Arguably Joe Louis was the greatest world heavyweight boxing champion of all time. He was an outstanding boxer and a lethally heavy puncher. His specialty was to counterpunch his opponent. When an opponent hit him Louis did not defensively block the blow. He would deflect it, dodge it and simultaneously counterpunch the opponent to unbalance him. After that would follow his lethal knockout blows. The Ministry of External Affair should take a lesson from Joe Louis.
China has objected to Indian plans of building an 1800-km-long road along the McMahon Line in Arunachal Pradesh. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said:
“Before a final settlement is reached, we hope that India will not take any action that may further complicate the situation… The boundary issue between China and India is left by the colonial past…There is a dispute about the eastern part of the China-India border. We need to deal with this issue properly.”
Indeed we do. China has developed extensive road and rail networks along our entire border with strategic intent of enabling swift troops and tanks movement against India. After that to warn India against constructing a road on its side of the border is brazen impertinence. The Indian government has refused to cow down. Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh has advised Beijing to eschew threats and sort out matters through talks. The Home Minister said that no power could dictate terms to India which is a superpower. This is good as far as it goes. It does not go far enough. It amounts to defence against China’s verbal attack. What is needed is a counterpunch to silence Beijing.
In 2005 there was written agreement between India and China that in resolving the boundary dispute settled populations would not be disturbed. Indian foreign secretary Mr. Shyam Saran obtained this written commitment. Subsequently Beijing reneged and attempted to re-interpret the agreement to nullify it commitment. This was typical Chinese perfidy. The hollowness of Beijing’s attempt is established by what its own China Daily reported on April 12-13 2005. The paper wrote:
“The border agreement commits Beijing and New Delhi to ‘safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas,’ while arriving at a solution”.
Does anyone have doubts about what the people of Arunachal Pradesh consider to be their “due interests”? Their resolve to stay with India is beyond dispute. How does Beijing then dare to warn India about a road being constructed in Arunachal Pradesh? India should give a counterpunch.
India should remind Beijing about its unequivocal written commitment of 2005 by which its claims on Arunachal Pradesh are rubbished. Unless Beijing publicly renounces its spurious claims which violates its own written commitment, India should cut off all trade and investment from China. Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh should deliver this message. Cutting trade and investment with Beijing may hurt India. It could cripple China. In economic war as in military war some sacrifices have to be made. India has other options besides China.