Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CHINA GETS DANGEROUS, BUT NOTHING CAN MOVE INDIA

The posture is getting increasingly aggressive and the objectives more and more dangerous.

China, as India should have understood decades back, but has manifestly not till now, is not mindlessly keeping alive its border dispute with India, particularly over Arunachal Pradesh or Southern Tibet as China calls it. It is the perfect and ready excuse that China needs to switch from dialogue to military attack whenever it chooses to. All it has to do is to suddenly claim that the Indians are being unacceptably difficult on the negotiating table, and have left China with no choice but to liberate Southern Tibet through use of force.

This is such a straightforward deduction that it is unbelievable that India's politicians and babus have colluded to keep India as vulnerable as it is today, that too in the light of the stinging lesson of 1962. This failure is inexcusable. But it seems that the buck does not stop anywhere in India. India's security apparatus has been systematically hijacked fraudulently by generalist, department hopping babus, even though they do not have even a remote understanding of what they are dealing with. Add to this the fact that they are not in any manner accountable to anyone for the colossal price that India will undoubtedly have to pay for their blunders, and you have a perfect recipe for a national disaster of frightening proportions. Tragically, that is not what concerns them. The nation can go to hell for all they care, as long as they can hold on to every single lever of power and decision making in the MOD, MEA and NSA.

In March last year, Chinese President Hu Jintao asked the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA) to enhance its capabilities to win hi-tech regional wars, respond to security threats and accomplish a diverse array of military tasks. Almost in tandem, Chinese military journals started, without any provocation, to talk tough against India and accused it of going on the "same old path of confrontation with China as it had in 1962", and warned that China "will not pull back 30 km" as it had in 1962.

That belligerence and hostility should have, but did not shock officials in the NSA and MOD, who simply don’t seem to care, or in the Foreign Office, who have made it a national policy to crawl when China says "walk". That is the one and only way they have found for India to ensure that the Chinese are kept looking good and the illusion of "friendship" is maintained. Why? One, because they have no expertise in matters related to strategy and security and, two, because they do not want to spoil their cozy status quo party; their "West" fixation and cadre supremacy depend entirely on it.

But, did anyone else sit up and take notice? Did anyone else join the dots and tell the political leadership that the military gap between India and China had become uncomfortably large and that India needed to do something about it on a war footing, if it did not want to face a debacle worse than 1962? You know the answer. Everyone in the know knows the answer.

So, while the Chinese kept officials in the MEA happy and the babus in the NSA and MOD in comfortable slumber by cooperating with India on insignificant issues in various international forums, where it mattered they kept getting and talking tougher, and did not blink before responding in a hostile manner, when needed. At the NSG meeting in Vienna last year, for example, they tried their best to sabotage the clean waiver without which the Indo-US Nuclear Deal would have been useless. But for Bush, they would have succeeded too. Subsequently, they also officially blocked a $ 2.9 billion assistance program from the ADB only because some of that money was to be used in Arunachal Pradesh. All this was accompanied by tirades against India's economic progress, its relations with Pakistan, its response after 26/11 etc. Did it cause even a drop of sweat to appear on the brows of those in charge of India's national security apparatus?

Emboldened by its military might and India's expected zero response, China has now dropped the bombshell that even the totally blind cannot ignore. A recent article in a quasi-official Chinese web site has, for the first time, echoed the objective that Pakistan has been pursuing almost since its inception. It says that India must be broken into 20-30 pieces and that it is in China's interest to do so. To make this a reality, it goes on to say, China should " bring into its fold countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, support Ulfa in attaining its goal for Assam’s independence, back aspirations of Indian nationalities like Tamils and Nagas, encourage Bangladesh to give a push to the independence of West Bengal and lastly recover the 90,000 sq km territory in southern Tibet".

China has also just launched its biggest ever military exercise to improve its capacity for "long range projection" . It involves 50,000 troops, some of whom will use trains moving at 350 kmph and civilian passenger and cargo aircraft, to move thousands of miles.

So, now we have not one but two strong neighbours who want to break India up in their national interests. They both see an emerging but pacifist India that has no territorial ambitions whatsoever, and that looks only inward, as a threat to their countries, for different reasons. And to counter what Indians know is an imaginary threat, they are speaking of dismembering this country.

