I have always been rubbing the point that the MEA is a relic of Nehruvian Era and is unable to respond to the extremely fluid and dynamic Geostrategic imperatives. To make matters worse, we have put a career diplomat in charge of the MEA. As I had once written before; no doubt, he has improved from prostrating before the Chinese to bowing to the belt level.
It still calls for extremely strong back muscles capable of meeting the utmost physio-diplomatic rigours to remain in that position for a reasonable length of time to show one’s unqualified adoration. If it means an improvement over our earlier posture; I will leave it to your opinion!
In the recently concluded ‘Quad’ meeting of the Foreign Ministers; it was only Mike Pompeo who called out on the belligerence of China by specifically naming it. India with nearly 37,555 Sq Kms of our Aksai Chin illegally occupied by China; another 5200 Sq Kms of Shaksgam Valley of our territory under its control and another 900 Sq Kms of the buffer zone in Depsang occupied in April/May 2020, does not even acknowledge that China is an aggressor: Expansionist China further claiming the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet; after having occupied almost the entire Dokalam Plateau of Bhutan which is bound by a Defence Treaty with us; what should India do? No; No; No! Don’t name China.
We will not name China as we believe in Gandhi’s ‘Satyagrah’. We also believe in his ‘Vow of Silence’ (Maun Vrat). Our strong silence will make China realise its mistake and will vacate all the areas overwhelmed and ashamed unable to withstand the power of our ‘Moral Force’ of Gandhian Values? Isn’t it Minister?
Mike Pompeo further says; “It is critical for partners in the Quad to collaborate to “protect our people and partners from the [Chinese Communist Party’s] exploitation, corruption, and coercion” that had been witnessed in the South and East China Sea, “the Mekong, the Himalayas [and] the Taiwan Straits”. Jaishankar asks; what The Himalayas? Implying that we have nothing to do with it then makes a bold earth-shattering statement that will send shivers down the spine of China.
"Hear out the CDS and the three Chiefs who will give you honest advice on our military preparations. You can seek advice, not from your captive PMO but from outsiders like Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, Lt Gen Prakash Katoch, Lt Gen JS Bajwa, among others."
He says “imperative for like-minded countries to coordinate responses to the various challenges that the pandemic has brought to the fore”. He adds, “As vibrant and pluralistic democracies with shared values, our nations have collectively affirmed the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. We remain committed to upholding the rules-based international order, underpinned by the rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes”.
Wait for a while; just absorb the damp squib: Let the placid ‘deadpan’ vacuous statement sink in. Pompeo is concerned with the build-up in the Himalayas but not our Jaishankar. Can anyone of you digest that the foreign minister has nothing to do with the more than a hundred thousand troops, tanks, artillery, missiles and air forces arrayed eyeball to eyeball against each other in Ladakh? Obviously; he has nothing to do with it: How can we accuse the peace-loving China?
He has just met Wang Yi and has shared the blame equally with him for the standoff in Ladakh. Please refer to my earlier article on “Five-point Disagreement’. It is certainly not fair to accuse China in public that too, in front of our friends who want to support us. We can disappoint our friends but cannot distress our stark enemy who has committed aggression on our territory. Indeed, it was Nehruvian diplomacy at its best! Well done Minister; you’re at your best?
The MEA always called the Quad meeting as “Australia-India-Japan-United States Consultations”. To call it Quad would antagonise China and we as a nation exist to accommodate China’s idiosyncrasies and susceptibilities. Now, Jaishankar wears his battle fatigues, dons his armour and throws his gauntlet at anyone who wants to challenge him and makes a momentous and transformational tweet heralding a tectonic shift in geopolitics; “Delighted to join my QUAD colleagues at our Ministerial consultations in Tokyo,”.
By using the word ‘Quad’ (otherwise a taboo in the lexicon of MEA) the equilibrium of cosmic forces is shattered, distant planets clash, a fusillade of meteorites is unleashed into space from multiple directions, the reverberations of the cosmic churning are experienced in the three worlds and gods and goddesses line up in the sky and strew flowers on him?
"Can anyone of you digest that the foreign minister has nothing to do with the more than a hundred thousand troops, tanks, artillery, missiles and air forces arrayed eyeball to eyeball against each other in Ladakh?"
The MEA is amazed by its own daredevilry for calling the ‘Quad’ as ‘Quad’ though there was no dispute on it ‘ab initio’ and the whole world calls it as such. When he lands back in India, he will be feted by his minions who will applaud his sheer audacity and statesmanship! Oh, God! Please save our Country!
In Dec 1950, when El Salvador wanted to discuss the annexation of Tibet by China in the UN General Assembly it was India which let down the Tibetans and proposed that it will be solved peacefully and stalled the discussion. Again, in the aftermath of the massacre of 87000 Tibetans by PLA in Mar 1959, the UN GA Resolution 1723 (XVI) of 1961 calling upon China to honour the rights of Tibetans; India in its slavish deference to China bordering on veneration abstained from voting for the resolution.
How can we displease China? Am I wrong that the MEA will never rise up to match the pride of our nationhood even after seven decades of self-imposed subjugation? The Ministry enjoys in kowtowing, appeasing and pleasing China as if, that alone gives them a meaning in its existence. We lost an opportunity to call out China in spite of being at the receiving end of its expansionist philosophy.
I say again, the deep state in the MEA has embedded servility towards China. For once, the political will was exercised in the occupation of Kailash Range in the face of PLA. I can imagine how the MEA would have tried its best to kneel before the Chinese. PM; please listen to your earthly instincts and go ahead with your own China Policy. The MEA will let you down and NSA will tell you what you wish to hear and keep you comfortable.
Hear out the CDS and the three Chiefs who will give you honest advice on our military preparations. You can seek advice, not from your captive PMO but from outsiders like Subramaniam Swamy, Bharat Karnad, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi (Veteran), Lt Gen Prakash Katoch (Veteran), Lt Gen JS Bajwa (Veteran), Claude Arpi and Jayadev Ranade. Thereafter you can form your own opinion and commandeer the Geopolitics; befitting the stature of our ‘Bharatvarsh’.
(Lt Gen. PG Kamath is a highly distinguished general who has held some of the most prestigious appointments in the Indian Army. Views expressed are purely the authors own and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')