Restoring India’s case, credibility | HT Editorial – Editorials
On Saturday, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a much-needed clarification on Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s statement on Friday that there was no (external) presence on Indian soil. He said the prime minister was referring to the situation in the Galwan Valley, where Indian army personnel had courageously thwarted China’s attempts to erect structures and transgress on June 15. The clarification came a day after the prime minister’s statement, at a meeting of all parties, created a political and diplomatic row. The original statement, read independently, had the potential to undermine India’s sovereign claims and negotiating position, confuse friends of India, provide diplomatic munitions to China, and appear inconsistent with the previous positions of the foreign and foreign ministries. defending. It also seemed contrary to reports on the situation in Pangong Tso, i.e. the Chinese occupation of a central part of the coast that was behind India’s claim line, but is in dispute and not under the sovereign control of none of the countries. It also prompted other questions. If there was no intrusion into the Galwan Valley, what led to the violence on June 15? What is the restoration of the status quo before India wants if there is no transgression?
While the clarification has helped, Beijing will return the original statement to the Indian side during the upcoming negotiations. India’s considerable support abroad can be eroded as friendly governments assume that New Delhi is ready to grant land. At the national level, the prime minister’s comment deepened political polarization and led to accusations that the government was less than transparent.
The prime minister has been remarkably confident in the international arena and Friday’s statement was not in character. It is impossible to know if it was a landslide, or if it was a strategic message destined for China to offer space for a silent escalation, or if it was a political counterattack to the opposition’s criticism that the Current Line of Control (LAC) had been violated. , or if, as noted in the clarification, it was only the Galwan Valley. But regardless of the motivations, the message sent an ambiguous signal. The Prime Minister must speak again and categorically address three issues: about Chinese transgression throughout LAC, if any, in recent months; if China is trying to change the facts on the ground at Pangong Tso; and the current state in the Galwan Valley. It is important to establish that the area that India has always claimed as its own is firmly under the control of India. Sometimes there is value for strategic ambiguity in international politics. But this is not one of those. A new statement will help restore India’s position.