INDO-CHINA RELATIONS POST PLA MISADVENTURES IN DOKLAM, LADAKH, SIKKIM, ETC; ALSO ANTI INDIAN ACTIVITIES BY CHINA IN PAKISTAN, NEPAL, BANGLADESH, MYANMAR, SRI LANKA, MALDIVES, ETC UNDER COVID19 PANDEMIC OVERHANG – THE WAY FORWARD FOR INDIA
29 SEP 2020 18:00 IST - 20:30 IST
- Gen Shankar Roychoudhury (Retd)
- ACM Arup Raha (Retd)
- Lt Gen J R Mukherjee (Retd)
- Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi (Retd)
- Prof Mohan Guruswamy
- Prof Srikanth Kondapalli
- Mr Sameer Lalwani, Stimson Centre, USA
- Ms Yun Sun, Stimson Centre, USA
- Maj Gen Arun Roye (Retd)
- Brig Niladri Mukherjee - Moderator
The speakers will participate in the Webinar and would speak for 10 to 15 mins each on the subject.
All CENERS - K Members:
serving officers from DMA, Army, Air, Naval Headquarters, Headquarters Eastern Command, Eastern Naval and Air Commands as nominated by them; Bureaucrats from MOD, MEA & MHA, selected - retd officers from all Services, academics and students/staff from Universities will be invited to attend. Aspects of detail to be covered -
- Indo - China relations since the annexation of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) & its military wing the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) in 1950s have never been good. India has been very accommodative of China in meeting its aspirations, bordering on appeasement without reciprocation in any form or favour. Recognition of China's authority over Tibet, thus regularising the forceful annexation, has eliminated the safety of the huge buffer state of Tibet between two great civilizations & rising Asian neighbours. The negative fall-out of the occupation of Tibet by China was the fleeing of revered Dalai Lama & many of his followers to India to escape persecution by an authoritarian & barbaric regime. The establishment of a Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharamshala & grant of asylum to the Tibetan religious head was perhaps the prime undeclared reason for the 1962 Indo-China Conflict, though India's intransigence not to budge from the proclaimed McMohan and Johnson Lines as the final settlement to border issue was perceived to be the main cause.
- India has supported 'One China Policy' by not recognizing Taiwan as an independent country. It has assiduously remained silent on the brutal repression of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and persecution of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang & Tibetans in Tibet Autonomous Region where Han Chinese are being settled to orchestrate ethnic cleansing and demographic change to subjugate minorities.
- China has not reciprocated with 'One India Policy' and instead its actions have been hostile towards India for the last seven decades. Its surreptitious occupation of Akshai Chin; claims on Arunachal Pradesh; construction of CPEC through POK; constant support to Pakistan and Pakistan based terror groups against India and in the UNSC and clandestinely arming of Pakistan with strategic weapon technologies to stymie the growth of India as another 'Pole' in Asia; denial of India a berth on the UNSC; and the recent skirmishes in Doklam, Sikkim and in Eastern Ladakh/Ladakh indicate protracted hostility towards India both now and in the future.
- China has always been an enigma, a mystery to the world, secretive, scheming, ambitious & vindictive. They do not forget or forgive and bide for the appropriate time to strike at the perceived adversary based on a long term strategy. Their current aggressiveness can be deciphered in terms of thinking steeped into ancient Chinese strategic wisdom, especially when the world is reeling under Wuhan virus pandemic, which is perceived by most people, as to gain rapid ascendancy as the number 'UNO' world power.
- Good relations between India & China, sharing a very long border in the Himalayas, the most treacherous terrain & climatic conditions, is not only important for themselves but entire Asia & the world. There is enough space for these giants to coexist & grow. Co-operation & competition is the way forward while confrontation & conflict would ruin the prospects of both nations & aspirations of an Asian century. Together they have to fight for the rights of developing nations and address their concerns at world forums.
