India and China are both like two rams on a bridge, lots of space for fruitful co-existence, with no real reason for conflict, yet conflicting in the way events and issues are being handled and pursued. It’s quite the anti-intellect approach. Two economic giants need to play on each others strength and ensure a stable Asia, not compete for dominance. The worst is power display or military application in the now being called 'grey zone'. No one knows what it is? No one knows who it is, no one knows where it is being played and how, but all agree that it’s the new normal. Extended battle lines, probing, seeking, harassing, deceiving, threatening and above all with adequate amount of non-attributable complexities.
With China, the pertinent analogy to understand the problem is to not understand it at all. Everyone thinks he knows China and then on the contrary we end up being surprised. No one knows how the Chinese thinks, no one knows what he will do, all we can do is perceive and build time bound rational capability.
If that be so, there is a need for us to delve on certain relevant facts:
⁃ Do we have a solution to the Chinese problem?
⁃ Why are we in a constant state of predicament of actions against China?
⁃ What does China actually want? Is land grabbing even a strategy or part of a narrative building towards making India subservient?
⁃ Whatever is happening on the borders, why now? When it has greater issues to deal with, economic flux due to Covid, South China Sea, Taiwan, US declaring that war on Taiwan seems inevitable.
⁃ Is it a question of relevant leadership and a story of two nuclear nations with two strong men at the top, unknown to the public senses archetype colusivity or showcasing absolute power in the political domain by aggressive military posturing and means?
⁃ What is China achieving by creating huge billeting facilities in its south towards the Indian borders? Is it basically staging areas for his military for an aggressive design or just assertion of his territorial integrity?
⁃ Is Tibet anymore even a relevant world issue? What do the Chinese Tibetans feel?
⁃ Millions of yen spent on airfields, Road connectivity, Rail Lines in areas with absolute no livelihood, cold weather, barren and dangerous.
⁃ Why are we as Indians not addressing a permanent give and take solution once and for all - to enable own development and building up of capabilities?
⁃ Border management and border control - is it actually a policing job? Or a military need?
⁃ Why aren’t we looking at own billeting facilities? Fully empowered by self sustaining infrastructure and a needy population?
⁃ Is peace or non peace in South Asia a geo-strategic need?
⁃ Are the Chinese actually our enemies? Or has the US outsourced his agenda of war fighting to us?
⁃ Huge Chinese forces built and integrated into combined corps and CABs with mechanised, motorised, AB capability? Is it even applicable in mountains? Where roads and tracks enable only restricted movement? and it is still a platoon or a section at points of contact?
⁃ Trade routes through the IOR? Is the Chinese navy being built to protect his SLOCS? Isn’t it prudent that he outsources the security to nations like India, which would ensure both friendship and keep the dominance of the Indians in the IOR, also India generates considerable income.
⁃ Wouldn’t making Gwadar irrelevant by offering a safe passage to Chinese merchants through Kotla or Adani port to a 04 lane highway right up to Kunming, add on to own Indian business growth, employment and captive Chinese interests in India? The semantics can always be worked out, after all Indians are shrewd businessmen.
⁃ Doesn’t own national interests actually zero on to the fact that, we need to exploit the economic benefits of an Indo-Chinese friendship? We need to grow in empowerment of our people along with economical growth. We need the jobs.
⁃ Is regional hegemony more important than a garb of world peace, where every rising powerful nation is shown as a devil and a threat to world peace? While it’s only a threat to the US dominance.
⁃ The Ukraine - Russia conflict clearly indicates that asymmetry doesn’t win you military battles, cause the rules of the games of war are dictated by actions and counter actions. If the adversary beats predictability, all plans are thrown out of the window. It’s only sustainable economy and a redundant regeneration of men and material that survives war.
⁃ Is India even wanting to ever escalate a border scenario into a limited conflict?
⁃ What will India gain? A permanent solution through the use of military to what it can achieve through diplomacy and tact?
⁃ Will military application ensure peace in India’s northern borders?
⁃ Shouldn’t we be looking at the larger threat? Climate, Terrorism? Over- Population?
⁃ Is war with the Chinese going through be an exploitable tool?
⁃ Is China guaranteed of a success or absolute victory in a conventional conflict? If not, then why would he even prosecute war? Any paradigm below absolute victory will showcase him as a political and military failure, thereby ending the great Chinese dream.
Too many questions and no answers that can easily state the desired need or the end state. War with China is avoidable completely. We need to focus inwards on capability building. Be it technology or infrastructure. We need to have major military reforms to fight a technologically enabled war. Small Teams, Guerrilla Warfare, Under Water Predators, Stealth in the skies, Swarms and Drones, sons of the soil embedded and tasked ,etc., all this in the military domain. Integrated effort, applied seamlessly for effects. At the national security strategy level, speak from a position of strength and genuine friendship. Secure their fears by non-alignment and consolidate the economy by propositions of mutual interest benefitting both.
The author is a military analyst & commentator on national security issues
(Views expressed are the author's own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Mission Victory India)
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