From Arunachal’s muddy Siang River to Sikkim’s Doklam- China’s psychological invasion of India

The issue is not only about military preparedness, it is also about psychological readiness- How ready are the masses to face an invasion?

From Arunachal’s muddy Siang River to Sikkim’s Doklam- China’s psychological invasion of India

By SHWETA RAJ KANWAR | December 7, 2017

China’s affair with the Indian territory or territories to be precise has always been a bone of contention that hardly makes us not believe in the once very popular phrase, ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’. Well, at least in this case, the two ‘so-called’ brothers do not seem to agree upon sharing their territories! While considering Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet and claiming to be its own territory, the recent Doklam impasse in Sikkim has also made people believe that the country has its eye on it.

The standoff at Doklam continued for more than two months where Chinese and Indian forces faced each other in an eye-to-eye confrontation since 16 June when Indian troops confronted the Chinese soldiers and stopped them from constructing a road on the deserted plateau. Again, when Ninong Ering, a Lok Sabha member representing  Eastern Arunachal constituency recently wrote to Prime Minister Modi stating that the water level of the Siang in Arunachal Pradesh had dramatically receded and there has been a sudden change in the water quality which was unusual in the winter season, the condition was pointed over to China’s activity of Dam construction under the river bed. This allegation invited vehement opposition from China who claimed that there was no way in which it would pollute its own river, leave alone the allegation. It may be mentioned here that China considers Arunachal Pradesh as its territory and refers to it as South Tibet. This incident went on to create a sense of insecurity and suspicion in the minds of people as to what could possibly be the reason for the sudden change in the quality of the Siang river and consequently the river Brahmaputra in Assam as well.

Though political party leaders like Assam’s Himanta Biswa Sarma went on to blame China for this, Arunachal’s Kiren Rijiju ruled out chances of any big project over the river by the neighbouring country. The masses, as usual are left bewildered. Several analysts feel that India’s public diplomacy needs to be more pro-active and vigorous in informing its people as well as the international community about the strength and credibility of its position.

While certain media houses in China do not falter in spewing venom against India while creating a sense of psychological insecurity in the minds of less informed Indian masses, this is definitely assisting them in invading India psychologically is not geographically in the literal sense of the term. And as if the Arunachal’s Siang incident as well as Sikkim’s Doklam impasse was not enough, Chinese media on December 7 went on to report that an Indian drone ‘invaded’ their airspace and crashed in the Sikkim section of the border where the two countries were locked in a 73-day military stand-off. The Foreign Ministry said China lodged a protest with India over the development and warned New Delhi not to use such devices near the border area any more. The incident comes ahead of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s India visit to attend the Russia-India-China meet.

Relations with China has and never will be the same as China will try to impede India’s growth and rise at every step. India will need to take cognizance of this and most importantly, make the masses aware of what is happening at the ground level and where does India stand in this regard. The issue is not only about military preparedness, it is also about psychological readiness- How ready are the masses to face an invasion?


The writer can be contacted at shweta@thenortheasttoday.com & shwetarajkanwar@gmail.com

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