Modi Internationalizes Indi-China border dispute;
Pompeo announces US will defend Indian sovereignty!
If consecutive central governments from 1962, from the time of India’s China War, has repeated that no third party will be allowed to interfere in the boder dispute, and it will be resolved through bi-lateral discussions, Modi government has strategically shifted from it, by signing agreements with US to internationalize the border dispute. For RSS and Modi Atma-Nirbhar Bharat means closest relation with US imperialism and its allies and linking every sphere including defense production to US and corporates. So,taking the US-India Strategic Partnership agreement signed initially by the Vjapayee government in 2002, and developed by the UPA government in 2006, the Modi government has signed many agreements to up-grade it. In the context of the aggravation of the Indi-China border standoff from May leading to the Galwan incident in which 20 officers and men of Indian army lost their life, Trump has openly interfered in this, making continuous efforts to internationalize the border question, similar to the South China sea dispute, as a part of intensifying its trade war and contention with China for world hegemony. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper held ministerial-level talks with their Indian counterparts S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh on Tuesday27th and 28th October and signed the crucial Indo-US Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) — which pertains to geo-spatial intelligence, sharing information on maps and satellite images for defence purposes. In a desperate effort to get maximum Indians’ votes to salvage his presidentship in the 3rd November election, his secretaries have succeeded in signing a strong reinforcement of the bilateral relationship and an unambiguous signal of renewal and continuity of the strategic partnership.
The signing of BECA, India can use US geospatial intelligence and enhance accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones. It gives access to topographical and aeronautical data and advanced products which will aid navigation and targeting. This could be key for Air Force-to-Air Force cooperation between India and the US. The June 15 Galwan incident set the stage and gave a political impetus to the already existing security cooperation apparatus at a higher plane.
The cooperation includes sharing of high-end satellite images, telephone intercepts, and data exchange on Chinese troops and weapons deployment along the 3,488-km India-China LAC.
The first edition of the dialogue took place in Delhi in September 2018, the last one was in Washington December 2019. Now the present meeting has propelled the Indo-US strategic ties forward. Discussions also took place with other government and business leaders on ways to advance the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. During the 2+2 dialogue, expanding cooperation between the two militaries will be high on agenda. This includes the two navies, which play a critical role in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific. In July 2020, the Indian Navy successfully completed a passing exercise with the US Navy as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group transited through the Indian Oc
The whole agreement and Pompeo’s announcement shows that for RSS/BJP nationalism means becoming a better junior partner to US imperialism, and Atma Nirbhar means making India a neo-liberal, corporate fascist state.
Down with Neoliberal, corporate RSS Neo-Fascism!
CPI(ML) Red Star.
28th October 2020
According to latest reports from the LAC in Ladakh region, the standoff between Indian and Chinese forces continuing for almost five months at many points have reached an explosive situation, with firing having taken place at one of these points after 45 years. Slowly and in a planned way the RSS line on Tibet raised by it from the very beginning, supporting the US line, has started coming to the forefront as reflected in the way the cremation of an Indian soldier of Tibetan lineage was organized with provocative speeches attended by Ram Madhav, RSS/BJP spokesperson. Trump would like to keep the tension on India-China border at flash point and raise the Tibetan question as a campaign issue in his presidential race. The Modi govt also wishes to prolong the standoff so that people’s attention can be diverted from crucial issues like galloping Covid19 cases, joblessness, high price rise of essential commodities and unprecedented economic retardation leading to starvation condition for tens of millions.
The Modi govt's belligerence has been compounded by unwarranted, provocative statements made by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, a known RSS affiliate, who also dragged Pakistan into the question in order to provide a further fillip to national chauvinism. Tellingly, Rawat's comments were made at an interactive session at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, where he insisted that India's policy of engagement, if not backed by credible military power and regional influence, would imply acknowledging China's pre-eminence in the region. He also commented on "China's economic assistance to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and continued military and diplomatic support to Pakistan."
China, which has controlled Covid19 infection and is regaining economic growth, on the other hand, will wish to stop any form of US-backed incursion into Tibet by Indian forces at any cost. China would also not be averse to seeing the Indian economy face increasing crisis as more and more funds are pumped into the war budget.
As both sides accuse each other and maintain large forces on both sides, it creates conditions for a confrontation with severe consequences. The danger is real, as the RSS Parivar as well as mainstream media along with Sanghis on social media are propagating war mongering and jingoism! Almost similar war mongering is spread by the Chinese side also. In this situation a flare-up can take place at any time. The situation becomes more dangerous as the Congress as well as other main opposition parties are also joining the war mongering campaign to show that they are not behind RSS Parivar in national chauvinism and warmongering.