India, on the other hand, refuses to see any country as as a threat at all, no matter what the provocation, no matter what the historical background. Its army of ignorant and disinterested politicians and babus wants to keep pretending that all will be well eventually if India walks more than half the distance, even if it is to effectively surrender, and if it engages in "proactive diplomacy". This inexplicable foolishness despite the nasty experiences of 1947, 1962, 1965 and the ongoing proxy war that Pakistan launched in 1989, is something that cannot be grasped by anyone save the few Indian "analysts" who are on the government's page either due to sheer ignorance or some sort of political convenience.

That is perhaps why Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta has been forced to publicly warn the nation a few days before his retirement that "In military terms, both conventionally and unconventionally, we neither have the capability nor the intention to match China force for force…”. No capability, no intention. There is no capability presently because there never was an intention in the past; there will be no capability in future too because there is no intention even now. That is precisely why the gap has become "too wide to bridge and is getting wider by the day".

No matter how dangerous China gets for India, India's response will not change. Nothing can move its leaders. They will keep helplessly parroting that India's ties with China are fundamentally healthy. And do nothing at all to even narrow the gap that they have mindlessly allowed that country to create in just a few decades.

For years, China quietly but furiously developed its conventional and nuclear military capability and did not make any threatening noises, to lull a very willing India into complacency. Even during that period, it did not stop regular and increasingly deeper incursions into Indian territory, without drawing a befitting and respect-generating response from an India that has remained scared to death thanks to the 1962 debacle.

Having successfully created the minimum military gap that it had deliberately set out to, the tiger has cast away the sheep skin that it was wearing. Having done that, it is now threatening to attack the petrified lamb called India by blaming it for drinking and soiling the water that is actually flowing downstream from him to the poor creature.

The lamb in the original story had no hope and was eaten by the tiger, even though it was not at fault, because it really was no more than a weak, defenceless lamb. India is no born lamb. It has been turned into one by its security blind politico-bureaucratic machinery that has obdurately refused to learn any lesson from history, ancient or contemporary, and has put in place a structure that has reduced this huge nation to such a pitiable state that not just China but Pakistan - even Bangladesh and Nepal - treat it without fear and with a contempt that would shame any self respecting nation.

An insecure, ignorant, arrogant and paralytic mindset is not capable of listening to professional advice or acting on it. Worse, it is not even confident of allowing professionals to take the lead in doing whatever is needed to prevent other nations, big and small, from taking it for granted and humiliating it repeatedly. That is why a slightly bigger China has become much bigger and stronger, and a much smaller Pakistan has become bigger than it should ever have and strong enough to force India to unilaterally give concessions in the brainless hope that it will put an end to its proxy war.

If things continue to drift as they are, India is going to face an outcome worse than it did in 1962, whenever the Chinese exercise the military option they are talking louder and louder about. Should both Pakistan and China decide to join hands to break India up, as China has begun to say, it will simply be a no-contest and the dismemberment of India will be accomplished quickly and with minimum force. China, as should be evident to all now, has not been cultivating Pakistan for all these years just to keep India tied down: whenever they get a real chance, they will do much worse.

Did India's freedom fighters fight for Independence so that in just over a generation our leaders would make us so relatively weak that our very existence as a nation would be under threat? Can India afford to let its leaders keep hurtling it towards a disaster of such proportions? What will it take to make the blind men who are leading India to open their eyes and act as they must to safeguard the freedom of a billion people who have placed their trust in them? Or are they just not capable of keeping soon-to-be superpower India secure and Indians safe?

Picture source: Xinuha

UPDATE: The Beijing based Chinese website that published the " Break up India" article has, predictably, claimed that it does not reflect the views of any government think tank. It also wants India to believe that the article was a web posting by an anonymous internet user whose identity and credentials have not been verified. Such a denial was expected. Had it been acknowledged that it represented the views of the state, it would have been tantamount to an declaration of war.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Readers may also like to read:
1. Facing the challenge of China's military modernisation
2. China and India:winning wars vs defending the country
3. India's 'Power': weakness=virtue, strength=immorality
4. China and India: bully and forever bullied
5. Democracy, morality and national interest
6. Myanmar lost to China: India's encirclement complete
7. Diplomacy cannot counter China's challenge