History repeats itself
It is certainly appreciative and welcome that India and China, the two future economic superpowers, are talking about strengthening bilateral ties. Recently, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and the Chinese President Hu Jinatao jointly declared 2012 as the year of India-China friendship and cooperation.
The Prime Minister hoped that the two would work together to maintain peace and security on the borders and resolve border issues through friendly talks. Here lies the thorn. If we go by Indian military strategists, India not only has to be cautious by such ‘friendly Chinese overtures’, but also has to be wellequipped and prepared, not to be taken by any kind of surprise, which the Chinese are known to deliver. The case in point is the 1962 war between the two nations. History tells us how China, led by Chou En-lai, played a game of deceit, leading India to believe that all was well, when it was preparing for a military assault. The 1962 war is a grim reminder.
In this issue, as the nation remembers the sacrifices of Indian soldiers, we have incisive articles and viewpoints on the Chinese thinking, strategy, military might and its ambitions. General (Retd) V.P. Malik has said that deep strategic fissures between the two countries cannot be ignored. In recent years, China has been more vocal and assertive on its claim over Arunachal Pradesh. China is non-committal over nuclear arming of Pakistan and induction of PLA in Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. By issuing stapled visas to Indian passport holders from Jammu and Kasmir, Beijing is virtually questioning the status of the State, providing support to Pakistan’s position on the issue, and ensuring greater security to its occupied territory in Aksai Chin.
The General has rightly pointed out that despite several foreign aggressions in our post-independent history, we seem to lack realism. There is a sense of self-righteousness and singular faith in words, without looking for underlying falsehoods and incompetence.
Echoing similar views, Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch has said that the actions of Pandit Nehru, by ignoring the warnings on China given by Sardar Patel, led to India being outwitted both politically and militarily. Considering what the two Generals have said, it would be prudent on the part of the powers that be in New Delhi not to be ‘naive’ when it comes to dealing with China.
In SP’s Exclusives, we have covered one of the major corporate developments in the defence and aerospace sectors, the probable merger of giants EADS and BAE Systems. Consolidation being key to stay competitive, it is believed that the actual trigger for the two to come together could be the loss of MMRCA deal, and also the need for them to counter competition from Boeing.
We have a report on HAL sending out an RFP to BAE Systems for a potential order to supply products and services for the manufacture of 20 Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT) aircraft, in addition to the 123 Hawks already ordered. Once these Hawks are available, the IAF is keen on reviving the erstwhile Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team which we all would love to see them perform across the globe.