CPI(ML) Red Star has repeatedly demanded that the border disputes which are leftovers of the colonial period should be resolved through bi-lateral discussions, and India should not go for border war, which will be extremely harmful to the people. We appeal to all democratic forces to rise to the occasion and campaign against war-mongering and jingoism, with the demand that all border conflicts in general and the Indo-China conflict in particular be solved through political dialogue. Negotiations may be taken up at the highest levels, so that the tension is diffused immediately. Subsequently, fresh round of discussions may be started to settle the dispute in a good-neighbourly manner.
CPI(ML) Red Star declares that if, instead of taking such a stand, the Modi government, provoked by the RSS and US imperialism, goes ahead to another border conflict, we shall swim against the tide of war mongering and chauvinism. We firmly declare "No to war" and " No war-mongering" and for a peaceful settlement of border dispute through bilateral political and diplomatic channels. We shall launch a nationwide mighty movement for food, employment and democracy, and shall actively strive to mobilize the people against any bloody, disastrous war to settle border disputes.
When the standoff between the Indian and Chinese military started in the beginning of May, in its statement (Where Modi’s foreign policy is leading our country to? What is Communist approach towards the border questions?) the Central Committee of CPI(ML) Red Star explained the developments leading to yet another standoff along the LAC which is still not delineated on the ground, and called for immediate discussion at all levels to resolve the dispute. But instead of solving the problem, the military level discussion failed to reach a resolution and on 15th the clash took place at Galwan Valley between the two forces. After an urgent meeting of the CC on 17th June following the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the disputed Galwan Valley area along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in which 20 Indian jawans were killed, we expressed our heartfelt condolences to their families, and adopted a resolution calling for “Stop war mongering; We don’t want another border war; Settle border questions through bi-lateral discussions peacefully.”
We continued our campaign against war mongering, and for permanent settlement of the border problems with China by delineating the LAC and resolving other differences on the border.
But, BJP tried to create war hysteria, and a it launched campaign for Boycott China in line with the statements of Trump as part of the trade war between US and China. As reports of the corps commanders’ level discussions reaching stalemate again came out, the editorial of party organ, Red Star, on 1st of July again called for political level intervention at the topmost level to start dis-engagement of the forces. But, instead of taking steps to solve the standoffs at three places in eastern Ladakh through immediate diplomatic and political level discussions as we repeatedly called for, disturbing reports of mobilization of the military followed by the air force continued on both sides started getting boosted by the media along with jingoistic statements from BJP leaders. On 3rd July, PM Modi visited Ladakh, and gave a speech exhorting the armed forces to defend our borders at any cost. Though it created an atmosphere of an imminent border clash as both sides raised claim for entire Galwan Valley, an analysis of his speech revealed that in spite of his sabre-ratttling, it was just another of his election speeches mainly intended to influence voters in MP, Himachal and Bihar, where elections are going to take place soon. As sabre-rattling from both sides continued, a very tense atmosphere was created by the media. In this situation, we again issued a statement on 5thJuly, reiterating our demand for political level discussions to ease the situation.
On 6th July morning we heard that discussion between Ajit Dugal of Modi’s PM’s secretariat and Chinese foreign minister took place, and based on the proposals arrived at in the corps commanders’ meeting earlier, both sides decided to withdraw 1.5 to 1.8 kms at the three disputed places along China-Ladakh border, creating a buffer-zone in between. The withdrawals started on 5thevening.
Following this temporary easing of tension, the war of words between BJP and Congress going on from the time the standoffs became more shrill, for one-upmanship, both sides trying to prove themselves more nationalistic. While India and China are accusing each other for intruding to their territory, BJP and Congress are engaged in a blame game to prove who compromised with “Chinese incursion” more. But both were concealing the fact that, neither Congress which was in power for about 4 -5 decades, nor BJP in power for six years earlier, nor during the last six years in power took any creative initiative for a permanent settlement of the disputes, even though standoffs were continuing.
