China is a bully that doesn’t believe in its neighbour’s bromance. A week back, Chinese troops were seen transgressing the Indian border in Uttarakhand. A team of 19 civil officers from Chamoli that periodically inspects the LAC (Line of Actual Control), spotted armed Chinese troops in Barahoti, the Indian side around 8 km from the last security post in Rimkhim.
Barahoti, unlike elsewhere along the LAC, is not fenced. Known as a “demilitarised zone” or “disputed zone”, forces from either nation don’t move around in Barahoti.
Reportedly, the moment the two parties saw each other, the Chinese troops went back to their camps. Interestingly, India inspects the middle sector (Uttarakhand) just four times a year, while China makes weekly visits.
China and India share a 4,057-km long border, considered the world’s longest disputed frontier. Between 2007 and 2011, there were 37 instances of Chinese transgression. In the past, Chinese incursions have been regularly reported from Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, the Himalayan states that share their borders with China.
The recent transgression raises a few questions. What was the Chinese army doing in the Indian soil? Why did they ask the Indian team to back off, and then retreat to their camps without saying much?
Earlier this month, the Chinese media had threatened India of “serious consequences” for refusing to extend visas to three Chinese journalists. While the Indian government remained mum over the matter, there were observations that the three media persons were impersonating to enter various restricted departments in Delhi and Mumbai.
The Chinese newspaper Global Times had written in the wake of the incident: “If New Delhi is really taking revenge due to the NSG membership issue, there will be serious consequences.” The news site also accused India of taking revenge on China for it had opposed India’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) last month.
Looking at the recent incursion, the “consequences” has turned out to be illegal crossing of borders by the Chinese Army to snoop on in Indians forces.
Since the time India has been warming up to the United States, China has been behaving like a jealous neighbour. In what seems like a countermove, China has been extremely generous with Pakistan. Early in July, Chinese and Pakistan border troops launched a joint patrol of the border connecting PoK with Xinjiang province. This was the first time China and Pakistan began to guard the border jointly, a move likely to irk India.
With two snoopy neighbours who have their eyes on India’s land, it’s time our Indian security forces up the vigil across the borders, lest we are caught off guard!