BRICS SUMMIT IN DOKLAM SHADOW

SHORT NOTES

China is going to host the 9th BRICS Summit from September 3 to 5 in its port city Xiamen in the Fujian Province days after the border impasse between India and China saw an uneasy withdrawal. The solution to the India China border row in the Doklam region, known as the Doklam Standoff, came 73 days after the hostilities had begun in June.

Yes, the solution is contended as India says it has not compromised on its stand while China claims its victory saying it forced India to withdraw. Anyway, India was composed and behaved like a mature and responsible superpower while China broke every norm of diplomacy behaving childishly, which included incessant threats to India of war and dire consequences.

And the world knows it was China which had to finally buckle under the international pressure, led by global powers like the US. It was clear from the day one that both China and India could not afford a war because it would be detrimental for their economies and so for the ruling regimes back home.

China boasted its 1962 supremacy when it had defeated India in war but its strategists very conveniently forgot that it was 2017 and not 1962 when China’s interests were very much dependent on global economy and geopolitics, unlike 1962 when it was an isolated country trying to stand on its own.

And India is now a much stronger military and economic power, even if it still cannot compete China on both parameters. It is, in fact, a market that both China and the US, the two larger economies than India when seen on purchasing power parity (PPP), need desperately. Also, the debate ends about any comparison between military strength of India and China with the fact that India is a proven nuclear power with inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in its arsenal.

Another major reason that pushed China to accept India’s resolute stand was this BRICS Summit which the China is chairing this time. It is well known that China uses its state machinery and every multilateral platform where it is a stakeholder to further its vested interests and propaganda.

Though BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the Chinese hegemony wants to portray it as a China driven platform which is going to be the alternative to west driven organizations like G20 or NATO. But the Doklam standoff was threatening it as India’s prime minister Narendra Modi was non-committal to confirm his presence there.

That would be a severe blow to the event as besides China, India is the only other country in the bloc which is doing well on economy and its presence was a must for a ‘shining China’ presence. An Indian absence at the Summit level would mean the event had failed, something that China, a propagandist nation, could not have afforded.

China is already calling its president Xi Jinping a diplomatic pioneer, an answer to the west and is using the upcoming BRICS Summit to promote that, along with its pet One Belt One Road initiative to develop economic corridors in Asia, Africa and Europe, something that India is opposed to as one of such corridors, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir that is legally India’s.

©SantoshChaubey

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PEEVED AT TRUMP’S PRO INDIA BENT, CHINESE MEDIA DEFENDS PAKISTAN AND BATS FOR A GREATER CHINESE ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN

Will the US turn Afghanistan into a geopolitical bridgehead in Central Asia or work with China to build peace there?

That is a question posed by an editorial in China’s state-run publication Global Times. The editorial believes that the Afghanistan policy revamp by US President Donald Trump is a step in wrong direction.

Presenting the case for greater Chinese involvement in Afghanistan and defending Pakistan whom Trump again called a safe haven for terrorists and a duplicitous nation, the editorial says that “the US needs to enhance cooperation with China and improve ties with Pakistan to stabilize the Afghanistan situation.”

Reeking of the usual arrogance of Chinese media that threatens India with war every other day in the ongoing Doklam standoff, the editorial argues that it will be stupid on the part of the US “to abandon Pakistan and particularly short-sighted to get too close to India and drift away from Pakistan.” Pushing the Pakistani case further, it says that the US needs to respect and consider Pakistan’s interests and difficulties, and not push the latter too hard on anti-terrorism issues.

Under his government’s Afghanistan Policy, Trump has announced several departures from his established stand to withdraw the US from the war-torn South Asian nation. His emphasis is on increasing the number of US troops in Afghanistan and giving the forces free hand to handle insurgents and not micro-managing then from the Washington. And he clearly said that developing a strategic partnership with India was a critical part of US’ strategy for South Asia.

At the same time, he came down heavily on Pakistan and warned that the US would no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings and pressed that it had to change immediately. How frustrated the US is with Pakistan becomes clear with Trump’s remarks that “the US has been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that US is fighting.”

