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Given that China today is our main strategic challenge, India’s defense and strategic establishments need to up their game in decoding China. The Indian army is trying to address its capability voids in Mandarin and boost specialization on Chinese issues among its ranks.
What steps have been taken by the army?
The army is working to increase basic and advanced levels of Mandarin training for its soldiers, both within the force and through MoUs with universities offering Chinese language courses.
Last year, the army began specialized courses for some of its soldiers on Tibetology.
What is the way forward?
The best way to enhance our strategic understanding of China would be to support Mandarin and Chinese studies across the entire ecosystem of schools and universities. This is what the US has done over decades, producing dozens of Chinese studies like Ezra Vogel and John King Fairbank.
A civilian-defence academic compact can provide us with a 360-degree understanding of China. In this regard, Government must seriously look at having more Taiwan Education Centres in Indian universities and even fostering Mandarin-language cooperation between Indian armed forces and Taiwanese universities.
Source: This post is created based on the article “Decoding dragon: GoI should upgrade strategic thinking on China” published in Times of India on 16th April 2022.