According to the repeated statements of earlier UPA government, and present Modi government from 2014, though the LAC was adopted by both sides in I 993 in the Western Sector, while transferring the agreed line to the difficult terrain of Himalayas, there were many disputes about the actual controlled areas on the ground. “The entire Sino-Indian border (including the western LAC, the small undisputed section in the centre, and the McMahon Line in the east) is 4,056 km (2,520 mi) long and traverses one Indian union territory, Ladakh, and four Indian states: Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. On the Chinese side, the line traverses the Tibet Autonomous Region” (Wikipedia). We are told, they are marked as disputed areas and both sides are trying to settle them through bi-lateral discussions at different levels. But, like UPA govt, earlier, Modi govt now also is not telling the people, about where the talks between both sides have reached or what are the disputes in the LAC as well as in the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh region. We come to know about the disputes only when a standoff starts, or when Jingoistic statements are made, or when the defense budgets are steeply hiked.
Our consistent stand on the border dispute was clearly stated in the first Resolution: “Where Modi’s Foreign Policy is Leading India to?”: The border dispute is a leftover from the colonial times. A holistic approach should be worked out in continuation to the 1993 agreement on the LAC so that in all disputed areas along the 4056 kms of India-China border, it can be clearly delineated including deciding clear benchmarks taking the condition of the difficult terrain in to consideration. This agreement should include withdrawal of military of both sides to bases and deploying only border security forces to man the border. Only in his manner standoffs and skirmishes leading to unfortunate killing of jawans on both sides can be avoided. But, in the absence of such an agreement, even after the present truce for withdrawal both sides, it is not completed, at some points differences persist and the armed forces and Air Force have not started withdrawing from the area. Tension continues affecting the life of the civilians living in nearby areas. So we demand that initiative should be taken by Modi government to resolve the border disputes on a long term basis and for delineating the LAC on the ground.
Party’s accepted stand is that the LAC is still not delineated, and the standoffs have happened many times including presently in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and Gogra Hot Spring in the disputed land along it. Within the disputed land if any incursions take place, both sides accuse each other calling them intrusions or aggressions followed by standoffs, and for the first time after 45 years in the standoff at Galwan Valley from beginning of May, in the clash on15th June 20 jawans were killed. These are skirmishes within the disputed areas, where both sides have constructed roads and structures, where each side try to gain control of more areas, which the opposite side will characterize as an aggression to whip up jingoism as have happened repeatedly, and is again happening now, worsening the border dispute further. Our stand is that until a permanent solution acceptable to both sides is arrived at this situation will continue. So we do not call these movements by any side within the disputed area as an aggression or intrusion on the other country, but as a natural consequence of the present situation. We call for a permanent solution to the disputes. We appeal to people of India and China to put pressure on their governments to settle the disputed permanently so that the centuries old people to people relation can be strengthened further.
The border conflict is utilized, as always happens, by the Modi government to divert the attention of the people from the criminal acts of commission and omission in its handling of the fight against the Covid19 pandemic, from the acute distress it caused to crores of migrant workers and other sections of impoverished people, and from the economic crisis started in the pre-Covid days. As usual the burden of all these are thrown to their back. Besides, utilizing the tension on the border, Modi is carrying forward his militarization program, the burden of which also will come over the people. On the whole, any increase in the tension on the border shall lead to further attacks on the masses of people. The socio-economic condition of the already impoverished masses shall be further weakened, leading them to more acute distress.
As far as the ruling class in any country is concerned they use war mongering against a created enemy, and jingoism is unleashed to hoodwink the masses. During the last 75 years after Second World War, though there were no World Wars, there were numerous local wars instigated mainly by the US imperialists to prolong their hegemony, repeatedly proving that imperialism means war, and so long as it exists, wars are inevitable. The same is the case with the junior partners of imperialist powers also. Similar to what is happening in J&K, the ruling classes on both sides, India and Pakistan, shall go on fighting making life hell both in IOK and POK, spending a major part of their revenue for it at the expense of people’s welfare. In order to cover up the truth and to win over even ordinary people to back them, jingoism, hate politics based on communalism and national chauvinism are instigated. Our sub-continent is one of the worst examples for it. So, whether war is imminent or not, is not a point of our debate. As a result of extremely complicated conflict of several factors, it can break out any time; it is difficult to predict it. Our point should be how we can develop understanding about how the ruling class of our country have succeeded to deny the right of self determination to the peoples of J&K and Northeast, how they embittered relations with Pakistan to such a level that even cross-border trade and fighting locusts jointly which will benefit both peoples cannot be discussed, why relations with all other neighbouring countries are also worsening, while the country is opened to looting by the very same forces against whom we fought the independence struggle.
