Ghosts from the past haunt Indian Foreign Policy

Lalit Shastri

The limit was crossed by China in the midst of talks with India involving senior military officials in Galwan Valley to end the impasse on the LAC stand-off in Laddakh when there was a violent clash between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army on Monday night, 15 June 2020, resulting in the martyrdom of a Colonel and two soldiers of the Indian ArmyColonel B Santosh Babu, Havildar Palani and Sepoy Kundan Ojha.

According to Tuesday night media reports, quoting official sources, casualties on the Indian side are 20. The Chinese Army also has suffered casualties claim a few reports based on Chinese sources.

After the Chinese Army personnel had trespassed into the Indian territory in Ladakh in May this year, the Indian troops patrolling on the Indian side of the LAC were engaged in a violent clash and the Chinese had to be stopped physically from advancing into indian territory. After that there has been a lull while the two sides decided to engage each other in discussions to end the current deadlock. Even as talks were progressing, both at the Army and diplomatic levels, we have this ugly development in the Galwan Valley.

Three years ago, in June 2017 also, there was a military standoff between China and India when Indian troops had to move forward to stop China from extending a road on the Doklam plateau near the Doka La pass. At that time Bhutan also had objected to China building a road in that area taking the stand that the land on which China was building a road was “Bhutanese territory”.

India’s immediate neighbour Nepal, where the pro-Chinese Communist Party of Nepal is in power, has also started showing its true colours. With the Nepalese Parliament giving its consent to the Constitutional Amendment Bill, Nepal has redrawn its map that depicts the Indian territory of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepal “on the basis of the Anglo-Nepal Treaty of Sugauli of 1816”. India has strongly snubbed Nepal blaming it for closing the door on dialogue. Undeterred by India’s annoyance, Nepal has continued to maintain a belligerent posture on the territory issue. Earlier in June, Nepalese Security Forces also opened fire killing an Indian boy and injuring a couple of others on the Indian side.

Nepalese Prime Minister KP Oli’s Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) that was led by two-time Nepalease Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly called Prachanda, right through the civil war days, have now come together to form the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), which is now the ruling party in Nepal.

India’s role vis-a-vis Nepal is suspect after Gyanendra became the King of Nepal, 2001-2008, following the assassination of his brother King Birendra, his wife Queen Aishwarya and 7 other members of the royal family by crown prince Dipendra, who himself died after slipping into coma after shooting himself.

After the 2004 general elections, the Congress led UPA formed a government at the Centre with a tally of 218 seats in the 543 member 14th Lok Sabha. UPA completed 5 years in power with the support of the Left Front with 59 MPs. Diehard China follower, CPI-M leader and former JNU Students’ Union President Sitaram Yechury was wielding considerable power during UPA-1 and it is public knowledge how he, along with his senior JNU comrade the late DP Tripathi, had put pressure on the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to support the Communists and interfere in Nepal’s internal affairs resulting in the mishandling of India’s foreign policy vis-a-vis the neighbouring country during the period associated with the “democratization process in Nepal”.

Matters have been worst confounded by China that’s now confronting India in Ladhak, only a couple of years after they had a stand-off with India in Dokhlam in the North-East. It beats logic and imagination what was the need for India, in the midst of the current imbroglio to give a railway contract worth Rs 1,126 crore last week (12 June) to the Chinese multinational construction company – Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd. (STEC) for the 5.6 km underground stretch between New Ashok Nagar–Sahibabad of the Delhi–Meerut RRTS project. Notwithstanding the demand for cancellation of this contract raised by the RSS, matters do not rest there, also with India allowing 100% FDI, what is the guarantee that Chinese will not infiltrate even the Space Sector?

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