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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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

SIKKIM: FROM PROTECTORATE TO 22ND STATE OF THE INDIAN UNION

STATALES

2003: CHINA WENT FOR A SWAP OFFER, SOMETHING THAT IT HAS BEEN TRYING TO DO WITH ARUNACHAL PRADESH – IT AGREED TO FINALLY RECOGNIZE SIKKIM AS AN INDIAN STATE AFTER INDIA AGREED TO DECLARE TIBET A PART OF CHINA.

NATHU LA REOPENING IN 2006: THE FAMED TRADE ROUTE OF ANCIENT DAYS WAS REOPENED AFTER 44 YEARS AFTER IT WAS CLOSED IN THE 1962 WAR. IT EFFECTIVELY PUT TO REST ALL CHINESE DESIGNS ON NOT ACCEPTING SIKKIM AS INDIAN TERRITORY.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

1890 – THE BRITISH-CHINESE CONVENTION: SIKKIM DECLARED A “PROTECTORATE” OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE – LATER ON, IT BECAME A PRINCELY STATE OF THE BRITISH INDIA.

1947-1950: SIKKIM AS AN INDEPENDENT NATION – AS PEOPLE OF SIKKIM REJECTED THE PROPOSITION TO MERGE INTO INDIA THROUGH A POPULAR VOTE.

1950: INDO-SIKKIM TREATY WHICH MADE SIKKIM AN INDIAN PROTECTORATE – SIKKIM CONTINUED TO BE A SOVEREIGN NATION – BUT WOULD DEFER TO INDIA IN ISSUES OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND COMMUNICATION.

1975: CONTINUING ANTI-ROYAL PROTESTS – SIKKIM’S PRIME MINISTER REQUESTED FOR MERGER INTO THE INDIAN UNION.

  • APRIL 1975: INDIAN ARMY IN GANGTOK – REFERENDUM HELD – 97.5% VOTED TO JOIN INDIA.
  • MAY1975 : KINGDOM OF SIKKIM BECAME INDIA’S 22ND STATE.

CHINA ON MERGER: CHINA TERMED THE REFERENDUM ILLEGITIMATE, UNDER MILITARY PRESSURE – FOR CHINA, SIKKIM REMAINED AN INDEPENDENT NATION TILL 2003 WHEN THE SIKKIM-TIBET DEAL WAS REACHED AT.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINESE MEDIA NOW WARNS CHINA’S INVESTORS ON INVESTING IN INDIA CITING ESCALATING BORDER ROW

Adding another angle to its anti-India rhetoric, Chinese state publication Global Times has now called the Chinese companies to wait and see before making a decision to invest in India.

An editorial in the publication warns Chinese companies that “violent attacks against Chinese personnel and companies may happen in India if the two countries see even small-scale military tension at the border.”

Drawing a Vietnam parallel where, according to the article, anti-China riots in 2014 due to Vietnam-China tension on South China Sea claims left many Chinese dead and over 100 injured, it says that though India is a potential market, the would-be investors from China should perhaps take a wait-and-see approach and then in a judgemental tone, goes on to say that due to this prevailing scenario, “new investment from China into India is likely to be reduced.”

The editorial warns that that Indian nationalism may push an anti-China sentiment in the same way in India as in Vietnam with the escalating border tension and it may be further fuelled by ethnic and religious factors and the “Chinese firms doing business in India, especially those in the retail and consumer electronics industries, need to take precautions against possible boycotts and should strive to ensure the personal safety of Chinese workers if there is an escalation in tensions between the two countries.”

The border standoff between China and India near the Bhutan tri-junction in the Doklam area in the Sikkim sector is now in its 20th day and both sides are maintaining their tough stands.

China has already ratcheted up its anti-India rhetoric, 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, as Chinese Ambassador to India Lau Zhaohui reiterated in an interview yesterday while India maintains that the India-China border in the area is still not fully demarcated, and Beijing, in fact, in 2012 agreed that any solution can be reached at only after consultation among all parties including Bhutan.

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, has unleashed an intense propaganda war against India aimed to dislodge the legally valid Indian claims and has 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 like Global Times of Xinhua.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA’S VESTED INTERESTS IN ‘ONE BELT ONE ROAD’ A PRETEXT TO MEDDLE IN KASHMIR ISSUE?

