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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

India must redefine engagement with China

October 13, 2009

Times of India
October 10, 2009

PUNE-- India ought to redefine her terms of
engagement with China in the wake of the recent
row over Chinese incursions across the Line of Actual

Control (LAC) that separates the two countries,
said Major General (retd) V K Madhok here on Friday.

Madhok was addressing a seminar on Chinese
incursions into Indian territory' organised by
the Yashwantrao Chavan National Centre for
International Security and Defence Analysis
(YC-NISDA) at the University of Pune.

Air Marshal (retd) Narayan Menon from Bangalore
and M L Sali, head of the department of defence
and strategic studies at the Bhonsla Military
School, Nashik, were among the prominent speakers at the event.

The overall opinion that evolved at the meet was
for precaution on the part of both India and
China to see that problems along the Sino-Indian
borders do not go out of proportion and acquire a
situation of full-scale confrontation.

Madhok initiated the discussion by giving his
overview of Has China surrounded and engaged
India: Chinese incursions, intentions, current
and future security threats'. He said, "The
recent developments were far too serious cause of
concern for the Indian armed forces because
ultimately it will be the forces who will face the brunt."

Citing contradictions in the statements emanating
from the armed forces and the Indian defence and
external affairs ministries, Madhok wondered why
the government was in an appeasement mode whereas
India ought to be more aggressive in taking up issues with China.

He said, "Why are we reluctant to ruffle the
Chinese feathers by not talking about the
problems of Uighurs in the Xing Jiang province,
the human rights violation in Tibet and the
billions worth of investment by China in areas such as Gilgit and Baltistan."

Madhok said, "Instances of direct on ground
incursions, which can be seen, have gone up
steadily since 2006 and each year, they have
numbered around 140-plus. Even in the instant
case, the incursions that happened in June/July
came to light through the media as late as in
September and still we have contradictory
statements from Indian authorities. India is reacting mildly to the situation."

According to Madhok, "Indian government ought to
issue clear cut orders to the troops as to what
is needed to be done in the case of incursions,
rather than be in an appeasement mode. The
present political leadership wants to take the
easy way out by passing the problem to the next generation."

Madhok said, "The need is for strengthening the
armed forces by way of supplementary units like a
largely expanded territorial army as well as
having a reservist military officers corps. This
is critical considering that India faces
14,000-odd shortage of officers in the armed
forces." Indigenisation of defence equipment and
having a comprehensive national security doctrine was essential, he said.

On China surrounding India, Madhok said, "The
Sino-Indian border dispute over Arunachal
Pradesh, Sikkim remains unresolved; China has
kept alive its dispute with Bhutan; Nepal has
gone the communists way and the Chinese interests
in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Tibet can hardly be ignored."

Air Marshal Menon, speaking on the border issues
and impact of air power, said that Indian air
strike power was needed to be enhanced in a large
way considering that Indian air force is only
1/3rd of its Chinese counterpart. "China has
already started making combat aircraft of their
own based on Russian technology," he pointed out.
"The one bright spot that can be seen is the
operationalisation of the airfields in the Ladakh region," he said.

Bhonsla school's Sali traced the history of the
Sino-Indian border dispute by going into the
geographical aspects of the dispute, starting with China's takeover of Tibet.

A S Dalvi, head of YC-NISDA, and senior
academician Ram Bapat chaired the discussion sessions.
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