Every year, hundreds of Chinese PLA incursions are recorded by Indian government. China continues to build up Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. China continues to occupy Aksai Chin. China continues to claim Arunachal Pradesh as their territory. China still does not acknowledge Jammu and Kashmir as integral part of India. China continues to fund terrorists within India – earlier they had funded the terrorists in the North-East, now Maoists are beneficiaries of the Chinese support. Sadly, India remains adrift at all levels, starting at the level of policy, down to the level of military intelligence and troop deployment.
India must focus on the following without any further delay:
- Implement institutionalized decision making on the question of national security – Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Atal Bihari Vajpayee formally recognized Tibet as a region of China. Lalbahadur Shastri clearly recognized, even on the floor of UN, that Tibet must gain freedom from Chinese occupation. History proves Lalbahadur Shastri accurate. History proves Nehru and Vajpayee wrong. So does India’s security interest – India’s security is served infinitely better if Tibetans regain their freedom and retain it. Individual Prime Minister’s whims and fancies can not override India’s security concerns.
- Remove ‘Hindi-Cheeni-Bhai-Bhai’ blinker – Nehruvian diplomats and historians would have us believe that China and India are historical friends. This was nothing but a propaganda, which, unfortunately for India, lasted way too long. Throughout millenia, China and India were never even neighbors. It was in 1950, when China invaded Tibet, an independent country for thousands of years, that China and India have become neighbors. Since then China has staged thousands of border incursions. There was a bitter war in 1962 when Indian army suffered reverses in NEFA but held on grimly in Ladakh. There was a bloody conflict in 1967 in Nathu La in Sikkim, when Chinese PLA received bloody nose in the hands of the Indian army. There was a near conflict in 1986-87 when China had intruded into Samdurong Chu in Arunachal Pradesh – seeing Indian army’s resolve they finally backed off. There is nothing common between liberal democratic India and despotic imperialist communist China. The infamous ‘Panchshil’ treaty was signed between India and China in 1954, and, within 19 days of this the Chinese launched armed incursion. The worthless ‘Border Defence Cooperation Agreement’ was signed in October 2013, and within December of 2013 the Chinese PLA has launched two major raids in Ladakh. China’s second artillery, the strategic forces command, has at least 128 nuclear-tipped missiles deployed in Tibet, with India being the primary target. If China goes ahead with its oft-discussed ‘Western route’ of diverting water from wet South to Arid North, then their dam-building on Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo) in Tibet will mean nothing but a declaration of war against India and Bangladesh, the two countries that are heavily dependent on Brahmaputra’s water.
- Come clean to Indian people – Government must not hide Chinese PLA raids from Indian population. Government must also not downplay these. Statements such as ‘An Acne in an otherwise beautiful face’, made by Salman Khurshid, India’s MEA, during the 2013 April Chinese incursion to Depsang bulge are not only disgusting, they are also completely counter-productive. They convey to the Indian public that the government of India is totally terrorized by the Chinese. They convey to the Chinese that they can continue their strategy of ‘Salami-slicing’ – continuously nibbling into Indian territory. In December 2013, after the Chinese PLA abducted 5 Indian nationals in Chumar (Ladakh), Indian government had hidden this information for 12 days. Every raid must meet with strong protest, aggressive posturing by the Indian army, comprehensive dissemination of information to Indian population, and sustained usage of free press – by even showing satellite images if needed – to clearly articulate India’s case and paint China for what they are – aggressors.
- Strengthen Indian military – Just announcing setting up of strike corps at the cost of Indian rupees 65,000 crore is not enough. There needs to be a thorough revamp of Indian military preparedness. This includes establishing combined Chief of Staff’s office; removing a completely ill-advised concept of civilian supremacy where completely novice secretaries in the MoD can overrule professional advise of service chiefs; setting up cyber warfare branch; setting up space warfare branch; strengthening external intelligence agency RAW; establishing a meaningful policy-making body such as National Security Council; reforming the inefficient defense procurement policy and procedures; cracking the whip on the non-performing DRDO labs and sick defense PSUs; increasing FDI limit in defense production; building road in the sensitive regions at war-footing; stopping political games with armed forces completely; establishing theater commands on the lines of Andaman Nicobar Command and providing a vigorous push to the procurement transactions that are vital for the countries security.
