China seeks to keep India off-balance

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Rage, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    5,381
    Likes Received:
    938
    China seeks to keep India off-balance

    MJ Akbar


    [​IMG]


    Is there anything in common between an India-Pakistan cricket match in South Africa and China’s decision to give disputed status to Indian Kashmiris through disingenuous separate-sheet visas? Yes. Neither is a game.

    China’s celebratory ascent into the top echelons of the modern world owes to a course correction by Deng Xiaoping, who recognised that Communism was injurious to China’s health. He replaced ideology with idealism and gave it pragmatic legs. The shift from pomposity to practical was based on an old Chinese principle: Search for truth among facts. The only thing Maoist about China now is the portrait in Tiananmen Square and the mugshot on the currency notes.

    China’s foreign policy is shaped by the same principle. It has looked long and hard at the facts of India, in particular at its defence. Thanks to the self-castration of a post-Bofors mentality, the hypocrisy of a system thirsty for bribes behind the burqa of a bureaucratic-political piety, and the pseudo-morality of a Defence Minister who equates procrastination with self-protection, India’s defence capability is now at least a generation behind China’s in both conventional and nuclear warfare.

    When an Indian Air Force chief promises to bring his capability up to speed in a potential war zone like Arunachal Pradesh he is talking of what might happen by 2018 if all goes well. Make that a big IF. The Indian Air Force's fighter reservoir has been whittled down to a statistical accident. Our artillery has a goodwill-inventory. The communication infrastructure necessary to back up a fighting unit is waiting for the dust to be cleaned from the cover of the files.

    China assessed Indian vulnerability years ago, and signaled its mood on the eve of President Hu Jintao’s last state visit, generally a time when states seek to stress points of mutual agreement. Instead, the then Chinese Ambassador in Delhi chose to dwell on Chinese claims on Arunachal Pradesh, called ‘Southern Tibet’ by Beijing. It was deliberate, calculated provocation to which Delhi responded with its familiar waffle. The border provocations of 2009 have evoked a very queer reaction from National Security Adviser MK Narayanan. He said, in defence of the Chinese, that the infringements had not increased beyond 'the normal'. This begs a question: What exactly is the 'normal' level of infringements? A couple of hundred yards here or there — or, perhaps, 'there' rather than 'here'.

    Jawaharlal Nehru once made the mistake of telling Parliament that the disputed territory on the China border was all "rock and wasteland". In 1962 China proved how much it valued wasteland. Has China begun another ‘Mission Creep’ which seeks to change facts on the ground so that the truth can be refashioned in fertile Delhi?


    [​IMG]


    I do not believe that China wants war with India. The raison d’être of the post-Communist Communist Party is the promise, to its people, of stability. Stability is the cocoon in which economic growth can be spun. War would destabilise the Chinese stock exchange, if nothing else.

    China also wants trade with India, now close to $ 60 billion. It is a useful hedge at a time of recession in the West. Moreover, the Indian market is undemanding. Wal-Mart will not accept toxic lead in toys, and American media do raise a typhoon if Chinese cat food ends up killing the cat. But the Delhi trader does not really care if the rows of Chinese Ganesh idols have been spray painted with death-dealing gamma rays as long as he can sell them for twice the price he paid.

    The laughter in Beijing is probably restricted to the great debate on India’s nuclear tests. It takes courage, more than freedom, to pursue an argument on the most serious element of our defence spread through Press conferences, the preferred methodology of both the plaintiff and the accused. If the eminent scientists who believe that the yield in 1998 was too low and India needs to test further are getting a hearing it is only because of their eminence, their knowledge (they are the hands-on people who actually created the nuclear deterrent) and their transparent sincerity. If they have no case, as a belligerent Government (denied the right to test by the Indo-US nuclear deal) believes, then they have been utterly irresponsible. Why doesn’t the Government accuse them of treason and bring them before the courts? They have shaken the nation’s conviction in its core assets and given comfort to the enemy. The Government cannot clear doubts by a show of hands from within the establishment. It needs, at the very least, an independent inquiry.

    There is a rational reason why China has decided to exploit Indian weaknesses and contradictions through rhetoric and provocative gestures on the border and in its Delhi Embassy. It seeks to keep India off-balance, to the extent it can, at a time of great existential discomfort for its ally Pakistan.

