We know that China has Sun Tzu. But do we also remember that India has Chanakya?
Does India always need to take in her stride (1) terrorism sponsored by Pakistan, (2) China-Pakistan collusion to build naval base in Gwadar to confine India, (3) China-Pakistan collusion to build ‘China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor’ through Gilgit-Baltistan which is Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan, (4) China arming terrorists in North East India, (5) China damming Yarlung Tsangpo in China-occupied-Tibet (Brahmaputra in India) incessantly, (6) China issuing stapled visa to Indian citizens hailing from Arunachal Pradesh and J&K, (7) China dumping her cheap goods on Indian markets thereby killing Indian industries, (8) Hundreds of Chinese PLA incursions into Indian territory, (9) Pakistan beheading Indian jawans, (10) Pakistan shelling Indian villages, (11) Pakistani nuclear blackmail, and many similar humiliations? Does India also have tools in her armor to pay back and thereby increase the cost of misadventure, and thereby deter China and Pakistan from aggressive designs?
The answer is ‘Yes’. However, deploying such tools require a quantum transformation in the thinking pattern of not only the Union Government of India, but the overall Indian society. The understanding is needed that war, as traditionally seen by Indians, involving armed forces, are one type of war only. The understanding that two adversaries bent upon waging war using every means available requires thoughtful response, and ‘Aaman Ki Aasha’ is not one such response, is imperative. The understanding that India did not start on 15th August 1947, rather India has been a civilization, culture, political entity since thousands of years, and Indian influence should not be confined to a map given by the British in 1947, is critical. An understanding is needed that in the world as we see it, ‘Idealism’ and ‘realism’ must blend.
For this article, the author is deeply indebted to books and articles written by Shri Brahma Chellaney, Shri Claude Arpi, Shri Arun Shourie, Shri Prakash C Katoch, Shri Gagandeep Bakshi, Shri Jayadeva Ranade, Shri Kanchan Mitra, Shri Danvir Singh, Shri Ashok Malik, Shri Minhaz Marchant and late Shri Bharat Verma. The author also expresses deep gratitude to brilliant contributors in Social media platforms, from Shri Debasis Tejas, Shri Dhruv Katoch, Shri Jayesh, Shri Sandeep, Shri Phunchok Stobdan, Shri Tephun Tenzin, Shri Ashok Tiwari, Shri Tenzin Tselha, Shri Vikraman Nair, Shri Swarna Sekhar Roychowdhury, Sushri Anjali George, Shri ‘Maodas Macaulayputra’ (pen-name in Twitter, not real name), Shri Yusuf (of Defence Forum of India), Shri Niraj Kumar, Sushri Kalpana Singh, Shri Waseem Altaf, Sushri Jyotsna Sarah George, ‘Rangzen’ team, Shri Tenzin Tsundue, ‘Free Tibet’ team, ‘United Nations for a free Tibet’ team, and hundreds of other writers. If this author misses expressing gratitude to any such guide(s), it is the sole error, although unintentional, of this author only. Additionally, this author expressed deep gratitude to well-wishers such as Sushri Rupa Jhaveri, Shri Raghuvir Kamath, Shri Soumendu Dutta, and – last but not the least – daughter of this author, Jhelum, for providing continuous encouragement.
A short list of possible ‘diplomatic’ tools that India can use is provided below:
- In an unrelenting manner, without giving Pakistan any chance to reorganize diplomatic defense, continuously highlight that the only pending issue with respect to Kashmir is that Pakistan must return every Inch of land they had usurped in 1947 and 1948. Sustained delivery of this message, leveraging every social, political, diplomatic and other channels will firmly shift the focus of ‘Kashmir issue’. India must understand that Pakistan treats the ‘Line of Control’ as a ceasefire line, and as every nation treats ceasefire lines historically, Pakistan is bent upon pushing that line further, at all times. India must not settle for converting LOC into International border.
- Similarly, the same approach needs to be used with respect to red China, vis-a-vis Aksai Chin and Shaksgam Valley. For, red China treats Line of Actual Control (LAC) as a ceasefire line, and tries to continuously push the line deeper towards India.
- On Twitter, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has more followers than the entire population of Balochistan, the vast region – reeling under crushing poverty, but remaining reverent to ‘Mother Hinglaaj’ – illegally occupied by Pakistan. Can Indian society rise up to the challenge, learn to use social media effectively, and relentlessly pursue the case of Balochistan’s freedom? The amount of campaign material Indian people can churn out, the amount of outreach they can generate, can prove to be unnerving for Pakistan, in an era of instant dissemination of information.
- For 65 years now, red China is carrying out propaganda work, to erase Tibet’s history from human consciousness. Can Indian people take the trouble to understand that Tibet has been an independent nation for thousands of years, a nation which had actually ruled parts of China even as late as the era of the Tibetan king Shrongsen Gompo, and ‘Xi’an’, the famous site of China’s ‘Terracotta Warriors’ was once the seat of the Tibetan kings? Can Indian people use easily available social media tools to generate massive quantities of campaign material on this matter? It is time we understand that we live in a democracy, and we have the unique advantage of the ability of augmenting governments effort to bolster our security. Our freedom of expression provides us with this capability. Can we use it?
