Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain has chronologically laid out the dishes on the Sino-Indian relationships menu. He has also touched upon the geo-strategic location of India, which puts China at a disadvantage.
His article https://missionvictoryindia.com/be-prepared-for-hot-summers-on-the-india-china-border/ prompted me to pen down my own thoughts on the ongoing developments between the two regional superpowers. Excerpts are as follows.
One of the major factors is that China’s 90 percent petroleum needs pass through sea lanes of India ocean, which can be choked at Malacca Strait and South China Sea. In any Conventional conflict with USA, China does not have more than 55 days reserve to wage a protracted war.
Therefore in order to overcome this, China has been looking for Land routes such as CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) or more recently proposed CMEC (China Myanmar Economic Corridor). Even Doka La crisis in 2017 was to probe possibility of finding a easy land route to Bay of Bengal from Bhutan and Bangla Desh. It might have been blocked then but it would continue to lure Bhutan and Bangladesh. China would continue to explore the possibility.
The BRI (Border Road Initiative) project of China or more popularly called OBOR (One Belt, One Road) cloaks this intention of the China and rightly India has not fallen into this trap. Inadvertently, China would have sought to build this road to Bangladesh cutting across Bhutan and Sillguri corridor. It desperately seeks shortest route to Bay of Bengal. where it has been creating military facilities on the Coco Island.
We must also realise that China has already taken on lease from Myanmar COCO Island in the Bay Of Bengal and it has created Military facilities there. Coco Island is some 15 Kms North East of India’s Andaman & Nicobar islands. Also, it is closer to Myanmar port of Sittwe, leased out to China by Myanmar. China has two pipe lines, one gas and the other crude oil, running from this port to Eastern Chinese provinces. This passes through Arakans province of Myanmar —- which is dominated by Rohingya Muslims. You would now understand why they have been uprooted from there and seeking refuge elsewhere Anyway —-/
The threat to India from the increasing Chinese presence in the Bay of Bengal is manifolds :—
Threaten your A&N island outpost in the bay if Bengal.
Your strategic installations on the eastern cost become vulnerable, such as
a) Ship building & submarine building at Vizag.
b) Missile testing range off the coast of Odisha
c) ISRO —- Space Research Organisation at Sriharikota.
Boost to Maoists insurgency along the eastern coast in states like West Bengal, Andhra, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh etc. Thus, China can effectively carry out its strategic plans to break up India into 20-30 states, as a Chinese scholar had expounded the thesis in an article in 2009 in Global Times. This is a long desired plan of China because it knows India was her final frontier to be conquered before it could lay claim to super power status and dominate the world.
Should China slice through this land route it cuts off entire North East region of India. It is why India reacts violently against any such incursion by China. Bhutan serves as the first “outpost” against such a move by China.
Besides this, China is also trying to contain India by creating Hostile neighbours. It has already pocketed Pakistan. It is now weaning away Nepal and Bhutan. Recent protests by Nepal on construction of Kailash-Mansrovar road through Lipulekh pass is evident. Nepal has become hostile to India ever since Communist regime has taken charge. It is a challenge to India to annul this situation.
China has also been trying to gain foot hold in Bhutan. It has created a chain of bloggers who write against India. This could snowball into a resistance movement one day, if not effectively countered by India. As brought out earlier, loss of influence in Bhutan would expose our North Eastern region. Siliguri corridor would become indefensible.
Bangladesh is also being lured by China. So far it has not succeeded but there is no guarantee that future Bangladesh Governments would not fall prey to lucrative financial offers by China. Imtiaz K Hussain, a Bangladesh scholar, writes in Financial express on 28 July 2016, in an article "China's one-belt, one-road vision: Bangladesh's one-track outcome" :—
"————-China's interest in building Sonadia and Payra deep seaports are well-known; perhaps less well-known may be the implicit/explicit Indian and Japanese pressure to not award those infrastructural projects to China. China's acquiescence of India's extra weight in Dhaka does not mean project-abandonment, simply a diversion to lesser projects critical to Bangladesh, such as the Padma Bridge. Since the Padma Bridge will be critical to both the K-K and BCIM highways, China remains an integral part of the big Bangladeshi picture.——-"
Besides, encircling India along the land borders from West, North and East, China also has been trying to encircle India in the Indian Ocean through sea ports, also called, 'String of Pearls' from Gwador (Pakistan) in the West through Hambantota (Sri Lanka) in the South and Sittwe (Myanmar) in the East.
In the ultimate analysis, China is not at all comfortable with India. It can never be friendly because of the competitive nature of two neighbours. It sees India as a big threat to her global ambitions. It is evident from the Global Times article of 2009 where it sought to break up India into 20-30 states. ULFA and Maoists Insurgencies are manifestations of its long terms policies.
The border skirmishes with India are part of a grand design of China. It has three objectives :—
a) Avoid confrontation with USA in SOUTH CHINA SEA ( SCS) and importantly divert US attention from SCS towards South Asia , where an Indo - Pak war can be sparked.
b) Keep Indian forces tied down on the Northern and Eastern borders . They are also probing exercises to gauge Indian reactions .
c) Encourage and coax Pakistan into a limited conflict with India over Kashmir to lull into a belief that China stand by her.
All said and done, it is not going to be a hot summer only this year —- but into an unknown future too. China herself will not involve in any major Land battle with India other than these border skirmishes with or without weapons. However it would encourage its protege and Surrogate Pakistan to get involved in a heightened proxy war in Kashmir, provoking India to take concrete actions in POK and thus spark a crisis. Should it happen, it gets an opportunity to have SCS at its mercy to do whatever it wants to do.
It must also be noted that China had cleverly outsourced its military conflict with India to Pakistan. It does not need a major military conflict with India to lose face, as long as it can achieve the same purpose through Pakistan. And it is a known fact that Pakistan would do anything to please China.
It is evident from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s deliberate ignorance about the plight of Uighar Muslims of China. When a journalist had asked him over Chinese brutalities on Uighar Muslims of China, his stock reply was, “I do not know anything,” and this is the same Imran Khan who keeps shedding corocodile tears on a false narrative of plight of Indian Muslims. He will do anything for China, so much so if China asks him to bend, he would crawl.
In view of the above, the main purpose of China in initiating border skirmishes is to divert US attention by initiating an Indo-Pak military conflict over POK . Internal situation in Pakistan is so precarious, that a conflict with India can divert public attention. Therefore, this winter, may be in December, If Imran Khan survives as Pakistani PM till then, India must get ready for a fifth round with Pakistan —- this includes the Kargil conflict of 1999. China would be eagerly awaiting for it at a discomfort to new US President - Elect Joe Biden it Donald Trump.
(Views expressed are the authors own, and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')