    Pakistan has always sought Chinese help in its confrontation with India. China has given it, although never to the point where it becomes counter-productive. The games theory in Islamabad and Beijing surely is that if Pakistan has to worry about two fronts, then, at the very least, so should India. Our weakness becomes an opportunity for China and an invitation to Pakistan. Witness the latter’s supreme indifference to concerns about the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba. A New York Times report published on September 30 could not be more categorical: “Ten months after the devastating attacks in Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants, the group behind the assault remains largely intact and determined to strike India again, according to current and former members of the group, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, and intelligence officials. Despite pledges from Pakistan to dismantle groups operating on its soil, and the arrest of a handful of operatives, Lashkar has persisted, even flourished…”

    Pakistan cannot find Lashkar operatives planning another attack, but the New York Times can.

    Nothing in the equation between India and Pakistan is a game, unless you include war in the list of games. Even cricket has become a war by other means. But that is another story, suitable for some future column.


    The Pioneer > Online Edition : >> China seeks to keep India off balance
     
  2.  
  3. Martian

    Martian Respected Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,303
    Likes Received:
    237
    Location:
    Boston
    A very insightful article. I used to think that chess was complicated and subtle. However, chess is simple compared to geopolitics. On many occasions, I've been puzzled by the actions of countries. This article helped to remove some of the mystery.

    "There is a rational reason why China has decided to exploit Indian weaknesses and contradictions through rhetoric and provocative gestures on the border and in its Delhi Embassy. It seeks to keep India off-balance, to the extent it can, at a time of great existential discomfort for its ally Pakistan.

    Pakistan has always sought Chinese help in its confrontation with India. China has given it, although never to the point where it becomes counter-productive. The games theory in Islamabad and Beijing surely is that if Pakistan has to worry about two fronts, then, at the very least, so should India."
     
  4. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Im still irritated that all official foreign policy decisions vis a vis China are knee-jerk reactions wether it be border incursions or paper visa for J&K.
    When will we see some concerted long term foreign policy that is not just confrontational and jingoistic with respect to China?
     
  5. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    3,212
    Likes Received:
    1,790
    streamline the political system

    partial quote

    IMHO, all this has got to do with the system of "democratic " re-election every 4 or 5 years. In china they do not have to contend for that. in india a politician has to do his job plus be re-electable and so its a fight between the two for his time and focus. being popular and re-electable . After 4 years, if his part is thrown out due to mistakes buy someone else, the MEA and the policy gets thrownout and a new party with a new MEA and new policy comes in , so it's chop and change every 4 years .

    so how can there be the continuity you are seeking , the long-term view when every 4 years it might get to be changed and the new party has to prove the ol policy wrong ?

    streamline the political system
     
  6. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    A valid point roma but not an excuse. UK, Australia and US e.t.c. have elections and are still able to plan out foreign policy in decades. Its more to do with Foreign Policy planning and studying International Relations objectively with public consultations through Think Tanks and Universities. This makes sure that foreign policy continues to preserve national interests.

    I have been impressed by Shahsi Tharoor's interest on reviving the Policy planning division of MEA. He may be required to deliver on that sooner than he expected though.
     
  7. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,048
    Likes Received:
    517
    Location:
    California
    I think there is a bigger issues that explain why India defense and strategic foreign policy planning has been retarded.

    1) The lack of a mature political system where individuals at all levels can leave aside petty grievances and coalesce around major national issues that involve national security/foreign policy.
    Example: the CPI/CPM morons still think that China is our friend ???

    2) The lack of high quality, integrity, highly qualified individuals at the state and even ministerial levels. Low level politics in India is occupied by the sleaziest of individuals.

    3) Finally I think that, while India has had some smart honest men and women as PM; it has NOT had a really dynamic charismatic extremely smart leader who can bring the whole country together. A "once in a century" type of leader of the caliber of JFK, Eisenhower, Deng Xio Peng, Churchhill, De Gaulle, etc.
     
  8. Martian

    Martian Respected Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,303
    Likes Received:
    237
    Location:
    Boston
    "When will we see some concerted long term foreign policy that is not just confrontational and jingoistic with respect to China?"

    "I think there is a bigger issues that explain why India defense and strategic foreign policy planning has been retarded."

    I believe that India is struggling in formulating a long-term strategic response to China because India is caught in an unfavorable geographical position. Looking at the map above, India's two largest and closest neighbors are Pakistan and China. Unfortunately, India has strained relations with both countries.

    It's like a game of chess where you're boxed into a corner. If India could switch places with Kazakhstan then defense policy would become much easier. Currently, trying to defend the entire Northern half of India would challenge even the most brilliant military minds.
     
  9. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,048
    Likes Received:
    517
    Location:
    California
    India is not the one that is confrontational.....India is the passive one. Its the Chinese that are being confrontational probably in the hope of eliciting a reaction from India that they can then use as an excuse for a border conflict.

    India is actually trying to play down the Chinese aggression because it has fallen far behind the Chinese. India now has to play this game while they try to build a credible defensive posture.
     

Share This Page