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India-China border tension: Very important for govt to change its stance, says defence expert Brahma Chellaney

Mini

CNBC-TV18 discusses the India-China border tensions with Retired Lieutenant General DS Hooda and defence expert Brahma Chellaney

The situation across the line of actual control (LAC) continues to remain tense. It is now confirmed that 20 Indian soldiers including a colonel were killed in violent clashes which broke out between Chinese and Indian troops on Monday night. The confrontation between the two countries is the biggest in over five decades that has significantly escalated the already volatile border standoff in the region.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Retired Lieutenant General DS Hooda said that the situation is grave. He further added that it will not be easy to control the situation from spiraling out of control.
“The situation was already tense. The manner in which the Chinese have come in, in very large numbers, have carried out intrusions in various sectors, and the violence that accompanied that intrusion even in the first phase and now what has happened in this face-off between India and China, will it spread to other sectors, say in the North East? The sense I get is if it can be controlled, and again that is not going to be easy, but if it can be controlled and both sides start heavy diplomatic engagement, it could possibly be limited only to Ladakh,” he said.
Defense Analyst Brahma Chellaney said that the Indian government has underplayed situation at the border for the last month.
“One should not underplay what has happened and what has been happening in Ladakh. I think the government of India for the last month and a half has tried to underplay and even to cloak the facts in regards to China’s aggression because the government was afraid that if it admits that the Chinese had encroached on Indian territory, the opposition and the public then would build pressure on the government to evict the encroachers. No government would like to come under such public pressure. So, for weeks the Indian government has been trying to evade facts, it has been sidestepping them,” he said.
Chellaney further added that it is very important for the government to change its stance.
“Stating facts in public domain is very important for India to build negotiating leverage and to tell China what India will accept or not accept. Public statements can help draw the red lines and I think it is important for India now to change its stance without being provocative, without being aggressive to state very clearly what India’s red lines are and also to prepare the nation for the eventuality of a greater conflict. If you do not state facts, you cannot rally the nation behind you. So, it is very important for the government to change its stance in a fundamental sense. This is a defining moment for the government in Delhi and I hope that they understand the gravity of the situation,” he said.

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