Vivek : Issues & Options

Six Reasons why India is not scared of China’s Military Showdown in South Tibet (Arunachal Pradesh)

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India is completely ignoring Chinese indignations and warnings despite the fact that the latter sternly cautioned the former regarding Prime Minister Monmohan Singh’s planned visit covering several parts of China’s South Tibetan region scheduled to be commenced in the near future. In recent years the Indian government has adopted an offensive policy on the Sino-Indian border issue. India is far more adventurist in dealing with China and is intentionally creating disturbances. India has also been taking a very hard and uncompromising position. China has ample reasons to suspect sincerity of the Indian people in resolving the dispute of sovereignty over Sino-Indian border areas through peaceful negotiations. India appears to be completely fearless of an ultimate Sino-Indian military showdown.

What makes Indians so bold in the face of China’s military face-off in South Tibet? This question is worth pondering over. The author personally believes that there are possibly the following six main reasons responsible for this.

1. Indian national security assessment agencies believe that in the next few years China will neither be capable of nor will dare to engage in confrontation with India. In the coming years China’s basic internal policies will be centered around economic construction. Furthermore, China’s foreign policy is based on the principle of peaceful rise and it will not resort to force in on other countries. On the basis of this understanding, Indians have been firmly convinced that China will not pose any military challenge against India. In addition, since China’s Taiwan problem has still not been completely resolved, Indians assume that China will not dare to show its military card to India because China’s national power is not so strong that it could sustain in two fronts and also win two wars simultaneously.

2. China eloquently expresses its good intensions towards India and allows the latter to develop an illusion that China is afraid of taking any military actions to urgently resolve South Tibetan issue. Chinese media and foreign ministry send massages to the international community that Chinese government is not tough and lacks motivation in defending its territorial sovereignty over South Tibet, and thus gives everyone a feeling that China is feeble and can be bullied. For instance, Indians claim that South Tibet is an inalienable part of its national territory, where as Chinese people say that the region is a disputed territory between the two countries.

India says that it can not lose a single inch of land in South Tibet, in response China can just tell the former that it hopes the two sides should be able to reconcile on a rational and acceptable border line if they attach importance to the spirit of mutual understanding. On the question of South Tibet, Indian position is that it will not hesitate to go for another war with China. On the other hand China consistently aims at resolving Sino-Indian border dispute peacefully. Therefore, Indians can never believe that Chinese government would really carry out any military attack against India on the question of South Tibet. Indians have this misconception mainly because China has never expressed such an intention before.

3. Indians believe that there are serious weaknesses in the structure of Chinese military power and its naval force is the most inferior among all divisions of the PLA. Indians further believe that during war their navy would be able to vanquish PLA’s naval force. Indians simply think that they only need to intercept China’s petroleum route to defeat them in a protracted war. This strategy is copied from the American strategy of defeating Japan during the War. A few months back, an Indian retired naval commander commented that Indian naval power was really not capable of resisting Chinese navy. This created a commotion across the country because Indian navy is their main psychological strength over Chinese military challenges.

4. China has possibly not done enough in constructing access roads to South Tibet. Indians have enough reasons to believe that China would not be able to control the region for a long time even if it defeats them on the ground. Indians continue to believe that the PLA has not been able to sort out its logistic problem in South Tibet. Therefore, they wrongly assume that if there is a war it will end like the 1962 war. Indians believe that China would be forced to leave South Tibet and India would regain control over the region. India is only afraid because of drastic improvement of transportation and communication facilities in China’s Tibet. But Indians are confident because till date access road to South Tibet from the Indian side is far more superior to that of the Chinese.

5. Indian army has purchased a huge amount of new age weapons from America and Russia over the last few years. Indian army’s confidence has boosted up after getting hold of this advanced weaponry from the foreign countries. Their behaviour is comparable with the transformation of a poor man who suddenly gets lots of unexpected wealth and acts like an upstart. Unexpected change in life often makes people arrogant and forgetful of their ability. Indian army is exactly behaving in this manner. They are even considering themselves strong enough to fight back PLA’s ground force.

6. An invisible hand is pushing India to act in this way. In fact, we see America’s instigation and support behind India’s hardening position. America really hopes that a war should break out between China and India. In this way it can kill two birds with one stone, restrict the growth of two countries and put off the rise of two powers for some time. Meanwhile America would accumulate war time capital by selling arms to India during the war. It is America’s covert support that has emboldened India in South Tibet.

These are some of the subjective and objective rationale which explains India’s attitude. The author believes that war always breaks out when people are not scared of its consequences and a future Sino-Indian war is avoidable only if Chinese people abandon claim over South Tibet.


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