The congratulatory message of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the newly elected 15th President of India, Droupadi Murmu is nothing but a formality that he carried out even when Imran Khan was ousted through a vote of no confidence, paving a way for Shehbaz Sharif to become the Prime Minister. The language used in the message is flowery and talks of building mutual trust, proper handling of issues, and putting the ties back on the right track. But these words which are so good to hear see a reversal in their meaning when the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is looked at; analyzed and monitored.
When China talks of building trust—in its congratulatory message to Mrs. Murmu—it needs to remember that the trust is torn apart, even before building, when it resorts to undue and illegal incursions into Indian Territory. When Xi says that he attaches great importance to China-India relations, then he does not probably know that its fighter jets are on and off trying to provoke the Indian forces who are exercising maximum restraint despite their patience being tested, time and again.
While Xi underlines that China and India are important neighbors to each other, then the world needs to know that it is China that is resorting to violations by building up military infrastructure near the LAC. Is that a way of letting the neighbor know that “we are important” to each other? Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all; it adds to the fire because China cannot expect India to remain silent despite repeated violations.
The Chinese premier talks of ensuring a stable relationship in line with the fundamental interests of both the countries and their people, but he needs to know that scores of rounds of military talks have been held between India and China, but nothing seems to have come out of it so far. Amid such a scenario, when China is saying one thing and does otherwise, depicted by its actions on the ground, India needs to remain cautious and tread quite delicately when it comes to dealing with the dragon—because it knows stealth and masters the art of deception.
The situation demands steadfastness from the Indian side. It doesn’t really need to trust Xi blindly; rather, the relations with China should be governed as per its actions on the LAC. If it keeps provoking and continues with incursion and infrastructure build-up, then it needs to be dealt with in the same fashion. The congratulatory statement issued by Xi is a mere eye wash and what China basically is, and indents to, is quite visible in Eastern Ladakh. Rest is just a formality; a needless protocol.