Dear Manohar Parrikar, not Aamir Khan but China needs your attention right now…writes Bikram Vohra
In the great cosmic sense what the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar feels about Aamir Khan and his remarks made yonks ago about feeling insecure in India and chatting about it with his wife is a 2 on 10 in terms of stress. Not only is it irrelevant and outdated, but it is mighty pointless bringing up that comment now totally out of context.
I’d much rather have him explain in lengthier detail what the hell the Chinese troops were doing in Uttarakhand and also invading Indian airspace. That is a 9 on 10 on my stress recorder. It clangs in the mind that the Defence Minister calls it a transgression and not an intrusion and this exercise in semantics has everyone backing off.
Oh okay, a ‘transgression’. That’s cool. For a moment, we thought it was an intrusion.
No one is asking what do you mean? How is a transgression somehow better and less invasive and why are we so blasé and accepting of it, call it what you will. They came into our land and hovered over it on 22 and 25 July and we have our eyes wide shut.
There were there, the PLA troops on our land and their choppers were beating up Indian air. The thing is they knew that we knew they were there and they did not care. In fact, what MP Jyotiraditya Scindia said about the PLA soldiers telling our boys to bug off and yelling wu ye (our land) speaks volumes of intent. Three days later they came back aerially.
And we are making snide remarks about Aamir Khan and the Snapdeal apology over a year ago.
Have we forgotten 1962 and the shellacking we got because we were not ready, we had .303 rifles and khaki vests in minus degree weather and the Chinese went through us like a knife through butter because… Lt Gen BM Kaul had a tacit understanding with Jawaharlal Nehru that after him, India could do with a military regime and he and Premier Zhou En Lai had buddied up with the Chinese leader when he was being feted on a visit to India.
There is a school of thought that believes Kaul wanted to use the arranged ‘victory’ against China at Nathu La and Jelep La to return to Delhi triumphantly and lay siege. It is said our troops did not know when to stop and went beyond the thin red line and then we got whupped. Since then and after we gave the Dalai Lama refuge (sensibly) after Tibet fell, the Chinese have never been friends, all talk aside.
Sure this is not 1962 and India’s frontline with China is rock solid. Our systems are first rate, our border roads a modern engineering miracle. Even Beijing knows that and is unlikely to go to war…it has greater worries in the South China Sea. But it will keep needling us and our first response to the Uttarakhand entry should have been bolder, stronger and more decisive.
The message we sent out was weak and feeble and no one lost a wink of sleep in Beijing.
Will this embolden the Chinese…that’s the worry. Did we even summon their ambassador to register a complaint. It is almost as if we are cheerfully understanding the error in judgement.
China does not make errors in judgement. They came with a clear intent which only they know.
And a transgression to my way of thinking is worse than an intrusion. When you transgress you don’t read the signs. If you don’t read the signs it is because you don’t want to and that, for us, is a matter of concern.
So Aamir Khan’s remarks, Defence Minister, made in 2015 are mere bagatelle. Tell us what actions have been taken to put China on the backfoot. Remember the words of Napoloen. “Let China sleep for if she wakes her roar will shake the world.”
Maybe, maybe not. But we better stay awake and alert.