Jammu, June 4: P Stobdan, former Indian Ambassador, believes the recent Chinese intrusion in Galwan and Pangong lake sectors in eastern Ladakh could be reaction to Modi Government’s August 5, 2019 decision of making Ladakh a separate Union Territory.
“I agree to the proposition that this (intrusion) could be J&K centric provocation. Chinese did raise objections to Ladakh made UT and termed it as violation of its territorial claim. Though, India did give assurance it will not change status of Line of Actual Control (LAC), they still went to United Nation Security Council and raised the issue while supporting Pakistan,” said Stobdan in an interview with Excelsior news.
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Indian and Chinese armies had scuffle in Pangong lake area when Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) troops intruded into Indian territory last month. Since then both sides have scaled up presence there. India is insisting that China should restore status quo ante to de-escalate tension.
Stobdan said China viewed the statement of Home Minister Amit Shah on Aksi Chin and Gilgit Baltistan as part of India, disturbing its strategic designs especially with regard to its much hype ‘Belt and Road initiative’.
He said while it is still not clear what was the specific reason for this kind of provocation since China is under intense international pressure following spread of Coronavirus pandemic and India getting close to United States.
“There has to be strategic reason for this. It intended to prick India which is getting close to United States and latter is going hard at China after outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic,” said Stobdan.
Stobdan is considered an authority on Indo-China relations. He has written many books and papers, which have been published in internationally reputed journals, on China and its strategic designs. He was also Senior Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses,
Former Ambassador said Chinese image has been badly hit after pandemic and there is growing demand for isolating, punishing China and it was getting cornered.
“It’s Chinese psyche that more cornered they are more they tend show that they are powerful. They become belligerent and this is what they have done now,” said Stobdan.
Stobdan acknowledged the fact that not due attention had been given to nomads and border residents of Ladakh which are strategic assets. But, he puts the blame on the Government of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State.
“Nomads have been ignored but before Ladakh was made UT, J&K Government was completely Kashmir focussed. The local administration knows the revenue records and local problems. They never gave attention to it and these problems were not highlighted before highest authorities,” he said.
Said Stobdan: “The Prime Minister can’t have dream about local problems along the border unless they are brought to his notice and both leadership and intelligentsia failed on this account.”
Serious attempts are being by India and China to de-escalate the tension. For the first time ever Lt General talks are scheduled on June 6. And, after that diplomatic talks will start. Stobdan says PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have personal relations and things can be settled.
“However, for any agreement to be arrived at, Chinese should step back and restore status-quo ante and India should continue and complete construction work of 255- Km long road up to Daulat Beg Oldie. If that is achieved that is fantastic,” said Ambassador.
Stobdan said India has not worked hard to understand Chinese psyche and their working culture but on the contrary Chinese are trying to understand us for more than 2000-yr. Chinese came during Nalanda time and took best of us and they know our psyche, religion and our working style.
“We only do mechanical understanding of China, which doesn’t serve much purpose. China studied Islamic culture and they are dealing with Islamic world in a much better way. They didn’t know much about United States about three-decade back but they worked hard on understand and see how they are dealing with US. These are hard lessons we have to learn,” said Stobdan.