A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh played down reports of Chinese incursions along the Sino-Indian border as media hype, the National Security Advisor MK Narayanan has warned that the hype could result in a serious accident, although he ruled out a 1962-like situation. He said there has been no increase in Chinese incursions and so there was no cause for alarm.
Narayanan, who is handling the border talks with China, spoke exclusively to CNN-IBN on Devil's Advocate.
MK Narayanan: I am unable to explain why this kind of - well one can always argue that any incursion - small or big could be a cause of concern, but having been through this, not only now but in the past, I don't think there is any reason for us to feel particularly concerned as to what is happening. I mean I don't want to blow on 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.
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.
Karan Thapar: In other words the media by its over reaction could end up creating a problem, that it wants to avoid.
MK Narayanan: It could create a problem of a kind and I have been through 1962, I am aware of , then of course we didn't have the media of this kind . You can. 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.
Narayanan also dismissed suggestions that India has a China complex after the 1962 war, but he admitted that India has been careful in its dealings with China because "no one wants to provoke a situation that we do not wish to have".
MK Narayanan: 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.
Karan Thapar: People say, and I want to put this to you deliberately and bluntly, that India is reluctant to face up to China, that India thinks of excuses and justifications to explain away Chinese behaviour. Do we have a China complex particularly after the 1962 war?
MK Narayanan: 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 difference.
(Watch the full MK Narayanan interview at 8:00 PM on CNN-IBN's Devils Advocate and read the full transcript on www.IBNLive.com)