Elephant Needs to Learn Dragon’s Strategy to Defeat in Its Game
Historical Background of Indian and Chinese Civilization.
India and China have been the oldest of civilizations of the world. The two great Asian nations have been separated by the Himalayas.Cultural and economic relations between China and India date back to ancient times.Historically, there have been interaction among the scholars and travelers between China and India. From the 1st century onwards, many Indian scholars and monks likeBodhidharma—the founder of Chan/Zen Buddhism traveled to China,while many Chinese scholars and monks also traveled to India, like Huensang, who was student at Nalanda University in Bihar. During the middle ages, The south Indian Kings of Chola Dynasty had trade relations with Song Dynasty of China. In the 7th Century, Tang Dynasty, which gained control of large portions of the Silk Road, had sent a diplomatic mission to northern India.
In the 18th to 19th centuries, the Sikh Empire with Lahore as their center, had annexed Ladakh into the state of Jammu in 1834 and seven years later, they invaded Tibet and overran parts of western Tibet. The Chinese Army defeated the Sikhs, took over Ladakh and besieged Leh, where they were in turn defeated by the Sikh Army. At this point, the two parties signed a treaty in September 1842, which stipulated no transgressions or interference in the other country's frontiers. The British East India Company exported Indian Opium to China and used Indian sepoys during Opium wars. Chinese history has alternated between periods of political unity and peace, and periods of war and failed statehood – the most recent being the Chinese Civil War(1927-1949).
Indo-Sino relation since 1947:
Since Independence of India in 1947, the Indian borders with China have been marked by McMahon line in the north under the British India and Tibet as part of Shimla agreement in 1914. This McMahon line was later on declared borderline between India and China. Later On China started contesting it, But India considers it as the International boundary. Now India shares its borders with China (including Autonomous Region of Tibet) in Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The line of Actual control (LAC) is aline that separates the Indian Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh from Aksai Chin, which one of the disputed areas between India and China, although as per India Aksai Chin is part of India and legally it is International boundary, china disputes it, while India holds that Aksai Chin is illegally occupied by the PRC.
The relationship has been sweet and sour throughout., there have been border disputes.In 1950, India was one of the first countries to recognize People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of mainland China and end ties with Republic of china(Taiwan). Both the countries now share a border with Nepal and Bhutan acting as buffer states. On the eastern front, Arunachal Pradesh is part of India, but China has often disputed it and keep raising its bogey of claim on Arunachal Pradesh.
History of conflicts:
India and China have history of conflicts for the past 58 years now. These conflicts started with the Chinese refusal to accept the Sino-British treaty of 1914. They occupied Tibet, which led to its border touching Indian borders. In their western side, Pakistan almost handed over Aksai Chin to China and Ladakh region has large tracts of land where there are conflicting and Disputed claims by China. In June 1962 too. They started building up their forces on their side in the Ladakh region in the western border and well as in Tawang Sector in the eastern border. In October 1962 Chinese forces invaded Indian territories in both sectors and capturing Rezang La in Chushuland Tawang in the eastern sector. On 20 Novemmber1962, China declared ceasefire and announced its withdrawal to its claimed “Line of Actual Control”.
After that there were small skirmishes in 1967 at Nathu La in Sikkim where 88 Indian and More than 300 Chinese soldiers lost their lives and in 1975 at different areas, but largely things remained calm between 1975 to 2017. In 2017, China triggered a problem with Indian forces indirectly at Doklam and after a long posturing, china withdrew its forces.
India and China are the two most populated nations and are also the fastest growing major economies in the world. Growth in diplomatic and economic influence has increased the significance of their bilateral relationship. China became India's largest trading partner in 2008 and the both the nations have also extended their strategic and military relations. As per 1996 agreement on Confidence building measures, it was agreed between the two nations not to use weapons or arms while coming in close contact during patrolling on the LAC. On the economic front, Both the two countries have been cooperating on a range of international like trade, climate change and reform of the global financial order, among others, to promote common interest".
Although both the countries have been growing at higher rates than many developed nations, still there are many hurdles in becoming real partners in 21st Century, the biggest hurdle is their growing aggressive approach of China in the last decade. Since the present Xi has taken over, he has adopted an approach of intimidation towards most of its neighbors at land or sea. Whether it is Indonesia, Mangolia Taiwan, Hong Kong or India, China has border issues or economic pressure tactics policy with each of these nations. In case of India, there is such a great imbalance in Sino- Indian trade relations. the trade between the two nations is obviously tilted in favor of China with $76 billion Indian Imports and only $18 bn exports to China.
Despite growing economic and strategic ties, there are several hurdles for India and the PRC to overcome. India faces trade imbalance heavily in favor of China. India imports from China constitutes about 14.09 % of its total Imports. China declared in 2012 that "Sino-Indian ties" could be the most "important bilateral partnership of the century” after the meeting between Wen Jiabao, the Premier of China and Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, setting a goal to increase bilateral trade between the two countries to US$100 billion by 2015.Indian exports to china stand at $1,79,766,72 in comparison to imports from China at $550,786,66, clearly indicates the imbalance in China’s favor. China wants to translate its enormous economic gains into coercive military power and expects neighboring nations to submit to its hegemony.
