As the news breaks out of limited disengagement of Sino-Indian troops in Eastern Ladakh, the Indian news media has been much thrilled about this. Indian army be cautioned, there is no need to pat your back, as the Chinese move could be deceptive, and knowing the Chinese leadership, headed by Xi Jinping, it could be a tactical move to bide time. The possible compulsion could be deteriorating situation in Hong Kong, which needs primary attention of Chinese leadership.
However India must know about Deng Xiaoping dictum, which said: “Tao Guang , Yang Hui.” When translated it meant: “keep a low profile and bide your time, while also getting something accomplished”.
This was evolved by Deng Xiaoping ping, architect of modern China, when he launched his 'Four Modernisation' programme 41 years ago. The aim was to strengthen the economy and national security by focusing on Agriculture, industry, Defence and science and Technology. He opened up China for rapid progress towards all four fields. Therefore, his emphasis were to bide time while making progress in chosen areas.
However in 2020, Xi jinping’s China is more aggressive and follows the spirit of 'Rambo.' It is taking on USA both economically and militarily. From four modernisations, it has now graduated to 'Four Confidences.' to evoke a spirit of patriotism and nationalism.
'Four confidences' are confidence in chosen path, confidence in political system, confidence in guiding theories, and confidence in culture. Thus, nationalism has been on the rise among the Chinese public.
This has recently led to a spirit of 'Ramboism,' expressed in terms of 'Wolf Warrior' conduct. Wolf-warrior conduct of the PLA is based upon two Chinese blockbuster movies by the same name, which more and less displays the 'Rambo culture.' Xi Jinping is not only its advocate but a fine practitioner. His Border Road Initiative (BRI) cleverly masks it. China’s 'Debt Trap Diplomacy' is another extension of Xi’s aggressive designs. Nations which are unable to repay its loan have to forgo their territorial assets.
China, today, is a $ 12 trillion economy and second only to USA. In fact, ever since China in 2010, replaced Japan as the second biggest economy of the world, it has started showing its aggressive fangs. It’s aggressive conduct in South China Sea (SCS) began to browbeat five other states on SCS rim. Wolf-Warrior diplomacy is an extension and reflection of soaring nationalism at home.
Wolf-Warrior diplomacy is evidenced not only in combative words but also in aggressive actions. To substantiate this attention is invited to Chinese actions in SCS. In early April 2020, a China Coast Guard ship allegedly sank a Vietnamese fishing trawler near the controversial Paracel Islands. When Vietnam protested, the Chinese foreign ministry responded by saying Vietnam’s claims of the controversial area are “illegal”.
Not only this, on 19 April,2020, Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Civil Affairs issued a communique which named 80 islands, reefs, seamounts, shoals and ridges in the SCS. This led to angry protests from other rim states of the SCS.
All this shows that 3.5 kms withdrawal by China is a farce. On 1 June 2020 it has carried out Paratrooper brigade exercise in North West China. A Global Time article of 8 June says that the Paratroopers are to be used as an “Iron Fist.” A mechanised infantry battalion, with integrated armoured vehicles, artillery, engineers and scouts were co- opted to link up with iron fist.
This paratrooper brigade was lifted from Hubei province in Central China and it was effective in matters of hours. Chinese believe that paratroopers have a strong assault capabilities, fast manoeuvring speed and wide combat areas.
In short, such manoeuvring of paratroopers at short notice is for rapid operations behind enemy lines by China. The Global times hinted that some Chinese military observers think that the said manoeuvring has something to do with the current Sino-Indian border stand off in Eastern Ladakh.
Earlier too, a Chinese Brigade from the 74th Group Army of PLA from Southern Command had carried out a long distance exercise in North west China in May 2020. The brigade had come from South China ‘s Guangdong province.
Such exercises clearly show that China has been preparing for a limited military offensive in Ladakh at an opportune moment. There is nothing to go 'Gung-Ho' about the facade of disengagement. Xi Jinping has been very aggressive in his designs He is the strong advocate of WOLF WARRIOR PHILOSOPHY to achieve his objectives.
He might like to revoke nationalism of his 'Four Confidences' through a short and swift offensive in Ladakh by capturing DBO or Sasoma-Saser La area by an airborne operation and thus remove threat to Western Highway. Lately it has started constructing a road to Karakoram Pass - which lay just 8-9 KM crow flight and North West of DBO. It would be directly threatening this strategic locality of India.
This is the primary reason that China has been refusing to delineate LAC on ground and even refusing to exchange marked map. It wants to create confusion and exploit it. It is more particularly so., when India has renewed its claims over Gilgit - Baltistan and POK. Gilgit-Baltistan is important because through it passes the Karakoram Highway.
In view of the above, it is advocated that India must not lower its guard and watch the developments keenly, its intelligence agencies Military as well as Civil ought to keep its eyes and ears open. There is no scope for surprise. Deteriorating internal situation in China might force the Wolf Warrior in Xi Jinping to indulge in a military adventure against India to rally his people behind him. Military conflicts, naturally rally citizens behind the facade of patriotism and nationalism. India ought to be prepared for this Chinese deception.
(Col Rajinder Kushwaha is an ex-NDA, commissioned into the 3 Bihar Regiment in June 1971 and was the Commanding Officer of same unit in insurgency environs in Assam in 1990-93. Has vast experience in CI Ops from North East to Punjab and J&K. A prolific writer-cum-critic on defence and security matters, he has authored the book, ‘Kashmir: A Different Perspective’. His second book on Assam was released in April 2018. Held prestigious appointments in the army including as an instructor at a premier army institute, Col GS, Col Adm of an Infantry Division and Col "Q" works at a Command HQ. He can be contacted on e-mail: [email protected])
(Views expressed are the authors own, and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')