Land garb by China in Himalayan region, Women farmers in India needs attention,Current Affairs 21st June, 2017

Land garb by China in Himalayan region, Women farmers in India needs attention,Current Affairs 21st June, 2017

Land garb by China in Himalayan region


China has been effectively using its civilians and consequently army troops to further its expansion into the Indian soil. Bite by kilometre-size bite, China is eating away at India’s Himalayan borderlands. From Shyok, the northernmost border village in the sector where China has been the most aggressive — the latest reported aggression was in April this year in which they grabbed further some 30 kms of the Indian territory.

On average, China launches one stealth incursion into India every 24 hours. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is actively intruding into vacant border space with the objective of occupying it. And according to a former top official with India’s Intelligence Bureau, India has lost nearly 2,000 sq. km to PLA encroachments over the last decade.

Use of civilian resources for garbing territory:

The strategy underlying China’s actions is remarkable. On land, like at sea, China uses civilian resources—herders, farmers and grazers—as the tip of the spear. Once civilians settle on contested land, army troops gain control of the disputed area, paving the way for the establishment of more permanent encampments or observation posts. Similarly, in the South China Sea, China’s naval forces follow fishermen to carve out space for the reclamation of rocks or reefs. In both theatres, China has deployed no missiles, drones or bullets to advance its objectives. It is indeed remarkable how without firing a bullet China is meeting its objectives.

Although Chinese aggression in the South China Sea has garnered criticism and warnings both from the United States and International Court while the same cannot be said for its aggression on the land. China’s land expansion has gone unnoticed.

India’s response:

China’s non-violent terrestrial aggression has garnered less opposition than its blue-water ambition, which has been challenged by the US under international law.

Indian leaders have at times even seemed to condone China’s actions. During a recent panel discussion in Russia, for example, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that although China and India are at odds over borders, it was remarkable that “in the last 40 years, not a single bullet has been fired because of [it].”

Issues the border people face:

  • The people feel utterly abandoned by the governments — state as well as the central.

  • Widespread sense of deprivations at the absence of the most basic necessities of life gets painfully accentuated at the stark contrast with the amenities visible a stone’s throw across the border in Tibet where they seem to have everything — hospitals, schools, network of excellent roads, 24×7 electricity and mobile phones with robust connectivity.

  • Since the land grabs by China seems unstoppable and India is perceived indifferent, the border people are having wrenching doubts over India’s commitment to them and its territorial integrity.

  • Having seen their land being steadily gobbled by China without any resistance, the border people have begun suspecting their sense of nationhood.

  • The on going loss of land and livelihood has also drastically altered the people’s perception of our troops. Unaware of the intricacies of the game between Delhi and Beijing, their pride in the own troops is palpably eroded because they believe they are ‘weak’ and ‘coward’. Instead of providing them with a sense of security and comfort, the troops often harass and gratuitously punish the villagers in the guise of enforcing the Indian customs law.

  • According to the villagers while the Chinese troops let them reach the market and buy the goods without let or hindrance, Indian troops harass them and do not spare even women carrying tea in China made flasks to their menfolk. The nearest Indian market is at Leh, a long week away. For many it is way beyond their reach. Profits added, the goods are costlier than the Chinese markets across the border.

Reasons behind increase in China’s territorial assertiveness:

The People’s Liberation Army, the armed forces of the Communist Party of China, is highly active at the border. They seek ways to intrude into the vacant Indian territory with the intention of occupation.

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