India, China Embroiled in World’s Largest Real Estate Dispute, Transgressions Won’t End: Ex-foreign Secy

Former foreign secretary S Jaishankar has delinked Chinese transgressions and infrastructure buildup along the border and called it a case of “action-reaction.”Jaishankar told a committee on external affairs, which was headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, that border issue between India and China is the “world’s largest real estate dispute” and the committee should not have an expectation that the transgressions will somehow go away.

Jaishankar, whose term ended in January this year, said it was because as we build out border infrastructure, there will be a “little bit of action-reaction where they are concerned.”

The former foreign secretary has also said that the transgressions have not gone up and that it was a credit to the militaries of both the countries that the issue is managed without any bloodshed. Jaishankar had made the submission on October 30 last year.

Notably, on the same day, the home secretary Rajiv Gauba told the committee that the state of India’s infrastructure “should have been much better” and that efforts were being made to address the deficit.

The committee had submitted its report on Sino-India relations to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan earlier this month.

In its recommendation, the panel said border infrastructure on the India-China border was “grossly inadequate”, despite the marked progress in recent years.

“In fact, on a number important sectors, we are dependent on single access routes, a risky proposition in times of conflict. Worse, many roads are not built to withstand military traffic. Chinese had specifically taken advantage of this in 1962 war, and therefore, we ought to draw lessons from the past on this matter,” the committee observed.

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The report further has recommended for the Border Roads Organizations (BRO) for an overhaul and also that it should be shifted from the Ministry of Road Transport to the Ministry of Defence.

“The Committee are further perturbed to note that only some of the border posts are connected by all-weather roads. This sorry situation has accumulated over the years,” the report stated.

China has been steadily carrying out construction work, not just in Doklam, the site of dispute that led to the 73-day standoff last year, but also in Shaksgam valley in PoK.

Chinese construction activity has been going on full-swing despite the highest level engagement between India and China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for an informal summit in Wuhan late April and again on the sidelines of SCO summit in June.

The Chinese external affairs minister is also expected to reach New Delhi later this year, and the Chinese President has agreed to visit India in 2019.

US Congress woman Ann Wagner had claimed that “China has quietly resumed its activities in Doklam and neither Bhutan nor India has sought to dissuade it,” while comparing the activity to what it is doing in South China Sea.

Between two huge diplomatic Indo-Chinese events – the Modi-Xi informal Wuhan summit at April end and the meeting between the two leaders at the beginning of June on the sidelines of SCO summit – China transgressed into Indian territory 28 times.

Not only that, the Chinese military, People’s Liberation Army, has been conducting training sessions for its soldiers to prepare them for potential military confrontation with India.

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Of these nearly 30 transgressions, which were registered in May, 22 were registered on ground by PLA soldier. In some cases the face-offs between Indian and Chinese soldiers happened nearly 20 kms inside Indian territory. The rest were airspace violations carried out by their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that are likely to have been sent for reconnaissance missions.

The transgressions were reported mainly from Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. In some cases Chinese soldiers have been found to have pitched tents a few meters inside Indian territory.






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