PPolitically, Sharad Pawar often gives mixed signals. It has clarity when it goes beyond national power games. For example, when he said that China was trying to surround India.
The only problem with this, however, is that it’s not the whole truth. Because China is not trying to surround India. At this point, China is successful in surrounding India. The choke is getting tighter and tighter.
As we wrap up this festive week, the Chinese propaganda machine is producing a series of videos of the Galwan clash in June 2020. These show Indian soldiers they had taken prisoner for three days, along with others. provocative images and threats.
This is supplemented by warlike comments on World time or other Chinese weapons of mass psychological destruction. Beijing’s reaction to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh was not unknown. Just that the intensity and the words used were.
All this is maneuver, but not yet encirclement. It is happening elsewhere. With Pakistan of course, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and now Afghanistan. Chinese relations are intensifying with Iran, Turkey and some Central Asian republics.
The latest, actually as of this writing, is the breathless Chinese state media statement calling for a border deal with Bhutan. He doesn’t say it in so many words, but suggests that it happened or is happening despite India. Indeed, he is also advising Bhutan how it has let its interests suffer by letting India interfere in its relations with China over Doklam.
In the region and beyond, the Chinese are trying to tell each country who is the boss of that neighborhood, or the dad of mohalla. In eastern Ladakh, the Chinese have prepared with very hardened positions for the 13th Corps commander-level talks and issued offensive “take it or you won’t even get” statements.
When it comes to psychological warfare, they’re pretty transparent. Why, and what do they want to achieve, that is the question. RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat was right in his speech by Vijayadashami, speaking of a China-Pakistan-Taliban-Turkey link. It’s just that even though his diagnosis was correct, the treatment he suggested was not. We will conclude with why.
Given India’s complex relationship and its continued military dependence on Russia, at least for another decade, New Delhi tends not to talk too much about the concerns that stem from it. But Vladimir Putin now speaks far too often as a Xi Jinping / China fanboy. Note his statement earlier this week that China doesn’t even need to use force to take Taiwan; its peaceful absorption is inevitable given China’s strength.
All this makes the strategic situation dire for India and the Modi government in its eighth year. The big opening bet in 2014, to make any deal with Xi Jinping, fell through completely. Simply because China has never accepted India as an equal. He is now acting as if to remind India that the power gap has only widened.
Read also : Why Lakhimpur Kheri to Kashmir via Punjab is the route India cannot take
OOn the surface, the strategic balance sheet seems heavily loaded in favor of China. It may or may not have taken territory in Ladakh, but it is certainly denying India access to important areas visited by its patrols.
It revived other dormant border regions, the plains of Barahiti in the central sector and Tawang in the east. In Ladakh, China’s deployments have multiplied and have started to appear permanent.
Despite all this, the Chinese continue to gain even more from trade with India in the form of surpluses. As a report by Pia Krishnankutty showed in ThePrint, they have already racked up a surplus of around $ 47 billion, not only surpassing the entire 2020-21 surplus in just nine months of 2021, but appearing on on the verge of breaking the record of $ 63.05 billion.
At this point, we should also take a closer look at the other column, costs and losses. First of all, whatever the Chinese may have achieved in eastern Ladakh, their ability to repeat first-mover advantage anywhere else is currently extremely limited. As discovered by this PLA patrol in the Tawang region. It costs the Indian Armed Forces money and a lot of stress, but they are ready.
Every rude nudge from the Chinese brings India closer to the United States and gradually moves away from Russia. It was the Chinese who finally gave the Modi government the impetus to sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and other strategic sharing agreements with the United States, frozen for nearly 15 years.
Within the Indian strategic establishment, the political universe and the commentary, China’s behavior reaches what we might have considered an impossibility: to eliminate anti-Americanism sclerotic in our collective heads for seven decades. C. Raja Mohan, whom I respect as the finest and most innovative mind in Indian strategic debate for decades, points out to me that once LEMOA with the United States was concluded, India also signed a similar agreement with the French. It had started to seem so routine now that most Indian defense journalists hadn’t bothered to pay attention. So thank you Xi Jinping for opening our eyes.
The trade figures I just listed look ugly for India. This benefit, however, may be short-lived. We could still be skeptical about the Atmanirbharta push. But China is now totally excluded from India’s telecommunications and high-tech sector. Most of the western countries, led by the United States, have brought 5G technology to blackball. For any territory the Chinese could take or refuse India in Ladakh, they pay the price. It’s not visible in terms of military casualties or territorial losses, but one of their biggest markets will eventually be lost.
Read also : Is India Important? Yes, Kamala Harris’ ‘sermon’ to Modi reminds her why
HHow does Xi Jinping’s photo look? Its economy has hit several bumps, over-indebtedness being one. To consolidate its own totalitarian power, it has attacked its tech sector, social media, the education sector, big business entrepreneurs and, increasingly, Western investors are wary of dealing with China.
In our immediate neighborhood, its most critical ally, Pakistan, is arguably in its worst condition in three decades. Its GDP is now lower than Tamil Nadu’s GSDP. The joke of a Taliban victory is an albatross around its neck, the blunt language used by US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman last week reminded Pakistanis they can no longer count on the Americans to bail them out with the IMF, the World Bank and others.
Their economy is down, the rupee has collapsed, there are shortages and runaway inflation, and the Chinese never give money for love or loyalty. You can guess how much the Turks can help besides selling drones if Pakistan can afford to pay for them. Can they afford to start trouble with India? At this point, they can’t even name their new ISI leader.
The Chinese encirclement is tightening. The head of the RSS was right to identify the threat. But its solution, to strengthen border security, is flawed. He should know from the story he has been able to read, and in which he believes, that for over a thousand years in India the defenders have always lost, no matter how tall and how formidable their citadels may be, the courage of their fighters.
No one has won a war by dying in battle. Defenders facing unequal threats must forge alliances. That takes time. He needs peace and stability at home. You don’t buy yourself that time by rekindling old fires in your own walled city, like the National Registry of Citizens (NRC). You cannot call Hindus and Muslims in India the same people one day and start worrying the next day that the numbers are growing faster, if at all.
We understand the electoral constraints, the desperate need for the BJP to have at least 50 percent of Hindus voting for them in Uttar Pradesh within a few months. For this you need polarization, put your own Muslim compatriots on the “other” side. This is how your domestic policy goes against your national strategic interest. India can fight China, despite having five times the GDP. But not with a divided house.
Read also : India cannot alienate its 20 million Muslims, not when the Taliban find legitimacy, never
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