The CPM stressed on the need for a fresh round of dialogue between India and China covering all strategic issues concerning the two countries to ease tension, following the standoff in Doka La area.
The CPM said “extraneous” factors must not be allowed to interfere in the quest for better bilateral ties. It alleged that differences between India and China have “aggravated” after the Modi government came to power and blamed the Centre’s strategic alliance with the US for the “divergence”.
Former CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said it is important for the government to keep in mind that the main party in the Doka La plateau dispute is Bhutan and added “it is better” that India takes the lead in negotiating with China on the issue and supports Thimphu.
“What is required is a new round of dialogue between the two countries which will cover all strategic issues which are of concern to them. Extraneous factors must not be allowed to interfere in the quest for better relations between the two neighbours in Asia,” Karat said in the editorial of the forthcoming issue of CPM mouthpiece People’s Democracy.
Regarding the standoff over Doka La, he said Bhutan has been negotiating with China directly on its border issues since 1984. Hence, he said, it is better that India lets Bhutan take the lead in negotiating with China on the Doka La Plateau and other disputed territories. “It is also important to keep in mind that Bhutan is the main party in the dispute. Bhutan is not a ‘protectorate’ of India,” Karat said.
The Marxist leader said the “present border fracas” has assumed “greater salience” given the growing number of issues on which the two countries have differences, which he added, have “aggravated” after the Modi-led government was formed in 2014.
“The prime factor contributing to this divergence is India’s strategic alliance with the US. India has joined the US in its strategic designs in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region which is aimed at containing China. India has openly sided with the US positions on the South China Sea; India has opposed the Belt and Road Initiative,” Karat said.
Stating that the NDA government has “increased” profile of the Dalai Lama, the CPM said the spiritual leader’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh along with a Union minister and his recent unfurling of Tibetan flag of the provisional government in Ladakh are “serious irritants” for China.
Karat said India has been seeking to join the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) on a priority basis and considers China as the “stumbling block” for this goal. Nor China has obliged in the efforts to get Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief and Pathankot attack mastermind Masood Azhar on the terrorist list notified by the United Nations, he added.
“The erosion of trust and mutual confidence has contributed to the present tensions related to Doka La. The Modi government must realise that there is no alternative to settling the recurring disagreements on the border except through negotiations which have a time-tested framework,” Karat said.