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India China Has A 'Big Problem' WIth India?


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The government of China appears to extremely upset by a news report in the Indian media that two Mountain Divisions of the Indian army will be deployed in Arunachal Pradesh, and become fully operational by next year.

In response, the China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu cautioned India to address Beijing’s “serious concerns” and not trigger a disturbance in the region “so as to facilitate the healthy development of China-India relations.”

China’s official English language daily, The Global Times (Nov 23) almost questioned the intention of the Indian media report since China's Premier Wen Jiabao was to visit India in three weeks time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Global Times, a subsidiary of the communist party mouth piece, the Peoples daily, the most authentic official view carrier, reported the views of several Chinese experts to decipher India’s intention. Wang Dehua, an expert on India at the Shaughai International Studies Centre (SICC) was of the opinion that the Indian move was strengthen its hands ahead of the India-China talks on the border scheduled for December 29-30, in Beijing. Sun Shihai, an expert on Asia-Pacific studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) opined that military strength of Arunachal Pradesh showed India’s unwillingness to make any concession during border demarcation talks.

More interestingly, the Global Times, decided to recall that the Chinese Foreign Ministry had “condemned” Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in October 2009. The newspaper, known for its hard-line nationalist views did not, however, proceed to recall what happened next. Prime Minister Singh visited Arunachal Pradesh, made it clear that there was no dispute over the state, and was invited for a meeting by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao soon after at a conclave in Thailand when the Chinese side sought to cool down matters.

It is surprising that even after six decades of bilateral relations the Chinese establishment has failed to understand how India works. Or is it a ploy to pick up items from India’s independent media to berate India? The Chinese must understand that the Indian government is answerable to Parliament and the people and, hence, decisions like major deployments by even the armed forces have to be transparently conveyed to the people. In China, the people do not matter and the media is controlled by the state and the party as per the respective constitutions.

While the Indian and Chinese leaders have agreed on more than one occasion to avoid confrontation and provocation, work to further improve bilateral relations, and cooperate on a wide range of issues bilaterally, regionally and globally, it is obvious that a section of the powerful Chinese leadership seem determined to queer the pitch. Why else would the Chinese foreign ministry choose to warn India on a non-consequential issue on the eve of the border talks and ahead of Chinese Premier’s visit to India. Why else would the The Global times repeatedly refer to Arunachal Pradesh as ‘Southern Tibet’ over which “China claims sovereignty”.

Historically, there is nothing called Southern Tibet. It is a new concoction being tried over the last two years or so to claim Arunachal Pradesh as Chinese territory. The fact that the 4th Dalai Lama was born in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh does not mean anything. The Dalai Lamas or any other Tibetan Living Buddhas can be born anywhere in the world.

Reading recent Chinese official media reports and studies in reputed official journals, there is every reason to believe there is a split in China’s top most hierarchy on foreign policy. Following global reactions to its assertive behaviour with neighbours, the party central committee appears to have laid down a policy of restraint but adhering to the country’s already stated position. Yet, there are strong indications that a section aligned with the army is determined to demonstrate and project power outside the country.

President and Party General Secretary Hu Jintao does not seem to be in a position to fully restrain the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which holds a major say in the affairs of security, neighbours and the USA. A conservative in many ways, Hu Jiantao had to rely on the PLA to buttress his position and give way to them even if he does not want to do so. Deng Xiaoping was the last Chinese leader to control the PLA .

A brief review of statements from the Chinese foreign ministry on India in the last two years suggest an unfriendly hard-line. This is something different from the decade of the 1990s when, in the aftermath of the Tienanmen Square incident, India was one on the few countries of substance which protected China from the Western onslaught on the human rights issue and outside intervence in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. The Chinese foreign ministry then was more friendly. In contrast, as Chinese grew stronger economically and militarily in the last decade it formulated a new strategy with Pakistan to chip away at India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The latest in these examples are issuing stapled visas to anyone who resided in Kashmir, projecting Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) as Pakistan’s sovereign territory and Indian Kashmir as disputed territory, and trying to raise a new debate that the Kashmir issue is a trilateral question between India, Pakistan and China.

China is trying to convince India that these are small issues not to be bothered about, but cooperate on larger issues including climate change and currency values against the west. While the two largest countries of Asia must cooperate and work together for common cause, the region’s development and making the 21st Century for Asia, China’s behaviour does not inspire confidence. India experimented on joint bidding for oil and gas resources with China, but woke up one morning to see China had sabotaged India literally at midnight.

Geography forces the two countries to work together and raise mutual trust. Till now, however, China has given no evidence to India that it can be trusted. If it thinks India will conspire with the US to counter China, it must see India’s policy on Iran and Myanmar post-Obama visit. People outside the government in India, save for the ardent sinophiles, are beginning to think there is a too much double-speak from China. Beijing must also realise that despite their huge nuclear and asymmetric warfare superiority over India, it is no longer 1962. China will be welcome if it truly demonstrates it is a development cooperative partner. This has not happened yet.

When Premier Wen Jiabao makes his official visit to India in mid-December, he will come as a lame duck premier. He lost a lot of political clout when he called for greater democracy to consolidate China economic gains. But the party plenum in October smothered his voice. He was subsumed by the hardliners, and he will spend his next two years in position as only echoing laid down policies.

Much cannot be expected from Wen Jiabo’s visit. He will read from the Beijing script in both India and Pakistan. But the Indian government must use this opportunity to deliver India’s concerns and position without pulling the punches. It is time India tells China what are the ‘big issues” and “small issues” for India.

