The Xinhua news agency and China Daily newspaper, two authoritative platforms of Chinese policies, held out warnings this week over the military standoff with India near the Sikkim border.
China Daily starkly wrote that the “window for a peaceful solution is closing. The countdown to a clash between the two forces has begun….” Xinhua said China’s “restraint has limits and with every day that passes the tether shortens.”
Should these warning be taken seriously? India stubbornly ignored similar warnings 55 years ago in a border war it resoundingly lost and the rest is history.
A war between India and China is improbable since neither side wants it. But below that threshold is a vast space where miscalculations can occur. Indians and Chinese are patriotic people, driven by nationalistic leaderships, and “territorial sovereignty” is a highly emotive issue. What’s alarming is that both governments have successfully rallied domestic opinion.
In China, perhaps, this wasn’t particularly difficult. But in India where a hundred flowers normally bloom, opinion is polarizing at an exceptional rate. It seems all Indians are rising in anger over Facebook posts supporting China’s position. But how could there be a contrarian opinion?
This holds dangers because hubris is a self-devouring monster. The plain truth is that India’s post-Cold War foreign policy calculus will be severely put to test for the first time if a conflict with China ensues. No country has backed India in its seven-week standoff with China. Indians all along fancied that they were leagues ahead of Chinese in “soft power” – yoga, Gandhi, snake charmers, etc. Apparently, that is not so.
It is particularly galling that the United States has not taken any posture favoring India. India’s post-Cold War strategic discourse is heavily laden with the blithe assumption that the US regards India as a “counterweight” to China. Meghnad Desai, a high-flying opinion maker in the English-speaking Delhi circuit, said last week:
“All things that follow now will have a lot to do with what happens in the South China Sea. The US has sent out enough signals. If there is war, it will be a US-China war, with India on the US side, in the South China Sea and in the Himalayas. This trio (India, China and the US) is a very combustible mixture right now.… Ultimately, you have to understand that India cannot stand up to China without American help and support. America cannot stand up to China without Indian help. That is the symmetry in this relationship.”
The sheer naiveté in the above passage sums up India’s misfortune. The Indians refuse to see the geopolitical realities. It doesn’t occur to them that US President Donald Trump will fight wars only if America’s interests are directly threatened. Why should he order the Pentagon to send the marines to the Himalayas or to dispatch a carrier battle group to hunt down Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean?
The one thing emerging out of the meeting in Manila last Friday between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is that the two top diplomats did not waste time on the South China Sea or the Indian Ocean.
Tillerson told the media that North Korea was the main topic in his discussions and whatever extra “bit of reflection on the relationship” with China that took place was devoted to the four high-level dialogues between the two countries last April at the summit at Mar-a-Lago, Florida. That meeting, he said, is “really advancing our two countries’ understandings of the nature of this relationship … and how we should strive to strengthen this relationship so that it benefits the world in terms of maintaining a secure world absent of conflict.”
Interestingly, the White House released a press release on Saturday thanking China for its cooperation in securing the passage of a resolution in the United Nations Security Council on increased sanctions against North Korea. Trump is expected to make a state visit to China in November and Wang disclosed that preparations have begun.
Indian analysts simply do not get the point that the US-China relationship is in an altogether different league. Simply put, the single most crucial template of India’s strategy against China turns out to be delusional – that the US will confront China on India’s behalf.
Equally, Indian strategists never expected that post-Soviet Russia would bounce back on to the world stage. Through the past quarter-century, successive Indian governments have pursued a policy of benign neglect of relations with Russia, which are today in a state of atrophy. On the other hand, Russia-China relations are today at their highest point in decades.
Sadly, India’s “soft power” took a lethal blow during the past three-year period of the Hindu-nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is so not only in liberal Western opinion but also in the Muslim world. The violence against Muslims, the erosion in India’s secularist foundations, the mass upheaval in Kashmir have all received attention internationally. It is also useful to remember that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation represents 54 member countries of the United Nations.
Suffice to say, all these factors will come into play if a war ensues between India and China. India is not a match for China militarily, and in soft power too China may already have an advantage. By cocooning themselves in a fantasyland, Indians are too full of themselves in their refusal to be judged by international opinion – leave alone Chinese and its smaller South Asian neighbors’ opinions.
