Chinese Checkmate and Challenges

by Brigadier (Dr) Vinod Dutta 10 months ago Views 658

India has been in a face-off situation for decades and Chinese imperialism is not new. The number of intrusions since 2016 is on the increase in terms of territory grabbing for improving its defence posture. 2019 saw exponential heightened incursions to the tune of 663, which is the highest ever.

Their strategies and foreign policy is like Chinese noodles: sticky, entangled and spicy. For the first time the middle kingdom tasted the recipe and found it hot and sour, much beyond the acceptable spice content. India has been firm yet flexible in its approach in handling the high octane tension in the tough and rugged terrains of the Himalayas.

The Dragon thought that during the pandemic it can slice some of the strategic piece of land in the Himalayan region. The operation was well timed, well-orchestrated and badly executed. China is aware that a strategic aim of gaining physical territory against India is difficult to achieve and therefore aims to extract tactical gains. China wants to prevent India from strengthening its links with the LAC (Line of Actual Control)

The TRISHAKTI approach which India adopted paid dividends both at local as well as global levels, i.e. Ranneeti (Military diplomacy), Kutneeti (Diplomacy) and Rajneeti (Politics). Firstly, the military diplomacy was well thought out much before this episode and the credit goes to Mr. George Fernandes, the former Defence Minister, who moved to focus on China more than on Pakistan and his vision and strategic thinking today came in handy to save the situation.

The Kargil Review committee post the Kargil war gave recommendations to have dedicated formations overlooking China, the raising of 14 Corps and subsequently the Mountain strike Corps, which adds punch to our power. The military asymmetry was narrowed down to a great extent with more skilled, trained and battle hardened troops and the dropping of the image of second mover. The joint exercises with friendly foreign armies was nothing but a projection of coalition power that can form and be pitted against China should things escalate

Secondly, at the diplomatic level, the Foreign Ministry left no stone unturned to garner the support of major and minor powers in the region. The wallet market and market access was tightened and the banning of 59 Apps of Chinese origin was a big blow to China in terms of economic as well as intelligence gains. With more than 120 million active Indian users, it was not only consequential after the Galwan skirmish but due to security reasons too. Clandestine data pilferage is the forte of Chinese intelligence agencies.

It was a multi layered 360 degree retaliation which India addressed in the field of economics, technology and diplomacy. The role of the Foreign Minister is to be appreciated in how he utilised his knowledge, professional acumen and vision to garner support from US, UK, France, Germany, Indonesia, Australia, Canada and Japan. The current situation was also encashed by extending conversations with the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Mexico on India’s UNSC term to brief them on China.

Thirdly, the international geo politics scenario was so tackled that it swung into India’s favor. The nonlinear options were used against China where it hit them the hardest, such as the customer base in India, banning of the Apps, scrapping the contracts of Chinese firms, making favorable industrial corridors for uprooting firms and companies from China post-Covid.

The Chinese investments should be given a de novo look and there is need to do away with legal loopholes currently in vogue allowing foreign donations to political parties. The national fervor was so injected by the muscular nationalism within which India showed patience and perseverance. The raising and risking a kinetic conflict was avoided and it proved that world politics is not a popularity contest but a bedrock of principles, policies and planning. This was second time India got China to her knees after Doklam and the Dragon had to relent.

The blueprint ahead will emerge as follows:

Indian armed Forces to wait & watch

Continuous vigil and no thinning out of troops

Long summer season with winters also in the trenches

Economic smoke screen to be thick as to not to allow any ingress of Chinese goods

Heightened vigil in cyber space

Keep an eye on outer space warfare

Keep geo strategic interests of affected nations intact and intimate

( Brigadier Vinod Dutta is former, Secretary,DCMG (Disaster Management). He has almost three decades of experience in disaster management. He is presently a senior advisor & Member of Centre Research and Consultancy Committee at Centre for Disaster Management Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi. He is also Senior Consultant at the National Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi).

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are of the author's alone

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