Clear Message By India : Will Hence Forth Act And Not React
The Wuhan summit in Apr 2018 between India and China was a big success. As per the strategic guidance issued by the two leaders, the respective militaries built up trust and mutual understanding to help prevent any major border flare up.
No incidents have taken place since last 18 months. Both the countries will now hope that the Chennai Summit at Mamallapuram, achieves similar results.
The summit, though not officially announced as yet, remains on schedule with President Xi Jinping, as a top government source revealed, likely to land in Chennai on October 11 around 2 pm. Later that evening, he is expected to travel to the temple town of Mamallapuram for a private dinner with PM Narendra Modi.
However both sides are already jockeying to gain leverage on the other. Though unlike yesteryears, India too is acting rather than reacting or just remaining passive. To unbalance India into a panic mode at the last minute for the Modi-Xi informal summit next week, China has raised strong objection to India’s ongoing Him-Vijay military exercise in Arunachal Pradesh.
Chinese vice foreign minister Luo Zhaohui, who was earlier China’s ambassador to India, raised the issue with foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale in a meeting Thursday. Beijing is learnt to have told India that the defence drill could undermine sincere efforts by both sides to have a successful summit.
The above reaction itself shows that it is not India but China that is in panic mode. India had deliberately planned this exercise for the newly raised Mountain Strike Corps.
However Indian authorities have clearly said the exercise was being held at least 100 km away from the LAC and that its timing had nothing to do with the informal summit as it had been planned months in advance. Though the very name of the Formation gives out its main role.
The Luo-Gokhale meeting here remained under the radar with neither side officially confirming the visit by Luo.
The military exercise in Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as a part of south Tibet, seems to have upset Beijing no end as it came just a week ahead of Xi’s scheduled arrival in Chennai.
India, as the host nation, is yet to officially announce dates for the summit. This is giving jitters to the Chinese sensitivities involved and making it for Beijing the most demanding diplomatic engagement of the year.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Friday he wasn’t in a position to officially announce the visit, even though he underscored its significance by describing it as an important platform for the two leaders to exchange views on a range of issues.
This second informal summit couldn’t have happened at a less opportune moment. China had opposed India’s decision to revoke the special status of J&K, as now Ladakh has turned into a separate Union territory. China claims that this action has undermined its Sovereignty.
India is not ready to accept such outlandish claims any more. Foreign minister S Jaishankar explained to China, during his August Beijing visit, that Article 370 related developments were entirely an internal matter of India with “no implication for the external boundaries of India or the LAC with China”.
In addition Beijing helped Pakistan seek a UNSC meeting on the same issue days later. This may push India to fully back the Tibetans in their quest for freedom.
India has maintained that cross-border terrorism is the main issue in J&K and the India is going to prioritize the same in the summit.
Both sides understand that the the informal summit was not meant to resolve the specifics of all outstanding issues. Though both sides must take care so that any single issue does not derail the summit.