Dragon’s mischief: Don’t fall for it

Columnist  | Abhijit Bhattacharyya

Opinion, Oped

China’s direct involvement in J&K as a third party has now badly damaged the scenario.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (Photo: AP)

When Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi publicly declared on April 17 that the “CPEC has no direct link with the Kashmir issue”, willingly or unwillingly, he confessed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has an “indirect link” to Kashmir. One’s mind immediately went back to the issue that reflects Beijing’s long-term vision of crass insensitivity towards India, and which sowed the seeds of confrontation and turned the India-Pakistani bilateral issue into a trilateral, or multilateral, one — much before the Sino-Indian war of 1962. China’s direct involvement in J&K as a third party has now badly damaged the scenario. Wang Yi’s statement is simply a bid to confuse the issue further through empty jargon and semantics.

Let the facts speak for themselves. Is it not a fact that China directly got involved with J&K way back in 1959 when Mao Zedong and Gen. Ayub Khan jointly commissioned work on the Karakoram Highway, which was subsequently opened in 1979? Did China not know that it was infringing on India’s sovereignty as the highway, linking Kashgar (Xinjiang, China) to Hassan Abdal (Punjab, Pakistan), passed through the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and thus Indian territory? Why did China knowingly enter into the disputed Indian territory, which was illegally occupied by Pakistan, thereby escalating tensions? China started encroaching into Indian territory by conniving, conspiring and colluding with Pakistan since the 1950s. The Karakoram Highway, which now stands as pivot to the CPEC plan, is there for all to see.

One is compelled here to refer to India’s internal politics. While the people are usually unaware of the territorial issues of the Indian sovereign, there has always been a well-crafted plan for more than 50 years to keep them in the dark as far as Sino-Indian and Indo-Pakistani territorial issues are concerned. One dare say internally it was shaped by petty politics of the opposing political class, and externally it was an intrinsic tendency of Indian diplomats to show more of India’s “goodness” and less understanding of the supreme law of the land, that needed protection and judicious (rather than diplomatic niceties) implementation for the unity and integrity of the nation. If the Constitution-keepers do not know how to save the supreme legal document, how will they protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and counter violations by the likes of China and Pakistan? Will China tolerate any violation of its territory? Is it tolerating the “invasion of the sea”? Did Britain give up its claim and right over the Falkland Islands? Is London not protecting Gibraltar from Madrid? Is Russia not wary of Nato and the United States over the Crimea? Is China not extraordinarily “possessive” about its landlocked neighbour Mongolia?

More often than not, India’s rulers over the years have blatantly violated the Constitution with their conspicuous failure to uphold its sanctity. Just see the irony. The whole of J&K is an integral part of sovereign India. Hence, PoK too is its territory. Thus Siachen, being a part of J&K, is Indian land. Yet in 2012, “underhand” and “under-the-table diplomats” almost compelled India to retreat from Siachen, thereby violating the Constitution.

Recall the Haji Pir Pass of the 1965 war (that was visited by Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa a day before the beheading of two Indian soldiers on April 30). The pass is a part of J&K. It fell the under illegal occupation of Pakistan. It took 22 days of the 1965 war, with heavy loss of Indian soldiers, to retrieve it. And yet it was ceded on the diplomatic table. As if it had never belonged to India! As Indian rulers do not know where to begin and where to end regarding their own sovereignty and territory, why do they blame Pakistan and China?

One Belt One Road (OBOR), the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the CPEC collectively stand for the violation of India’s sovereignty; and trampling upon its supreme law of the land. Thus any talk of joining any of these projects by India is unthinkable. What will India gain? Access to the sea? Doesn’t India have a 4,104-nautical mile coastline, in contrast to Pakistan’s 567 nautical mile coastline? Does China have any access to the Indian Ocean? No! Hence, to suggest that it is economics and economics alone, and that economics doesn’t have any connection whatsoever with either military or strategy, politics or territory, will at best be a deception tactic, and at worst a stratagem to lure Indian gullibility under China’s terms and conditions. The Chinese media recently reported that Beijing has a “vested interest in J&K because of the CPEC investment”. Finally, the cat is finally out of the bag! Investment, involvement, intervention, invasion, integration (like Tibet, Xinjiang, Pakistan and now India’s J&K) into China — that is Beijing’s objective. Indians must remember they have inflicted enough damage to their own country by violating their Constitution at the diplomatic table. Economically, politically and strategically too, they are usually overawed or outmanoeuvred. This must stop immediately. The terms “globalisation” and/or “global village” should not misguide New Delhi any more. If things are really that rosy regarding OBOR/BRI/CPEC, then why are stringent visa restrictions coming from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Europe? Why is the West tightening its economics to play inwards? Why are NRIs being pressured to return? Is it because India has to first open up its market for some obscure foreign companies at the cost of its own indigenous industries and commercial activities and succumb to the dragon under the cover of economics? Will trade eradicate all territorial issues and lead India to a new heaven? China’s alibis, economics and trade will lead to subjugation and usurpation of our territory. Markets, money and the monopoly of India are its targets. Indians go gaga over all foreign goods and foreigners — that, sadly, is the biggest hurdle to our sovereignty, territory and integrity.