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China is an Implacable Enemy of India & India- Pretending Otherwise is Strategic Myopia

Paper No. 6600                            Dated 17-June-2020

By Dr Subhash Kapila

India’s Hour of Reckoning’ centring on China Threat to India’s Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity has finally dawned irrevocably on the night of May 15 2020 in a violent clash in Galwan Valley in Ladakh---symptomatic of China’s long range strategic intentions to checkmate India’s growing reduction of military differentials with China

India in 2020 has to painfully recognise that no political, diplomatic or military space exists for the Indian political leadership and policy establishment but to recognise and articulate in regional and global forums that the China Threat is all-pervasive and not confined to India.

India in 2020 has to agonisingly grapple with the strategic reality that India now has to think and calibrate its China-policy on the reality that China Containment is the only option to restrain the belligerent and overbearing military power of China amassed on India’s Northern Borders with China Occupied Tibet.

China emerged as an implacable “Enemy State” of India the day in October 1950 Chinese Army invaded the independent spiritual buffer State of Tibet and positioned Communist China’s Army on the Himalayan borders with India.

The centuries-old peaceful borders between India and Tibet and the territorial status-quo was radically and violently changed by China in 1950 in the pursuance of its calibrated strategy long thought out that Communist China would establish “Strategic Frontiers” as opposed to centuries-old conventionally respected ‘Geographical Frontiers’.

India under 17 years of PM Nehru’s rule in grievous strategic obliviousness to the “China Threat in the Making” hid from the Indian Parliament and the Indian people, the first major grab by China of Indian Territory of Aksai Chin in Ladakh totalling the size of Switzerland.

Indian Prime Ministers following Nehru continued with the ‘Risk Aversion’ postures with political timidity and thereby emboldening China that India was a relatively easy ‘military push-over’.

The follow-up military developments thereafter on India’s Northern Borders with China Occupied Tibet were marked by Indian timidity, reluctance to divine the evolving China Threat, and pandering more to China’s sensitivities rather than protecting India’s National Honour and India’s Sovereignty on misplaced readings of China that with passage of time Revolutionary China would shed its aggressiveness and resolve boundary disputes with India.

In my first Book ‘Strategic Thought and India’s defence Policies: A Comparative Analysis (2004) a complete Chapter covered Nehru’s lack of strategic culture or idealistic delusions on China inhibiting political assessments of the China Threat buildup and in the process impeding Indian Army force-structures and buildup of defence infrastructure in border areas.

Long used to India’s passiveness on China’s continued aggressiveness of over seven decades, China in the last six years since 2014 has stood politically and militarily rattled, when the Modi Government assumed power in New Delhi, stiffened India’s military responses to Chinese military provocations as evident at Dokalam in 2018 and fast-track development of defence infrastructure on Indian Borders with China Occupied Tibet.

Without indulging in repetition of China’s hostile acts against India sincev1950 to 2019 suffice it to say that China pursued with greater intensity its military aggression against India in the post-Dkalam Standoff which temporarily put brakes on China’s aggression. China in 2019-20 has shifted its more focussed and sustained aggression from Eastern Indian frontiers to the Ladakh Region, despite the military reality that China would be operating on extended lines of communication at this end of the frontier.

In doing so China seems to be prompted by a number of Pakistan-centric calculations as reassurance to its military-client state Pakistan in a concubinage colonial relationship with China.

The Pakistan-centric Chinese calculations encompass allaying Pakistani alleged fears of ‘False Flag’ military offensive against Pakistan, China’s readings that India may attempt to recover Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Territory through which passes China’s flagship CPEC Project to link Xinjiang with Gwadar Port in Pakistan, therefore protecting the eastern flank of CPEC.

Pointed out in my Book ‘China-India Military Confrontation: 21st Century Perspectives’(2015) is that the China-Pakistan Axis coincidentally and significantly joins China Occupied Tibet contiguously with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and the military implications that flow from it easily discernible to any informed military observer.

Hence, the significance of China’s renewed military aggression in Ladakh at the junction points of Occupied Territories of China and Pakistan..

More significantly, China perceives that India since 2014 has engaged in comprehensively reducing India’s military differentials with China all along its borders with China Occupied Tibet bristling with Chinese military might aimed at strategic humbling of India’s emergence as an ’Emerged power’ perceived as an existential counterweight to China’s military expansionism on all its peripheries encompassing the vast land and maritime spaces of the Indo Pacific Region.

India’s political leadership and its policy establishment has to recognise that China in the last 70 years has studiously avoided resolution of the Boundary Dispute, has unilaterally reneged on all Boundary Agreements signed with India in 1993, 1996 2003, 2005,2012 and 2013 on maintaining peace and tranquillity on the borders and setting up mechanisms to defuse tensions.

China has repeatedly demonstrated its propensity to renege on agreements, conventions and assurances of it peaceful intentions. China today is plagued with marked and widespread “Strategic Distrust” all over Indo Pacific and articulated forcefully by Asian leaders at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore two or three years back.

Should therefore India be reposing “Strategic Trust” in China despite its proven and demonstrated hostile record against India and Indian security interests?

Concluding, it needs to be forcefully asserted that the Indian political leadership and its policy establishment should synchronise its perceptions of China and the China Threat with the widely perceived Indo Pacific threat perception that China poses with major threats to Asian security and that India stands like a rock to impede Chinese expansionist ambitions. That by itself makes China an implacable ‘Enemy of India’ and that India pretending otherwise would be strategic myopia.