By N.S.Venkataraman


The decision of the Government of India not to attend the opening or the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, in response to China’s decision to make a regimental commander of the People’s Liberation Army, who suffered severe injury during the Gulwan clash, a torchbearer at the event, is a clear signal that India has finally decided to confront China once for all.

At the same time, in New Delhi, the Tibetans in exile organized a protest against the Winter Olympics in China and burnt Chinese flags in public.  In this case, the Government of India allowed the demonstration by Tibetans to take place and kept silent when the Chinese flag was burnt by the protesters. This is, again,  another sure signal that India would confront China in the coming days.

In the Indian Parliament,  the Government of India has confirmed that China had been illegally occupying 38000 square kilometres in the Union territory of Ladakh for the past six decades. Further, the Government of India pointed out that Pakistan ceded 5180 square kilometres of Indian land in Shaksgam Valley in 1963  to China. Obviously, such occupation of Indian land by China has caused deep hurt in the mind of the Indians and there have been consistent demands in the past that India should confront China and make it behave.

Around seven decades back, India made a grave and historical mistake, when the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru remained silent,  when China aggressively entered Tibet, massacred thousands of Tibetans and occupied this holy land of great Buddhist culture and philosophy.  All that Jawaharlal Nehru did was provide asylum to the respected Dalai Lama and Tibetans fleeing to India.

To add insult to injury, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the later Prime Minister of India, signed a treaty with China approving the occupation of Tibet by China.  This was an extremely condemnable decision of Atal Behari Vajpayee since the treaty was signed by him after the 1962 war with China when China occupied thousands of kilometres of Indian territory and killed thousands of soldiers.

Vajpayee’s mistake was as grave as that of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Later on, when Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister of India more than seven years back, many people expected that Modi would confront China, particularly since Modi is known to be a strong leader with great commitment to the national cause.

However, to the surprise of everyone, Modi gave an impression that he was trying to appease China by going out of the way to invite President Xi Jinping to visit India two times, with one at Gujarat and another at Chennai in Tamil Nadu and accorded huge reception to Chinese President showing enormous respect to him.

What is particularly shocking is that Modi extended such a warm reception to Xi Jinping when 33000 kilometres of Indian territory has been occupied by China and further,  China has been claiming that Arunachal Pradesh in India is a part of China.

All such appeasement policy towards China by the Indian Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Vajpayee and Narendra Modi has not brought any change of heart in Chinese leadership towards India but China only developed more contempt for India and took India for granted. Several abusive remarks against India has been made by China in the past on many occasions.

Finally, Narendra Modi appears to have realized that China has to be necessarily confronted and there is no point in reasoning with China.

When China tried to test the Modi government’s resolve to confront China, China launched the Gulwan clash in 2020.   This time, Narendra Modi decided to resist and the Indian army gave a fitting reply to the  People’s Liberation Army of China.

In the last few years, India has been considerably strengthening its military capability by buying sophisticated weapons and aircraft obviously to prepare for a short or long war with China at any time.

Having tested India’s resolve during the  Gulwan clash,  it is doubtful whether China would attempt one more military conflict with India as long as Modi remains as Prime Minister.

However, the pinpricks from China would continue in a variety of ways and border skirmishes are also likely.

In such circumstances, the decision of the Modi government to confront China by boycotting the Winter Olympics in China is enthusiastically welcomed by everyone in India, stating that it is better late than never.

Ultimately, India can make China behave by forcing China into a defensive position politically and diplomatically, by India demanding that Tibet should be liberated from China’s occupation.  This would be the voice of wisdom and perhaps, Prime Minister Modi can clearly say that India’s earlier decision to approve China’s occupation of Tibet was ethically and morally wrong. India should not hesitate even to apologise to the Tibetans for India’s mistake in not protesting against the occupation of Tibet by China.

Today, China’s popularity in the world has taken a beating, as by and large, the world opinion is that the present leadership of China is greedy, unethical, has no respect for human rights and with territorial expansionist ambitions by fair or foul means.

There is ongoing confrontation now between China and USA and other West European countries and India’s confrontation against  China would be in tune with the mood of the world opinion.

India’s confrontation against China has now started finally and this could be a soft war against China, where India will have no serious disadvantage.

Venkataraman is a trustee with the “Nandini Voice for the Deprived,” a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and supports their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

The views expressed in this article are that of the author’s and should not be attributed to Tibet Express.

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