Need to tread cautiously with China
For long, India and China have been known in the world for the vastness of their territories, massive population and their political ideologies. Of late, these two Asian behemoths have surged ahead, in terms of economic growth, and while doing so they are reshaping the geopolitics of the region.
There are efforts on the part of both the Asian giants to gain oneupmanship, considering how volatile the region is getting. This game of one-upmanship has been going on for quite some time and the two were engaged in limited war in 1962. Despite this background, there are overtures on the part of both the governments to ‘deepen security and military trust’. It is a difficult process.
The latest effort came during the meeting of Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh with China’s new President, Xi Jinping in Durban, South Africa, and the latter is said to have opined that there was ‘strategic opportunity now to upgrade military cooperation’.
In this issue, we have Air Marshal (Retd) Anil Chopra analysing the induction of Chinese leadership and their impact on India. The Chinese President has acknowledged that the boundary issue is a difficult one to resolve, but has come up with a five-point Sino-Indian relationship. While it is welcome, one just cannot brush aside the ‘String of Pearls’ which China has been systematically weaving to encircle India.
Air Marshal (Retd) Anil Chopra is of the view that notwithstanding the statesman-like remarks of the Chinese leadership, the relationship is much more complex than meets the eye. Citing boundary disputes; frequent Chinese incursions across the border; massive build up of ‘military support’ infrastructure in Tibet; dumping of Chinese goods; foreign policy initiatives, etc are factors which need to be looked into with a scanner. Particularly, China cozying up with Pakistan is a worrisome factor as India will have to up its antennae on both the fronts in the northern region. Building a credible military deterrence against China, along with re-visiting our foreign policy seemingly has become urgent.
Continuing on Chinese expansion, in his forthright column, Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch warns that the temperature levels in the Indian Ocean is going to rise in the light of China having its ‘head in both the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea’. In February 2013, Pakistan handed over the strategic deep-water Gwadar seaport to China and the latter asserts that the port is not only in the best of interest of Pakistan and China but also in the interest of the region’s development. How, one wonders.
Another highlight in this issue is the report by the President and CEO of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Y. Yaari on the long-standing relationship between Israel and India, particularly in the development of the Indian defence industry. Talking about the indigenous defence industry, we have good news that the third anti-submarine warfare corvette for the Indian Navy was launched by India’s leading shipbuilders, the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. The need to expand on India’s defence capabilities, with and without outside support is urgent in the background of the emerging geopolitics of the region.