- Apr 17, 2009
It is interesting that the Chinese opine that "certain Indian elites which see China's peaceful development as a threat." The commentary laments Indian military presence especially in the bordering areas around China as "more of a political move than a military one".Now, China 'raises concerns' over India's rise and military presence
Dr. Monika Chansoria
The politico-military intensity displayed by India in the recent past appears to have ruffled feathers among China's decision-making elite and state-controlled media.
In a commentary published in the mouthpiece of the People's Liberation Army earlier in November, the Indian military presence and preparedness in the border areas adjoining China stretching from the northern sector through to the eastern sector has been put under the scanner by Beijing.
Beginning with the premise that India's "military surge" is aimed at a "rising China", the piece referred to "certain Indian elites which see China's peaceful development as a threat." The commentary laments Indian military presence especially in the bordering areas around China as "more of a political move than a military one".
Meanwhile, an edited and translated version of the above cited commentary was simultaneously run by the state-controlled People's Daily, in which the abrasive Chinese position on the East China Sea and South China Sea was underlined yet again. Nations with an "envious, jealous and hateful attitude toward China" have been singled out toward bearing the responsibility of any potential "changes in the international and regional security landscape that shall negatively impact upon China." However, the People's Daily states that these actions "will benefit one country: India."
In this reference, the agenda of the recently concluded East Asia Summit incorporated a wide canvas, with an attempt of keeping the divergence pertaining to the South China Sea, out of the purview of the summit. Notwithstanding the intent, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India sent out a clear and firm message to his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao by choosing to reject Chinese objections to the Indian presence in the South China Sea. Stating that Indian interests were "purely commercial and that sovereignty claims must be resolved according to international laws", Singh visibly admonished Chinese claims over the issue.
The response by the Indian Prime Minister came in following Wen Jiabao's warning that "outside forces" should refrain from getting embroiled in the South China Sea dispute. Wen further expressed, "The dispute which exists among relevant countries in this region over the South China Sea is an issue which has built up for several years"¦ It ought to be resolved by countries directly involved"¦ Outside forces should not, under any pretext, get involved."
It would only be pertinent to point out a critical dichotomy in the Chinese position on the above-mentioned issue. All this while China has been claiming and asserting what it terms as "indisputable sovereignty" over sections of 1.2 million square miles in and around the South China Sea. Interestingly, Wen's statement above acknowledges, "the dispute" which "needs to be resolved" with countries that are "directly involved." China needs to clarify its position on this contradictory policy posturing. Given that China reaffirms that it would "commit itself to becoming a force for peace and stability in Southeast Asia", current trends in Chinese policy-making do not seem to conform to the above intent.
The state-run commentaries in question have referred to the spread of the "China threat theory" in India and have come down heavily against New Delhi for "holding joint military drills with China's neighbouring countries"¦ showing it evidently intends to contain China."
The Chinese cacophony as it raises loud objections over India entering into joint oil and gas exploration projects in two columns of Vietnamese waters of South China Sea is more than evident. However, China has chosen to be extremely coy and non-committal, when it comes to explaining its position vis-Ã -vis its own activities in India's backyard. Beginning with the nuclear arming of Pakistan, the influx of Chinese soldiers in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) that has illegally been occupied by China and Pakistan, in order to enhance connectivity with Pakistan, and maintain a constant military presence near India, will surely have direct military implications for New Delhi. Additionally, providing diplomatic support to Pakistan's position on Kashmir, by means of issuing stapled visas to people hailing from Jammu & Kashmir, attempting to make inroads not just in India's immediate, but extended neighbourhood, aiming to counter India and assert maritime dominance in the northern Indian Ocean, are just some of the vital issues for which New Delhi is yet to receive any answers from Beijing.
Instead of China expressing concern regarding Indian military presence and preparedness in the border areas, it is India that perennially needs to remain cautious in the backdrop of China's ongoing military modernisation campaign for the past three decades. Increased Chinese deployments in and around the Tibet Autonomous Region, reportedly include placing of advanced Dong Feng-21 (DF-21) medium-range ballistic missiles, coupled with plans to shift airborne forces at short notice to the region – thus making it imperative for any nation to question Chinese military motives.
Today's realism, by and large, is still determined by virtue of nations consistently pursuing their interests that can be interpreted as "power". China will have to accept, sooner or later, that it alone cannot define the future of Asia's destiny, and would have to negotiate realistically on the politico-diplomatic front with other nations, most importantly, India. A spirit of barter, or for that matter, mutual understanding and sharing will be essential.
Dr Monika Chansoria is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
The Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
It is indicative that China expects India to remain in the 1990s while she can surge forward into the next century! And if India keeps pace with the ground reality, it means India is misconstruing China's 'Peaceful Rise' that the Chinese arming to the teeth and engaging in hegemonic pursuits are but only manifestation of total Peace upon the Earth!
Indeed, the beefing up of defences along is border are merely Indian political moves. Therefore, should not that not make China edgy?
One wonders how Nations with an "envious, jealous and hateful attitude toward China" have been singled out toward bearing the responsibility of any potential "changes in the international and regional security landscape that shall negatively impact upon China." However, is this to "benefit one country: India, which is being touted and tomtomed by the People's Daily? And so does it mean that what initially was dismissed as 'political move' is actually a military move and it has spooked China out of her skin? That is so evident from the state-run commentaries that alleges the spread of the "China threat theory" in India and China's coming down heavily against New Delhi for "holding joint military drills with China's neighbouring countries"¦ showing it evidently intends to contain China'.
The Chinese double standards (their proclamation indicates so) does not indicate that the Chinese pious claims of "commit itself to becoming a force for peace and stability in Southeast Asia". If the Chinese actions means that they are peaceful like aimed at stability, then peace and stability takes a new meaning!!
China conveniently forgets her shenanigans and sly activities in Pakistan and POK. The arming of Pakistan, new nuclear facilities and proliferation and military activities in POK can hardly be termed as peaceful or building confidence measures with India or adding to stability to the region!
China should now watch India's Peaceful Rise with patience and understanding as we have done so far for China.
It is only to bring Peace and Stability that India is undertaking the actions which China is mistakenly feeling that it is anti China or even aggressive. India is but a peaceful nation and is as peaceful as China!