Ladakh: If we stay firm, the dragon will always back off

We tend to see China as very powerful. And they certainly are a superpower, while we are not. But if you look at the world through a Chinese lens, you will realize that they are the weakest, most vulnerable superpower in history.

(Sorry about the map, btw. It’s what I found on Wikipedia)

Look at China’s eastern seaboard, with Beijing and Shanghai. What do you see off the coast? Three red circles around Korea, Taiwan and Japan. That’s where the United States reigns supreme. And China can do nothing about it. Perhaps never in history has a superpower so helplessly lacked control a few miles off its coast. Remember that China imports half its oil from outside.

Meanwhile, China even getting within 3000 km off the US mainland seems laughable.

Landwise, China is caught between India and Russia. And neither country likes them very much. Russia may not have much economic power, but it is a big military. And Russia has huge leverage on global oil prices.

On the other hand, on the entire continent of America, there isn’t a single challenger to the United States. Unless you are in the mood for jokes and you want to bring up Cuba or Venezuela.

To understand China’s third problem, you just need to look at the world’s top 10 economies : USA, China, Japan, Germany, India, Britain, France, Italy, Brazil and Canada.

Two of the top 3 are outright enemies of China. The remaining 7 are all close US allies. In fact, if push came to shove, there is only one other country in the top 10 from which China has some hope. They could beg with India to stay “neutral.” LOL!

China is actually in a very precarious position. Surprisingly few people realize that.

So how does China maintain its super scary image? By bluffing, that is. If you ask me, that’s what they are doing on the LAC right now.

What is really different about the current round of Chinese incursions? China has come to scare us because they are scared themselves. India is ramping up its own infrastructure in Ladakh and the Chinese want to scare us away. This is different from say Doklam, where Chinese troops intruded into Bhutan and started building up stuff.

All India has to do is hold firm and refuse to back off. The Chinese are bound to disengage and retreat.

Right now, China is under immense pressure across the world. For decades, the West has let them build up their power. The policy elites in the west were caught up with their business interests and thought nothing of their strategic interests. And the common people went along, because everyone likes cheap stuff.

But Coronavirus has changed everything. The common people and the elite everywhere has realized how badly things can go wrong when you deal with China. The elites may love their money, but Coronavirus literally put their lives on the line. The virus did not spare anyone, rich or poor. In fact, the elites found themselves at slightly higher risk due to their higher mobility. Common people never liked China anyway. And these are all democratic countries. Somebody will grab the huge anti-China political constituency that has just been created.

There is a reason Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison is suddenly making samosas. In case you don’t know, Australia is absolutely crucial to China’s geopolitical ambitions. In fact, China has always aimed for a very fundamental change in Australia. They have wanted Australians to see themselves as an Asian country rather than a Western one.

Towards this end, the Chinese attitude towards Australia has almost become one of colonization. The Australians have, for the most part, gone along with it. Who cares, they thought? Canadians are polite. Aussies are cool. Everyone knows.

I bet nobody in Australia feels that way about China any more. And Australia has just kicked off a deep new strategic partnership with India.

Australia is sending a message to China. Japan has become even more openly hostile. Trump is breathing fire at them. And India is obviously not a friend. Who is left for China in the Indian Ocean Region?

Those eight countries include the US, Germany, Australia, Japan and Canada. Even tiny Norway and Sweden want to come along.

I should point out these are not maverick lawmakers. In the US, the two Senators are Republican Marco Rubio of Florida and Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Both are hardcore establishment guys. In fact, Marco Rubio was the Republican establishment candidate for President of the United States. The German guy in the alliance is the official spokesperson for Merkel’s party, the CDU. This anti-China alliance is serious and it has open support at the highest level in participating countries.

Like I said, there is now serious concern about China’s designs on world peace. And a huge political constituency in every democracy that is very worried about China. It’s all beginning to come together.

China has made too many powerful enemies. And they are only making the situation worse by what everyone is now calling their “wolf warrior diplomacy.”

So far, India has firmly stood its ground in Ladakh. We have not blinked. We have not stopped building our infrastructure. In fact, India has speeded up road construction by the BRO. Just to emphasize that we are not scared.

Take that, China! In fact, BRO recruiters are in Jharkhand right now, looking for workers to take to Ladakh.

In fact, two BJP MPs “attended” (virtually, of course) the swearing in of the new President of Taiwan.

In other words, we are going to stand our ground.

The Chinese know this as well. Unlike Doklam, Chinese state run media is not breathing fire at all. They are talking constantly of peace.

Another thing that India has done is kept lines of communication open with the US. You know, like the time the US Defense Secretary spoke to our Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on strategies to fight …. Coronavirus.

I’ll bet.

It is all about calling their bluff. The Chinese have come to test our nerves once again. There are Lt. Gen level talks scheduled between the two countries tomorrow. I don’t know what will come of it. Maybe they will disengage. Maybe they wont. But what I do know for sure is that China will have to disengage eventually. It is just a matter of time.

8 thoughts on “Ladakh: If we stay firm, the dragon will always back off

  1. Good read Abhishek.But few points I want to make which may be undigestable for Modi supporters.As a person coming from family which served in Indian armed forces I WISH TO SAY MODI has been utter failure in Ladakh.

    Few points
    1.Chinese soldiers have indeed crossed into Eastern part of Ladakh in very large numbers for first time since 1967 when we gave them a bloody nose in Sikkim or in 1986 when General Sundaram’s decisive moves in Arunachal led to Beijing almost peeing in its pants and not even daring to intrude into India for next 2 decades

    2.Chinese have captured almost 35-38 sqkm of our land.Roughly it translates to size of one third of Hyderabad has been invaded.Whats shocking is BJP,section of media and bhakts claiming Chinese build up is on their territory as taklu Iyyer claimed.If thats so why is India even talking to China?