- India continues her inexorable march towards a ‘Knowledge economy’. A ‘Knowledge economy’ is a function of ‘Knowledge era’. In other words, millions of Indians every year are entering this knowledge era. Let us use this. Let us gain the knowledge that not only Tibet, only a few decades back, ‘Nei Monggol’ (inner Mongolia) and ‘East Turkestan’ (what red China calls Xinjiang) were independent countries, and not part of China. Can we Indian people remind the world, including China, relentlessly, that China has gobbled up territory far more than her original territory, and now is the time that these hapless people gain independence? The reminder is important. An expansionist China will not stop, unless circumstances are proactively created for them to stop. We live in a democracy, and while we have rights, we also have responsibilities.
- Expounding further on the responsibility, let us also understand that the Jawans guarding LAC in icy deserts of Ladakh and remote Arunachal Pradesh alone are not responsible for India’s security. India’s trade deficit with China, at 36 Billion US $ at the end of 2013-2014, is now at 48 Billion US $. Take just one example, that of India’s sports goods industry, largely concentrated in Jalandhar and Ludhiana. This industry is getting wiped out due to Chinese dumping. We have a responsibility to stop buying ‘Made in China’. The Indian jawans who were killed in NEFA in 1962 did not have warm clothes, snow boots, ammunitions, but they fought before they were killed. We the upwardly mobile Indian population have everything, and we do not need to fight (hence no risk of getting killed) to sustain ourselves. This author rests his case with one last point on this topic. Often Indian people are worried about WTO rules, in connection with any discussion about issuing a boycott call for ‘Made-in-China’ goods. We forget that, in 2010, when Japan had arrested a trespassing PLAN captain, China had engineered a massive boycott of Japanese goods, entirely through seemingly non-governmental entities. In India, however, although RSS had issues a call for boycotting ‘Made in China’ in 2014, the call remained a hopelessly unpublicized affair.
- India can gradually start recognizing Tibet as an ‘Occupied country’. In a carefully calibrated series of steps, GoI can increase contact with the exiled Government of Tibet and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Next step could be building opinion in India, and all over the world. The next step could be declining visa on Chinese passport for anyone who have lived in Tibet, while keeping in mind the need to let the hapless Tibetan people at least escape to India, fleeing the terrible persecution. The next step could be to decline such visa on Chinese passport to anyone who have even temporarily resided in Tibet. The next step could be to make noise in the UN. Then we can use formal government-to-government channel to ask Chinese to revert Tibet to the status as on 31st December 1949, basically asking them to quit. Thereby we can turn the table diplomatically on the spurious Chinese claim on Arunachal Pradesh as ‘Southern Tibet’. The same template can be used, in a calibrated manner, with respect to East Turkestan and Nei Monggol. Besides, recognizing Taiwan as an independent country and opening full-fledged diplomatic relationship with Taiwan should be much easier.
- 9th June 2015 was a red-letter day, when GoI allowed Indian army to avenge their colleagues killing, through a ‘Hot Pursuit’ in Myanmar. Such efforts are seen as military only, but we need to understand that military power and diplomacy are actually intertwined. Hence, hot pursuit in Pakistan to neutralize Dawood Ibrahim, Hafeez Sayeed and Maulana Masood Azhar will also send a diplomatic message. Similarly, hot pursuit in Ruili (China) where Paresh Barua (of ULFA) is nurtured by red China, will send a diplomatic message too. Building strong border infrastructure and strong military posture in Ladakh and North East India will send a clear message to China, as well.
- Instead of hair-splitting analysis with respect to inviting Japan in the ‘Malabar’ naval exercise, the very act of quickly inviting Japan will send a clear diplomatic message to China.
- Convincing Vietnam and Australia to grant India berthing dock for Indian submarines will go a long way in giving a thinly veiled diplomatic message to red China.
- One internal step, for a change. India’s mainstream media – hopeless corrupt and pliant – produces plenty of pro-Pakistan and pro-China stories. That Indian express, NDTV, ‘The Hindu’, Frontline, Outlook etc have a culture of paid news, is well known. Less well known is the dubious funding they receive, and the convoluted money trail makes it immeasurably more difficult to understand how much ISI or ‘United Front Works Department of China’ money are funneled to them. Considering N Ram of ‘The Hindu’ calls His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama a ‘revanchist’, it can be assumed that the money flow is good. These ‘fifth columnists’ need to be neutralized. Why does GoI continue to spend money on advertising in these media channels? Does GoI believe these media channels have credibility? Does GoI not watch the scorn Indian people heap on Rajdeep Sardesai, Arnab Goswami, Barkha Dutt, Praveen Swamy and Karan Thapar? Even after launching such a successful campaign on social media, requesting Indian people to give up LPG subsidy, does GoI believe that they need to spend money for publishing advertisements in these media outlets? Stopping government advertisements in these channels/newspapers will have a salutary effect on their propensity to publish pro-Pakistan and pro-China ‘paid news’. Will GoI be bold enough?
In summary, the above recommendations are not path breaking, nor are any of them ‘rocket science’. Indian people know these, so does Indian government. However, as renowned management expert Ken Blanchard had written in his book ‘Know Can Do’, the transformation lies in not knowing, but in putting the knowledge to work. Can we transform our destiny?