China: Dimensions of Threats to India: Dr. Subramanian Swamy
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Dr. Subrahmaniam Swamy

The former Union Minister and China scholar, Dr. Subramanian Swamy, delivered a talk at the VIF auditorium, Chanakyapuri,  New Delhi on the topic of ‘China: Dimension of Threats to India’. The talk was a part of the monthly discussion series, Vimarsha organized by Vivekananda International Foundation, a ‘think tank’ in New Delhi, comprising leading security experts, diplomats, and intellectuals.

Dr. Swamy told the gathering that our past mistakes in dealing with China arose out of a conceptual confusion in our minds between defence and foreign policies.  He said defence policy has to be structured on the military capacity of China to wage war against India, while foreign policy has to be based on the stated intentions of China towards India.

The Prime Minister Nehru made the fatal error of not allocating enough Budgetary funds to Defence because of his belief that China would not engage in military action against India.  When China did attack we were no match for them since we were unprepared, remarked Swamy.

Even in the recent years, the allocation for defence as a ratio of GDP has been declining to below 2-1/2%, while for China it has remained a steady 6%. Thus we are committing the mistakes of the past again.

Dr. Swamy, while highlighting five dimensions of potential military threats from China, said that the biggest challenge for India and the most essential measure is to understand China. He expressed concern over our lack of proper research and assessment over China and issues related to it. The first threat to India is the lack of defence preparedness, especially in Arunachal Pradesh. Mentioning the second threat being the usage of a multitude of proxies to manipulate policies in the favour of China, Swamy opined that we should strive for better friendly relations with nations including Japan, South Korea, Australia, Srilanka, Burma and Indonesia. He expressed anguish over the way in which proxies diverted the policy decisions regarding Nepal as well as the construction of Hambantota port in Srilanka in favour of China. China is highly vulnerable at the sea and if India developed naval capacity to be able to block China’s energy supplies that traverses through the Malacca Straits, it can easily tackle the third threat of the Chinese naval capacity.  He also disclosed that the main cause for China’s economic boom was the value-added exports to US & EU by China of semi-processed imports from East Asia and was the fourth threat. This trade also India could re-route by taking advantages of its better labour force, thus disrupting Chinese growth.  He also emphasized the Sino- Pak relations as the fifth dimension and efforts for countering it has to be taken.

To deal these threats and challenges we need to enhance both our economy as well as defence capacities and this would “require a new mindset” of Indians, he added. The Chinese as well as the Indians may face acute financial crises in the near future and India will recover very soon, but may not China. This has to be anticipated and the economic planning in this regard has to be done in advance. India also should be able to channelise the energy of the biggest youth population it would be having by 2020. Swamy again underlined the urgent requirement of dedicated, non-partisan research on China and proper assessment on its basis.

Ambassador Rajiv Sikri, the former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and member of the Executive council of Vivekananda International Foundation presided over the function. He, in his concluding remarks echoed the views of Swami that there is no substitute for hard power and therefore we need to improve upon our defense preparedness on the land as well as sea. There is no need of panic about a conflict and over reaction, but should be assess the situations from time to time correctly and take right measures.

The talk was followed by interaction.   Prominent personalities including R.L. Khandewal, General J F Jacob, B.P. Singhal IPS (Retd), D.K. Mittal, Vijay Kapur, Admiral K K Nayyar, C D Sahay, Anil Baijal, Bhurelal, K G Suresh, J K Bajaj were present and actively participated in the interaction.

Event Date 
January 29, 2010
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