No change in China’s policy

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NEWS & VIEWS
Mohammad Jamil
ACCORDING to Indian media, the BRICS declaration at the summit in the Chinese city of Xiamen was seen as a significant victory by New Delhi. It is a glaring example of how Indian media gives a spin to the news to mislead the world. On the other hand, Pakistani media lacks that ability, and many journalists and analysts have the penchant for self-flagellation. A day after the declaration was released Pakistan cabinet had reacted and expressed concern over the declaration, which was unwarranted, as Pakistan’s name was not mentioned in the declaration. Sun Weidong, China’s Ambassador to Pakistan, said: “The BRICS declaration mentioned organizations, which were already banned… There has been no change in Chinese policy regarding Pakistan, as Pakistan and China are in constant contact regarding regional challenges.” He added that China supports Pakistan’s stand on terror and there should be no confusion in Pakistan in that regard.
In fact, in the declaration of Heart of Asia Conference held in Amritsar in December 2016 names of those organizations were already mentioned to which Pakistan was a signatory. Under point 14, the declaration stated: “We strongly condemn terrorist attacks resulting in death to innocent Afghan nationals. We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/Daesh, Al-Qaeda and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Jaish-i-Mohammed, TTP and Hizbul Tahrir.” Some analysts and panelists in TV channels and print media had raised hullabaloo as if China had changed its policy, which was unwarranted, as there is no love lost between India and China. Last month, in a statement China’s defence ministry had warned India and reiterated its calls for immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from the Doklam plateau. Whither the bravery and courage of Indian leadership and Indian armed forces.
“No country should underestimate the Chinese forces’ confidence and capability to safeguard peace and their resolve and willpower to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests”, the spokesperson of Chinese Ministry of Defence stated. On the afternoon on August 28th, India had pulled back all the trespassing personnel, equipment to the Indian side of the boundary. Earlier, India had suggested that the matter should be resolved through talks, but China insisted that first of all it should completely withdraw troops from the Chinese territory. A 15-page statement by the Foreign Ministry disclosed that 48 Indian soldiers are living illegally on Chinese side of the border, as it had withdrawn 352 soldiers out of 400, and India then withdrew the 48 soldiers as well. The standoff on a plateau that lies at the junction between China, India, and Bhutan, is one of the disputes between two nuclear armed countries.
The plateau is currently disputed between China and Bhutan with India supporting Bhutan’s claim over it. Relations between China and India had somewhat improved since a brief border war in 1962, but deep suspicion over a longstanding territorial dispute has remained an obstacle to achieve full potential of economic ties between the two neighbors. Since independence of India and China in 1947 and 1948 respectively, both countries could not decide how far their borders went as the countries’ borders had changed at various times. China and India has two border issues – Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh in North East India, and China never compromises on its principled stand, be it Hong Kong or Taiwan. Neither the terrain nor its history bore any evidence of a connection of Arunachal Pradesh with India, but Nehru was emboldened by the fact that both super powers the US and the USSR were against China.
He thought that he could get away with his claim and China would not dare attack India, but his gamble failed and India had lost the war. China taught India a lesson while still sending a powerful message to the rest of the world. During Cold War era, India was in the Soviet camp, and Pakistan was intertwined in defence pacts with the West and the US. Since differences between Soviet Union and China had emerged over nuances and interpretations of Marxism and other factors, India opposed China to benefit from both the super power Soviet Union and the US. For some time its policy was successful, but with China’s unstoppable rise to become super power has dampened India’s hopes.
Anyhow, in May 2013 Chinese and Indian forces also stood eyeball to eyeball for three weeks. The origins of the stand-off in the Ladakh Himalayas could be traced in the construction of permanent structures by the Indian side at a similarly sensitive forward observation point in the disputed western sector. China considered it a violation of long-standing border protocols. India had claimed that both sides had gone back to the original positions through diplomatic efforts, and that China withdrew its troops unconditionally. But reports suggested that it was only after India agreed to dismantle its positions in Chumar area in Ladakh that the Chinese side had agreed to withdraw its troops from Depsang valley in Daulat Beg oldi sector. As Chinese withdrew from Depsang, Indian troops constructed fortifications in Chumar Sector. Chinese quick response had resulted into Indo-China standoff in Ladakh. Since India could not afford to prolong the standoff, it then requested for flag meeting to resolve the issue.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.
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