Now China is batting for that Pakistan and it tells how hollow these Chinese claims are, either in this boastful editorial about Chinese importance in Afghanistan when it has almost negligible presence there or the response of the China’s Foreign Ministry earlier which defended Pakistan saying the international community should recognize Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism.

Continuing its verbal tirade against the US, which banned some Chinese companies and individuals yesterday for their North Koreans links, the editorial says that there is nothing new in Trump’s Afghanistan policy and it ignores the complicated situation in Pakistan which cannot be handled by a single power.

The editorial accepts that the US doesn’t trust China enough but goes on to say that the US and China share common interests in Afghanistan and proposes that “Afghanistan could become a bridge for the two to expand their cooperation.” While the new US policy sees a clear strategic shift towards India, Afghanistan’s trusted partner in its reconstruction, Global Times finds no initiative on international cooperation and new thinking in Trump’s vision which it believes dangles between the approaches taken by Barack Obama and George W Bush and is aimed at maintaining the status quo.

That line of argument is in stark contrast to what Trump thinks. While detailing the policy in an address to the nation, Trump said, “One way or another, these problems will be solved – I’m a problem solver – and, in the end, we will win.” According to Trump and his aides, lengthy deliberations went into formulating the strategy after which Trump reached to a conclusion that the US could not leave Afghanistan in a state that would make it a breeding ground for terror outfits quoting the example of Iraq where a US withdrawal saw emergence of the Islamic State.

Now if the editorial calls that Afghan policy of the US aimless, it is nothing but driven by its vested interests and anti-India streak. China doesn’t want a US military base in Afghanistan. And China doesn’t want an increased strategic presence of India in Afghanistan that can provide it a vital base overlooking China and deeper access to energy rich Central Asia and Iran.

©SantoshChaubey

WHERE WAS CHINESE STATE MEDIA’S FUSS THIS WEEKEND?

The weekend passed without any fuss this time. The Chinese state media didn’t come with any editorial warning India of war or disastrous consequences, be it People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party (CPC), or its hawkish tabloid Global Times or China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.

Let’s begin with Global Times, the sister publication of People’s Daily that has been the front of the Chinese state media pushing for an India-China war (scenario?) ever since the border standoff between the two countries on the Doklam Plateau began around mid-June.

The only editorial with harsh war rhetoric available on the opinion section of its website is from August 7. Titled ‘India misjudges China’s hope for peace’, it mocks India for miscalculated assessment of Chinese ‘silence’ and then throws the routine, i.e., ‘countermeasures from China will be unavoidable’.

The pattern of all other editorials, especially during the weekend, have been back to viewpoints like the developments around the South China Sea dispute, or the Sino-US trade row or even the Sino-India trade war but the hawkish tone of military war has taken a leave it seems. Now whether it is temporary or the Chinese propaganda machinery will be back to its virtual war with India only time will tell.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

CHINESE MEDIA NOW PATRONISES BHUTAN, WARNS INDIA OF DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES YET AGAIN

The article originally appeared on India Today on 9 August.

In a clear attempt to patronize Bhutan, an editorial by China’s official news agency, Xinhua now has blamed India to turn Bhutan into its protectorate. Saying that if there is any dispute, it is between China and Bhutan and “it has nothing to do with India.”

Terming Bhutan a weak country, the editorial says India is recklessly invading its neighbour based on “childish assumptions and foolhardy speculations.” “The bottom line in international justice is that no country may pursue its security at the cost of another’s sovereignty,” the editorial further writes in attempts to provoke Bhutan.

The editorial’s line that “China respects Bhutan as an independent sovereign state and resents India’s attempt to turn it into a de facto protectorate,” may be a new Chinese ploy to mould or pressure Bhutan after India has refused to budge from its position in spite of incessant Chinese threats of military action.

Extending the routine of aggrandizing China’s military prowess, it warns that “India should underestimate neither China’s determination nor its capacity to defend its sovereignty and national interests and must dispel all illusions and avoid disastrous consequences.”

Terming India’s thinking that China will back down a wishful thinking, it further says that India, so far, has done nothing to diffuse the border crisis in Doklam and instead is making eccentric demands even if China is known as an expansionist country involved in territorial disputes with around 20 countries.