Well written article, but not sufficient info. It would be much clearer if this article would also include a map of the area in conflict. Lay people who are not familiar with South Asia and China’s border lines would appreciate. How large is the are in dispute?
This article written by BHADRAKUMAR looks lie as if writen by some chinese who does not understand india or indian point of view. he even lies when he says no country has supported india. bhutan itself has issuedstatement that dokalam is its territory. he seems to be anti modi to the extent of involving domestic politics of india in international affairs
John Brown the content is mostly misleading. so the author has to be queestioned.He is trying to scare india . he is wrong . india is not weak .
I dont think that India ever contemplated US backing in the event of a war with China.
Roy Jao no question of retaliation or is absence… Point here is: of any body speaks of war there will surely be ruin all around… So china/chinese/related diaspora should shut up and should just think about development and peace.. No bullying etc please… That leaves every body with a super bleeding nose…
Rejenal Pang just shut up and pray that let peace prevail… Otherwise all 4 billion humankind in both china and india will be in deep shit… Both of them don’t have an urgent reason to fight, unlike folks like isis etc and their clan
अबे भोसड़ी के बहुत कॉमेडी सूझ रही है? वंदे मातरम गाइयो अबकी 15th
Extremely biased article…..China can’t win a war with India and neither can India. India & China both are poor countries and can’t afford a war.
China a poor country? Average GDP per capita is over 8000 , that’s middle income country.
Indians launching nuke against China is like fat Kim Jung un launching nuke against US. India launch nuke against eastern China cities is lot lot harder than China launching nuke against New Delhi. Even short range missile can each India from Tibet. Heck, even cannon ball can reach new Delhi from Tibet. It’s a lot easier to intercept Indian missile try to reach shanghai given the distance it need to cover.
China is trying to turn India into a banana republic. They want to negotiate with blocking of UN terrorist desgination & NSG membership and not willing to settle border issues even after so many rounds of discussions. If china wants good relations, all these have to be addressed. And as of today, China’s trade suplus is about USD60 Billion.
If war is inevitable, then so be it. China flag might be up in debris of flattened cities with millions of people dead. But then you need not worry about jobs, human living conditions, climate warmng etc.
India is a banana republic. You are your own worst nightmire.
The article reeks of prejudice. India is firm on its stand and we are not the aggressor. China will try and dislodge us at its own peril because it requires boots on ground, no amount of fire power or missiles can capture icy heights for them. The writer is trying to portray Modi in a bad light and that’s very evident. Being a diplomat who has enjoyed the perks all his life at poor exchequers expense and been in the safe environment it’s easy to be an armchair advisor. It’s high time that we realise our potential and live up to it. Today you don’t take a stand tomorrow they will be in your backyard Mr Beureacrat.
Poncho Tito but you will live in caves
Giridhari Sen Why Such poetic thoughts only in Hindi. Share it with the world, specially your mother and sisters, if you have any.
John Brown U seems to me have littel brain.. what abt china going thru Gilgit POK J&K indian territory violating indian sovereignty and integrity of india..What would U suggest India should do with china?? is that not U bully ignoring india and building roads and dam without permission of the owner of the land/house ?? Depite protest china did not give any thought… then why china is crying like a baby?? HUN
John Brown what abt china going thru Gilgit POK J&K indian territory violating indian sovereignty and integrity ..What would U suggest India should do with china?? is that not U bully ignoring india and building roads and dam without permission of the owner of the land/house India?? Depite protest china did not give any thought… then why china is crying like a baby??
John Brown what abt china going thru Gilgit POK J&K indian territory violating indian sovereignty and integrity ..did china take permission from India ??What would U suggest India should do with china?? is that not U bully ignoring india and building roads and dam without permission of the owner of the land/house India?? Depite protest china did not give any thought… then why china is crying like a baby??
ha ha ha all paki want to see modi shd back out…come on this time china will be in back foot … india is not bent dowin in any circumstances that is sure ,,,,We are ready to recive chines on any where any palce .. but i could not understand why Pakiiii butt is hurt ??why Pakii troll butt get itched ..Pakistan is in fear if china bent down then what effect would be on them.. ha ha ha
Donald Richards true ha ha
till then india will fk chines 4 time .. like pakistan..LOL
There is no option for china now…either they have 2 surrender else india force them to surrender ..