Under Modi this subservience went to the extent of organizing Namaste Trump, while we refuse to combat even Covid19 together with our neighbours. In such a situation, the US administration led by Trump and his allies are using the India-China border dispute like Hong Kong or South China Sea like issues as part of the inter imperialist contradiction and trade war between US and China. It has already happened with India banning 59Apps and cancelling many services and investments of China and has fully opened the country more for investments from US and other imperialist countries. So, the cardinal point is even when we are fighting the ever intensifying danger of Covid19, Modi government is creating war mongering and Trump could utilize it to prolong US hegemony and using it to win the November elections.
It is in this context, instead of getting satisfied with a passive stand, the Communist Revolutionaries should take a pro-active stand; an independent communist stand on this question. They should call for political settlement of all issues including border disputes with all neighbouring countries, which are continuing from colonial times, through bi-lateral discussions, using advanced scientific tools. They should oppose any armed conflict for settling border questions. They should firmly oppose India’s alliance or strategic partnership with any imperialist country or bloc. In spite of the best efforts of the CRs and all progressive forces, still the border war breaks out, we should come out openly opposing it, while continuing the struggle for revolutionary transformation of the society.
According to the repeated statements of earlier UPA government, and present Modi government from 2014, though a Line of Actual Control (LAC) was adopted by both India and China in 1993 in the Western Sector, while transferring the agreed line to the difficult terrain of Himalayas there were many disputes about the actual controlled areas on the ground. They are marked as disputed areas to be settled through bi-lateral discussions at different levels. But, like UPA govt, earlier, Modi govt now also is not telling the people, about the real state of the talks between both sides, or what are the disputes in the LAC as well as in the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh region. We come to know about the disputes only when a standoff starts, Jingoistic statements are made, or when the defense budgets are steeply hiked. The saffron media conceal facts and always whip up jingoism.
On 17th July defense minister Rajnath Singh visited disputed areas in Ladakh; after discussions with military chiefs he announced: “No one can touch an inch of Indian territory”, repeating what Modi told in his speech at Ladakh on 3rd July. What does it mean? According to Congress led UPA govt earlier, as well as Modi govt. now, so far there are no claims that Chinese intruded in to areas beyond the disputed areas or to undisputed Indian area, or vice versa by Chinese. The intrusions or incursions or push backs are taking place within the disputed area. So long as these areas are disputed according to their own statements, how can Modi claim it as Indian area or Xi calls it as Chinese area? For example, both sides claim Galwan valley is theirs; how to settle it? Accepting it as a disputed area, both sides should discuss, up to heads of governments level if necessary, and come to a mutually acceptable agreement. Similar steps should be taken at all disputed points and in Arunachal Pradesh. Then only these disputes can be settled and a peaceful border can be realized under mutual agreement through a give and take approach, with the understanding that these are lefts over from the colonial times.
Since such an agreement is not arrived at, and inter-country river basin questions like connected issues are not taken up, the unprecedented serious floods in Assam in Brahmaputra river this year like problems take place. Since the border disputes are not settled, there are no discussions about what both sides are doing in these river basins. It is reported that Chinese have built many dams along the Brahmaputra in Tibet region, and as they were filled due to very heavy rain, all of them were opened at the same time causing the deluge in Assam killing hundreds and making lakhs of families losing everything.
So, it is high time that all political parties and people’s movements should demand that the governments should stop jingoistic statements, sit down with the Chinese and try to settle the whole border disputes through bilateral discussions up to heads of governments’ level based on a give and take policy. As this is not done what are the consequences: (1) both governments are diverting the people’s wealth for military build up; (2) In skirmishes and if a border war takes place jawans, from both sides perish as cannon fodder for the petty interests of ruling parties; (3) The India-China border dispute is turned in to another hotspot in the inter imperialist contradictions between US and China; (4) In the absence of inter-country Brahmaputra river basin like agreement and monitoring of flash floods like the one going on in Assam now devastates millions of families. There are other serious problems like destruction of the ecology of Himalayas which has international ramifications also.
But, while Modi is using the border dispute also to perpetuate his corporate fascist rule, Congress is trying for one-upmanship showing itself as more jingoist, and most other ruling class parties keep mum about such a vital question like India-China border question, similar to relations with other neighbouring countries, J&K and Northeast questions, as sacred cows.
It is in this grave situation, CPI(ML) Red Star has raised the demand: Stop War Mongering and jingoism; Settle all outstanding border disputes with neighbouring countries through bi-lateral discussions; and No more border wars! We should intensify this campaign, as the stand offs at the border still continues and at any time the belligerent forces can go for another border war devastating the lives of people of the border areas as well as all over the country