Recently declassified documents of CIA show that at India’s initiative, India and USA monitored activities along India-China Border in 1960’s. This was to find the ground reality- which was contrary to official musings.
This author attempts to highlight some of the recent development across our border which is likely to affect us. Our foreign and economic policies should be tuned so that the country’s interest is protected.
Developments in Tibet
Xigaze a Tibetan town 200 kms from Sikkim is now connected to China Mainland by rail. This railway line has taken four years and cost 2.16 billion U S Dollars. This clearly increases mobility of troops close to Indian border.
Another railway line connecting Lhasa to Nyingchi close to Arunachal Pradesh is also expected to begin soon -estimated cost for this 435 km stretch is 4.9 billion U S Dollars.
Tibetans have been opposing these construction fearing large scale induced migration of Hans planned to make them a minority in their own land. This project has been costly over difficult terrain and the Chinese have not done this to promote tourism as they publicly profess.
Implications for India is clear- we need to watch out.
Diluting Tibetan Culture
China has turned to promoting interracial marriage of Tibetans to Han Chinese in an attempt to dilute Tibetan culture and weaken opposition.
It is reported that mixed marriages have increased from 666 in 2008 to 4,795 in 2013.
This is attributed to favourable policies in areas such as social security, reproductive rights, vacations, prizes and special treatment for children born from such marriage, including opportunities for education, employment and Communist Party membership.
If one of the spouse is ethnic minority, a couple can have up to three children, despite China’s one-child policy. Ethnic students get extra scores for their minority status in college entrance exams. For propaganda ,intermarried families are labelled “models of ethnic unity”. They are sometimes favoured for government / party positions.
Meanwhile situation in Tibet is still repressive. A Tibetan may be arrested for simply having image of Dalai Lama on his mobile phone or possessing a Tibetan flag. Carrot and stick policy ciontinues.
Food for thought to champions of human rights !
To some above may appear as internal matter of China- but it is not so. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as their own territory- this should not be forgotten. Their attempts to build infrastructure to Nyingchi close to our border is definitely a planned move.
Further Expansionist Moves
China has also been claiming certain parts of Bhutan as theirs.
In 1996, China made a clever proposal to Bhutan- Beijing would renounce its claim over the 495 sq. kms of disputed land in the Pasamlung and Jakarlung valleys in exchange for a smaller track of disputed land measuring a total of 269 sq. kms, the Doklam Plateau. Doklam is close to the Indian border (east of Sikkim).
For India, China’s eyeing of Doklam area is a strategic threat to the Siliguri corridor. a narrow stretch of land (known as chicken’s neck) that connects India’s north-eastern states to the rest of India. China could easily send troops to the corridor in the eventuality of a China-Indian military clash .
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the right move of Bhutan being his first foreign destination following up with visit to Nepal. His priority appears to be right.
Besides building Military deterrence power, we also need to ensure that we as a nation, by trade concessions or otherwise do not help another nation to become stronger and challenge us in the High Seas or at the border.