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is modified and extended.

Global Times, China’s official mouthpiece, has called for an increased Chinese role in South and Southeast Asia. Citing Chinese mediation between Myanmar and Bangladesh over the Rohingya refugees issue, in an article published today, it says that it is imperative that China protects the interests of its organizations with their increasing global footprint across the world, saying that ‘Beijing cannot turn a deaf ear to such demands’.

Taking its argument to the next level, the article further says that China has made huge investments in many countries under its ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative and therefore it has ‘vested interests’ to mediate in regional conflicts including the ‘Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan’. According to the article, the Chinese experience over the Rohingya issue should serve as a template for the larger Chinese role in South and Southeast Asia.

Such provocations by the official media in China are gradually becoming a trend. Recently, an editorial had suggested that China should intervene in the Kashmir issue actively after India had declined illegitimate Chinese demands of clamping down on the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal Pradesh visit. China claims Arunachal Pradesh is South Tibet and even went on to rename six Arunachal Pradesh cities in maps released by it.

India has made it amply clear that the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan, is an integral part of India and if there has to be a dialogue, it has to be bilateral in nature and would focus on Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. If the official Chinese media is still hell bent on advocating increased Chinese mediation in the Kashmir dispute, it should be construed as an extension of the official Chinese propaganda that tried to demean India whenever it gets a chance.

A significant part of China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ passes through PoK where China is making huge investment and which India has objected to as it is ideally an Indian land.

It also exposes the Chinese double standards. China’s considers Arunachal Pradesh its own territory and therefore disputed and cannot tolerate even an exiled Tibetan person, even if the person is the Peace Nobel Laureate, to venture there, whereas it sends an army of its organizations, workers and, in turn, its forces, in the name of safeguarding them, to a disputed territory that has historically been a part of India.

Though some reports say that Myanmar has turned down the offer of Chinese mediation, Myanmar may finally succumb to the Chinese pressure of meddling into its affairs. China has gradually increased its investments in Myanmar to a significant level including an oil pipeline through Myanmar that gives China direct access to crude oil from Middle East and Africa. The oil pipeline was an important piece of China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ map.

China may be the world’s second largest economy but its global reputation is still of an autocratic country with an expansive mindset that is involved in multiple territorial and sea disputes. China’s one party rule has become synonymous with human rights abuses and meddling in global affairs to protect other autocratic regimes like Syria and North Korea.

©SantoshChaubey

CONTINUING DOUBLESPEAK, NOW CHINESE MEDIA WARNS OF GEOPOLITICAL GAMES IN KASHMIR

How rattled is the Chinese media on the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal Pradesh visit is visible from the flurry of threats, warning and even advices that are appearing in its official publications. After calling India’s stand on the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit an undignified and obstinate stand damaging to the India-China bilateral ties or summoning the Indian envoy in Beijing to lodge its protests, it is now the Kashmir issue that China has threatened to rake up.

A latest editorial in China’s official publication Global Times that has been at the forefront of anti-India tirade on the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit, warns India that the use of the Dalai Lama card is ‘tactless’ and at the same time, threatens to use the Kashmir card against India.

While repeating the oft quoted patronizing tone of the official Chinese publications that how big and powerful China is, militarily and economically when compared to India, the editorial writes, “With a GDP several times higher than that of India, military capabilities that can reach the Indian Ocean and having good relations with India’s peripheral nations, coupled with the fact that India’s turbulent northern state borders China, if China engages in a geopolitical game with India, will Beijing lose to New Delhi?”

But China is already playing the Kashmir card against India with its ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project that passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). India considers PoK as its integral part and has lodged strong protests over the Chinese presence in PoK but the CPEC is going ahead in full steam. Here, China goes on bulldozing, mutilating India’s sovereign claims in PoK, but starts making overtures when it comes to even an innocuous Dalai Lama visit to Arunachal Pradesh, that China considers a disputed territory even if the Indian position has been clear to the world that the state is an integral part of India. China expects India to respect its sensitivities, but conveniently forgets to do the same when it comes to the Indian sensitivities.

