Article also published by Bharat Shakti
If we reflect upon the course of events it emerges that the Chinese are at their old game of talk – talk, fight – fight. These talks are merely a tactic to fool us. We should not get strategically surprised.
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Resolute Firm and Unshakable in our Resolve
Enough has already been written on the ongoing India – China confrontation. Therefore, this piece will not dwell on the brass tacks of going over the timeline of events of the past few months. But it is important to put into proper perspective the recently concluded Corps Commander level marathon 14 hours talks on June 30. This was the third Corps Commander level talks during the current Galwan crisis. As per reports exhaustive discussions took place on all contentious issues and flash points. Hopefully this will finally lead to disengagement, de-escalation and de-induction of opposing forces and reversion of both sides to status quo ante. However, in this context two characteristics of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) which are present in their DNA should of concern to us and taken note off. First is lack of transparency in their dealings. Second is lack of commitment to treaties and agreements – leading to huge trust deficit. On both counts they have an extremely poor track record. Historically, if we recollect on the series of talks that took place between Mao and Chiang post the second world war in 1945 on the behest of United States to retain a united China, Mao interacted with Chiang for over seven weeks toiling over documents that aimed at creating a democratic China, with a national conference that would establish the rules for elections to a national assembly. A joint communique of October 1945 included words such as “peace, democracy, solidarity, and unity.” However, Mao went back on his words and civil war commenced forcing Chiang and his supporters to flee from the mainland China. Classic example of “Talk – Talk, Fight – Fight”. 1962 was a similar story between India and China.
If we look at the events of past few months since the onset of COVID19 pandemic when China was and is still being cornered by various nations of the world over its careless handling of the COVID19 especially by USA, China approached India seeking support in denouncing the US allegation. But India took a measured and balanced approach and maintained a neutral stance. The Chinese thereafter resorted to test waters by carrying out minor border confrontation in Naku La on 10 May 20. Emboldened further they commenced their operations to change the status – quo in Eastern Ladakh in areas of Pangang So and Galwan. India was misled into believing that the Chinese would honour the commitment made by them in the talks of June 6th and resorted to unprovoked violence on our unsuspecting troops in the Galwan Sector on June 14th. Colonel Santosh Babu and 20 of our brave soldiers were martyred but not before the Chinese got the taste of their own medicine. It is now assessed that between 30-35 Chinese soldiers were killed and many more injured. Now the two Asian powers are once again engaged in grueling marathon talks. If we reflect upon the course of events it clearly emerges that the Chinese are at their old game of talk – talk, fight – fight. Therefore, these talks are merely a tactic to fool us and strike again at an opportune time. Dean Cheng writing in The Daily Signal on US – China military engagements has written, “Mao would negotiate, not in order to “get to yes” and reach a compromise solution, but to buy time, color his opponent’s views, and influence third parties. The ultimate goal never changed, whatever the negotiating position.” Please note the highlighted phrase. This statement is loaded with message for India. We should have no doubt of Chinese intentions. It will make its position secure in Ladakh for its economic activities along the G219 highway and secure the waters of Indus and Shyok. China will spare no efforts to rest the LAC along these two river bodies. But we need to at any cost deny this unjustified intent of China at any cost.
So India needs to be cognizant of two points, the real Chinese intentions and the approach it will adopt to achieve its intended goal. We must not allow the comity of nations to get fooled by the overt display of eagerness to settle the current conflict through dialogue. Secondly, whatever resolution which we achieve in this case going back to status quo ante will be a temporary acceptance of peace by the Xi Jinping who is trying to jettison the Deng Xiaoping’s approach and adopt the more aggressive Maoist philosophy. Therefore, outcome of current talks notwithstanding, we must continue our preparations to deal with China with the aim of at least ensuring dissuasive deterrence. Towards this end the move by the Government of India to enhance its defence capabilities through assistance from Russia, France and United States are steps in the right direction. We must not forget that the Chinese respect strength. We need to continuously work towards building our defence capabilities. While we should not seek war but if forced upon us we must not be found wanting. Finally, we need to strengthen our Intelligence – Surveillance – Reconnaissance (ISR) capability, for without this we will not be able to discern the Chinese real intentions in time. To strengthen this capability our space based surveillance, technical surveillance and intelligence capability and human intelligence has to be strengthened, otherwise we will continue to remain in a reactive mode. It is good that the government of the day and the armed forces are working in harmony to strengthen our defence preparedness. An area where our nation is found wanting is socio – political unity on matters of national security. Almost continuous one-upmanship and politicization of the current crisis in the media is only going to harm the nation in the long run. Indian Defence Forces have remained above politics always and every time. It is a humble request to the veteran fraternity also that our current military leadership is no less capable and nationalistic than what we were. They are equally capable of handling any military crisis and must give them space to function. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) did a “Da-Da, Tan – Tan” on us in 1962, it is now our turn to turn the tables on China if forced to do so. We must not forget, the Indian Armed Forces are probably the best in mountain warfare and we have proven it over and over again from WW1 to Kargil.