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Indo-China Stand Off : 2020
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Gp Capt TP Srivastava | Date:17 Sep , 2020 2 Comments

Chinese media uses the terminology Sino-Indian Border Dispute while addressing issues involving India and China. Our media having achieved perfection at aping uses same term. Our military strategists too use the same terminology more often than not. To many, usage of term ‘Sino-Indian’ or ‘Indo-China’ might appear to be of no consequence. But that is where the Chinese national perceptions and nationalism beats not only India but rest of the world as well. No wonder then that Chinese call themselves ‘The Middle kingdom’. Indo-China is not the same as Sino-Indian. Not many of us would even like to understand the difference.

 Let me try to explain the legal way. In legal parlance person/s filing the case are termed as ‘PLAINTIFF/S’, while the other party is called ‘DEFENDENTS’. China wants to remain and occupy the position of Plaintiffs, always and everytime. We are quite happy to ‘defend’. Our defensive mindset is not confined to bureaucrats and politicians; very senior military officers, both retired and serving, who were/are in position of authority, too, are afflicted by this chronic ailment Their views on TV as well as in print media is a stark testimony. That is what ails us; our mediocre thinking, defensive mindset and afraid to lose. Let me illustrate and amplify the same with a military, political and industrial capability example demonstrating not only the military prowess but also the Chinese pride.

The year was 2006. If memory serves me right for exact date, an event of unbelievable strategic significance took place on 6th October, 2006 in East China Sea. On a sunny cloudless morning US Navy super carrier USS KITTYHAWK accompanied by about dozen surface ships, AWACS above the Carrier Battle Group and two Submarines under water was sailing through the East China Sea waters between Southern Japan and Taiwan. There was no one to challenge the might of the most powerful Navy of the world; so the Americans thought. Lo and Behold! The peaceful day was ‘shattered’ by a Chinese Navy Submarine, a SONG CLASS VESSEL, SURFACING RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF CBG WITH KITTYHAWK IN HER TORPEDO RANGE. Inability to detect the Chinese submarine was one of the most flagarant breach of US supremacy at sea. Chinese submarine, after ‘exchanging’ pleasantries with the captain of Kittyhawk departed but not before texting the following message; “Oh! What a coincidence, us surfacing right in the middle of your battle group, which is off our coast, we had no idea you were paying us a visit’.

One of the finest example of Chinese tenacity and resolve is constructing railway line to Lhasa more than 55 years after annexation of Tibet. No one in the world believed that Kulun mountain range can be breached. Chinese did it. Paul Theroux, a travelling author wrote a book titled ‘Riding the Iron Rooster’. He wrote; I quote “The Kunlun range is a guarantee that the railway will never go to Lhasa’. Unquote. That was in 1988. Kunlun mountain range separates Xinjiang province from Tibet. Rail terminal at Lhasa was inaugurated by President Hu Jintao in 2006. Lhasa is now connected by rail to Shanghai and Beijing .

Even on the political front China maintains her position of dealing from position of strength. President Nixon desired to visit China.  An outstanding example of China dealing with the super power 50 years back when China was considered weaker than India, is invite to President Nixon to visit China in 1972. The invite read  “Knowing that President Nixon wants to visit China, President Zhou on behalf of Chinese government invites him to the country at an ‘appropriate date before May 1972.” Nixon was on China visit between 21st and 28th February, 1972.

Our military strategists have a defensive mindset; quite a few of them are are deaf blind and mute. Terming Chinese expansionist policy of recent origin is their most common refrain in recent times. Chinese never had any doubts about their claim on South and East China Seas and surrounding areas. In exactly the same manner Chinese have no qualms about claiming Arunachal and huge chunk of territory in LADAKH REGION. Chinese have and will continue to do what they think is right. Stopping Indian Patrols till finger eight area is not only of military significance; it is of strategic significance.

China is on the right track to become a maritime super power before being recognized as the no one super power. India does not pay attention to Chinese truly expansionist designs. We are a nation of land lubbers, wasting 90% of our time focusing on Pakis, balance 10% is focused in Ladakh and Arunachal only. We have no time/inclination to look towards south. Our north and north-west centricity is the biggest impediment towards us attaining a regional power status. China has acquired ports in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. We are focussed on Gwadar, a full fledged military facility barely 80 km east of Chabahar port of Iran. But we fail to even notice what is happening in a nearby port of Jusk, an unfamiliar name to us. It is going to become second largest Iranian port for exporting Iranian oil to China in particular.

I am a great admirer of China for her unabashed nationalistic approach and consider China both as a worthy neighbor and adversary. Unfortunately we have allowed China to think that we have rather, never will recover from the humiliation of ‘supposed’ military defeat in 1962. I have said it earlier and I reiterate; ‘So called Chinese debacle was essentially politico/bureaucratic debacle’. If it was a military debacle as well, the advancing Chinese Army would not have withdrawn unilaterally. Sad commentary is that even Military Commanders of bygone era as well as present ones believe that Indian Military lost in 1962. Their mindset is evident from their unfounded beliefs as would be evident from the opinions expressed in print and visual media.

I was waiting for parliament session to begin and I wanted to hear what our PM would say about Indo-China stand off. He merely complimented the braves of Indian military and refrained from saying a single word on the face off. ‘BRAVO’ Mr Modi, you have followed the dictum of Chanakya to perfection. ‘King’ never speaks his mind on issues challenging national sovereignty in public.

I am a firm believer that China deserves a wrap on the knuckle, not for breaching LAC repeatedly. China deserves a wrap on the knuckle for promoting ‘TERRORISM BY PROXY’. What we term as Pak aided and abetted terrorism is essentially Chinese long term plan to ‘bleed India by the thousand cuts’. Chinese direct support to Pakistan for ‘Practising Terror Activities as an Instrument of State policy’ needs no proof. China’s direct and blatant support to Pakistan, both financially and militarily, in United Nations to prevent listing of identified Pak sheltered Terrorists as an international threat is undeniable proof of Chinese complicity in terrorist activities by Pakis. An offensive action by Indian Military in Ladakh will not merely be an expression of our resolve to defend national sovereignty but also a clear message to all neighbours, Pakis in particular; ‘BEHAVE or ELSE’. If we are of the opinion that currently China is fully engaged and involved with India to occupy few heights in desolate region of Ladakh, we are off track by miles. China’s preoccupation is trade war (read Chip War) with USA. If China does not win that war with USA, her dreams of becoming technological super power followed by military super power will come to grinding halt.

China, therefore, is at a most vulnerable point of inflexion in strategic domain. India will never ever have a better opportunity to force China into submission. Entire world is anti China for having spread the COVID-19. Events of enormous significance vis SCO leaders summit and Chinese plenary meeting in October does not give enough leverage to Xi to negotiate, even if he was to take the initiative for a dialogue with Mr Modi. Enough of dialoging! It is time for offensive action. For once let the demon of COVID-19 be a blessing in disguise.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

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