The editorial, like a doublespeak, writes that the Indian concerns on China blocking India’s entry in the Nuclear Suppliers Groups (NSG) or China vetoing proposals in the United Nations to ban Masood Azhar are international multilateral issues while ‘the Dalai Lama is purely a China’s domestic issue’.

Well, to remind the Chinese strategists writing such doublespeak editorials here that even Masood Azhar is a pure diplomatic issue for India because India has been facing terror acts of terrorists like him or Hafiz Saeed for decades while they have been under patronage of Pakistan and even now China. China’s obstinate stand on Masood Azhar validates it.

It is India’s unchallenged right to hunt down or corner such terrorists and if China considers India as a friendly neighbour and partner, as the editorial says, then it should, in fact, come forward and help the Indian efforts to ban terrorists like Masood Azhar and should put pressure on Pakistan, India’s pestering neighbour that claims to have brotherly ties with China, to stop sponsoring terror in India.

But no. While the Masood Azhar issue is a technical one for China, the Dalai Lama issue is such that ‘India’s attitude towards the Dalai Lama almost affects the entire relationship with China’, the editorial writes.

This screenshot from the Global Times tells us how obsessed and rattled China has been over the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit where ‘India’s Dalai invites’ figure’s among the hot topics.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA EYEING INDIAN TALENT?

That might be the case if we go by the increasing number of such assessments in the official Chinese media like this one, an assessment published in China’s Global Times, one of the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. Published in Global Times’ opinion section ‘Insider Eye’, the article argues that like the western countries have successfully done, it is now time for China to leverage huge Indian talent pool to fuel its global competitiveness and presents point by point support to base its narrative.

The article is written by S. Ramakrishna Velamuri, a professor at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. CEIBS is one of the Ivy League B schools globally. This assessment by an Indian origin professor who did his MBA from Spain and PhD from America is important because it is not the first article on the subject in the official Chinese media and because it is published in one of the main official newspapers of China where nothing can go on pages without approval from the higher ups in the Chinese government.

The article says even if China produces largest number of engineers and science graduates in the world, its forte traditionally has been in hardware. Making it complimentary to the huge pool of software professionals in India will give the Chinese economy the edge it needs to succeed in the times when we are heading to Industry 4.0, an era of smart factories that work on seamless integration of hardware with software. The industrial future is automation, driven by the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems.

The article argues that with superior English language skills, “Indian software engineers are more accustomed to developing solutions for global markets, whereas Chinese engineers have been more focused on their domestic market”.

Also, Indian population is youngest in the world. The median age in India is 10 years lower than China. The article argues that as knowledge-intensive industries hire fresh graduates and groom them further, tapping into the Indian talent pool will provide a sustained supply base in the foreseeable future. That will be a boon for a rapidly aging China which is projected to have maximum number of over 65 people in the world.

And to cap it all is India’s cost competitiveness, as the article writes that ‘Indian talent is significantly cheaper than the Chinese talent’.

The article says China is rapidly becoming an innovation-driven economy from being the global manufacturing base and was ranked 25th on the Global Innovation Index 2016. In upper middle income countries, the country was ranked first. India has emerged as the R&D hub for multinational companies. The articles says India has around 1200 R&D centres including 42% of the top 500 R&D spenders in the world which employ over 3,00,000 professionals and the count is only going up. So, India has what China needs.

Last month too, an article in Global Times had written that by not attracting Indian talent, China had made a mistake. Written by a Global Times reporter of Chinese origin, that assessment was more direct in accepting that “talent pool in China was not large and flexible enough to meet demand for the rapid expansion of innovation capability’. The article wrote, “China cannot afford to risk a decline in its attractiveness for high-tech investors and attracting high-tech talent from India could be one of China’s options for maintaining its innovation ability”.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA SAYS IT WILL NOT SIT IDLE IF INDIA SELLS MISSILES TO VIETNAM

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has threatened India once again, after its sabre-rattling and economic supremacy rants aimed at demeaning the successful test launches of Agni V and Agni IV missiles by India recently. India’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (Agni V) has a range of over 5000 Km while Agni IV has a range of 4000 Km. Both are nuclear capable and can reach China effectively.

This time it is about India’s proposal to sell Akash missiles to Vietnam. India has offered Vietnam ingeniously developed surface-to-air Akash missile system. The system has an interception range of 25 Km to keep an effective check on any incoming hostile aircraft for area defence and deliberations are said to in an advanced stage.

