June 17, 2020

India China Face-Off: Various Likely Scenarios & Reactions Aftermath

By 3rdworldthinker

India has been trying to restore status quo in Ladakh border with People’s Liberation Army of ever expansionist Dragon China from the 1st week of May, this year.

With Covid-19 blames levelled against China by various leaders of the world and already sensing its adverse effect on its image in the entire world, China has started engaging offensively against Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Brunei, Philippines, Australia and India. India being one of the super military powers of the region gives Chinese all the more reasons to humiliate it & curb the silent dissent in CPC top brass. Other nation states that are engaged with Chinese oppression on the South China Sea are just a fly-like creatures for Beijing and therefore its quite fitting to pick an old foe like India to renew border tensions to inflate & instigate Chinese nationalism among its populace.

Xi Jinping apparently ordered his military to be battle-ready. It has deployed 5000 soldiers behind LAC in Ladakh & India has responded with mirror deployment as well. In the case of Sino-Indian relations, both the nations had already decided to stay pragmatic in the past & this has proofs in the fact that last battle that both the countries have gone into was in 1967 & a minor one in 1975 in both of the occasions, India thrashed and pushed China back to LAC with a strong military response, story of which is neither mentioned in history books nor in folklore. One can search for articles and books written exclusively on these two wars on the internet. Why China is suddenly asserting so much in the midst of this crisis and playing brinkmanship? Here are four major reasons:

  • The whole world is blaming China for acting irresponsibly for the Covid-19 virus infection which has by now infected more than 8 million people & killed nearly half a million in 215 nations of the world. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-accuses-china-russia-of-coordinating-on-virus-conspiracies/articleshow/75640177.cms
  • Due to these huge human loss & stalled economic activities, Australia has proposed to set up an inquiry commission into this & India has supported the move.
  • Most of the companies have started moving out of China & looking to be relocated in Taiwan & India too, in some states, relaxed labour laws & created a huge land pool. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/india-developing-land-pool-twice-luxembourg-s-size-to-lure-firms-leaving-china-11588592770763.html
  • The above three reasons plus CPC Central Politburo Committee’s doubts in a silent whisper about Xi Jinping’s ability to double per capita income by 2020 & become a superpower by 2050 as big as America, if not the biggest one, is causing a lot of sleepless nights for Xi Jinping & it shows in what he seems to be doing all of a sudden, thus opening all the fronts for All-Or-Nothing.

In the wake of the Sino-Indian War, if at all Xi Jinping goes berserk, we ought to evaluate all likely scenarios. Let’s start with our neighbors first.

Nepal, though recently on the provocation of China, has gotten into border dispute with India, with the help of Urdu Language expert Chinese ambassador Hau Yanki, whose previous assignment was with the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan. But in all likelihood, Nepal would remain neutral if the Sino-Indian war breaks out. It cannot afford to pick India as its enemy as it would have long term consequences for Nepal. https://www.nepalitimes.com/latest/is-china-now-micro-managing-nepal-politics/

Bangladesh would remain neutral or maybe a possible ally of India as long as Sheikh Hasina is the prime minister of the country & could allow Indian Air Force to use its air-space for operating strikes into China.

Bhutan has experienced many incursion attempts of China since 1960 & has since been dependent on India to defend its sovereignty and borders with China. India has taken this role very seriously & even gotten into a stand-off with China in 2017 for over 70 days in Doklam Plateau. Hence Bhutan would always stand with India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/it-took-13-rounds-of-talks-to-settle-doklam-report/articleshow/67136832.cms

Sri Lank and Maldives have witnessed the Chinese agenda behind its investment in their respective countries, hence they would not allow anything that would breach their security forever in the Indian Ocean. On any given day, they would support India as India has been the largely non-risky neighbor for both of them.

Pakistan would always support China, but let us not forget it could not afford a war with India even for a week. People who assume a two-pronged attack on India from China & Pakistan are utterly unaware of the circumstances Pakistan could get into if that happens. Pakistan would secretly wish a Sino-Indian war but without a doubt sans its participation. It would avoid going into a conventional war against India at any cost, though it would keep inserting terrorists via infiltration into Kashmir Valley to create disruptions. If it decided to attempt misadventure against India, Pakistan would not only pay a heavy penalty by way of losing its unauthorized control over POJK & Gilgit-Baltistan but also losing Baluchistan from its map forever. The US would introduce stringent sanctions against Pakistan & it would plunge it into further turmoil & disarray. Pakistan therefore would never try to engage itself with India when India is busy with PLA in North-Eastern borders.

Afghanistan would always support India as it’s been a long-time friend of India. It cannot forget the active role of Pakistani assistance to different terrorist organizations that are still operating in Afghanistan. India has spent over 2.5 billion USD on infrastructure development & military personnel training in Afghanistan. https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/36-things-india-has-done-for-afghanistan/

Tajikistan that has borders with Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan including China, has a strategic location in Central Asia, would always support India to the extent that the Indian Air Force maintains a base here for a long time near Dushanbe. https://theprint.in/defence/india-renews-interest-in-running-its-first-foreign-military-base-in-tajikistan/132454/

China has only two allies in Asia, Pakistan & North Korea, both of them cannot afford to get into the active war to support China as this would be detrimental for both countries. Their existence depends on flaring up petty issues that no other countries care as much & possess only nuisance values for the rest of the world.

