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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Beware of China -- It wants to stop India growing

August 4, 2009

SECURITY PERSPECTIVE
By Bharat Verma
Organizer (India)
August 9, 2009

There are multiple reasons for a desperate
Beijing to teach India the final lesson, thereby
ensuring Chinese supremacy in Asia in this
century. The recession that shut the Chinese
exports shop is creating an unprecedented
internal social unrest. In turn, the vice-like
grip of the communists over the society stands severely threatened.

Unemployment is on the increase. The unofficial
estimate stands at whopping fourteen percent.
Worldwide recession has put thirty million people
out of jobs. Economic slowdown is depleting the
foreign exchange reserves. Foreign investors are
slowly shifting out. To create domestic market,
the massive dole of loans to individuals is
turning out to be a nightmare. There appears to
be a flight of capital in billions of dollars in
the shape of diamond and gold bought in Hong Kong and shipped out in end 2008.

The fear of loosing control over the Chinese
masses is forcing the communists to compulsorily
install filtering software on new computers on
sale to crush dissent on the Internet, even
though it is impossible to censor in entirety the
flow of information as witnessed recently in Tibet, Xinjiang and Iran today.

The growing internal unrest is making Beijing jittery.

The external picture appears to be equally
dismal. The unfolding Obama strategy seems to be
scoring goals for democracy and freedom without
firing a single shot. While Bush unwittingly
united and arrayed against himself Islamic
countries and radical Islam worldwide, Obama has
put radical Islam in disarray by lowering the
intra societal temperature vis-à-vis America and
the Muslim world. He deftly hints at democracy in
his talk without directly threatening any group
or country and the youth picks it up from there
as in Iran. With more and more Chinese citizens
beginning to demand political freedom, the future
of the communists is also becoming uncertain. The
technological means available in 21st century to
spread democracy is definitely not conducive for
the totalitarian regime in Beijing.

India’s chaotic but successful democracy is an
eyesore for the authoritarian regime in Beijing.
Unlike India, China is handicapped as it lacks
the soft power-an essential ingredient to spread
influence. This further adds fuel to the fire.

In addition, the growing irrelevance of Pakistan,
their right hand that operates against India on
their behest, is increasing the Chinese
nervousness. Obama’s AF-PAK policy is primarily
PAK-AF policy that has intelligently set the
thief to catch the thief. The stated withdrawal
from Iraq by Americans now allows them to
concentrate its military surplus on the single
front to successfully execute the mission. This
surplus, in combination with other democratic
forces, can enable the Americans to look deep in
to resource rich Central Asia, besides containing
China’s expansionist ambitions.

To offset this adverse scenario, while overtly
pretending to side with the West, the Chinese
covertly ordered their other proxy, North Korea,
to test underground nuclear explosion and carry
out trials of missiles that threaten Japan and
South Korea. The Chinese anxiety is
understandable. Under Bush’s declared policy of
being ‘a strategic competitor’ alongside the
‘axis of evil’, they shared a large strategic
maneuverability with others of similar hues.
However, Obama policies wisely deny such a luxury
by reclaiming more and more international
strategic space ceded by the previous administration.

The communists in China, therefore, need a
military victory to unite the disillusioned
citizenry behind them. This will assist to market
a psychological perception that the 21st century
belongs to China and to commemorate their deep
belief in the superiority of the Chinese race. To
divert attention from the brewing internal
dissent is essential to retain the communist
party’s hold on power. In an autocratic system
normally the only fodder to unite the citizenry
is by raising their nationalistic feelings. The
easy method for Beijing to heighten the feeling
of patriotism and thus national unity is to
design a war with an adversary. They believe that
this will help them to midwife the Chinese
century too. That is the end game rooted in the
firm belief of the communists that Chinese race
is far superior to Nazi Germany and is destined to ‘Lord over the Earth".

At present, there is no overall cost benefit
ratio in integrating Taiwan by force with the
mainland since under the new dispensation in
Taipei, the island is ‘behaving’ itself. Also,
the American presence around the region is too
strong for comfort. There is also the factor of
Japan to take into account. Though Beijing is
increasing its naval presence in South China Sea
to coerce into submission those opposing its
claim on the Sprately Islands, at this point of
time in history it will be unwise for the
recession-hit China to move against the Western interests, including Japan.

