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03 August 2020

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

Kabeer Katlat

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