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.

Happy read­ing!

Jayant Baran­wal Pub­lisher & Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

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