A Game of Chinese Checkers

India and China are two big countries of Asia. Both countries a share common border. British had drawn line separating India from China. This line is known as MacDonald line. After British left, China has gradually made it known that it does not recognize sanctity of McMohan line. China claimed Arunachal Pradesh, which is part of India to be their own as part of southern Tibet. China had occupied Tibet and Dalai Lama, the supreme spiritual leader of Tibetans had taken refuge in India. China had attacked India in 1962. A part of Indian territory, Aksai Chin, still remain under Chinese control. Since 1962 North Easter border of India has remained peaceful yet undemarcated. Many a time Chinese troop move inside area that Indians consider their own. Of late, their incursion frequency has increased.
Recently, Chinese President Xi Ping visited India. Even when India and China were celebrating new found friendship, Chinese and Indian troops were in an eye ball to eye ball face off in Ladakh area. Although, tension eased, when Narendra Modi prevailed over Chinese president, the Chinese troops moved back but did not retreat. Troops came back after Chinese President went back. It is true, that Indian army has improved in terms of training, armament, preparedness etc compared to 1962, we are still ill prepared compared to the Chinese if case a war breaks out.
How does India deal with Chinese aggression? After returning home, President Xi Ping has advised Chinese generals to be prepared to win limited war. How does India read this? In a chesss board like situation, there are several possible scenarios play out. India fears China and thinks China is trying to encircle India by building ports in Sri Lanka, by allying with Pakistan, by aiding military in Myanmar. China feels USA is trying to pin down China using India, Japan, Korea among others.
 China thinks Arunachal and Aksai Chin are historically Chinese territory, so are islands in South China sea. Indian oil exploration in South China Sea in collaboration with Vietnam is a major irritation for China. So are several islands that both China and Japan claim ownership of. India Japan collaboration is a matter of concern for China from military point of view. From this perspective, China wants to maintain pressure on Indian North East. China will press the button when it feels India is going too far in her friendship with Japan or in oil exploration business with Vietnam.
Chinese society is very different from Indian system. Chinese, very much like Japanese, make long term plans. Once plans are made, they adhere to it in a sacrosanct manner. As per Chinese plan, they are not going to scede any territory that as per Chinese history belonged to them. So peoples liberation army will defend and if necessary occupty territories that Chinese leaders think to be their own. Chinese believe in psychological warfare and wants to beat down opponent without firing a bullet. May be present incursions are an effort to cow down India army, thinkers and planner.

What can India do? I think India must be ready to defend her territory. We must bolster our border infrastructure. Given nuclear status of both countries, mutually beneficial business interest, economic cost and global ambition will stop China to initiate full scale long term war. Besides, history tells us that long term occupation of a foreign land is not a viable option. Neither US nor USSR could sustain a protracted occupation in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq to name a few. To neutralise a short and swift attack, India must be at her  defensive best and repulse any attack in any sector. India must be ready. We have come a long way since1962, I would certainly like to think so.



Tags: Aksai Chin, Army, Arunachal Pradesh, Border, China, Dalai Lama, India, Japan, MacDonald Line, Narendra Modi, North East, Peoples Liberation Army, South China Sea, South Korea, Tibet, Vietnam, Xi Ping

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