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Why China will attack India

August 21, 2009

China will launch an attack on India before 2012.
Abhijay Patel World
The Pakistan Daily
August 20, 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 rise. The unofficial
estimate stands at a 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 a 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 towards end 2008.

bharat-vermaThe fear of losing 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.

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 the 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.

mapIn 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 a
PAK-AF policy. It has intelligently set the thief
to catch the thief. The stated withdrawal from
Iraq by America now allows it to concentrate its
military surplus on the single front to
successfully execute the mission. This surplus,
in combination with other democratic forces,
enables America to look deep into 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 explosions 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.

highlight-1The communists in China, therefore,
need a military victory to unite the
disillusioned citizenry behind them. This will
assist in marketing the psychological perception
that the 21st century belongs to China and assert
their deep belief in the superiority of the
Chinese race. To retain the communist party’s
hold on power, it is essential to divert
attention from the brewing internal dissent. In
an autocratic system normally the only recipe to
unite the citizenry is by mannpulating their
nationalistic feelings. The easy method for
Beijing to heighten the feeling of patriotism and
forging national unity is to design a war with an
adversary. They believe that this will help them
to midwife the Chinese century. That is the end
game rooted in the abiding conviction of the
communists that the 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 be reckoned. Though Beijing is
increasing its naval presence in the 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
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 the 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 repel 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 the Indian military equipped to
face the two-front war 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 is 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.

highlight-2We 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 the use
of disproportionate force and the 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 policy-making. Such extreme postures on
either side invariably generate wars. Armed with
an aggressive Wahabi philosophy, Pakistan, in
cohort with China, wants to destabilize a
pacifist India. India’s instruments of state
steeped in pacifism are unable to rise to its defence.

In the past sixty years, 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 percent 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 it if has to hold
Maoists hostage at gunpoint. The 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 a 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.

Illusion of "China’s Attack on India Before 2012?

Chinese Response, By Chen Xiaochen

The 2000 km border between China and India has
been a notable absence from press headlines in
the years since then-Indian PM Vajpayee’s 2003
visit to Beijing. Tensions, however, have risen
again as India announced last month a plan to
deploy two additional army divisions and two air
force squadrons of Su-30 Fighter Unit, some
60,000 soldiers in total, in a disputed border
area in the southern part of Tibet, which India
claims as its state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Adding fuel to the flames is an article by Bharat
Verma, editor of Indian Defense Review,
predicting that China will attack India before
2012, leaving only three years to Indian government for preparation.

highlight-3According to Mr. Verma, "growing
unrest in China" due in part to economic downturn
will leave the Chinese government looking for
something to “divert the attention of its own
people from ‘unprecedented’ internal dissent,
growing unemployment and financial problems."
China will also want to strike India before the
latter becomes powerful, which is the reason for
the 2012 "deadline." India, with its growing
affiliation with the West, is yet weak under China’s fire.

But a "China’s attack" is not going to happen,
and one wonders at the basis for Mr. Verma’s
thinking. First, although it is true that China’s
macro-economy has taken a hit from the global
financial crisis, the extent of the damage is
under control. Recent statistics shows China’s
economy grew 7.1% in the first half of 2009,
while its foreign exchange reserve has exceeded
$2 trillion. China’s stimulus plan has been
effective and given people confidence. China will
survive the global downturn as well or better
than the rest of the world’s economies.

And even if China’s economy was really all that
bad, would the government try to distract
"unrest" by taking military actions against
India? Mr Verma’s reasoning rests on a lack of
documentation. Looking into the past 60 years,
China has no record of launching a war to divert
public attention from anything. Moreover, while
Mr. Verma supposes the Chinese Communist Party
has no cards to play other than "invading India,"
the Party, widely experienced in dealing with
domestic disputes, will hardly in only three
years have run out of all options facing
potential social instability. Moreover, even if
Chinese leaders considered such an option, they
would certainly be aware that an external war
would severely jeopardize domestic affairs.

Other reasons the author mentions in the article
are also vague. The Western powers would not take
kindly to a Chinese conflict with India, leaving
China rightfully reluctant to use force in any
case other than extreme provocation. US forces
well deployed in Afghanistan and Pakistan could
check any China’s military action in South Asia.
And then there is also the nuclear problem: there
has never been a war between two nuclear equipped
nations, and both sides would have to be
extremely cautious in decision-making, giving
more room for less violent solutions.

Further, it is important to realize there is no
reason for China to launch a war, against India
in particular. Economic development, rather than
military achievement, has long been the consensus
of value among China’s core leaders and citizens.
Despite occasional calls to "Reoccupy South Tibet
(occupied Chinese territory)," China’s
decision-making is always cautious. It is not
possible to see a Chinese "incursion" into India,
even into Tawang, an Indian-occupied Buddhist
holy land over which China argues a resolute sovereignty.

Last but not least, China’s strategy, even during
the 1962 border war with India, has been mainly
oriented towards the east, where Taiwan is its
core interest, while the recent Xinjiang unrest
highlights China’s growing anti-terrorist tasks
in the northwest -- both issues are more
important than the southwest border. If China
were to be involved in a war within the next
three years, as unlikely as that seems, the
adversary would hardly be India. The best option,
the sole option, open for the Chinese government
is to negotiate around the disputed territory.

However, there is one scenario where there is
possibility for war: an aggressive Indian policy
toward China, a "New Forward Policy," may
aggravate border disputes and push China to use
force -- despite China’s appeal, as far as possible, for peaceful solutions.

Consider the 1959-1962 conflict, the only
recorded war between China and India in the long
history of their civilizations. After some slight
friction with China in 1959, the Indian army
implemented aggressive action known as its
Forward Policy. The Chinese Army made a limited
but successful counterattack in 1962.

Now, it seems "back to the future." Mr. Verma
asserts another war will happen before 2012, a
half century after the last, regrettable one.
India has started to deploy more troops in the
border area, similar to its Forward Policy 50
years ago. Is Mr. Verma’s China-bashing merely a
justification for more troops deployed along the
border? Will India’s "New Forward Policy," as the
old one did 50 years ago, trigger a "2012 war?"

The answers lie mainly on the Indian side. Given
China’s relatively small military garrison in
Tibet, Indian’s 60,000 additional soldiers may
largely break the balance. If India is as
"pacific" as Mr. Verma says, and is sincere in
its border negotiation, China-India friendship
will remain. After all, China shares a long and
mostly friendly cultural exchange with India as
well as other neighbors. Now China is seeking
deeper cooperation, wider coordination, and
better consensus with India, especially in the
global recession, and peace is a precondition for
doing so. China wants to say, "We are on the same
side," as the Indian Ambassador did in a recent
interview in China. Thus, "China will attack
India before 2012" is a provocative and inflammatory illusion.
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