War vs Image

While the impasse over Doklam continues, veiled threats of a military action are coming from the Chinese side on a daily basis. Top global power China has reasons to feel confident. As some reports noted in recent days, China also feels this is the right time to take on India.

Nothing goes to show China will budge an inch from its position vis-à-vis Doklam, which it now claims as its territory. This has been a disputed territory on which negotiations are under way between Bhutan and China for some time.

Bhutan had, for long, depended on India for border security and other issues. But the Indian government has, in recent times, failed its trusted neighbours — be it Bhutan or Nepal. Now, because of shrinking options, these small countries are bound to engage with China, however unwillingly.

Having taken a step forward, it is now incumbent on India to stand its ground on the Doklam issue. China claims India has already withdrawn most of the 400 troops it had deployed in Doklam, and what remains is just about 40.

India has not been affirmative when it responded by simply stating “status quo” is maintained. This might mean that India might be backing down at this moment.

In the present situation, there is no comparison between India and China. The latter is a superpower with deep pockets and huge military might, while India struggles against its much smaller neighbour Pakistan.

With the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, China has proven that it has the support of all the big nations, including the US and Russia, even as India stays away. China’s economic and trade dominance remains as Indian economy falters.

At this juncture, sending an officer such as Ajit Doval to meet the world’s top leader Xi Jinping on the issue shows how immature India is when it comes to diplomacy. Modi prefers to keep External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines. At the same time, he is unwilling to face Jinping himself, for fear of failure.

Just in case the talks fail, people would have no one to blame but Modi. So Doval is packed off to China even as a terrible crisis prevails. The choice Modi made was clear. Let India go to hell or war for that matter, as long as he can save his own image.

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