Bhaskar Roy is an experienced China analyst.


SAAG is the South Asia Analysis Group, a non-profit, non-commercial think tank. The objective of SAAG is to advance strategic analysis and contribute to the expansion of knowledge of Indian and International security and promote public understanding. In so doing, the SAAG seeks to address the decision makers, strategic planners, academics and the media in South Asia and the world at large. The group holds the concept of strategy in its broadest meaning-including mobilization and application of all resources to understand national and international security. The aim of the group is not to compete with Governments, Academics, NGOs or other institutions dealing with strategic analysis and national security but to provide another point of view for the decision makers and other national/international think tanks.


Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Jan 3, 2010
iminishing impact of dialogues and Increasing Threats from China

Col Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal

After 16th round of commander level talks at patrol point 15 Hot Spring, emerging points are (China is not eager to give up any area f around 972 sq Km in North East ladakh specially Hot Spring to Depsang Valley, sinc this is a strafgetgic area both for India and China. China believes in sliming licing and continue doing so as it has been flying its military aircrafts in this disputed area and has now built up 3 villages and two bridges in Bhutan area just opposite Doklum and shadowing Chicken neck (Siliguri Corridor) without any objection raised by Bhutan and India whose resposibility for defence is of India. It too a challenge like that of Doklum too as stat4eed by ND TV India. The NDTV came out with the images captured by MAXAR, a company that focuses on space technology and intelligence, and said the village is fully inhabited with cars parked at the doorstep of virtually every home. It said alongside the village is a neatly marked all-weather carriageway, which is part of China's "extensive land grab" in Bhutan. The road could give China access to a strategic ridge in the Doklam plateau. "The new satellite images, sourced from Maxar, indicate that a second village in the Amo Chu river valley is now virtually complete while China has stepped up construction of a third village or habitation further South," the NDTV said in its report.

China has been ramping up border infrastructure in several sensitive locations, including along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh where the Chinese People's Liberation Army has been locked in an over two-year standoff with the Indian Army. Bhutan shares an over 400-km-long border with China and the two countries have held over 24 rounds of boundary talks in a bid to resolve the dispute. The two countries also held 16 rounds of negotiations at the 'Expert Group' level but wothouot any result since China does not want to leave this occupied territory. Instead of doing some hard action the present Governent has been blaming previous government in which China has been doing slamy slicing.

The Doklam tri-junction is considered important from the point of view of India's security interests. The India-China stand-off in the Doklam plateau in 2017 even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Bhutan said the area belonged to it and India supported the Bhutanese claim. India had strongly opposed the construction of the road at the Doklam tri-junction as it would have impacted its overall security interests. The India-China face-off was resolved following several rounds of talks.

India is now cautious about the Chinese incusions. Even in the east the China built villages close to the border. Indian troops deployed along the disputed Sino-India border in the Himalayan range of the Arunachal sector have increased their patrolling at a tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar to prevent a repeat of a Doklam-like standoff. Top Army officials told PTI that the tri-junction, located around 50km from Walong, the easternmost town of India near the Tibet region, is extremely important for India to help it maintain its dominance in the nearby mountain passes and other areas.

"After the Doklam standoff, we have increased our presence on India's side of the tri-junction as it is very important for us from the strategic dimension," a senior Army official said. Chinese troops did not enter the tri-junction too frequently but had developed a road infrastructure near the area which could be advantageous for their mobilisation of army personnel.

These recent developments have further highlighted the need for India to develop a holistic national security strategy. The first was the emergence of a new 'Quadrilateral' in this part of the world (referred to as the Indo-Pacific), comprising the United States, India, Japan and Australia. Navies of these four countries had joined together in a two-day exercise at sea in 2007, after which the then UPA government decided to discontinue participation, mindful of Chinese sensitivities. However recent USA statement that it will not support India in case a war occurs between India and China certainly weakers the idea of Quad for India.Possibly USA is cheased of India's relationship with Russia, and Iran which the US sees in negative terms. QUAD interface seems to have suffered somewhat even though the military relationship continues.

While a healthy defence relationship with the US helps us in getting sophisticated military capabilities and this is a benefit of no small consequence, our equations with China require engagement and not confrontation; its interfaces with Pakistan and with some other South Asian neighbours also add to the complexities.

The relationship with Russia, which the US sees in negative terms, is even more critical. In recent years, this interface seems to have suffered somewhat even though the military relationship continues.

Now Chinese president Xi Jin Ping's actions appears to be towards the effort of becoming Mao Tse Tung and even to pass over his status. Inthis year end there are going to be elections for the next president for which Xiis building its images. it is trying to show himself is most powerful in the orld and China to be the Super power hence along with sliming slicing its grab in pacific and threat to Taiwan is continuous. The way it has brough number of poor nations under hina's influence through heavy easy loans too is a strong strategy towards it thouogh this strategy is failing as can be seen in Sri Lanka. However, China has certainly become a war monger and may be eager to with any weaker country. Taiwan and India are the likely targets.

India however does not want to get involved in any war with China at this instant hence the onl answer is engagement with it but to build up forces to strangthen borders and halt any agreesive design of China. However to get the Depsang bulge out of their encroachment, the only answer to capture some of the hill features in some other areas in Ladakh as was done before the erlier negotiations since China believes in power and not talks.



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