By Amit Agnihotri
New Delhi: India gave a befitting response to China for trying to usurp its territory in eastern Ladakh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said in a stern message to the Asian giant but without naming it, against the backdrop of the face-off between their two armies
“Those who cast an evil eye on Indian soil in Ladakh have got a befitting response. India honours the spirit of friendship but she is also capable of giving an appropriate response to any adversary, without shying away,” Modi said during his regular radio programme ‘Man Ki Baat‘.
The two countries have been engaged in a border dispute since May as China unilaterally tried to alter the LAC by pushing People’s Liberation Army troops, pitching tents and building defence structures along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
India’s attempts to check this Chinese aggression not only led to the June 15 bloody clashes at Galwan Valley in eastern parts of Union Territory of Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives and around 40 PLA troops reportedly suffered casualty, the dragon country’s unjustified violation of international norms has deepened distrust between the two Asian nations.
“Our brave soldiers have proven that they will not let anyone cast an evil eye on the glory and honour of Mother India,” Modi said.
To make matters worse, China has started blaming India for the June 15 clashes, is not honouring the de-escalation plan agreed upon by the senior military officers of the two sides on June 6, and has claimed sovereignty over the Galwan Valley. The prevailing situation, if not resolved in time, could contribute to a limited armed conflict.
The Indian prime minister reminded China, without naming the country, about the ancient Indian belief in the concept of “universal brotherhood” but affirmed India’s “commitment and might when it comes to safeguarding her sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The remarks are part of some tough talking by the Modi government in an attempt to drive the message of peaceful resolution of border disputes by the Chinese side.
Two days ago, India’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China in Beijing Vikram Misri sent a strong message through an interview he gave to the Indian news agency the Press Trust of India (PTI), saying there could be “repercussions” if China did not take corrective steps. Misri also tweeted his comments in the interview.
While the Indian prime minister today cited how India had supplied essential drugs to over 100 countries during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, to highlight the country’s concept of universal brotherhood, Minister of External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar has hinted that India was prepared to hit the dragon where it hurts.
While addressing a meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism, an initiative started by France and Germany last year, on June 26, Dr Jaishankar called out for a deeper probe related to the origin and spread of the Coronavirus, which was first spotted in Wuhan in China last year.
Though the United States has been blaming China for the spread of the pandemic worldwide and pulled out of the World Health Organisation for allegedly colluding with China, India has so far refrained from making any direct references. However, that position appears to have changed after the Ladakh face-off.
In his address to the Alliance for Multilateralism, Dr Jaishankar stressed the need to probe the causes and drivers of Coronavirus and said India was poised to play a role towards this goal as Chair of the WHO Executive Board.
“A pandemic has devastated our globalised economic system; apart from taking a toll of over 400,000 lives. We must set aside politics and focus on facts — whether it is the effort to dispassionately analyse the causes and drivers of the current Coronavirus pandemic, or to assess what changes our multilateral health mechanisms need to implement to improve preparations for a future pandemic,” the minister of external affairs said.
“The Resolution adopted at the World Health Assembly last month is an opportunity to use facts and science to assess our response to this pandemic and take those lessons to prepare better for the future. As Chair of the WHO Executive Board, India is ready to work towards these goals,” he said.
India reiterated the need to reform global systems including the WHO and the United Nations Security Council.
“Just as we need to consider the resourcing and regulatory parameters set out for the World Health Organisation, to address and resolve shortcomings, so too do we need dispassionate scrutiny and reform of all multilateral entities, to make them purpose-built for our times, and representative of this century,” he said.
The same day India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla discussed bilateral cooperation in various areas and exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest with State Secretary of the German Federal Foreign Office Miguel Berger.