India in 2018 is not the same that it was in 1962, General Shankar Roy Chowdhury (Retd), former chief of the Indian Army, said whilst speaking on India-China relations on the occasion of the launch of a book ‘Shadow of the Dragon and Recent Developments’ by journalist Amalendu Kundu at Calcutta Club, West-Bengal. Gen Roy Chowdhury said the policy-makers in Delhi had always paid more attention to the western border.

“Geography can’t change and India would have to co-exist with China as a neighbour. We have to compete, contain but if necessary we also have to confront China,” General Roy Chowdhury said. The former chief of the army staff assured that there was nothing wrong with India militarily. “At the level of the soldier, the officer, the commander or the field commander, there is no problem. But, I don’t know what is happening at the level of higher command or at the political level.” But, it was necessary for India to build its economy, an area where China had excelled over India.

Stating that Delhi had always paid more attention to the western border, General Roy Chowdhury said, “The East has always been distant from Delhi.” But, all these were now changing, he said. “The Look-East Policy was an instance, though this had come in confrontation with the ‘One Belt One Road’ project of China.”

Amalendu Kundu book
Senior journalist Amalendu Kundu addressing the gathering at the launch of his book ‘Shadow of the Dragon and Recent Developments’ at Calcutta Club. (PHoto: SNS)

Governor of Tripura Tathagata Roy said China had no intention of invading India and making it a colony. “It wants to keep the pot boiling and keep India on its toes so that India can’t devote its entire energy in economic development.” Roy also pointed out that the present problem is the result of long period of negligence by Indian decision makers of the past. To Roy’s poser if the story in 1962 had been different had India used its air power, General Roy Chowdhury said the question was an open one.

Former director general of police of Sikkim RK Handa, who had also served as the senior police official in Darjeeling in the days of Gorkhaland movement of Subash Ghisingh, said the Gorkhaland movement was aided by the Congress government in Delhi in those days to create trouble for the Jyoti Basu government in West Bengal. “But Jyoti Basu, an astute politician that he was, did not allow Bengal to be divided again. The agitation leaders in Darjeeling should be told there can’t be a Gorkhaland state there,” Handa said.

Amalendu Kundu, who has spent a lifetime as a journalist in Sikkim, recalled the way the contemporary history of Sikkim had unfolded in front of his eyes. The book, published by Poets Foundation, is divided into three sections: India-China relations, the Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling and the situation in Sikkim. Besides the main author Amalendu Kundu, there are contributions from writers belonging to different walks of life.