Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum



                                        By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China and the First Lady Mme Peng Liyuan paid a 3-day State Visit to Bharat in the middle of September 2014 and was personally looked after by Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi both in Gujarat and New Delhi. The Head of State of China and Head of Government of India had a free, frank and amiable exchange of views on bilateral and international topics of importance. Both the leaders were happy to know each other socially, diplomatically and politically in furtherance of mutual interests. They took pains to emphasize that they share common heritage in the form of Buddhist religion and culture that had in the past influenced the thought process across the Himalayas.

Mme Peng Liyuan was happy to visit Gujarat and see for herself its rich culture and taste vegetarian cuisine. She even sang a Hindi song from the movie Aawara of yester years. Both the President and the First Lady sat on a traditional Gujarati swing and enjoyed its movement to and fro. The cultural ethos could not have been better than this when President Xi made a specific mention of the Chinese Buddhist monk, Xuan Zang taking Buddhist religious literature from Vadnagar, the birth place of PM Narendra Modi to Xi’an in Shaanxi province, birth place of President Xi jinping.

We should carry forward well the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and well advance China-India relations. Both are in the “ great historical course of national rejuvenation” President Xi added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi likened India and China to “ two bodies with one spirit” and emphasized the importance of the two friendly nations situated across the mighty Himalayas to strengthen their resolve to stick together for peace and prosperity of peoples of the neighbouring giants.

Sincerity is the basis of mutual trust and mutual trust is the pre-requisite of cooperation, said President Xi Jinping. The bonds of mutual friendship between India and China were thus strengthened like never before in the last half a century.

Many a mutual agreements between India and China were signed both in Gujarat and in New Delhi and there never was even a shadow of doubt about the two countries faring together through thick and thin. Even the worst critic of the India-China peace process found no lacuna to tear the great leadership apart. An important point to remember is that both Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping are in power in their respective countries with the massive support of the people and the political party concerned. Nothing can shake their resolve to travel on the common path of Peace and Prosperity.

Lo and Behold! Storm started gathering from the unexpected quarters in Ladakh, India where soldiers of the India Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China stood face to face, eyeball to eyeball, both claiming that the territory in Ladakh around Chumar, Demchok belonged to their respective countries. India had brought it to the notice of China at the highest level that the PLA soldiers had intruded into the Indian territory and should be ordered to pull back. President Xi had confirmed on the Indian soil that the PLA troop had been redployed so that they were billeted on the Chinese territory. Prime Minister Narendra Modi felt satisfied that his request to not let minor incidents cloud major events had been auctioned upon. “ Sometimes a minor toothache paralyses the whole body”, so said Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi. President Xi Jinping had no reason to disagree.

While the photo of President Xi and Mme Peng went viral in the Chinese Media, a section of the Indian Press did mention that the warmth displayed in Gujarat was freezing in Ladakh. PM Narendra Modi, however, was firm in his belief that the strengthened friendship between India and China was on the right course and there was no cause for worry.

China witnessed an event that is not out of the ordinary. President Xi Jinping met the PLA Chief and other Generals to address them about the course of events and chart future course of action. The President of China exhorted the PLA Generals and troops to sharpen their armaments, improve their strategy so that they win a Regional War as and when it takes place. A section of the Indian Press mistakenly surmised that President Xi was asking the People’s Liberation Army to prepare for a Regional War and modernize their weapon system and strategy to win the war. It was a wrong conjecture of some Indian journalists that President Xi was referring to the Face off in Ladakh and the Regional War was likely to be waged against India.

It is heartening to note that the Prime Minister and the Government of India had no such misconceptions. The wise and learned commentators on strategic affairs saw eye to eye with the Indian government and were not at all anxious that the pudding prepared in Gujarat had gone sour. Modi and full faith in Xi and vice-versa.

Nevertheless the rumour mill was churning out new stories and some even compared the situation in 2014 with that of 1962. They were brazenly mistaken as the sagacious men and women across the Himalayas caught straws in the wind and surmised that there was no scope to liken the situation of today with that obtaining in 1962. It would be a wise course of action to leave it at that and scotch ugly rumours by quoting a statement of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Hue Chunying . She categorically stated in reply to a question:

There are reports that when meeting with PLA chiefs of staff, President Xi Jinping stressed that all PLA forces should improve their combat readiness and sharpen their ability to win a regional war in the age of information technology. Since President Xi just returned from India, some reports speculated whether his words were referring to India. What is China's comment on this?

A: Such speculation is far-fetched. As I have said when answering a question from your colleague yesterday, President Xi Jinping's recent state visit to India is very successful, and he received warm and grand welcome by the Indian government and people. During the visit, leaders from both sides reached a high level of consensus on the significance of developing China-India relations. They stressed the strategic significance and global impact of China-India relations from a historic and holistic point of view, decided to carry forward and build on the bonds of friendship, and ensured that cooperation will always remain the main melody of China-India relations. As for the boundary issue, leaders from both sides also reached a high level of consensus, and determined to continue with friendly consultation to resolve it. Pending final settlement, both sides should jointly safeguard peace and tranquility of the border area so that the boundary issue will in no way shadow the normal development of bilateral ties.

Both China and India are major countries with great influence. As President Xi said, when China and India speak with one voice, the whole world will lend ears. China and India should have such sense of historical responsibility, and courage to fulfill it. We should join hands to promote regional and global peace, stability and development. I hope you can convey this message to the Indian press.

We may say with all authority and confidence at our command that Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping have endeared themselves to each other and to the great peoples of the two great countries Bharat and Junggwo.

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Comment by Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM on September 30, 2014 at 13:09


Dear Balmurali Balaji,  Namaste.

Thanks indeed for reading my blog and commenting on it.  Indeed people to people friendship between bharat and cheen is feasible provided leaders of both countries promote events dear to people. The Kailash Parvat-Mansarovar Yatra is a favourite of common people but they cannot participate as Visa is required and it is expensive. I had the honour to be a YATRI in 1993 at the age of sixty and found it ridden with hassles. Likewise the Chinese common man should have free access to cultural events like their President i and the First Lady enjoyed on banks of Sabarmati Ashram. President Xi was personaly escorted by Pradhan Mantri Modi around Bapu's Sabarmati Ashram and both were delighted.

-Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

Comment by Balamurali Balaji on September 28, 2014 at 4:16
Just as with America, Germany and Pakistan, bringing closer the people of India and China would improve relationships between the two countries besides looking it at political and military levels.

Is people-people connections possible with China?

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