Must read this—https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=newssearch&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi80eeqoNHVAhXCuo8KHY_TBrYQqQIIJigAMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oneindia.com%2Findia%2Findias-agni-vs-chinas-dongfeng-missile-which-is-more-powerful-2519532.html&usg=AFQjCNGWt8u6YkoNkAdsoTk88KA5PdboBg
राम्रो छ ला बिषट्जयु?
Rejenal Pang ….bhosdike daal me Sara intersepter apni gaand me….
John Brown ….bhai tu paidaisi hi harami hai ya humare karan ho gaya hai…..
Deepa Sharma it was pakistian conquer and rule india for many centuaries…hahaha it was china who bask up india don’t u forget
Rajat Dutta Yes, keep on complaining about Pakistan in an abusive and deragatory way. Indians are uncivilized to the extent that they cannot carry on a discussion in a civilized manner. Let me ask you this. In a war, what difference does it make whether weapons (nukes for example) are purchased, indiginiously made or even stolen. They will still wipe you out. Constant refrain, condescendlingly assuming pakistan stealing nucleart technology is ridiculous and disgusting. You talk about India as if it was or is a highly advanced technology nation, just because you have made some progress in learning it from the west. The self-admiration of the Indians is transparent and visible to all mature and civilized countries of the world.
Roy Jao and what if, just what if the nuke missile that India fire is NOT interecept by anti-baliistic missle defense in China? Is China willing to take that risk?
मादर चोद हरामी सुंवर की औलादहज
Why is Buthan so quiet?scared of Indian reprisal?
Thank you for a most balanced view. China and India should cooperate and both countries will win.
This guy is just plain nonsense. He accuces India of hubris while pardons China on its hegemony over the small neighbours. I have never heard it said from any Indian officials that they facing up to China coz the US supports them. In fact, India cannot allow China to have its way in the disputed areas where China breaches the understaing between the two counrties and takes unilateral action. For defending its interests, India does not have to rely on the US. This ma be the opinion of the some of the op-ed writers, but certainly not of the government. And just google this writer and it becomes quite clear that he virtually writes for the Chinese interest. I also found that this writer has been the diplomat of India. How unfortunate! One could just wonder what he could have done as a diplomat to stand up for the Indian interests.
Mahmood Mushtaq Your Madrasa education shows your intellectaul prowess. China also have filth and poverty that is forcefully concelaed by the Communist regine. At least India does not hide its problems. Second, just google the countries who have made tremdendous progress in science and tecnology, you will always find India there. Of course China too. But let us know what you are doing about the filth and poverty in Pakistan and its abysmal lack of success in scienec and technology, which is largly due to the cancer calle "Pislam".
Hey idiot, just stop it there. In fact even the US does not have the kind of technology that can credibly intercept every incoming anti-ballistic missible system. India does have a version of anti-ICBM of of own and so does China. But none can credibly intercept the incoming nuclear loaded ICBM. I just wonder why most Chinses are just plain ignorant.
Beto Perez It is the view of private citizen of Bhutan. I can find more articles in India’s favour written by the Bhutanese than you can find me in China’s favour. In any case, the govt. of Bhutan officialy opposed the unilateral action by the Chinese in the doklam area.
Bhadrakumar gives an impression that India is totally dependent on US to fight it’s war with China. He must remember that 62 was a conflict and not war. The three services were not involved. This time we will be able to Manage it ourselves.
Hindia needs it head smashed for good…Hindia has started acting uppity ever since the white man started patting it a century ago.
From what I have gathered here, Indians are just dreamers, they just CAN’T COMPREHEND, AND UNDERSTAND THE REALITY OF THE REAL ISSUE BEING DISCUSSED HERE. ALL THEY DO IS BUILDING UP THEIR PIPED DREAMS,
Jo Snow we dont affarid with any one ,,
Mahmood Mushtaq have you forgot 1971……
"Indians are too full of themselves in their refusal to be judged by international opinion – leave alone Chinese and its smaller South Asian neighbors’ opinions."
This so called Indian was our ambassador what a shame
This is an idiotic article. Nehru ignored warnings and called the chinese brothers. Japan and USA explicitly supported India and everyone else was quiet on China.
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