The following is the letter written by Lord Rami Ranger CBE to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the backdrop of recent Chinese aggression at Ladakh. An exclusive for Asian Lite International
There is an old proverb that tells you that you should not befriend those who do not share your values. Sooner or later conflict is bound to arise due to the difference in ideology. Anyone could have predicted that friendship with a communist China and a democratic India was a mismatch. India should have learned in 1950 itself the nature of the beast when China annexed the peace-loving country, Tibet.
Sadly, Indian leaders did not learn anything and developed a very cordial relationship with China. Mr Zhou Enlai, the then Prime Minister of China, visited India in 1960 and enjoyed a friendly welcome reserved for a close family member. The Indian Prime Minister at that time, Mr Jawaharlal Nehru, even coined the phrase, “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai”. (Indians and Chinese are brothers). I recall as a student shouting this slogan repeatedly. They say if one repeats something, again and again, then one starts to believe it to be true. The effect was so strong that every Indian felt that friendship between China and India was heavenly made.
As Indians were celebrating their newfound love for Communist China, she attacked India in 1962. India was a newly independent country and could not afford a war with her communist neighbour who already had the experience of waging war from annexing her neighbour, Tibet. India lost some territory, prestige and her precious sons who tried to defend their Mother India ill-prepared and ill-equipped. Chinese troops crossed the McMahon Line and took up positions deep in Indian territory, capturing mountain passes and towns. The war lasted one month but resulted in more than 1,000 Indian deaths and over 3,000 Indians taken as prisoner. The Chinese military suffered fewer than 800 deaths. By November, Premier Zhou Enlai of China declared a cease-fire, unofficially redrawing the border near where Chinese troops had conquered the territory.
Once again tensions came to a head in 1967 over the two mountain passes, Nathu La and Cho La, that connected Sikkim, then a Kingdom and a protectorate of India. A scuffle broke out when Indian troops began laying barbed wire along what they recognised as the border. The fights soon escalated when a Chinese military unit began firing artillery shells at the Indian soldiers. In the ensuing conflict, more than 150 Indians and 340 Chinese died. The clashes in September and October 1967 in those passes would later be considered the second all-out war between China and India. This time India prevailed in destroying Chinese fortifications in Nathu La and pushing them farther back into their territory near Cho La.
After decades of patrolling the border, a Chinese platoon pitched a camp near Daulat Beg Oldi near Aksai-Chin, Ladakh in April 2013. The Indians soon followed, setting up their base fewer than 1,000 feet away. Troops and heavy equipment later fortified the camps. By May that year, the sides had agreed to dismantle both encampments, but disputes about the location of the Line of Actual Control persisted.
The Indian leaders also failed to realise that a country will never treat others better than it treats her own people. Anyone can see how the Chinese Communist Party treats her citizens. They have no democratic rights to form political parties to express their choice. They have limited human rights, and dissent of any kind is not allowed. People go to concentration camps just for expressing their views. It is a Communist Party way or no way. The horrific images of Tiananmen Square still come vividly into our minds when a peaceful protest by the pro-democracy protesters, who were mostly students, were crushed with brutal force. Yet Indian leaders ignore the ruthless nature of their neighbour.
It is said a pigeon when she sees a cat closes her eyes, pretending that there is no cat. The result, the pigeon, gets slaughtered by the cat, which the pigeon had imagined would disappear just by closing her eyes. To prove my points, China once again encroached more Indian territory this time in Galwan area of Ladakh on 15th June 2020. We lost 20 of our bravest of the brave soldiers, including a Colonel of the Indian Army in hand to hand fight. The Chinese used batons with nails piercing out and also barbaric medieval sticks with barbed wire coiled around them to inflict maximum injury.
How the Chinese treat their Uyghur Muslims is yet another clear example of the way the Chinese treat their people. Over a million Uyghur Muslims are in labour camps under forced treatment to make them renounce their faith. Now the Chinese government is forcing Uyghur women to be forcibly sterilised despite the condemnation of the world. It just goes to prove the ruthless nature of the Chinese system where, like everything else, even the people must comply with a predetermined and specified pattern. Their behaviour informs us how they show no respect or regard to the civilised norms we take for granted.
The Coronavirus pandemic started in Wuhan in China. The Chinese authorities tried to cover it up for six weeks which resulted in the virus spreading throughout the world, causing a pandemic and unnecessarily loss of life and financial sufferings. Until today the Chinese are not forthcoming with any information so that the world can understand the cause of the pandemic properly. This should tell India what it can expect from the Communist State. The Chinese government is known to go back on their agreements without warning, a hallmark of their character which India should be wary of by now. The breach of the Hong Kong agreement with Britain is yet another proof of how Chinese go back on their word and show no regards to international law and human rights of their citizens.
Double jeopardy- India has learned nothing from history. It has repeatedly made mistakes by showing an immense lack of judgement and common sense as has the rest of the free world by developing such strong trade links and dependency upon China. India knows full well that it does not share the same values with China, like freedom of speech and equal human rights for all. China despises free society and works to undermine democratic governments where possible. North Korea is a stark example of how the Chinese have supported a rogue state against world opinion. North Korea is now the most dangerous country with a significant nuclear arsenal but allows its people to go hungry.
By buying cheap Chinese made products, India exported jobs to China and also destroyed the incentive for Indians to manufacture the same in India. Indians had lived without Chinese products for centuries as nothing China exported was essential for the Indians. Indians still buy many non-essential consumer goods; without them, they can easily survive.
It is worth remembering that the Chinese State subsidises its products, and the Chinese currency is pegged artificially low against the US dollar to make its products very competitive. By buying Chinese goods, artificially made cheap, India and the free world has helped grow prosperity in China, which allowed the Chinese Communist Party to claim that their system is better and working. If India does not stem its trade with China forthwith, it will continue to undermine India’s security, integrity and industry. India must change to change the results for itself.
It is time to put the interest of India above the desire for cheap electronics, fashion accessories and other such products. The Indian government must show vision and leadership for the people to follow. The Indian government needs a clear strategy to build India by helping Indian entrepreneurs to manufacture in India with collaboration with friendly countries of Europe, USA, South Korea, Singapore and Japan.
India produces enough highly motivated IT experts, scientists and engineers to take the challenge of Make in India.
The government must offer them industrial units coupled with grants and soft loans to import machinery. It will be a win, win situation. A new digital and industrial revolution will create products for the local and export markets which will bring employment and prosperity for Indians. Employed people will pay income tax, and their spending powers will boost the Indian economy and deliver success for all.
It is time for the Indian leaders to take a positive step and motivate citizens to do more and to do better for the good of their Mother India. Jai Hind.