    3.Ladakh manouevere has nothing to do with Article 370 abrogation but more with tall claims of Amit Shah.China decided India is a enemy not now but in 1953.China is pouring billions of dolalrs into OBOR and for that it wants direct road access connecting Tibet and Pakistan.Amit Shah’s bomblastic claim that India will take back Aksai Chin in Parliament after Article 370 repeal stunned even many Indian observers.Amit Shah who is known for making foolish claims actually provided Article 370 ruse for China to cover its evil intentions.

    4.Last word-Modi’s weak handling of economy has left Indian economy in tatters and Xi probably calculated India wont be capable to afford even a limited skirmish due to financial constraint.

    India has no option but to forcibly evict Chinese intruders.If Modi doesnt do that Chinese will try to capture even Sikkim and Arunachal

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  2. This round of aggressive standoff (or whatever one would like to call it) started after chinese as is their typical style wanted to be too smart and diverted their soldiers who are carrying out an exercise near Aksai Chin area (yes the same Aksai Chin area that was usurped by China when Nehru failed to take any action and infamously said in the parliament that not a blade of grass grows there!). Both India and China conduct exercises near the LAC from time to time. But this time the chinese diverted their soldiers from their exercise quickly towards the LAC, and particularly positioning them near the 8 fingers area on the banks of the pangong tso lake. As the Indian and Chinese perceptions about the border differs at many places, it is also the case in this area. China perceives its claims upto finger 3 and India likewise perceives its claim upto finger 8. India holds/fully controls the position upto finger 4. However, the Indian patrols used to go upto figner 8 from time to time. Again the first PM of independent India’s inaction cannot be forgotten in this area. Originally, India had a hold/control of areas extending far beyond finger 8 up to a point called Sirijap 2. The control of these areas which was lost in the sixties when the first Indian PM decided to look the other way in the name of panchsheel, when the chinese took hold/control of the area . The chinese have now tried to prevent these patrols by Indian soldiers by fortifying the area between falling between finger 5 to finger 8. Simultaneously, china has also mobilised troops at different points across the 3,500 km long LAC to pressure India. Also do note that during the UPA2 years, India further lost around 60 sq. km of territory in Aksai Chin area by the salami slicing tactics of the chinese. Was there any noise about it anywhere in the MSM? Wonders of Indian MSM never cease; and yet they have the temerity to label others as ‘godi media’!! Parivar ke Godh Mein Bait ke Dusre Ko Godi Media Kehtein Hai!!

    Indian response to this provocation by the chinese has been quick and calculated. India mobilised its forces in Ladakh and other important points of LAC rapidly. The swiftness of Indian response has taken the chinese by surprise who never expected such a response, as they were used to the previous Indian inaction under the earlier governments. As a matter of fact, the situation in the border is really tense, with India ready and prepared to take the battle to the chinese, if the chinese miscalculate the resolve of India. The only way it will be resolved is by a level headed and clear thinking by the higher ups in the chinese PLA and the CCP that deescalation is the only solution and anything otherwise will lead to a war. India is not like the other tiny East Asian nations that China keeps bullying in the South China sea. India is a military power in its own right. Make no mistake, India is prepared and prepared well, with more than adequate men and materials to take the battle to the chinese if the push comes to the shove. Having said that it is also in India’s interests to see that the border standoff is managed to deescalate through talks, without compromising on its principled stance of no unilateral actions to disrupt the status quo by either parties and restoring status quo.

    Used as they were to the congress era governments’ lack of response to their tactics, the chinese are befuddled with the strong resolve and response coming from India under a different government and therefore these periodic episodes at the border.

    Beware of a fifth column of journalists and ‘experts’ in India created and financed by chinese whose job is to plant doubts about Indian actions in articles, television and other media. Plenty of names comes in this category comes to mind.

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  3. China is tactically foolish as all bullies are and thinks it can intimidate a large country like India. Chinese moles in India and in the media will have you believe that a war with India will be a cakewalk for China. China will actually loose the border war with India because

    1) It is not a martial race and its current soldiers have no battle experience
    2) Its quality of weapons is suspect
    3) It does not train with the best (e.g. India trains with the US airforce and Russian airforce, our pilots have bested both these airforce at times)
    4) India can choke the straits of Malacca and the gulf of Aden and deny oil or goods passing into China
    5) India also has an attack mountain division whose sole purpose is to attack Tibet and capture parts of it

    China is also directly responsible for all the terrorism in the world. It props up Pakistan which is the epicenter of terrorism. So the hisab of that is also pending from the rest of the world. China is heading for a breakup like Russia. Tibet will become a free country. After China breaks up, the breakup of Pakistan also will progress rapidly. The world will be a better place after it puts these two terrorist nations in place.

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  4. I believe when the whole world is against China for this reason or that reason, the Chinese leader is holding only on a sympathy factor. So he will do anything and everything to generate more and more of this sympathy factor and one way to generate this sympathy is to do something that the world will criticize China. India has become a pawn for that trick. India should not back down.

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  5. It would be both a fun and profitable exercise to disband all these useless organizations like WHO,UNESCO, even UN for a couple of years. Dont think the world will be any worse off

    A nation like China that supports a terrorist nation like Pakistan having a permanent UN seat is a joke

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      1. Yes and that tradition is being kept alive by Pappu party which tried to block Rafale.
        The Chinese are pragmatic and realist, not idealistic simpletons like Chacha.

        Modi is also a realist and pragmatic so the confrontation with Eleven will be interesting. Unless the Chinese are able to go to battle and win an outright victory, this will be a victory for India. The probability of this happening is negligible. Even a stalemate will rubbish the aura of Chinese invincibility.

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