Former foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon today said India and China always managed to de-escalate tensions in the event of face-offs as had happened in Doklam. Though there had been face-offs over border issues, both the countries had a common interest to handle the dispute peacefully, he said in his address at the thought conclave “The Huddle”, conducted by ‘The Hindu’ Publication here. “Most commentaries miss the basic point that like previous such crisis whether it was Chumar where we had face-offs, we always managed to disengage,” Menon said. The former diplomat agreed that there would be chances of face-offs in future. “We do have cases which both sides consider on their side of the line. So we will have face-offs, we will have future cases, but it is not that we do not know how to handle it and we see a common interest in handling it peacefully,” he said.
Elaborating further, he said Doklam had actually proved that India and China can manage their differences. India did what it always does “which is deal with quietly, bring force if you need to but talk to them and say restore the status quo and we are ready to discuss other issues once the status quo is restored, which happened ultimately,” he added.
However, former Pakistan ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, who has been critical of Pakistan’s military and political leadership, warned India to understand the Chinese game. He said China was setting up bases to tie down India and supporting nations to keep its ‘potential rival at bay’.
“Pakistan is just a pawn for China in that case. They are not thinking the best for the people of Pakistan. They are thinking how to use Pakistan to keep a potential rival at bay. And they can do that with other countries as well,” Haqqani said.