In spite of so strong trade interdependence, the Chinese government’s eagerness to have hegemonic approach in the region has led to military conflicts at borders with India. Indian regime under PM Modi has made effort possible to keep peaceful relations with all neighbor, especially with China. But the in the past three years, there have been occasions when China tried to provoke Indian troops and had to retreat shamelessly. Keeping in mind the previous record of the treacherous nature of the dragon, the Indian government has been improving its infrastructure along the Lac on our area. India has been building roads and bridges to facilitate faster movement of the armed vehicles and troops in our own area of LAC. to counter the massive work that China had been in their side of the LAC on the pretext of improving their roads and connectivity in the Tibet Autonomous Region. India has constructed 254 Kilometers long road connecting Ladakh to Daulat Beg Oldie road all along the LAC. On the other hand, China has built CPEC on the areas given illegally to China by it’s all weather ally Pakistan in Gilitstan and Aksai Chin.
Abrogation of article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and China.
On 5 Aug. 2019, India declared abrogation of a misplaced article 370 in its constitution which granted a special status to the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir including Ladkah region. With this order the govt. of India divided the state of J&K into two Union territories, Jammu and Kashmir Union territory and Ladakh Union Territory. This Internal division of an Indian State have nothing to do with China, but still it raised objections on flimsy ground, just to support the Pakistan’s bogey of Kashmir. Indian Minister of External affairs clearly stated that this was an internal affair of Indian state and no other nation need to have any say in it.
Although this was purely an inter matter of India, but still it has some impact on the Geographical equations in the regions. Indian Home Minister, while delivering a statement in the Indian Parliament said that, all Indian territories occupied Illegally, Including Aksai China, by any foreign neighbor will be brought back to Union of India. During this period, China kept strengthening its positions on the LAC while India has never done any provocation on the borders to instigate any trouble.
COVID -19 and its impact on China.
In the month of Feb. 2020, A vicious Virus Corona started engulfing many countries in the Europe and, USA too. The world got this view that this virus originated in the Chines Town Wuhan at a lab and gradually the world opinion started blaming China for not sharing the outbreak of COVID -19 that was wrecking to the leading economies of the world.The virus was first spotted in Wuhan in the month of Nov. 2019 and then spread to many other nations.In March 2020, WHO declared it as a Pandemic. But it tried to absolve China of any hand in it. Still, most of the world looked at China with a suspicious eye as it could not establish its innocence.
China has been surrounded by criticism on COVID-19 issue as well as its Hegemonic actions in Taiwan, its unilateral suppression of Democratic rights in Hong Kong, Border disputes in South china Sea with japan and Australia. In such a Situation, Xi Jinping, the Chinese premier has been feeling quite uncomfortable in his home turf also. Under these circumstances, Xi planned to divert the world’s attention from its misdeeds, so he unfolded his sinister border strategy against India. Here I am reminded of a Chinese game “wei-qui” which is similar to Chess that we like to play in India. Wei-qui is a two thousand years old board game, that according to US professor at Army War College, David Lai holds the key to understand how the Chinese really think
and Indian think tank has to learn this if they want to win the real competition.,” while Chess is about decisive battle, wei-qui is about a protracted campaign ‘Strategic encirclement’ where opponents seek to occupy empty spaces and then surround and capture opposing pieces. While chess encourages single-mindedness, wei-qui generates guile and strategic flexibility.”
Recent Conflict at LAC in Ladakh
The two countries have not so far been able to resolve their border dispute and Indian media outlets have repeatedly reported Chinese military incursions into Indian territory.Both countries have been steadily establishing military infrastructure along border areas.India has been wary of Sino-Pak strategic relationship that tries to engulf India from North and western side, with China trying a have foothold in the Humbantota islands snatched tactically from Sri Lanka with its economic power and its military and economic activities in the disputed south china sea waters.
India's support to the issue of fair investigation into the origin of Coronavirus at WHO and insistence to raise issue of South China sea in various multilateral forums has also not been appreciated by the Dragon. The Chinese persistent support to Pakistan supported terror groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish at international has also not won Indian hearts. Thus Indian also do not find a trustworthy neighbor.
This Indian perception about China was proved in ‘Toto’ by China in the last two months. On the 5th of May 2020, the Chinese troops tried to occupy some areas in the Ladakh region, which was legitimately checked by Indian troops and that led to a scuffle between the two sides. Both the sides stationed troops on the Lac face to face. On 6th June 2020, a disengagement process was agreed between both the parties at the meeting of Corps Commander level military officials.
Under the agreed terms both forces were to get back to their original positions before this dispute in April 2020.
