This is the umpteenth time this has happened — a recent Chinese map shows Arunachal Pradesh as its territory. What has been India’s reaction? The MEA spokesman responded by saying that “cartographic depiction” does not change reality on the ground. And that “The fact that Arunachal Pradesh is integral and inalienable part of India has been conveyed to Chinese authority at several occasions including at the very highest level.”
The point about China emphasizing its outrageous claims soon after vouching for the 5 principles of Panchsheel and its continued relevance in the 21st Century is par for the course, but something New Delhi is simply unwilling to concede as other than the usual provocation the Indian govt has over the years gotten used to. It is a wrong tack to take because it is precisely the repetition that dulls the foreign policy sense of the adversary and conditions him to react as India has done — as only a map, etc., when actually the aim is to consolidate its international legal claims.
Soft words and caution will not do the trick that a like cartographic reaction can — such as depicting Tibet in a different colour and NOT as part of sovereign Chinese territory, as has been advocated by this analyst for over 25 years now. It will at once depict the fact of India’s accepting Tibet as Chinese ONLY when it is treated as a genuinely “autonomous” part of China voided of all PLA presence. This is the sort of “muscular” reaction one would have expected as follow-up to the formal invite to Lobsang Sangay, the elected PM of the Tibetan Government in Exile to Modi’s investiture on May 26, and the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s heartening statement that if Beijing wants India to support a “One China” concept Beijing should reciprocate by supporting “One India” principally inclusive of Arunachal Pradesh.
What is India frightened of? When India does not respond in like, tit-for-tat, fashion is when it makes everybody on China’s periphery doubt India’s druthers, leadership qualities, and its will to take on a natural rival in Asia, brings into question India’s ambitions, and encourages Beijing to become progressively more daring. That way lies not peace, but war.