India can fight China, but not with a divided house

Shekhar Gupta

Politically, Sharad Pawar often gives mixed signals. It has clarity when it goes beyond national power games.

The only problem with this, however, is that it’s not the whole truth.

Because China is not trying to surround India. At this point, China is successful in surrounding India. The choke is getting tighter and tighter.

As we wrap up this festive week, the Chinese propaganda machine is producing a series of videos of the June 2020 Galwan clash.

These show Indian soldiers they had taken prisoner for three days, other provocative images and threats.

This is supplemented by warlike comments in World time or other Chinese weapons of mass psychological destruction.

Beijing’s reaction to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh was not unknown.

Just that the intensity and the words used were.

All this is maneuver, but not yet encirclement.

It is happening elsewhere. With Pakistan of course, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and now Afghanistan.

Chinese relations are intensifying with Iran, Turkey and some Central Asian republics.

The latest, actually as of this writing, is the breathless Chinese state media statement calling for a border deal with Bhutan.

He doesn’t say it in so many words, but suggests that it happened or is happening despite India.

Indeed, he is also advising Bhutan how it has let its interests suffer by letting India interfere in its relations with China over Dokalam.

In the region and beyond, the Chinese are trying to tell each country who is the boss of that neighborhood, or the dad of mohalla.

In eastern Ladakh, the Chinese have prepared with very hardened positions for talks at the 13th Corps commander, issued offensive “take it or you won’t even get” statements.

When it comes to psychological warfare, they’re pretty transparent.

Why, and what do they want to achieve, that is the question.

RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat was right in his Vijayadashami speech, speaking of a China-Pakistan-Taliban-Turkey link.

It’s just that even though his diagnosis was correct, the treatment he suggested was not. We will conclude with why.

Given India’s complex relationship and its continued military dependence on Russia for at least a decade, New Delhi tends not to talk too much about the concerns that stem from it.

But Vladimir Putin now speaks far too often as a Xi Jinping / China fanboy.

Note his statement that China doesn’t even need to use force to take Taiwan.

Taiwan’s peaceful absorption is inevitable given China’s strength.

All this makes the strategic situation dire for India and the Modi government in its eighth year.

The grand opening bet in 2014 to strike any deal with Xi Jinping fell through completely.

Simply because China has never accepted India as an equal.

He is now acting as if to remind India that the power gap has only widened.

At first glance, the strategic balance sheet seems heavily loaded in favor of China.

It may or may not have taken territory in Ladakh, but it is certainly denying India access to important areas visited by its patrols.

It revived other dormant border regions, the plains of Barahiti in the central sector and Tawang in the east.

In Ladakh, their deployments increased and began to appear permanent.

Despite all this, they continue to gain even more from trade with India in the form of surpluses.

As a report by Pia Krishnankutty in The imprint shown, they have already accumulated a surplus of around $ 47 billion, not only surpassing the entire 2020-2021 surplus in just nine months of 2021, but appear to be on the verge of breaking the record high of $ 63.05 billion. of dollars.

At this point, we should also take a closer look at the other column, costs and losses.

First of all, whatever the Chinese may have achieved in eastern Ladakh, their ability to repeat the first-mover advantage anywhere else is now extremely limited. As discovered by this PLA patrol in the Tawang region.

It costs the Indian Armed Forces money and a lot of stress, but they are ready.

Every rude nudge from the Chinese brings India closer to the United States and gradually moves away from Russia.

It was the Chinese who finally gave the Modi government the impetus to sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and other strategic sharing agreements with the United States, frozen for nearly 15 years.

Within the Indian strategic establishment, the political universe and the commentary, China’s behavior reaches what we might have considered an impossibility: to eliminate anti-Americanism sclerotic in our collective heads for seven decades.

C Raja Mohan, whom I respect as the finest and most innovative mind in Indian strategic debate for decades, points out to me that once LEMOA was concluded with the United States, India also signed a similar agreement with the French.

It had started to sound so routine now that most of the Indian defense media hadn’t bothered to pay attention.

So, thank you Xi Jinping for opening our eyes.

The trade figures I just listed look ugly for India.

This benefit, however, may be short-lived.

We can still be skeptical about the Atmanirbharta to push.

But China is now totally excluded from India’s telecommunications and high-tech sector.

Most Western countries, led by the United States, have blacked out 5G technology.

For any territory the Chinese could take or refuse India in Ladakh, they pay the price.

It’s not visible in terms of military casualties or territorial losses, but one of their biggest markets will eventually be lost.

What does Xi Jinping’s photo look like? Its economy has hit several bumps, over-indebtedness being one.

To consolidate its own totalitarian power, it has attacked its tech sector, social media, the education sector, big business entrepreneurs and, increasingly, Western investors are wary of dealing with China.

In our immediate neighborhood, its most critical ally, Pakistan, is arguably in its worst condition in three decades.

Its gross domestic product is now lower than Tamil Nadu’s GSDP.

The joke of a Taliban victory is an albatross around its neck, the blunt language used by US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman reminded Pakistan that they can no longer count on the Americans to bail them out with the IMF, the World Bank and other similar institutions.

Their economy is shattered, the rupee has collapsed, there are shortages and runaway inflation, the Chinese never give money for love or loyalty.

You can guess how much the Turks can help besides selling drones if Pakistan can afford to pay for them. Can they afford to start trouble with India?

The Chinese encirclement is tightening.

The head of the RSS was right to identify the threat.

But its solution, to strengthen border security, is flawed.

He should know from the story he has been able to read and in which he believes that for over a thousand years in India the defenders have always lost, no matter how tall and dreadful their citadels may be, the bravery of their fighters.

No one has won a war by dying in battle. Defenders facing unequal threats must forge alliances. That takes time.

He needs peace and stability at home.

You don’t buy yourself this time by rekindling old fires in your own walled city like the National Registry of Citizens.

You cannot call Hindus and Muslims in India the same people one day and start worrying the next day that the numbers are growing faster, if at all.

We understand the electoral constraints, the desperate need for the BJP to have at least 50 percent of Hindus voting for them in Uttar Pradesh within a few months.

For this you need polarization, put your own Muslim compatriots on the other side.

This is how your domestic policy goes against your national strategic interest.

India can fight China despite having five times the GDP. But not with a divided house.