The expansionist policy of China is becoming more threatening and eventful across the Line of Actual Control. The recent turf between the Indian army and PLA in northern Sikkim is an unfortunate but expected move. China-India dispute could lead to war too. Even while facing the blame of the COVID-19, Beijing is still holding up to her expansionist policy across the border. The persisting power projection over the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, LAC, are still getting the grip.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”–Sun Tzu. No wonder why China is making the move while the world burns.
Indian administration, fortunately, realized the danger on their shoulder after the Doklam standoff. Experienced External Affairs head and National security advisor is indeed making a change than the previous governments but how long? The recent clash in Sikkim and a blow on the face of the Chinese commander is a message and a morale booster, but how long? The dragon is waiting for weakness from her neighbor to take the bat! Does India have the stand to take that hit? Is there any ground to hit them back?
Beijing’s robust investment in Djibouti and other African countries shows their extended muscle. Djibouti is one node in an economic chain that stretches across the northern rim of the Indian Ocean, from ports in Cambodia to Sri Lanka to Pakistan. That itself reflects the shadow on India. The presence of a Chinese base in close proximity to a US base has created geopolitical tensions as well.
Growing Chinese Might
China is heavily upgrading its border infrastructure along with Tibet and Aksai Chin. China-Pakistan Economic corridor is another time bomb over India’s shoulder, bound to blow up in the face. The continuous aggression from the side of Beijing is no longer can be defended with table talks and some bunch of Mamallapuram’s. The government of India is not at all considering any options to irk Beijing by using Tibet. No statement from the government regarding Uighurs and human rights violation! Whoever comes to power, they still live in a dilemma that a smiling face and so-called peace gesture would help us from our enemy!
Suddenly from nowhere, Nepal is claiming the Kalapani region as their integral part. Kalapani and the surrounding regions have been a strategic point to India from the 1860s. Increased Pakistani cross-border attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, Chinese intervention in Ladakh and Nepal’s hue and cry is hardly a coincidence. We can expect a similar stand from Pakistan soon over some part in Kashmir.
Despite having so many potential defense platforms, India is struggling to step into the global arms market. Defense deal to Vietnam and Philippines is nowhere in the vicinity even after China’s response on J&K by supporting Pakistan! Request for Information, discussions and numeral foreign envoys visits are being done for decades but not a single penny reached home. Our policymakers don’t even care to use Mongolia and its strategical positions for unknown reasons. Staggering Indian defense industry is whole another story.
Tit for Tat
Being bold and offensive is the only way any country can stay safe next to China, which will help to gain their respect as well. The Art of War taught them to strike the enemy when they are weak.
India has plenty of options to negotiate with China and tame the dragon. Intriguing to China’s internal affairs and disputes with neighbors can be utilized and bring this to a stalemate, at least to a mutual understanding and recognizing each other’s border and maybe a land swap to ease the tension over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh. We have not used the Dalai Lama card effectively in a manner to make Beijing remember their worth, The Tibetan community is a major slack India have and China doesn’t. “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” is no longer a solution, rather be as enemies than pretending as a friendly neighbor, which is not the case in China-India dispute.
Arming Taiwan and making a healthy diplomatic relationship with them would be great as a starter. Financial aids and defense deals with zero-interest loans would itself make the dragon dizzy. Recently, China’s foreign ministry warned Paris over a contract of an upgrade to a French-made warship owned by Taiwan. China responded, Taiwan is part of “one China”, and that this principle must be accepted by any country with which it has diplomatic relations. Arms sales to Taiwan are always highly sensitive and regularly prompt a strong reaction from Beijing. Paris replied Beijing fiercely to take care of the COVID-19 pandemic first. Taiwan is mostly equipped with U.S.-made weapons, while tensions between China and Taiwan have persisted since the 1950s. India must make them an ally and develop a strong diplomatic relation. Then only China stays away from Jammu & Kashmir as well as Arunachal Pradesh.
The Diplomacy Card
Granting border constructions in Aksai Chin and troop presence would be a stern message. India should constantly deploy its troops in Aksai Chin region whenever China dares to say “Sikkim doesn’t belong to India”. Shifting the focus from Pakistan to China is the first leap Indian political administration should take first.
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is already a dead snake. Grouping with Australian and U.S Navy could be a great relief to the Indian Navy to counter the Chinese subs. Reaching to the South China Sea is costly and out of India’s geopolitical needs as well. Let Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam do that job and making them realize the danger is enough to counter the Chinese naval muscle. Steps like exporting submarines to Myanmar is indeed a welcoming step, but that is not even close to what India should do to counter the economic giant. Recent government notification to invite private companies to India from China is a bold step and it has a long way to go. Being financially strong and playing the right diplomatic card is the music we want to hear.
These power projections are not possible to achieve in a matter of time. It must be done by following an aggressive path for years and boosting the degree as the political turf changes. An aggressive Indian bloc in South-East Asia is the only option left to counter China-India dispute. Counter infiltrations and Claiming Chinese lands following by Western support would clear the cloud over the Himalayas for the time being.