Defence

Standoff again: China must realise that mutual trust is a two-way street

The standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim section of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries has led to a suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar yatra via the new Nathu La route.

Jun 29, 2017
The standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim section of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries has led to a suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar yatra via the new Nathu La route. The incident first flared when Chinese troops intruded into Indian territory and razed two Indian army bunkers near the Lalten post. Subsequently, a flag meeting was convened on June 20 where the Chinese side informed that they wouldn’t allow Indian pilgrims to cross over for the yatra through Nathu La.
 
Beijing now says its actions were in retaliation to Indian troops crossing over into Chinese territory. It will be recalled that the Nathu La route for the Mansarovar yatra was inaugurated in 2015, making the annual pilgrimage shorter and more comfortable. Apparently in recognition of the new BJP-led government in New Delhi, the new yatra route was projected as Beijing being sensitive to Hindu religious sentiments. Today, Beijing seems to be using the same principle to put pressure on New Delhi by blocking the pilgrimage via Nathu La.
 
There’s no denying that the current Chinese leadership believes in hyper-assertiveness about what it considers to be its own interests to the exclusion of all others. This is best exemplified by China’s state-run media recently criticising India for establishing a dedicated air freight corridor with Afghanistan, conveniently ignoring that Pakistan cuts off India’s land access. The bottom line seems to be: India can have no truck with Afghanistan because China’s ally Pakistan decrees this. China must jettison this short-sighted approach and move speedily to resolve territorial disputes with India by converting the LAC into the border, with minor adjustments that do not affect settled areas. That would eliminate the border standoffs which needlessly engender distrust and vitiate relations between the two nations.
 
Times of India, June 29, 2017
 

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