In an editorial titled ‘Indian arms sale to Hanoi disturbing if aimed at China’, the state run newspaper warns India that ‘if the Indian government genuinely treats its enhancement of military relations with Vietnam as a strategic arrangement or even revenge against Beijing, it will only create disturbances in the region and China will hardly sit with its arms crossed’.

China has been trying to encircle India by making inroads in its neighbourhood, by offering to develop or developing ports and infrastructure in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives or by reaching out to Nepal and Bangladesh or with its String of Pearls geopolitical theory where it is said that China is developing a network in the Indian Ocean region to encircle India.

Now, of late, if India is realizing the Chinese designs and is pursuing an agenda to answer China in its own geopolitical language by developing bilateral and strategic ties with countries in China’s neighbourhood like Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and even Mongolia, it is a much needed course correction.

If China can do so, why can’t India? If China can sell weapons to Pakistan, why can’t India do so with Vietnam? The world knows that Pakistan’s missile programme is basically a Chinese import. There are reports that Pakistan is going to acquire its first nuclear attack submarine from China. And it will be from the latest generation of the Chinese nuclear attack submarines it is being said. It will be a Shang class submarine capable of firing cruise missiles and comes with six torpedo tubes.

If China can do so then it doesn’t have any right to preach us that ‘India-Vietnam ties should be built for the sake of peace and stability in the region, rather than stirring up troubles or anxiety for others’.

During prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vietnam in September 2016, India and Vietnam upgraded their ties to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ and before the Akash missile system, India has offered to sell Vietnam BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and Varunastra anti-submarine torpedoes. Also, India is training Vietnamese to operate kilo-class submarines and will soon start training Vietnamese fighter pilots for Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets.

©SantoshChaubey

RATTLED BY AGNI, CHINA ASKS INDIA TO COOL ITS MISSILE FEVER

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Global Times, the mouth organ of China’s ruling Communist Party, has dismissed India’s missile programme saying ‘India needs to cool its missile fever’.

The Global Times editorial piece writes that ‘India should realize that owning several missiles does not mean it is a nuclear power. Even though India does become a nuclear power, it will be a long time before it can show off its strength to the world.’

The write-up uses some harsh words for India after its successful Agni IV missile test yesterday that has a range of 4000 Km and can reach China. It shows how two back to back missile tests, earlier Agni V with a range of over 5000 Km and now Agni IV, have rattled China. These tests show India’s prowess for its Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) development programme.

When India had test-fired its ICBM Agni V on December 26, China was quick to question India quoting an 18 year old UNSC resolution that seeks that India and Pakistan should shut their ballistic missile development programmes. Reacting on India’s launch, Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry had said that ‘the UN Security Council had explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons’.

The editorial piece says that India is treading a path that breaks the United Nations’ protocols, “India has broken the UN’s limits on its development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile. New Delhi is no longer satisfied with its nuclear capability and is seeking intercontinental ballistic missiles that can target anywhere in the world and then it can land on an equal footing with the UN Security Council’s five permanent members.”

India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council is another soar point for China and like India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), China tries to thwart the Indian efforts here as well.

Though the editorial piece, that we can say conveys the official position of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), speaks on the need of developing rapport between India and China, the tone is both patronizing as well as threatening.

Demeaning India, the editorial says that at present, India’s GDP accounts for about 20 percent of China’s whereas China’s strategic nuclear missiles have long ago realized global coverage, and China’s overall military industrial capacity is much better than that of India.

Threatening India, the editorial says that India knows the cost of posing a nuclear threat to China. It says that China wants to better relations with India ‘but will not sit still if India goes too far’.

The editorial also brings in Pakistan in its sermonic run of commentary and advocates that the world community should treat India and Pakistan equally when it comes to their nuclear development programmes.

Repeating the Chinese rant of maintaining strategic balance in South Asia, the editorial says that these missile tests by India would see counter launches by Pakistan with missiles of longer ranges. Pakistan claims China is its all weather ally and China proves it by its acts time and again, like blocking the Indian proposal at the UN to declare Masood Azhar, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief, a designated terrorist, in its most recent show of bonhomie with Pakistan.

©SantoshChaubey