Defending his Government against charges of pusillanimity in dealing with the issue of Chinese troops camping on Indian territory for over a week, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India was no “pushover” but nevertheless expected the stand off to end through diplomatic channels before he visits China next month.
Arriving here to attend a multi-nation meet on Afghanistan, the Minister put complete trust in the recently set up Joint Mechanism on Border Affairs. He said it was “drawn up assiduously” and expressed confidence that it would be able to resolve the issue.
“Let us allow that mechanism to find its solution and repeatedly it has found. And we have good reasons to believe that it should be able to do it again.”
At the same time, New Delhi sought to underplay the issue like Beijing which, on Thursday, mirrored sentiments on the other side of the border by hoping the resolution would be by peaceful means. Mr. Khurshid added another caveat — appealing to the media not to blow up the issue too much while assuring that the Government would quarantine the issue from the general upswing in ties in other areas with China.
“We shouldn't destroy years of investment, years of contribution that we have made to this relationship because somewhere some little thing goes wrong. One little spot is acne which cannot force you to say that this is not a beautiful face… That acne can be addressed by simply applying an ointment,” he said earlier in the day in Delhi.
Outlining the crux of the problem, Mr. Khurshid did not get into the issue of whether the area where 40 Chinese troops have been camping for 10 days belonged to India or not. “The place happens to be where we don’t want them to be. That is established,” he observed while warning that the cost of things going out of hand would be very high for both sides.
“Life looks very different on TV screens. We are not doing it for TV screens. We are doing it for posterity,” he quipped while dispelling the impression being gathered from retired army generals that the security forces were not on board with the Government’s approach to resolving the border question.
“Doomsday predictions are absolutely absurd. It's absurd not so much for China as it's absurd for us. Our duty is to serve India, not to serve China. Chinese Foreign Mr's duty is to serve China and I believe that we have a mutual interest but our concern is our interest and our interest is part of a mutual interest and that is what is very fortunate for us.”