‘Engaging diplomatically, but aggressive on ground’: Ram Madhav on China
India’s priority is to actively and proactively engage with China, diplomatically and militarily, and assert its right to the last inch of its territory, said Bharatiya Janata Party’s general secretary, Ram Madhav on Wednesday in reference to the current stand-off with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The BJP functionary said perceptions that the 1962 war was fought by China to teach USSR, of which India was an ally, a lesson and that in 2020 Beijing is trying to send a message to the US are valid but New Delhi’s priority will remain defending its territory.
After 2014, Madhav said, the government is insisting on ownership of the LAC as India perceives it.
“There will be no defeatist explanation of the past that there is an overlap (of the LAC),” he said, hitting out at the previous governments, whom he blamed for allowing China to grab Indian territory.
The BJP leader said India will engage and push back.
India and China have been locked in a stand-off along the LAC since early May and on June 15 a violent face-off between the two armies led to 20 India soldiers being killed in the line of duty.
While the Congress has blamed the union government for the current strain in ties with Beijing, Madhav said, the Narendra Modi government has changed India’s China policy and unlike in the past when the neighbour was allowed to “nibble away” Indian territory, the county is now “fighting and pushing them back”.
Speaking at an interactive session on the India-China Border Issue, organised by RSS publications Organiser and Panchajanya, Madhav said even as governments under Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and HD Deve Gowda signed agreements with China, Beijing refused to acknowledge the LAC and was continually violating border.
“What China has continued to do is gradually nibble away our territory like Aksai Chin, post 1980s the tactic has been to encroach little by little. What have we been doing in response? We are experts in bilateral agreements, we enter into a new agreement every five years,” he said, lashing out at the previous governments.
“The Chinese side has always exploited this notional weakness of ours that the LAC is not a demarcated boundary so there is possibility of confusion. In 2013, Dr Manmohan Singh told Parliament, the LAC is a disputed imaginary line. There is an overlap of claims and confusion. The assertion that we will push them back, our benefit of doubt allowed them to nibble away our territory,” Madhav said.
Pointing out that India is not a warmonger, the BJP leader said, the country will not settle for the peace of the graveyard.
“We engage diplomatically, but on the ground we will be aggressive. We are asserting our right and not letting them get away with their semi constructions. PM Modi took up the issue of Chushul with Xi Jinping, we are not hiding, but confronting,” he said.
The Congress accused the government of giving China a clean chit, rather than pushing them back.
“Confusion rather than clarity dominates BJP foreign policy, where the PM, EAM, DM & BJP Gen Secy speak in different tones. Rather than giving theoretical explanations on the China stand-off, Mr Madhav should explain when will the status quo ante be restored? Have the Chinese made new structures in the Galwan Valley? Why are Chinese asserting again & again that Galwan is their territory and India has not given a firm reply?” said Jaiveer Shergill.
Madhav said despite the Chinese aggression, India is determined to improve its border infrastructure. “We have close to 60 roads and bridges under construction. India’s claim line is not just the LAC, we have categorically stated that PoK and Aksai Chin, Gilgit-Baltistan are part of India too,” he said.
Taking a swipe at the Congress, Madhav said, the party allowed “reverse Bhoodan (land donation)” by letting territory incursions happen on the Pakistan and China side.