China's game is for real

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by JAYRAM, Apr 12, 2012.


    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    Likes Received:
    North Frontier, The Mighty Himalaya's
    New Delhi, April 11, 2012 | UPDATED 14:29 IST

    With its ingress into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the strong Sino-Pak alignment, China already dominates South Asia and claims Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin. China also claims riparian control over the upper reaches of India's rivers that originate in Tibet.

    China's defence budget has crossed $105 billion and its investments in Bangladesh and Myanmar are rising. It just delivered two Jianghu frigates (F21&23) to Myanmar.

    Therefore no issue in international relations will be more demanding than how nations, especially those in South and South East Asia, relate to the rising might and ambitions of China. The United States sees this as a threat. President Obama recently announced that the US' 'strategic pivot' will move East and be strengthened in this region and the US has stationed Marines in Australia. The stated motive is to protect freedom of navigation in the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea. China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi immediately called on the US to tread carefully on issues related to China's core interests in order to build trust and avoid conflicts. China fears India could join hands with the US, Japan and Australia in what is called the QUAD to contain its rise and ambitions in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

    China with the number two position in the world with a GDP of $5.6 trillion and its geography, and expanding maritime power has emerged as a Pacific power, which worries Japan and its ally America. The PLA (Navy) is adding long legs with nuclear submarines, long range aircraft, anti ship missiles like DF-21 and aircraft carriers and space assets, all essential ingredients for big power status, that could challenge the US.


    Since 2008 the PLA's Navy has moved into the Indian Ocean Region by continuously patrolling off the Horn of Africa with a task force of three warships to combat piracy and has honed its skills in expeditionary roles with operational turn around (OTA) at Salahah in UAE. China has built up and cultivated friendly ports and regimes in the IOR which has been called China's 'Necklace of Pearls', to surround India, as pearls can be added or removed at will.

    The Chinese play a board game of patience called 'weiqi' (igo in Japanese, baduk in Korean), a game that is rich in strategy, and ends when the opponent is surrounded. It originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. Weiqi is unlike chess at which Indians excel, which has a definitive result in 'Check Mate'. Weiqi is akin to how 'Papa Shark' teaches 'Baby Shark' to keep encircling the prey till the prey flounders. That is how China's 'Pearls' to contain India originate.

    China has invested in Gwadar in Pakistan, and Humbantota in Sri Lanka where a spanking new commercial port and airport are ready for commissioning. China has funded pipelines, ports and roads in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Soon after Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Seychelles, on the last leg of his eight-nation African tour last year, China's navy was granted OTAs in Seychelles. US warships now call at Port Victoria more often and a PC-3 operates from there as do Indian Dornier-228 aircraft from time to time.

    These moves are significant as Seychelles is distant from the area of piracy but can be used by China as a spring board for exploration of the seabed for nodules granted to China by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), as provided in UNCLOS(1982). China inaugurated an embassy in Maldives last year when Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was attending SAARC at Male. The then Foreign Minister and current President of Maldives Md Waheed Hassan Manik who ousted Md Nassem (through a coup) agreed to be the chief guest even though the chancery building was incomplete. The recent change of guard in the strategically located islands of Maldives near Diego Garcia affords China opportunities to execute deft moves of weiqi to pierce what Chinese analysts call 'India's Iron Curtain of Influence' built over time to gain influence in the Indian Ocean islands and rim countries.


    The curtain is so called as China suspects India's 'Look East policy' is tailored against China and calls the Andamans an iron chain. China knows India has provided security assistance to Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius which also benefited from the very special Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty (DTAT).

    To face the unlikely disruption in the Malacca Straits passage, called China's 'Malacca Dilemma', China, which depends on imports of oil and gas, would use the land route through Pakistan to Western China -called the Karakoram highway- which is being strengthened. China is also investing in Iran, US's arch enemy, to add pearls where India plans to build Chahbahar port, next to Gwadar, for access to Afghanistan. China has offered to fund the Kra Canal through the narrows of Thailand to avoid Malacca and negotiated a transshipment route for tankers from East to West through the narrows of Malaysia, which will be economically viable if oil price exceeds $170 per barrel.


    China knows it needs oceanic space to expand its teeth in the Indian Ocean, as much to see its rising competitor India does not dominate it, as to retain its influence over the rising South East Asian states and to secure its sea and life lines of communication for trade and energy from the Gulf. Indians have to yet study the game of weiqi so as to not be checkmated. The External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Defence Minister AK Antony, during their visits last year, promised assistance and aid to Maldives- where GMR is building an airport- but the actions on the ground have been slow in delivering and China is aware of it. The recent visit of China's Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi to India for talks with S M Krishna, suggesting maritime co-operation, should be analysed in that vein. It should not see China being allowed to bide its time in its game of weiqi.

    China's game is for real : Ranjit B Rai News - India Today

Share This Page