Query about China’s political warfare in India and you receive blank looks as if the antecedents of Princess Wei are being asked who as per President Xi Jinping was married to the moon in ancient times. So China must be highly amused at the cacophony in India after Lou Zhaohui Chinese Ambassador to India met a host of Indian politicians and his wife Jiang Yili (a Counselor at the Chinese Embassy) made an air dash to Thimpu post the Doklam standoff even though China has no diplomatic relations with Bhutan.
Comments like what strategic issues Lou could have discussed with the said politicians and that the meeting with certain politician (s) was at a Chinese food festival in Taj Palace inaugurated by a Union Minister are heaped on the social media.
…the fact remains that that Lou had also separately called on political leaders… Most intriguing is his meeting the District Magistrate of Darjeeling.
But then the fact remains that that Lou had also separately called on political leaders. If all was hunky dory there was no need for any political party to deny such meetings in the first place. All this is ironic considering that the US as well as East Asian countries have been concerned about China’s political warfare past several years.
As per columnist Comi Kapoor, Lou not only called on many politicians mainly from opposition parties. This included Vice President of a prominent political party, West Bengal Chief Minister, Kerala Chief Minister, a former Chief Minister of Assam and his son, a former National Security Advisor, and even the District Magistrate of Darjeeling. Surely he did not meet all these personalities at the Chinese food festival in Taj Palace. As per norms, Lou should have taken consent of the MEA for such visits but it is not known whether he actually did.
Most intriguing is his meeting the District Magistrate of Darjeeling. Where did this meeting take place and who organized it? Did the Chinese Consulate in Kolkata organize this meeting with or without the consent of the Chief Minister of West Bengal? Have our intelligence agencies debriefed this District Magistrate? Why was such meeting permitted in the first place when Darjeeling is on the boil with so much violence? Wonder if our intelligence agencies are aware of China’s political warfare capacity and will not be lackadaisical to these wily moves, akin to giving a free hand to Hurriyat separatists past so many years that was conveniently utilized by Pakistan to radicalize the Kashmir Valley.
Isn’t it strange that Lou meets the District Magistrate of Darjeeling but Chinese media talks of supporting liberation of Sikkim even though Sikkim is perfectly peaceful?
With China stoking instability in J&K and northeast, we should have been all the more careful when Lou was moving around between the Sikkim Standoff, China threatening India and the Monsoon session of Parliament. Remember, Zhou-en-Lai advising Pakistan in mid 1960’s to prepare for long-war against India and fight behind enemy lines and a Pakistani military delegation visiting Beijing same time that China has much experience in irregular warfare. Isn’t it strange that Lou meets the District Magistrate of Darjeeling but Chinese media talks of supporting liberation of Sikkim even though Sikkim is perfectly peaceful?
To top this, the West Bengal Chief Minister states, “If China takes over Sikkim, which has similarities with Darjeeling, that will be because of the Centre’s failure”. Is this line fed by Lou for deflecting attention towards Sikkim while China stokes the fires in Darjeeling? Of course a CPI-M (ever ready to bend backwards to Beijing) leader tells Prime Minister Modi let Bhutan handle the border row – implying let China takeover the Doklam Plateau and to hell with Indian defences in East Sikkim getting outflanked. Then you have some eloquent personalities strategizing that even if China captures the Doklam Pateau the terrain southwards to the Siliguri Corridor is very treacherous for China to advance – something another set of pundits had similarly propounded when recommending India should withdraw from Siachen. Obviously they have never bothered to examine the terrain through which China has developed road networks in Tibet and brought the rail line to Lhasa.
When China threatens full-scale escalation triggered by the Sikkim Standoff, we should be looking at destabilizing India as part of China’s hybrid warfare. China would want the Modi Government downed, perhaps even have Prime Minister Modi done away with or rendered ineffective, Indian economy impeded and India’s strategic space severely restricted.
Lou Zhaohui and Jiang Yili are only two links in this intricate Chinese game of political warfare that forms part of Chinese political and military strategy.
The escalation of terrorism by Pakistan apart, a divided India and the ongoing cacophony in Parliament all suit China in the current geopolitical environment. Needless to say that the craving for power will make all those Lou met tread the path exactly as advised by him, lure of money and support for the next elections included. For all those questioning what strategic issue could Lou have possibly discussed with this political leader (vice-president of a prominent party) and the others, they would do well to study China’s concept of ‘Deep Coalitions’ that may consist of multiple nation-states, civil society organizations, narco-mafias, private corporations whose interest are at stake, individual speculator (s), and other components. Deep Coalition involves players at many levels of the system; it is multi-dimensional with all groups operating all the time, in continuous flow – multiplying, fissioning, then fusing into others, and so on.
Lou Zhaohui and Jiang Yili are only two links in this intricate Chinese game of political warfare that forms part of Chinese political and military strategy. The fact that whatever little published material available on China’s political warfare is obscure and vague creates a blind spot in the hierarchy and the public discourse, deflecting the vital need to negate China’s strategic influence campaign that has far-reaching consequences.
That Lou was fully focused can be gauged from his meeting with the ex NSA, the latter in his NSA avatar having committed serious defaults, two prominent one’s being: one, building perceptions for India to vacate Siachen despite grave strategic advantage to India – even though then PM Manmohan Singh wanted so as mentioned in Snajay Baru’s book ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’, and; two, adding India’s role in Balochistan to the draft sent by our mission in Pakistan for the joint statement that was issued in Sharm-al- Sheikh – possibly this too was in consultation with PM Manmohan Singh. Chinese political warfare is manifested through and being waged by a network of organizations connected to the PLA’s General Political Department (GPD).
The deceptively benign-missions of these front organizations, which are ostensibly to encourage dialogue and promote friendly relations, mask their ulterior purpose: To influence opinions and shape foreign countries’ policies towards favorable outcomes for China’s core interests. Whether the above mentioned ex-NSA was worked upon by the GPD while posted at Beijing can be conjectured but definitely the Modi Government needs to keep in focus China’s political warfare plus the ‘enemy within’.