But as, the wui-qui or Go suggests, the Chinese played a dirty game, which speaks very low of Professional Army. On 15th June 2020, when as per the agreed terms the chines army was to move back to its original position in the Galwan Valley area, Col Santosh Babu, CO of 16 Bihar Regiment, that was responsible for a smooth disengagement, went to verify on the ground whether the Chinese have gone back from the Galwan Valley flash point. The Chines soldiers, in a cowardly manner attacked the Unarmed CO and his escorts with nailed rods and barbed wired sticks. This led to a fierce retaliatory attack by the Bihar regiment and, what followed was, will be written in the military history books as one of bloodiest hand to hand fights in which Indian Ghatak platoons killed almost 43 Chinese soldiers into pieces although they lost twenty Indian Brave hearts in this encounter, but it sent shivers in the spines of the chines soldiers and they ran for cover on the fateful night, many of them captured live. Later on it was found that, 3 Sikh battalion had captured a Chinese CO alive who was later on returned in lieu some of Indian Army soldiers who had crossed over to Chinese side because of the darkness. The blatant flouting of international norms of warfare by the Chinese army under XI Xinping has damaged the Indian China relations to very low level.
This fight in the Galwan valley in Ladakh has heightened the tensions between the two sides and the trust levels have touched the nadir. Now both the armies have been strengthening their positions in the other disputed areas in the region. Again on 22nd June 2020, another round of Military Commanders meeting has taken place to bring the temperatures down and restart the disengagement process, it is unlikely that PLA will pull back or vacate any areas they have built their trenches in Ladakh or nearby regions.
Role of Citizens
Some of my civilian friends asked me how they wish they could do something to avenge the death of Col S Babu and his men in the Ladakh conflict. That set me into thinking what made China play this dirty game of breach of trust and flout norms of understanding at the LAC?,Everyone is saying it is China's economic clout and money power that is her biggest asset. I wonder that. Indian Manufacturing Industry, Pharma companies and Electronics goods industry are largely dependent on Chinese supplies and some of the large manufacturers have already raised their concerns. But what surprised me was that our common man is not aware of this dependence for our day to day needs like mobile phones to cheap photo frames to toys for our kids to raw materials for large scale manufacturers. Actually the common man is so used to getting cheap things that he is ready to compromise on quality. They are unaware of the fact who is paying the cost of their love for easy availability of cheap Chinese products. I was shocked to learn that 18 of the biggest start-up companies like BIG Basket, BYJU's, Dream11, Flipkart, Make My Trip, OLA, Paytm,Snapdeal, Quikr and Policybazaar etc. are funded by the Chinese companies. That means, we, Indians are unknowingly feeding the Chinese economy and It is using that money power against us. Suddenly I realized that the common Indian is positively a nationalist creature, but is unaware about its role in strengthening its adversary. Now the question is how we can ensure that we stop that from happening. Many a time people ask why doesn't Indian Govt. ban on imports from China, but we must remember that Governments are bound by many international agreements and treaties, soI, realised what could I tell my civilian friends that common man has to explain that what do you do is for you and what you should do should be for the nation and that would be good for you too. But the common man is not bound by any such obligations. So, if anyone in this country wants to avenge the sacrifice of our brave Col. Babu and soldiers. They must resolve to shun purchase of Chinese products or invest in Chinese markets whether it is buying a product or taking a service from any of the Chinese funded companies.I believe that we owe that much to our brave hearts.
Suggested Approaches to deal effectively with the situation for long term solutions:
Now the question we need to ask ourselves honestly is, Can we use this conflict as a wake-up call and reframe our strategy versus a rouge and cunning state like China, without getting embroiled into any slugfest? We, as a nation, have to fight our own war, both at the borders as well as internal front. By Internal I mean to say, we have to look within at our national culture and character. On the one hand, we must send a strong message at the borders by being firm and resolute in supporting our armed forces and stop demoralizing them by questioning their positions on a daily basis in the name of democratic norms, because democracy thrives in peace and to ensure that peace prevails, wars need to be won by forces at the battle fields by the soldiers, not in the TV debate rooms. Secondly we need to take stock of our strengths in terms of Economic revival after the Covid -19’s devastating impact on the lives of its general population.
We must learn to play the game at our own strengths and get the unpredictable dragon trapped in its own web. We must start working on reinforcing our capacity building economically as well as militarily.
Firstly,we need to consolidate our positions strongly on the ground while ensuring maximum coordination between all the three forces on land, air and Sea. The air force must be put on high alert and our war ships should ensure their dominance and prepared in their areas of responsibility in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. India should be prepared for any eventuality in Malacca Straits and Indian Ocean.
Secondly Indian Government must go all out to expose Chinese hegemonic intentions at all international forum and also forge alliance with the likeminded countries like Australia, japan and Indonesia who have similar disputes with China. India must push all diplomatic channels for a seat as permanent member of Security Council of UN and a review of the old world order.
Thirdly India should also adopt a policy of checkmating of China economically by shifting its imports to alternate places like Vietnam, Japan and even South Korea, and at the same time, India,should make long term plans to make In-India a success story by drafting and implementing long term economic policy changes. For that, the first thing is put our house in order and give a single minded and ‘One nation and United Nation’ message to the world by passing a strong one voice message in the Parliament of India to convey its resolve to stay united and strong nation.
Indians have to realize that in international affairs, all Global alliances and groups are formed on the basis of mutual interests. At this stage, although there many hurt parties who have grievances against the Chinese, but No other nation is impacted because of the geographical area of dispute between India and China, so hardly much response has been seen from world powers on this recent conflict apart from customary call for restraint from both sides.
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