Of late, China has been quietly pursuing a hybrid offensive against India, both externally and internally. China is now working on India’s neighbours to fix it geographically and economically. Besides, it has its outposts in the Indian Ocean from Gwador in Balochistan in the West to the Coco islands in the Bay of Bengal in the East.
It has also turned its attention towards Nepal, Bhutan and even Bangladesh. China’s motive is not only to contain India but also to spark a conflict between India and Pakistan, with a view to draw the USA away from the South China Sea (SCS).
Nepal has recently started claiming certain territories of Uttarakhand, particularly after India inaugurated the Kailash Mansarovar Road which runs through Lipulekh pass, claimed by Nepal. It has published a new map to include this in its territory. The road construction had begun in 2008 and then Nepalese government had no objection. This definitely seems to be incited by China, in her bid to fix India from North.
India’s Chief of Army Staff, General MM Navarre, has rightly seen a foreign hand in this action if Nepal.
China’s also had been eyeing Bhutan and Doka la pass which provides her easy land route to BanglaDesh and then Bay of Bengal. Accordingly, of late, China has been trying to create anti-India sentiments. There are reports of a flurry of Bhutanese bloggers who have been writing against Indian exploitation.
Should India lose control in Bhutan and China gains a foothold, it not only endangers the Siliguri Corridor but also the entire North East can be severed. China tried to open the route through Doka La in 2017 but failed. China would try this again at a future date.
Next neighbour of India on Chinese Radar is Bangladesh. So far, India has maintained cordial relations with Bangladesh. But it may not stay the same forever. Recent developments must cause a concern to India. Cricket diplomacy of Pakistan is trying to wean away Bangladesh from Indian influence and gain a foothold there. Bangladesh Cricket team had a tour of Pakistan in 2019.
A number of Pakistani students are doing professional courses in Bangladeshi universities. They are certainly going to influence their colleagues in the universities. Pakistan is hoping to mollycoddle it’s estranged brother on religious lines. In the quiet, Pakistani ISI is working against the government of Sheikh Hasina Wajid.
Besides, China is throwing a bait of development funds for various projects in Bangladesh. It is learnt that China has invested some $1 billion. A Bangladeshi scholar has estimated that Bangladesh might need $100 billion over the ensuing decade. And such huge funds can come only from China only. It is keen to develop 'Sister Cities.'
Thus, China is creating a crescent of hostile neighbours around India from Pakistan to Bangladesh through Nepal and Bhutan. In short, it is curtailing India’s geo-political maneuverability in the world and fixing it to a limited region and thus neutralising a potential rival and a competitor for its global supremacy ambitions.
As it is, Pakistan has been fighting 'China’s outsourced' war on India for the last few years. It has kept Kashmir on the boil for over three decades. However, lately it has changed tracks to indigenise insurgency in Kashmir along with a misinformation campaign on Indian Muslims.
Farzana Shah, a Peshawar-based journalist, writing in Pakistan Military’s Green Book -2020, a strategy document published every year, has called for taking the war into non-kinetic domains”— information/cyber warfare, electronic warfare (EW). The Green Book lays out the outline of Pakistan’s road map on Kashmir.
Farzana further contends that a single video clip or picture can change the perception of India, which it has built so painstakingly over the years. She goes on to add that Pakistan needs to keep world attention on Kashmir and in order to do that communication links inside the valley must be established. Indian decision of communication blackout in Kashmir was not random, but part of the planning.
Recently fake Twitter handles in the Middle East, particularly UAE and Saudi Arabia, have been exposed, who had been building an anti-India narrative on ‘Islamophobia’ in India. Such a narrative is part of the 'Fifth Generation warfare,' which Pakistan has launched.
Besides, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has been daily tweeting on Kashmir and Indian Muslims. He has compared Modi regime at par with Hitler’s Nazi Germany. He had earlier tried to revive militancy in Punjab through Kartarpur Corridor. But the project seems to be still in its infancy.
However, recently on May 19. 2020, Pakistan has been able to get a statement issued from IPHRC- OIC (Independent permanent Human Rights Commission— Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).
The statement passed strictures against India’s actions on Kashmir. It questioned the bifurcation of J&K into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu- Kashmir. It accuses India of changing the demographic structure of J&K.
It is no doubt a bundle of lies manufactured by Pakistan. No country has the right to comment in the internal matters of a country. OIC first must sort out the atrocities between Muslim nations, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan etc before bothering for Kashmir —/ which is an integral part of India.
Surprisingly, the same OIC and Pakistan are deadly silent about the plight of Uighur ten Muslims of Xinjiang province of China. The Prime Minister of Pakistan claims that he knew nothing about it. It may be noted that over one million Uighur Muslims were in the concentration camps for reformatory education.
They are forbidden to grow a beard; wear skull caps or do Namaz in public. Once situated along the ancient Silk Road trading route, Xinjiang is oil- and resource-rich. As it developed along with the rest of China, the region attracted more Han Chinese a migration encouraged by the Chinese government.
This demographic shift inflamed ethnic tensions, especially within some of the larger cities. In 2009 some 2000 people were killed in racial riots. But it is not noticed by Pakistan and OIC. How shocking? Indian Muslims, at least ought to take up cudgels on behalf of the Uighur Muslims. India has the third largest Muslim population in the world and it is denied OIC membership.
Covid-19 has affected employment opportunities in China. While the official figure of unemployment is 6% but unofficial figures put it as high as 20%. Chinese regime, instead of resolving the unemployment in the country, is busy buying properties of foreign origin. It had been eyeing the aviation industry, such as German and Norwegian airlines. It’s surplus cash has no meaning, if it remains unexpended to further grow its economy.
World has now become aware of Chinese intentions and its takeover bids of their companies have been blocked. China is now getting isolated. Only a few surrogate countries like Pakistan and North Korea may stand by her. USA has recently moved to delist 600 Chinese companies from it’s stock exchange.
This will throttle the surplus cash of China and further attenuate the problem of unemployment in China. Most China watchers believe that the situation was fast developing like the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
In order to invoke nationalism and patriotism feelings amongst unemployed youth, it may initiate a limited border war with India and then pass on the baton to Pakistan. A border clash with India gives, three advantages to China, namely :-
—— It diversifies US attention from the South China Sea (SCS) to South Asia. It this gives SCS on a platter to China
—— It diverts public attention from poverty and unemployment to national feelings. Asian Public is known to be emotional fools.
——- It creates insecure conditions in India, thus driving away multinational companies, who might be thinking of shifting business from China to India.
It is time for India to not only watch its flanks but also launch a counter offensive on hybrid offensive by China and Pakistan. While India can exercise options in Hong Kong, Tibet, Outer Mongolia and Xinjiang provinces of China, it has Balochistan, Sindh and Gilgit- Baltistan to spark the fire in Pakistan.
While absolute war is not the option but the Hybrid option is an utmost necessity. India too must exploit internal vulnerabilities of China and Pakistan using the same tools as do they.
The first act India must do is to recognise Taiwan as a quid pro quo and fish in the troubled waters of Hong Kong. Military strength is not the only way to secure borders and integrity, 'Irregular soldiers' are the preferred instruments of waging war in the 21st Century. It’s governing principle is: Do to your enemy; as he does to you! Morality, Ethics and Geneva conventions belong to a dead past.
(Views expressed are the authors own, and do not reflect the editorial policy of 'Mission Victory India')