- However, the environment has shaped up contrary to global expectations on China's ascent. Its rise has turned out to be the problem & not the solution to world's concerns because of its belligerence & aggressiveness in South China Sea, East China Sea, the LAC/Eastern LAC in Ladakh; UP/Tibet, HP/Tibet border sectors; Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Arunachal to forcefully settle contested & legitimate territorial claims of other sovereigns. Disputes over the Chinese damming and thinking of diverting Ganga and Brahmaputra River waters in Tibet, have also complicated relations in spite of the surge in Sino Indian trade. China has also resorted to predatory & corrupt economic & trade practices alienating many nations. The CCP is in an overdrive to reach the superpower status in a hurry displaying disdain for international rules, regulations, and conventions on dispute settlements despite China being a Veto wielding permanent member of UNSC.
Many reasons have been highlighted by strategic analysts for the Chinese belligerence, behaving like a bully & hegemon. These are:-
- China's reputation is at stake as an emerging superpower because of Wuhan virus pandemic. In fact China is being accused of purposely spreading the virus to gain world supremacy and have taken advantage of India during this pandemic period. There is unprecedented angst in the world against China's culpability for destroying the world economy & livelihood of people.
- China's economy is suffering because of intensification of trade war & sanctions by the US on several grounds.
- China's prestigious BRI project aimed at enhancing its strategic footprint is facing strong headwinds due to economic dislocation & distrust of China. India’s rapid infrastructure development in border areas/LAC, its abrogation of Article 370, 35A and aggressive statements by her Home Minister to retake Aksai Chin and POK/NAs are considered to be threats to the Chinese CPEC, Highway 219 to Singkiang and Chinese economic interests in the region are being perceived as reasons for Chinese actions.
- The entire world is trying to plug the vulnerability of their over dependence on China for goods & services.
- The above issues have been further compounded by a perception that India is joining hands with the US, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Philippines and South East Asia in a perceived strategic alliance against China – this perception started with the Indo – US Nuclear deal and strategic partnership. The issue of India now looking East, now being part of the ‘Quad’ to police the South China Sea and becoming a trade and scarce natural resources competitor, have added fuel to the fire and according to some Chinese commentators made it necessary to “Teach India a Lesson”.
- Chinese realization of their growing confidence, internationally enhanced position, economic and military strength and that the balance of power is shifting from the West to the East is also a recent phenomena which has given the Chinese added belligerency and assertiveness.
- Therefore, the attack on the Indian troops at Galwan Valley and elsewhere as well as hard military, economic & diplomatic posturing against several nations simultaneously is an orchestration aimed at diverting the attention of its own people and arousing nationalistic fervour to prop up the invincibility of CCP & its Chairman Xi Jingping when China remains isolated in the world. However, the pandemic has rapidly changed the world's strategic outlook. Military & economic alliances & co-operation are taking shape to counter the Chinese aggressiveness in the region. The whole world is looking up to India to stand up to Chinese belligerence. It is both a challenge & an opportunity to change the past unpleasant narrative of Indo-China relations.
- A full-fledged conflict is unlikely since it would be a ’lose- lose' situation for both & China's aspiration to be an world power will be jeopardized. A localized border conflict cannot be ruled out, especially in Ladakh sector of LAC. India has sent a message by confronting Chinese aggression & expansionism even if it results a conflict.
- Military analysts have assessed that the Indian Army & the Air Force are better prepared to take on the PLA forces on ground & in the air because of their better training & exposure to warfare in the mountains. Introduction of air power would certainly tilt the balance in favour of India.
- As a long term strategy to deter China, India needs to build multi-domain capabilities. These would necessitate enhancement of CNP for strategic autonomy, building strong diplomatic & economic relations with powerful nations but prepare to fight alone, any direct assistance from other nations in a conflict would be a bonus & is not to be planned for.
- What therefore are India’s options to “Restore the Status Quo” and to prevent the blatant Chinese acts of aggression in all fields – Military, Diplomatic, Economic, Political etc?