectives of China’s foreign policy and how it would affect them in the short and long run. China’s forcible occupation of Tibet for over 50 years provides a clear idea to what extent China would go to realize the objective of its expansionist policy.
 
Asian observers believe China has to be cautioned effectively, so it would give up its aggressive stance in dealing with other Asian countries.
 
The concern of Asian countries is particularly heightened by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s tough talk that China would not allow anyone to “split its territory” while he lauded the  People’s Liberation Army’s strong resolve to protect China’s sovereignty and defeat  “all invasions”.
 
The question that arises is why has no country in Asia raised a war cry against China? Where are China’s enemies?
 
Obviously, China thinks the time has come for military confrontation with other neighbouring countries to establish it’s perceived superiority.
 
While the Indian foreign Minister has spoken on the India-China standoff with a sense of responsibility and statesmanship, it needs two hands to clap. It remains to be seen as to how China would react to the hand of friendship extended by Swaraj, in spite of the present tense border situation between India and China.
 
 (N. S. Venkataraman is with Nandini Voice for the Deprived. He can be contacted at nsvenkatchennai@gmail.com)
 
 
 
 
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