China consistently & aggressively claims rights over the South China Sea due to various reasons and has disputes involving both islands and maritime claims among several sovereign states within the region, namely Brunei, the Republic of China (ROC/Taiwan), Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines & Vietnam. An estimated US$3.37 trillion worth of global trade passes through the South China Sea annually, which is one-third of global maritime trade, 80% of China’s Energy Imports & 39.5 % of China’s total trade passes through the South China Sea. Let alone the abundance of sea-bedded petroleum reserves of the South China Sea. All of these countries would not support China. Japan has a dispute with China for Senkaku Island (China calls it Diaoyu Island), thus Japan would never stand with China. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-11341139)

South Korea though would prefer to stay away to come in open support for India & play neutral unless North Korea gets into any misadventure with it sensing an opportunity & favourable timing. Nevertheless, India can hope for diplomatic support from South Korea in the event of a war with China and the aftermath.

Russia would play neutral & would not support either due to various compulsions but could not afford to stop the weapons supply to India, else, India would completely tilt towards the US & NATO countries for its weaponry requirements. Russia would find it difficult to support or go-against or abstain from any international forum when issue between India & China comes for debate or voting. The USA would certainly grab the opportunity to support India strongly & would view it as an opportunity to further alienate India from its long-time friend & strategic partner when an ambivalent, hesitant & vacillating Russia finds itself in a deep dilemma. Americans now want India to their fold sans friendship with Russia as they understand it is only India that could match China militarily & pose a serious challenge to China & derail the expansionist dragon.

Strategies of Battle Field & Diplomacy:

The Army & Air Force can engage China for months in North Eastern borders in case of a war, this front would be tough for both the nations logistically & the measurable gains or losses would be difficult here to ascertain. The decisive war would be fought in Indian Ocean if that would be an all-out battle.  

The Air Force would play a major & decisive role in the present-day war. India’s military possesses lethal S-400 missiles. China possesses the same missile as well but since China is not a member of MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime), hence its S-400 missiles can only target up to 300 km, whereas India’s S-400 missiles can target enemies up to 400 km. Indian ICBMs Surya & Agni have a smooth target range of 10000-16000 km. One press of a switch and we can hit any target anywhere in the globe. Hence China can not take us for easy ride & get away with it.

India has a one of the biggest armed force. China hasn’t fought a real war in 58 years, that’s too, its army only has fought a war 58 years ago against a cripple 60’s India. Its Air-Force & Navy has never ever fought a real war, whereas India’s military (Army, Air Force & Navy) are a battle-hardened force. They have fought wars in 1947, 1962, 1965, 1967, 1971 & 1999, let alone the first & second World War in which Indian soldiers under British flags put up best ever fight against the Central Powers (Germany & its allies) & won fronts after fronts for the Allied Powers.

India has signed several treaties and agreements with the US & NATO namely Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). With these such agreements, India will have access to the intelligence gathered by the US Intelligence apparatus & wherever India’s interest is hit, the US administration would come to help India tame its adversaries.

India should support the bill of the US Congressional Committee to recognize aggressively Tibet & Hong Kong as not an autonomous region of mainland China, but as independent nations. In the case of Tibet, India under Nehru lost an opportunity to stand with it & foil Chinese occupation & annexation in 1959. Tibet is the source of various rivers & mining resources. It also works as a buffer zone between India & China that’s why China does not want to quit Tibet unless whole of the world goes against China. Since the US is still reeling under Covid-19 fatalities & it strongly believes China’s hand behind this crisis, the US wouldn’t like to spare this opportunity to tame the dragon & Tibet is China’s weak spot.

What India can do & should do

India is the biggest & undisputed super power in Indian Ocean. China’s trade passes through Malacca Strait currently. China has been sparring with all countries for the unilateral control over the South China Sea. If China can claim unilateral control over the South China Sea, India should also do following things

  • Block Malacca Strait from its Naval & Air Force bases at Port Blair.
  • Block Cocos (Keeling) Island from its Naval & Air Force bases.
  • China claims right on South China Sea where it has dispute with various countries explained, but India has undisputed control over Indian Ocean so all ships moving into South China Sea or coming from there should be blocked.
  • Indian Parliament should pass a resolution stating whosoever would not recognize India’s sovereignty, cannot do business of any kind with India & import from that country will be taxed 3 times more than the normal slabs.
  • The blockage of Indian Ocean will create an international furore & there India should adamantly pursue for vacation of our siezed territories like Aksai Chin, POJK & Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • India can tame the dragon by offensively bringing China’s trade to zero via maritime blockages & starve it by choking its 80% energy imports via sea route.
  • The US is going to support India & NATO will toe the line too.
  • No country will have that kind of guts to challenge India, in fact, these countries will put pressure on China to initiate dialogues with India.

This is the best chance with the world to tame China, else the dragon will become invincible & run everyone over. As a matter of fact, the Dragon wouldn’t want to risk its hard work of 30 years to go in vain. It certainly can afford small skirmishes with India but not a full-scale war. It would definitely be a big loss financially & militarily for India but it would also ensure that China would not remain what it is today. The whole world will go against it, and who knows it could be a pre-cursor to 3rd World War of China decides to sacrifice everything it has earned over the years.

PS: By the time, I am concluding this article one such skirmish has already claimed the lives of 20 soldiers of India & 35 Soldiers of China’s PLA. In my opinion, now Chinese officials would start engaging Indian diplomats in parleys for a peaceful back-off by PLA in Beijing & New Delhi.