National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said on Friday that all advancements made in “relationship” with China gets centred around the settlement of the border, as he called for a “larger plan” for “tackling” that country to resolve all ticklish matters.
There have been 17 rounds of Special Representative talks between India and China on the boundary issue but no headway has been made so far, he said. While India’s relations with China “are looking up” there was a need to remain at a “very very high alert”, the NSA said.
Speaking at the annual K F Rustamji lecture, Doval, who leads the Indian side at the talks of Special Representatives with China, also dwelt on China’s emergence as a world economic power and its relations with Pakistan. The event was organised by the BSF in memory of Rustamji, the founder director general of the force.
Doval, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, said “…we might have to see China border in a different way once the boundary is settled… We have got a very long border, we have got 3,488-km long border, a very difficult and mountainous terrain snow-clad…now for the bilateral relations with China, border is the critical and vital issue.”
“We are particularly concerned about the eastern sector where claims have been made on Tawang (in Arunachal Pradesh) which is totally in contravention to accepted principles,” Doval said and expressed surprise that while McMahon Line was agreed till Myanmar by China, the same was not accepted thereafter.
“The fact is there is settled population in these areas particularly in Tawang and other areas which have been participating in the national mainstream all through,” he said, adding there was a need for working out a “larger plan for tackling China”.
He spoke about China’s “special status” relations with Pakistan and said “both these countries are not that type of democracy that we understand as an enabling democracy.”
As part of Pakistan’s strategy to harp on the Kashmir issue, he said, “They (Pakistan) neither have any support nor any locus standi.” Surprisingly, Doval spoke about the 106 km border that pre-1947 era India shared with Afghanistan. This area is now under Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).
“… We don’t have a contiguous border but it is of great strategic significance. We want peace and tranquility in this area and that it does not become an epicentre for terrorism which is then utilised by some other country,” he said hinting at Pakistan as the area is currently under its administration.
Speaking on border issues with Bangladesh, Doval said the present regime has been “extremely helpful and friendly”. He said to stop the flow of illegal immigrants was a daunting task and the government was identifying and deporting them as taking legal action against them was a “cumbersome process”.