China has been ratcheting up its anti-India rhetoric through statements of its foreign ministry, defence ministry, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its state run media, infusing it with war threats, saying it is now up to India to deescalate the border tension and withdraw its troops from an area that it claims as its own.

The editor of the Global Times, a state owned hawkish tabloid, today came up with his second video warning India of war if it doesn’t withdraw its troops from Doklam unilaterally. In his first video message last week, he was seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage”. The hawkish newspaper, a sister publication the People’s Daily, Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.

Doklam that China considers a part of its Donglang region has been a long running territorial dispute between Bhutan and China and Bhutan even issued a demarche to China on construction of road in the area by the PLA. Indian troops entered the area to prevent the road construction with India informing China that it was against the agreement of maintaining the status quo in the area as agreed in the past.

But an autocratic and expansionist China refused to budge, and in fact, unleashed an intense propaganda war against India aimed to dislodge the legally valid Indian claims and employed every possible propaganda tool in its arsenal, be it the high pitched ‘war possibility’ threat or arrogant responses delivered by its higher level officials including daily briefings of its foreign ministry or indiscriminate verbal firing rounds by its official publications.

©SantoshChaubey

DOKLAM STANDOFF: INDIA CHINA DID TRY DIPLOMACY BUT IT HAS HIT A ROADBLOCK

A Reuters report has said that the efforts to diffuse the Doklam border standoff between China and India at diplomatic levels have hit a roadblock. The report quoting people who have been briefed on the talks, said that “India’s diplomatic efforts to end a seven-week military standoff with China have hit a roadblock “as there has been no further development “on the low-key diplomatic manoeuvres that took place outside the public eye.”

Last week, while speaking on the Doklam standoff in the Parliament, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that war was not a solution and diplomatic efforts were needed to resolve the crisis. But, according to Reuters, “China did not respond to India’s suggestion in the talks that it move its troops back 250 metres in return if India has to withdraw its troops from Doklam,” quoting a source with deep access to the Modi government.

“The Chinese countered with an offer to move back 100 metres, so long as they received clearance from top government officials”, the Reuters report further said but there has no further headway after it, as clear from increasing war rhetoric from China. “It is a logjam, there is no movement at all now,” the report said quoting another source.

Meanwhile China has continued ratcheting up its anti-India rhetoric through statements of its foreign ministry, defence ministry, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its state run media, infusing it with war threats, saying it is now up to India to deescalate the border tension and withdraw its troops from an area that it claims as its own.

The editor of the Global Times, a state owned hawkish tabloid, today came up with his second video warning India of war if it doesn’t withdraw its troops from Doklam unilaterally. In his first video message last week, he was seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage’’. The hawkish newspaper, a sister publication the People’s Daily, Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.

Doklam that China considers a part of its Donglang region has been a long running territorial dispute between Bhutan and China and Bhutan even issued a demarche to China on construction of road in the area by the PLA. Indian troops entered the area to prevent the road construction with India informing China that it was against the agreement of maintaining the status quo in the area as agreed in the past.

But an autocratic and expansionist China refused to budge, and in fact, unleashed an intense propaganda war against India aimed to dislodge the legally valid Indian claims and employed every possible propaganda tool in its arsenal, be it the high pitched ‘war possibility’ threat or arrogant responses delivered by its higher level officials including daily briefings of its foreign ministry or indiscriminate verbal firing rounds by its official publications.

©SantoshChaubey

WHEN MAO WANTED TO CRUSH NEHRU

It is consensus in India that China backstabbed our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in spite of his friendly stand that believed the Indian and the Chinese were brothers (Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai). The 1962 Sino-Indian war is the biggest symbol of China’s betrayal in spite of Nehru’s sacrifice that allowed China to have permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Mao Zedong, China’s supreme leader, in fact wanted to crush Nehru alleging India of interference in Tibet, a document released by the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars shows. It is a transcription of meeting between Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Chinese leaders including Mao Zedong and Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai on October 2, 1959. It was a heated conversation where the Soviet Premier blamed China for Tibet unrest, defending India and Nehru, and blasted the hostile Chinese action at the Sino-Indian border.

