Great Leap Forward

  • The appointment of national security adviser Ajit Doval as India's special representative for boundary talks with China comes after this important post lay empty for a while.
  • But overall, the PMO has been bringing dynamism and innovation to the country's foreign policy .
  • Since assuming office Prime Minister Narendra Modi has displayed an ability to take out-of-box decisions on the foreign policy front- ­ be it his invite to Saarc leaders for his swearing-in ceremony or his recent visit to Fiji representing India's new `Act East' emphasis.
  • Such fresh thinking is precisely what is needed to solve the long standing border dispute with China.
  • Hither to New Delhi and Beijing have held 17 rounds of fruitless boundary negotiations.
  • This has allowed for periodic border incidents such as the Ladakh incursion by Chinese troops during President Xi Jinping's India tour earlier this year.
  • A permanent solution to the problem would require both sides to adopt a pragmatic approach.
  • In this regard, the most realistic plan would settle the border roughly along the present line of actual control, give or take a few geographical alignments.
  • Given BJP's and Doval's hawkish image, the government is ideally placed to strike a deal with Beijing without being accused of compromising national interests.
  • BJP enjoys the additional advantage of a majority in the Lok Sabha.
  • Modi’s government should be able to bypass fixed parameters and Nehruvian dogmas that guided previous Congress-led governments, such as fealty to the McMahon line which has no historical validation.
  • A deal with China would not only usher in a new era of India-China cooperation but also provide momentum to resolve other border disputes with India's neig-hbours, including even Pakistan.