Countering the Chinese Threat

Synopsis: India should adopt a multi-level approach to counter the encircling of China.

Introduction

Over the period of time, China has made its position stronger and has now emerged as a threat to India.  Recently, RSS Chief in his Vijayadashami speech also raised concerns over the China-Pakistan-Taliban-Turkey nexus.

How China emerges as a threat to India?

China has successfully encircled India, and now it is in the process of making its grip tighter. Following are the few instances where India can see it happening:

Friendly relations: It has successfully built friendly relations with India’s neighboring countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and now Afghanistan. China is also intensifying its relations with Iran, Turkey and some Central Asian republics.

But Pakistan and its economy are in their worst state. Taliban have not been recognized by the world. And Turkey, at its best, can sell few drones to Pakistan, provided Pakistan pays for it.

Propaganda: Recently, China released a series of videos from the Galwan clash of June 2020. These are Indian soldiers who were captive for three days. This is complemented by warlike commentary in Global Times or other Chinese weapons of psychological warfare. The reaction from Beijing to Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh is one such example.

Border engagement with Bhutan: Chinese media claims of a border engagement with Bhutan. The reaction shows that these talks will happen with or without India.

Ladakh position: In the 13th Corps Commander level talks, China presented its hardstand and issued offensive statements with a “take-it-or-you-won’t-even-have-it” like attitude.

Other surface areas: China has bought various dormant regions like the Barahoti plains in the Central sector and Tawang in the east to life. It has also increased its deployments in Ladakh and is in the progress of making it permanent.

Russia: Recently Russian President praised China for its stronghold as it does not need to use force to take Taiwan. This shows the emerging strong position of China.

Trade: According to Pia Krishnankutty report, in trade relations, China has a surplus of about $47 bn. It also seems poised to break the record of $63.05 billion.

How India is tackling the Chinese threat?

First, In Ladakh, China attained the dominant position through the use of the first-mover advantage. They no longer have this advantage, as was found out by China when they tried similar tactics in Tawang.

Second, every harsh step by China is pushing India closer to the USA and away from Russia. That is the reason India signed LEMOA and other strategic agreements with the USA. C Raja Mohan also anticipated that India can sign a similar deal with the French as well.

What India should do?

It is true that India needs to secure its borders to tackle the challenge. But India needs to focus on building alliances to counter the rising Chinese threat. Thus, at this critical juncture, India cannot afford a polarised society. India can fight China, but not with a divided house.

Source: This post is based on the article “Countering the Chinese Threat” published in Business Standard on 16th October 2021.

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