Chinese Are Coming…
After the Mughals and the British, it now appears to be China’s turn to encircle, enslave and make India a surrogate power. Apparently, China firmly believes that two tigers cannot live on the same mountain.
Pacifism may be good for the individual’s soul but it is suicidal for a nation’s security. With the advent of Buddhism, Tibet, wallowing in pacifism, lost its freedom. Yet South Block refuses to learn. Nehru was too petrified to come to the rescue of a small nation like Tibet. Nepal realized this and as insurance, opened up communication channels with China. The total collapse of India’s foreign policy saw Kathmandu exit our sphere of influence and become a vassal state of China. Bhutan will soon follow suit as it watches a helpless India unable to protect itself.
Under the weight of its collective incompetence, New Delhi continues to fiddle while Beijing unleashes a creeping invasion. The Chinese grand design envisions India as a surrogate power in Asia led by Beijing. However, the chinks in the Chinese armour are Tibet and Sinkiang. Despite the extraordinary infrastructure developed and the ability to induct multiple military divisions in Tibet, Beijing faces a rebellion, a wound that continues to fester.
Owing to the extraordinary incompetence of the Indian Defence Minister, the modernization of the Indian armed forces unfortunately is stuck in a groove for the last decade. Help of Western technology and India’s belated move to upgrade infrastructure in the North-east are points of major concern for China. Very few may have noticed that every time India moved closer to the United States, Beijing was upset and it successfully unleashed its lobby in India to counter this. Controlled media in Beijing vehemently criticized when the French Rafale was chosen by India for the Indian Air Force, terming France as ‘irresponsible’! Rapid induction of far superior Western technology into the Indian military and denied to the Dragon will upset the balance of power enjoyed by China in Tibet which the former is even today unable to fully integrate with the mainland. This chink in China’s armour needs to be exploited.
With Japan, Taiwan and others fortified by a commitment by the US for protection against China’s foray in South China Sea disputes, Beijing is likely to make noises but will, for multiple reasons, concentrate militarily on the softest target available, the Indo-Tibet border.
First, Beijing’s assessment that the leadership in New Delhi is extremely weak and will not be able to respond to any developing crises is accurate. Second, the Chinese who minutely monitor all internal developments within India are aware of the deficiencies in manpower and the equipment within the military. They are witness to the veterans returning their medals in disgust to the President. Like Nehru, bereft of pragmatism, the political masters have simply not equipped the military with adequate lethality. Third, and possibly the most important consideration is that with the withdrawal of the American forces from Afghanistan, the strategic vacuum needs to be filled. Therefore, it is intelligent to not only keep India away from Afghanistan but also acquire as much territory as possible without firing a single shot in the Eastern Sector.
The weak-kneed Indian leadership, ill-equipped military, internal turmoil and China’s intention to occupy with the help of Pakistan military, the empty strategic space, aids its grand design.
By hiding hundreds of incursions into the Indian Territory from the people, the government has encouraged China to intrude 19 km inside in the DBO area enlarging its claims in Eastern Ladakh. China insists on changing the ground rules here as it supports Pakistan’s claim on J&K and calls it a disputed territory. This deep intrusion helps it prevent India playing the Gilgit-Baltistan and the POK card where, in connivance with Islamabad, PLA is involved in pacifying the area under the garb of construction activities to the advantage of its proxy.
India will need robust minds and not pacifists, who lose the battle in their minds even before it begins, to work out a counter plan against China and China-Pakistan combine to foil their attempts to illegally occupy our territory with an aim to dismember India. It will require a strong national leadership and induction of military thinking in the foreign office. The propaganda by the pacifists and the Chinese lobby, that since we are militarily not prepared, we need to concede our territory and self-respect, is not true. Nation’s have won with much less with the backing of firm resolve and strong generals, both political and military.
Despite the temporary reprieve and face-saving provided by withdrawal from DBO by the Chinese to India in view of the visit of their Prime Minister, the incursions and land grabbing will continue.
The Indian game plan, therefore, should be based on the following:
■ The rebellion in Tibet for independence must be provided with ‘moral support’. India also needs to revisit Dalai Lama’s government-in-exile, which is quietly supported by the Western Alliance.
■ China and Pakistan have joined forces against India, we should extend ‘moral support’ in Gilgit-Baltistan, POK and Balochistan. If Balochistan becomes independent, the Gwadar port will not be available to China causing a huge setback.
■ has trivialized the term’ strategic partnership’ by signing it with all and sundry. It is in India’s interest to invest in strategic partnerships with Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam as also to create decisive political, military and economic relationship with the USA and the Western Alliance. The balance of power should remain in India’s favour.
■ is important to appreciate that China and Pakistan are the only two countries that lay claim on huge chunks of Indian territory. Both are authoritarian regimes that conflict with our liberal values. Despite every effort at appeasement by New Delhi, they will endeavour to weaken our democratic structure.
■ investment in Afghanistan should not be wasted as the Americans withdraw. Alone and with international support (including Russia), India should extend ‘moral support’ to the Afghans and disallow the Taliban to take over with the help of Pakistan’s ISI.
■ Diversify economic interest away from dependence on Chinese goods by creating business-friendly environment for Japan, South Korea and the Western Alliance. The Chinese economy is slowing down and their need for the vast Indian market is huge. This is an interesting card in our arsenal.
By Bharat Verma
(The author is Editor, Indian Defence Review)