Therefore, the most attractive option is to
attack a soft target like India and forcibly
occupy its territory in the Northeast.

Ideally, the Chinese believe that the east-wind
should prevail over the west-wind. However,
despite their imperial calculations of the past,
they lag behind the West, particularly America by
many decades. Hence, they want the east-wind to
at least prevail over the other east-wind, i.e.,
India, to ensure their dominance over Asia.
Beijing’s cleverly raising the hackles on its
fabricated dispute in Arunachal Pradesh to an
alarming level is the preparatory groundwork for
imposing such a conflict on India. A sinking
Pakistan will team up with China to teach India "the final lesson".

The Chinese leadership wants to rally its
population behind the communist rule. As it is,
Beijing is already rattled, with its proxy
Pakistan, now literally embroiled in a civil war,
losing its sheen against India. Above all, it is
worried over the growing alliance of India with
the United States and the West, because the
alliance has the potential to create a technologically superior counterpoise.

All these three concerns of Chinese communists
are best addressed by waging a war against
pacifist India to achieve multiple strategic
objectives. But India, otherwise the biggest
challenge to the supremacy of China in Asia, is
least prepared on ground to face the Chinese threat.

How will India face and respond vigorously to repulse the Chinese game plan?

Will Indian leadership be able to take the heat
of war? Have they laid the groundwork adequately to defend India?

Is Indian military equipped to face the two-front
wars by Beijing and Islamabad?

Is the Indian civil administration geared to meet
the internal security challenges that the
external actors will sponsor simultaneously
through their doctrine of unrestricted warfare?

The answers are an unequivocal ‘no’. Pacifist
India is not ready by a long shot either on the internal or the external front.

It is said that long time back, a king with an
excellent military machine at his disposal could
not stomach the violence involved in winning
wars. So he renounced war in victory. This led to
the rise of the pacifist philosophies. The state
either refused to defend itself or neglected the
instruments that could defend it.

Any ‘extreme’ is dangerous, as it tends to create
imbalance in statecraft. We saw that in the
unjust unilateral aggression in Iraq. It
diminished the American aura and recessed the
economy. China’s despotic regime is another
extreme, scared to permit political dissent. This
will fuel an explosion worse than the Tiananmen
Square. Despite use of disproportionate force and
demographic invasion of Tibet, Beijing’s hold
remains tenuous. Pakistan’s over-aggressive
agenda in the name of jihad haunts it now to the
point of fragmentation of the state.

Similarly, India’s pacifism is the other extreme.
26/11s will occur on a regular basis as it
infects policymaking. Such extreme postures on
either side invariably generate wars. Armed with
an aggressive Wahabi philosophy, Pakistan, in
cohort with China, wants to destabilise a
pacifist India. India’s instruments of state
steeped in pacifism are unable to rise to its defence.

In the past sixty years, instead of offering good
governance, the deep-rooted pacifism contributed
to the Civil Administration ceding control of
forty per cent of the Union’s territory to the
Maoists and ten per cent to the insurgents,
effecting a shrinking influence internally, as well in the ‘near abroad.'

India must rapidly shift out from its defeatist
posture of pacifism to deter China. New Delhi’s
stance should modify, not to aggression, but to a
firm assertion in statecraft. The state must also
exclusively retain the capability of intervention
by use of force internally as well as externally.
If it permits the non-state actors to develop
this capability in competition, then the state
will whither away. On the contrary, the state
machinery should ensure a fast- paced development
in the Red Corridor even if it has to hold
Maoists hostage at gunpoint. State’s firm and
just intervention will dissolve the Maoist movement.

Keeping in view the imminent threat posed by
China, the quickest way to swing out of pacifism
to state of assertion is by injecting military
thinking in the civil administration to build the
sinews. That will enormously increase the
deliverables on ground-from Lalgarh to Tawang.

(The writer is editor, Indian Defence Review and author of Fault Lines.)
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