Before Nikita Khrushchev arrived in China, the USSR had passed a resolution, known as the TASS Declaration, taking a public stand in order to be seen neutral and ‘not anti-Nehru’ in the ongoing India-China conflict. This stand by one communist nation on another offended China and in fact laid the foundation of cold-war Sino-Soviet split that continued till late 1980s.

By this time, the expansionist Chinese tentacles had become clearly visibly. China had killed and detained Indian soldiers in Ladakh and had forcefully occupied an Indian post at Longju at Assam-China border resulting in casualties on the Indian side and was increasingly sounding belligerent, especially after the Dalai Lama and countless Tibetans, who were given moral support and shelter by India, had to flee the Chinese oppression, a development that brought China a bad name.

The transcript of the meeting shows how China was hell-bent on proving India and Nehru wrong even if it was not able to convince Nikita Khrushchev of its words, motives and action.

Nikita Khrushchev: We….do not understand in particular your conflict with India. You have had good relations with India for many years. Suddenly, here is a bloody incident, as result of which [Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal] Nehru found himself in a very difficult position…..If you let me, I will tell you what a guest should not say the events in Tibet are your fault. You ruled in Tibet, you should have had your intelligence [agencies] there and should have known about the plans and intentions of the Dalai Lama.
Mao Zedong: Nehru also says that the events in Tibet occurred on our fault. Besides, in the Soviet Union they published a TASS declaration on the issue of conflict with India.

Nikita Khrushchev: Do you really want us to approve of your conflict with India? It would be stupid on our part. The TASS declaration was necessary. You still seem to be able to see some difference between Nehru and me. If we had not issued the TASS declaration, there could have been an impression that there was a united front of socialist countries against Nehru. The TASS declaration turned this issue into one between you and India.

Mao Zedong: Our mistake was that we did not disarm the Dalai Lama right away. But at that time we had no contact with the popular masses of Tibet.

Nikita Khrushchev: You have no contact even now with the population of Tibet.

Mao Zedong: We have a different understanding of this issue.

Though sounding harsh on the Dalai Lama, Khrushchev goes on to vindicate India’s stand on giving shelter to the Dalai Lama pinning the blame squarely on the Chinese Communist Party, “It’s not a matter of arrest; I am just saying that you were wrong to let him go. If you allow him an opportunity to flee to India, then what has Nehru to do with it? We believe that the events in Tibet are the fault of the Communist Party of China, not Nehru’s fault.”

Mao Zedong: No, this is Nehru’s fault…. We also support Nehru, but in the question of Tibet we should crush him.
Nikita Khrushchev: Why did you have to kill people on the border with India?

Mao Zedong: They attacked us first, crossed the border and continued firing for 12 hours.

Zhou Enlai: What data do you trust more, Indian or ours?

Nikita Khrushchev: Although the Hindus attacked first, nobody was killed among the Chinese, and only among the Hindus.
Zhou Enlai: But what we are supposed to do if they attack us first. We cannot fire in the air…. In my letter of 9 September to Nehru we provided detailed explanations of all that had occurred between India and us.
Nikita Khrushchev: Comrade Zhou Enlai. You have been Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC for many years and know better than me how one can resolve disputed issues without [spilling] blood. In this particular case I do not touch at all the issue of the border, for if the Chinese and the Hindus do not know where the borderline goes between them, it is not for me, a Russian, to meddle. I am only against the methods that have been used.

Zhou Enlai: We did not know until recently about the border incident, and local authorities undertook all the measures there, without authorization from the centre.

Nikita Khrushchev: That the centre knew nothing about the incident is news to me.

Like China is sounding obstinate today, in the ongoing Doklam standoff, it was the same behaviour on display even then. They kept on repeating their falsities that finally frustrated Khrushchev, “There are three of us here, and nine of you, and you keep repeating the same line. I think this is to no use. I only wanted to express our position. It is your business to accept it or not.”

Though Mao Zedong assured Nikita Khrushchev that the border clash with India was a marginal issue and would be resolved peacefully, the Chinese had other designs and it becomes clear from the letter that Zhou Enlai wrote to India in the aftermath where he blamed India for escalating tension by indulging in border aggression, anti China propaganda and Tibet unrest.

