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.
Compatriots, friends and comrades,
The PB and the CC of the CPI(ML) Red Star held urgent online meetings following the sad and disturbing reports of 16th June night that the standoff between Indian and Chinese forces started from April led to violent clashes on 15th night in Galwan Valley for the first time in 50 years with casualties on both sides, including the death of 20 jawans and injuries to some more on the Indian side. The meetings of the PB and CC extended heartfelt condolences to the families of the jawans who lost their life.
The Indian Army has stated that 20 Indian soldiers were killed in action in a violent face-off with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan area on 15th night in sharp escalation of tensions in the midst of a process of disengagement from their stand-off that began six weeks ago. The Chinese foreign ministry and army claimed that Indian troops had provoked violence by crossing over to their territory, the Galvan Valley which ‘always belonged to them’.
According to Indian army statements, it faced Chinese troops there in early May, for the first time in 50 years, leading to the first face-off on the night of May 5-6. Now it is absolutely clear that contrary to what was told by the army chief and government spokespersons repeatedly, no basic understanding on disengagement from the valley could be reached as China was claiming sovereignty over it in the series of disengagement talks up to corps commanders’ level on 6th June. So, after the 15th violent incident, now it is clear that after this, military level discussion was not sufficient. It was absolutely imperative that diplomatic and political initiatives at the highest levels from both the countries was required urgently to diffuse the situation. But the prime minister Modi who had met the Chinese president a dozen times for long discussions during last six years, including last year at Chennai, did not take any initiative for its resolution. Even after escalation of the standoff to clashes leading to death of 20 jawans on 15th night, till 17th evening he has not come out with a formal statement except for a characteristic tirade to incite jingoism, with claims of retaliation at appropriate time!
Compatriots, the border disputes are leftovers of the colonial days. Even the boundary demarcations were used by British colonialists as part of their ‘divide and rule’ policy. Contrary to the stand taken during independence struggle, Congress governments had failed to settle the border disputes. During the last six years, under Modi rule, the relations with all neighboring countries have further worsened on the one hand due to its Islamophobia, or on the other because of its increasing role in the Asia-Pacifi axis strengthened by US to serve its inter-imperialist contradictions with China.
During the last six years Modi has led the country from one crisis to another. Its economic policies had led to recession even before the Covid19 broke out. Though lockdown was announced abruptly on 24th March midnight without any medical or other preparations in the name of containing this pandemic, even after 83 days the Covid19 pandemic is taking more dangerous proportions day by day. We have also witnessed what this government did to the tens of millions of migrant workers who became jobless and shelter-less and thrown to temporary shelters, often starving, compelling many to walk back to their villages, a more gruesome sight than what this country faced during the days of partition. The economy is in unprecedented crisis, further impoverishing the masses, and making unemployment leaping to record levels. Now, as the latest developments prove, as a result of its subservience to US imperialism as its junior partner, it has led to worsening of relations with all neighbors including Nepal taking the standoff with China to dangerous levels. And the burden of the consequences of all criminal acts of Modi rule are thrown to the backs of the vast toiling masses. Like Covid was used as a cover to suppress all political enemies, to spread Islamophobia and state terror so far, now Modi, after allowing the border conflict to reach such an impasse through his deliberate inaction, is using it to spread jingoism and war mongering using the death of Indian jawans, like the jawans killed in Phulwama followed by Balakot was used to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Our appeal to our compatriots is not to allow Modi government to hoodwink us and put us in more miseries by encouraging war jingoism as it used the Covid pandemic to speed up neoliberal corporate policies and to impoverish more, apart from communally dividing us further. At this critical juncture, in the name of exposing the weakness of Modi rule, instead of calling for a negotiated serrlement of the border dispute, Congress and other parliamentary opposition is trying to prove more nationalistic!
Our appeal to the fraternal people of China, who have a great history, is that along with our government, your government is also worsening the border conflict which both of us do not want. Instead of settling it through negotiations, in order to evade their responsibility of fulfilling the basic needs of the people and work for peace, both governments are whipping up war jingoism. We appeal to both Indian and Chinese people who have the heritage of a long standing fraternal relations between our two great peoples, to the Nepalese people and people of all other neighboring countries is that let us not allow the reactionary ruling classes of our countries to divide us in the name of border disputes, a leftover from the colonial days, Islamophobia and racism; let us work together to refrain our governments from dragging us to border wars which will lead to the loss of lives of many more of our jawans in the army in all our countries as cannon fodder to serve the interests of imperialists and their junior partners, and make life more miserable to us, the vast majority of the toiling common people.
K N Ramachandran
CPI(ML) Red Star
17th June 2020