- Dump the meaningless subscription to the mythical ‘One-China policy’ – Taiwan (former Formosa) was never controlled by any Chinese emperors. Tibet has been an independent country for thousands of years. Post 1949 communist take-over, China has annexed Eastern Turkestan (known as Xinjiang) and Inner Mongolia. The ‘One-China’ policy, as propagated by Communist China is nothing but a myth. Subscribing to this policy only indicates India’s appeasement of China. Appeasing a bully never works. India must establish full diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. Taiwan is strong in their military posture. If India establishes a strategic cooperation agreement with Taiwan, that will send shivers up China’s spine. Taiwan also watches China very closely, and can often make complete sense of the Chinese moves that are often bewildering to the others (an example is China’s simultaneously opening up of many fronts, against Japan, Vietnam, India and Philippines). India has no China experts worth the name, very few Indians even know Mandarin. Establishing a strategic cooperation treaty with Taiwan will provide invaluable intelligence to Indian security managers. No arguement is even needed as to why India must recognize Tibet as an Independent country and ask Chinese to vacate their aggression. Tibet, which was an independent country for thousands of years, has been forcibly invaded by China in 1950. Till date China has killed 1.2 million Tibetans; hundreds of thousands of Tibetans had to flee and now are refugees in India and a few western countries; countless Tibetans have been beaten up and raped; thousands of monasteries have been destroyed; nuclear waste has been dumped in Tibet; Tibetans have been made minority in their own country; Tibet has been heavily militarized against the wishes of the Tibetans; over 50 Billion US $ worth of natural resources are stripped every year; thousands of dams have been built on rivers originating in Tibet putting billions in Asia at risk; and an environmental holocaust is in progress in Tibet. Both from the perspective of history as well as humanitarian reasons, India has every reason to recognize the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamshala, India, as the true representative of Tibetan people, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama as their leader.
- Build strategic alliances: It is fine to have alliances with the USA and the EU. However, that is grossly inadequate for India. Countries such as Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and Philippines are struggling to find way to counter China’s aggressive designs in East and South China seas. Except for Philippines, the other countries have so far shown commendable resolve and have steadily worked towards building their military and diplomatic strengths. The recent ASEAN summit with Japan, where the ASEAN countries have agreed with Japan that status quo should not be changed by force, is a case in point. India with her strong navy and genuine blue water capabilities, not to mention the strategic location, will be an invaluable strategic partner for these countries. Japan and Vietnam are already investing significant political capital on building a strategic relationship with India, as can be seen from high level visits of the Japanese imperial couple and Vietnamese senior leadership, to India. Will India demonstrate the strategic gumption and get rid of the vestiges of the defunct non alignment policy?
- Build diplomatic spine – India must not accept China issuing stapled visa to residents of Arunachal Pradesh. India must not accept and propagate Chinese argument of ‘differing perception of LAC’ to explain away Chinese incursion. It is good that the President of the Republic of India visited Arunachal Pradesh, but it is not enough. India’s highest leaders such as the president and prime minister must also visit Tawang too, and often. This will ruffle China’s feathers and India must deliver such strong messages. India must ask Shaksgam valley back from China, this was the territory Pakistan had illegally ceded to China in 1963. India must ask Aksai Chin back from China. India must consistently demand that China stays away from Gilgit-Baltistan. India must remind China that the 1954 Panchshil treaty has lapsed in 1962, the only treaty that governs India-Tibet relationship is the 1914 ‘Shimla Conventiion’, and Tibet must be vacated by China. India must not agree to negotiate one after another Chinese sponsored confidence-building-mechanism agreements. None of them have worked anyway, China treats any treaty (or parts thereof) inconvenient to them as merely a piece of paper. India must cancel high level visits when Depsang type incidents happen.
- Pay China back vis-a-vis Cyber warfare – private protests against Chinese cyber war will do nothing to stop this. By its very nature, cyber warfare allows deniability, and China will continue to use this. India must raise China’s cost of pursuing cyber warfare against India. If ‘Anonymous’ can hack Chinese government websites and bring them down, India should be able to build a professionally led cyber warfare command and run havoc with China’s information technology network.
- Use trade as a lever for economic warfare – By the end of 2013, India’s trade deficit with China will reach US $ 40 Billiion! This is highly dangerous for India, not only does this contribute towards destruction of domestic manufacturing base, but it also increases India’s already troublesome current account deficit. Indian public must be educated about the slave labor camps abound in China. Indian elite, so involved when it comes to protecting secular liberal values, must contribute towards building up public awareness of how millions have died in the Chinese ‘Gulags’ and continue to die. Indians must know the cheap Chinese gadget they see in the department store has long trail of blood and tears, in the slave labor camps. Boycotting Chinese goods is one way in which Indian people can protect the motherland from Chinese aggression. Indian government must also enact appropriate legislation, besides taking other official steps, to bring down import from China.
- Opinion building – India is home to Asia’s largest free press. Chinese communists are even scared of Facebook, Twitter and Google. India must learn to use this immense advantage to India’s favor. A groundswell of opinion can be built up by the Indians at home, as well as by the Indian diaspora, to show the world what Communist China represents – an inhuman, repressive and brutal regime, who have killed over 80 million Chinese people alone since 1949, while persecuting over several hundred million people. To build dams alone, China has forcibly displaced over 22.9 million people! Propaganda is as old as warfare itself, and forms an integral part of warfare.
India must understand that asymmetric warfare that the Chinese communists are unleashing against India must be met with systematic asymmetric warfare, and not just by deploying a million-strong armed forces. First and foremost, strong will is needed. Now is as good a time as any.