China, in fact, was preparing to betray India all along 1950s, clandestinely intruding into the Indian territories to forcefully acquire them and the Tibetan uprising of 1959 was just a pretext to impose its sinister designs of grabbing thousands of kilometres of Indian Territory in Jammu & Kashmir’s Ladakh, i.e., Aksai Chin that the whole world saw after the 1962 war. Prime Minister Nehru, in fact, detailed these Chinese designs in response to Zhou Enlai’s letter that how Chinese were intruding into the Indian territory since 1954, that how they had built a road in Ladakh, that how China arrested Indian security forces personnel in Aksai Chin in 1958 and so on. Nehru also added in the letter that India did not make public these because it was still hoping for their peaceful resolution.

The streak of the Chinese betrayal has continued ever since, resulting in China usurping India’s territory and claiming for more, ignoring India’s sovereignty by developing an economic corridor in Pak-occupied-Kashmir that is legally India’s, its persistent belligerence on Sino-Indian border, its attempts to encircle India by having military presence in India’s neighbouring countries and its anti-India stand on global multilateral platforms that exhibits itself in its moves like blocking India’s entry in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or vetoing India’s and world community resolution to ban Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Masood Azhar.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA HAS OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE OVER INDIA IN CASE OF MILITARY CONFLICT: GLOBAL TIMES CHIEF EDITOR

The article originally appeared on India Today.

China has an edge over the United States’s military presence in the South China Sea and anywhere near China’s coastal waters, and is far more powerful than the India’s overall military strength that is restrained by limited resources, an editorial in Global Times, a hawkish state-run newspaper in China, says.

China also has an ability to upgrade its military capabilities that is unparalleled among other countries, the Global Times editorial goes on to say. China has worked on its core strategic areas in such a streamlined fashion that it can augment the country’s comprehensive military capability faster than others, in fact every few years, the editorial points out.

The editorial comes as China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the world’s largest military force with a strength of around 2.3 million troops, celebrates its 90th anniversary and as the India-China standoff at the Doklam plateau enters its second month.

The article is the latest in a string of India-baiting editorial that have been published by the Global Times, which sometimes is known to take extreme positions not always held by Beijing. The hawkish newspaper has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.

This time, however, the Global Times seems to have brought out the big guns. The newspaper’s Twitter handle today posted a video in which its editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, a former war correspondent, can be seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage’ and ‘if China and the US have a standoff in the nearby waters, the PLA will not lose’.

The editorial runs on similar lines, saying that ‘underestimating the PLA’s strength could lead to a major mistake’. The editorial also boasts of PLA’s ‘all around development’ built on high-tech research and development in military hardware including submarines, aircraft carriers and navigation systems and highlights China’s defence budget of $151.4 billion, three times of India’s $52 billion allocation for its defence sector.

China is rapidly enhancing its strategic capabilities and in fact, has created an advanced weapons research agency, the Scientific Research Steering Committee, modelled on the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, the mother of most innovative defence research in the world giving us technologies like internet, GPS, stealth fighters, precision weapons and electromagnetic cannons.

In March this year, China inducted J-20, its first stealth fighter jet, into active service. The same month, it announced to develop a breakthrough, an electric propulsion technology, that it claimed would make its submarines quieter than US submarines. In April, the country launched its first home-built aircraft carrier in open waters. In June, it launched its home-built guided missile destroyer that it claimed was most advanced in Asia and the world second most powerful.

And as it is the season of army parades in China, the Global Times editorial takes the liberty of issuing warning even to the world on PLA’s behalf it seems. It says as “China’s national interests expand, the PLA will take on greater responsibilities. Other countries need to get used to the presence of Chinese forces outside China’s coastal waters, whether they like it or not.”

Last month, China sent its troops to Djibouti, its first overseas military base. China has entered into an agreement with Djibouti which allows it to station its 10,000 troops in the country till 2026, much higher than 4000 US soldiers stationed at Camp Lemonnier, also in Djibouti, America’s largest permanent base in Africa. And experts say its second overseas naval base is going to come up in India’s backyard, at Pakistan’s Gwadar Port in the Arabian Sea.

©SantoshChaubey