Doklam is a diplomatic victory for India: Kanwal Sibal

Neelu Vyas

Distinguished career Diplomat and Former Foreign Secretary to the government of India Kanwal Sibal has stated that Doklam is a diplomatic victory for India but the moment should not be used for humiliating China.

TTP

Speaking just a day after the standoff was resolved Sibal in an exclusive interview to RAJYA SABHA TV said that India should not respond to Chinese ranting as they are catering to the domestic sentiment which is against Chinese premier Xi Jinping.

Stressing on the coming Brick summit, Sibal cautioned that India should ensure not to allow a comfortable position to China in the joint statement either on the South China Sea or the One Belt One Road project.

Here are few excerpts from Kanwal Sibal’s interview to RSTV’s Neelu Vyas 

Q: Doklam standoff is over is it a diplomatic victory?

It’s a diplomatic success, we have been saying all along the only solution was diplomatic, this is what has happened. In terms of our achievements goals, there is no point in humiliating China. It’s a face loss of them we should not over reject the moment. I wouldn’t mind saying we have shown great confidence in solving this crisis. Chinese were belligerent, berated us, China is finally decided the crisis through diplomatic means rather from threats

Astana: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on Friday. PTI Photo

Astana: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on Friday. PTI Photo

Q: Looking at the statements coming the from Chinese defence department Despite the fact that standoff is over, there is ascertain belligerence in the China tone, there is a war like a rant from Beijing’s side?

They are wounded, they are snarling, they have to cater to their domestic opinion. They raised the temp high cooling is easy; they climbed high so they have to climb down. They indulged in useless rhetoric. They have to save themselves from embarrassment. The more they talk this language, if they treat India as inferior, it will lead to deep distrust.

Q: Should India react to the domestic posturing of China?

We should ignore it, we ignored their ranting for last two months, and we should continue to show restraint. That has been a great success of diplomacy under Prime Minister Modi. 19th people, congress will be important to assert the leader’s standing. Message to the neighbors is that India can stand up to China. They have compelled China to look for a diplomatic channel rather than go on a 1962 means.

Q: This standoff is over before BRICS summit. Are the two nations really serious about resolving the issue or is it just about atmospherics before the BRICS?

China claims that they will patrol, we do not have a problem, it’ss part of the border management treatment. It’s like a draw game. We are not entering into a clash. If China had not raised the temperatures, it’s India’s victory. On the ground, the situation is a draw. Both sides have reverted to the original situation. India patrols and so does China on the disputed areas. Chinese will patrol its challenge to Bhutanese sovereignty. We have no right to intervene just because Chinese were patrolling. We had a problem with the road they were constructing.

Graphic representation of the location of the stand off between Indian Army and PLA near Sikkim border.

Graphic representation of the location of the stand off between Indian Army and PLA near Sikkim border.

Q: Will China continue to construct the road which triggered the Doklam debate?

It’s clear they have withdrawn their troops. Chinese have verified it. This means no road building. They know if they build the road, India again will intervene. We will need 15 minutes to redeploy the forces if China does anything dirty again. Road building is not an issue as of now. Chinese position on road building is ridiculous. There is no threat to China from the Chumby valley. We will become vulnerable. There is no need for China to build a road. Even after 1962, they did not build the road. It’s not a security interest. It’s a Chinese miscalculation.

Q: Was China waiting for a moment that India will get provoked which could get India into a tight spot?

India was aggressive. We put our troop’s tents, brought in our bulldozers. It was a strong military action on the part of India. China did not expect INDIA TO REACT MILITARILY. They are good with road building. We intervened at the crucial time when it was needed.

India China flagsQ: Has India created a template for the first time to show how to deal with China?

We have done it in the past; we have confronted China before at the border. We moved our brigade. It’s the first time that we intervened in Bhutan. That’s the new thing, Chinese did not expect that. It’s a different order of India’s self-confidence. On the Bhutanese territory, China was trying to change things to their advantage but India asserted at the right time.

Q: In this scheme of things, how does Pakistan react?

Pakistan would have been delighted had India buckled down. Pakistan is happy with China’s ingress in South East Asia. Chiba boosts Pakistan. From what I have seen Pakistan is a little jittery. They were perturbed. Pakistan is worried a self-confident India will take on not only China but Pakistan as well.

Q: Has India managed to make China look like a petulant nation?

We cannot challenge China militarily, they have developed nuclear and missile capabilities. They have developed modern warfare techniques. But if you are thinking in terms of what’s happening on the northern borders. China is vulnerable; they have to operate at heights in Tibet. Despite all the lines of communication, they have a tough time. How many divisions can they move in horrible heights? The geographical terrain is such that China cannot penetrate across the borders, the gullies which are under our control. Let me assure you that China is quite vulnerable we need not fear China of a military threat. China is vulnerable in the Indian Ocean, commerce, energy supplied

How many divisions can they move in horrible heights? The geographical terrain is such that China cannot penetrate across the borders, the gullies which are under our control. Let me assure you that China is quite vulnerable we need not fear China of a military threat. China is vulnerable in the Indian Ocean, commerce, energy supplied

Q: What are the challenges for the coming BRICS summit?

If you look at the BRICS summit in Ufa and Goa, China played a negative role. Especially related to terrorism there could not able to consensus in the joint statement. In Xiamen, we should ensure that we should not allow any comfort to China on the South China Sea and belt and road initiative. Xi Jinping will promote it as his project and to the fact that he has the approval of three continents. The concept of BRICS emerged to dilute the western hegemony. Accept the principle of noninterference.

Avoiding double standards. On all these issues China has a negative position. China is the second largest economy in the world. Have major trade relations with major economies. CHINA does have a clout. Their economic strength is converted to political strength. We can’t underestimate China. China has hegemonic ambitions in Asia. china does not want a multi polar world