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Narayanan warns against media hype on Chinese incursions
New Delhi, September 19, 2009
National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, who handles India's border talks with China, has warned that excessive media coverage of the Chinese incursions into Indian territory could lead to "an unwarranted incident or an accident of some kind."
Mr Narayanan told CNN-IBN's Devil Advocate programme that, while it could be argued that any incursion, small or big, could be a cause of concern, he did not think there was any need for India to feel particularly concerned about what is happening now.
"I mean I don't want to...blame the media, I don't know what the reason is why there is so much reporting, I don't even want to use the word exaggerated reporting on this point, but I think this is a national security issue," he said.
"It isn't the kind of a game that we are playing, and the more you raise people's concerns, the tensions could rise and we would then be facing a situation of the kind that we wish to avoid," he said.
"What we need to be careful of is that we don't have an unwarranted incident or an accident of some kind, that's what we are trying to avoid. But there's always concern that if this thing goes on like this someone somewhere might lose his cool and something might go wrong," he said.
Mr Narayanan sought to dismiss all suggestions that there could be a repeat of the 1962 war. "I think the first thing I would like to sort of wipe out is the question of the repeat of 1962. I think India of 2009 isn't India of 1962 and I want to make that point very clearly," he said.
He denied India had a China complex because of the 1962 war and was, therefore, thinking of excuses and justificaions to explain away Chinese behaviour.
"I don't think so, we are careful, I think we are careful partly because of what happened in 1962 - that we should not provoke a situation which we do not wish to have . I do not think anybody in India wishes to have a conflict with China. I think that goes also for China. I think both sides are therefore careful. But there are issues between the two countries, I don't think we have answers to all these issues, but the whole purpose of dialogue is to see where are the areas of congruence and where are the differences," he said.
Mr Narayanan's remarks came on a day when Army Chief Deepak Kapoor also said that there was no cause for worry or concern as far as the incursions were concerned.
"Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh has made a statement on Friday that there has not been any more incursions or transgressions as compared to last year. They are almost at the same level," he said, asking the media not to over hype the matter," he told journalists in Chennai.
The Prime Minister told journalists at an Iftar party hosted by him yesterday that he was in touch with the highest levels in Beijing.
Downplaying the issue, Dr Singh said the media reports of such incidents, perhaps, reflected the inadequate flow of information from his government and promised to rectify the situation.
The Prime Minister also said that the Chinese Ambassador in Delhi had met Mr Narayanan a day ago to discuss various issues.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is abroad, said the two countries must settle the boundary issue so that peace and tranquility could be maintained on the border between them.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said the two countries were in constant touch with each other on all bilateral issues. She said the bilateral relationship had matured over the years.
Ms Rao, who was till recently Indian Ambassador in Beijing, said there was no significant increase in incursions along the border with China.