by Brig Arun Bajpai

One was under the assumption that after India's tough 73 day stand off with China at Doklam, which not only surprised China but finally made it blink and withdraw, India would learn a lesson that the only way to deal with China is to relay its intentions from a position of strength. However it looks like after the departure of the previous foreign secretary Jaishankar, and appointment of new foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, who has spent fairly long time in China ,we are again back to the policy of bending backwards to please China. A disastrous policy which will only earn ridicule and snigger for India.

The Tibetan Government in exile had planned two major events at Delhi on the 60th anniversary of coming to India of Dalai Lama. An interfaith prayer was organised at Rajghat and a ‘Thank You India’ event at Delhi. Instead of Indian Netas attending in numbers there, just not to annoy China the foreign Secretary Gokhale Sahib writes to the Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha sahib that since India –China relations are going through a sensitive phase senior leaders and government officials must be discouraged from attending this function. So Sinha Sahib has sent a directive to effect to the centre and states. As a result the interfaith prayer at Raj Ghat was cancelled and Thank You India event was held at Dharamshala. It is a separate issue that lot of BJP senior leaders did attend this function.

This entire episode highlights as to how the spineless Babudom of India controls functioning of the government in power with political masters as puppets. China does no favours to India. It allows limited reach to its markets while it controls entire Indian market. Why do we allow it? It is the only hindrance to India’s entry into NSG .it is adamant that if India is allowed Pakistan must also be allowed in the high table NSG grouping. It is hell bent on shielding Jehadi Azhar Masood, the head of terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad, on Pakistani bidding as China doesn't want these elements to seep into Uighur disputed region if they stand disgruntled against a Chinese veto against them in the UN. China has already strategically surrounded India both by land and sea. From its Xinjiang province it has built a road Connecting Pakistan via Karakoram Highway. From Karakorum it is connecting Pakistan’s Gwadar port located on Arabian Sea with network of road and rail known as CPEC. A 3000 km long project in Baluchistan. In Indian Ocean it has built a naval base at Djibouti and now on verge of building another in Maldives. In Sri Lanka it is already operating the port of Hambantota which it has taken on lease of 99 years. The entire Bangladesh Army is built around Chinese Mayanmar it is presiding over the dispute settlement between Myanmar Army and Rohingya Muslims.

In India last year, it tried to occupy Zampiri Ridge in Doklam plateau a Bhutanese territory. India interposed itself. The standoff lasted 73 days, finally China blinked. China has purposely created border dispute with India on 4800 km long border by not accepting Mac-Mohan line. It is claiming 90,000 sq Km in Arunachal Pradesh and 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin of Indian Territory as its own. Till now India was running around with its tail between its legs on Chinese bullying. First time it took a stand in Doklam and got positive results. Now with new foreign secretary Gokhale taking over, looks like our tail is back between our legs. In the long run this is recipe for disaster. If this becomes a habit, China will continually play the displeasure card to strategically restrain and hem in India. It is time our political masters develop some spine and learn to take tough decisions.

We should be clear in our minds that china has propped up Pakistan at disproportionate cost to confine India to South Asia only if India does not tow Chinese lines.70% of Pakistani Army armament are of Chinese origin. The Pakistani missiles are basically North Korean ones made available to Pakistan with China as facilitator. Pakistani nuclear bomb design is Chinese supplied and tested. Indian political masters have to understand that diplomacy does not work from weak military and economic power position. India is doing well in its economy but it has large gaps in military which our enemies both China and Pakistan know. If we want to have a say in world affairs we will have to augment our military power specially Navy. India now must select its Aim and security goals and must develop itself to maintain its aim and security goals. Knee jerk actions will not do.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same