News By/Courtesy: Riya Singh | 06 Jul 2020 14:14pm IST

Gautam Bambawale has stated that the June 15 clash at Galwan Valley, which claimed 20 Indian soldiers has caused irreparable damage to the border architecture, carefully built by India and China to maintain peace. India’s relations with China have reached an inflection point that will require a fundamental reassessment of its China policy.

Having worked on the relationship over so many years, did you ever expect what happened on June 15?

I never expected such a thing to happen. And the reason why I didn’t expect such a thing to happen is that ever since 1993, when India and China signed the Border Peace and Tranquillity Agreement (BPTA), and there have been many agreements following that, we have put in place certain tenets, certain operating procedures, which were aimed at maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border. Unfortunately, that entire architecture has collapsed and is now in the heap of history.

What realistic options does India have?

First, to address what is happening on the ground, we have to have a very strong military posture, which we do. There must also be room for talks. There is no doubt that when two nation-states disagree about the boundary, it can only be done through discussions with each other, it cannot be done unilaterally as the Chinese are attempting to do. We should have discussions at the diplomatic and other levels to try to move ahead on where the LAC lies and come to some kind of agreement which is difficult, I agree, but which has to take place. As far as the broader relationship is concerned, because of these reasons — one, that the Chinese have fundamentally violated all our agreements on the maintenance of peace and tranquillity; two, they are trying to unilaterally define the LAC; and three, the fact that lives have been lost on both sides after a gap of many decades — I think this is an inflection point in India-China relations. What I would recommend is that India as a country, as a people, including, of course, the government in the lead, must make a fundamental reassessment of its China policy, make changes in it, and then implement it at the earliest.

Some Chinese observers have linked recent developments to Beijing’s concerns about India’s recent infrastructure building in Ladakh that they see as threatening, and to the dilution of Article 370. Is this plausible?

It is plausible. My question is, need the current situation have gone to the levels that it did? There have been other situations where we have managed and done a peaceful kind of resolution, including at Doklam, Chumar, and Depsang. This time it has crossed the limits. I agree with some of the comments made by authoritative sources in the Government of India, that this is a premeditated and well-thought-out action. I do not see what gain China has had, because, for some minor tactical gain on the ground, I believe they have strategically lost India. I don’t know if that is something they had calculated or not. I believe if there are these kinds of anxieties they could have been discussed over the table and spoken about, even between the two militaries, even the road building could be discussed. This leads me to think this particular action by the PLA this summer is purely something where they are trying to actually control territory which they believe in their conception is theirs. This is something that is premeditated. It is purely to do with territory, but its implications are both tactical as well as strategic.

THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT INTEND TO HURT THE SENTIMENTS OF ANY INDIVIDUAL, COMMUNITY, SECT, OR RELIGION ETCETERA. THIS ARTICLE IS BASED PURELY ON THE AUTHOR'S PERSONAL VIEWS AND OPINIONS IN EXERCISE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT GUARANTEED UNDER ARTICLE 19(1)(A) AND OTHER RELATED LAWS BEING FORCE IN INDIA, FOR THE TIME BEING.

Editor: Pushpit Singh | 06 Jul 2020 16:13pm IST


Tags : #galwanvalley#china#india

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