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The Narendra Modi government was caught napping earlier in January this year when new satellite imagery revealed that China was building up extensive infrastructure in Doklam, contrary to the government’s claims that both the countries had agreed to “expeditious disengagement” in the area.
Barely a month since that ‘egg on the face’ experience, a new report reveals that the Chinese have been preparing for a massive air force build-up in Tibet. The Modi government continues to be in its deep slumber even with the latest wake-up call coming from the Tibetan border. If Doklam wasn’t alarming enough, this is a sure-shot bullhorn to our Prime Minister to get his diplomatic act together. Compared to last year, there has been a 20% increase in fighter assets in the region, the report says.
As per intelligence reports, in Lhasa-Gongka, there are 8 fighters, 22 Mi-17 helicopters, one KJ 500 airborne early warning (AEW) eye-in-the-sky aircraft and also a surface to air missile system deployed by the Chinese. In Hoping-Rikaze, the Chinese have deployed 18 fighters of the Chinese air force, 4 J-10 aircraft, 10 J-11 and 4 JH-7 aircraft. There are also 11 Mi-17, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and surface to air missiles. The report further says that the “current level of deployment of fighter aircraft is likely to continue during the winter months.” This is a departure from past practice, wherein there would be no Chinese fighters in Tibet during the winter. These developments beg the question as to what the Chinese are preparing for with these heavy deployments.
The Chinese provocation hasn’t ended with Doklam, and they are clearly upping the ante in Tibet. It is intriguing as to why the Modi government is reluctant to reveal the true picture to the nation. A man who had once clamoured for the exhibition of “laal aankhein” (red eyes) to China is now stubbornly silent. The BJP has clearly failed the diplomatic test and believes that silence and deceit can cover up its various shortcomings.
First, it was “Dhoka-lam”, a term coined by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, that captured the essence of the PM’s betrayal. And now, the current development just depicts a continuation of that betrayal. For a party that claims to be the most nationalistic, this loud silence from its members now placed in highest quarters of the government on the question of national security is rather hypocritical. Mr. Modi has misled the people of this country, and it is high time that he came out with some clear answers to the pressing questions mounting by the day.
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