Xi Jin­ping – China’s ‘Core Leader’

SP's MAI - - MILITARY VIEWPOINT - The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the au­thor.

The Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) has anointed Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping as the ‘Core Leader’ of China, which places him on par with Mao Ze­dong and Deng Xiaop­ing. Xi Jin­ping is ex­pected to take China to the next level of be­com­ing a ‘Great Power’. On as­sum­ing power, it was Mao Ze­dong who had fa­mously said, “Ti­bet is the palm of China and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh) are its fin­gers”. So much for the so-called “his­tor­i­cal” claims of China to the state of Arunachal Pradesh! It also ex­plains why China in­vaded and an­nexed Ti­bet. China an­nexed Ti­bet, Xin­jiang and Ak­sai Chin for not only ter­ri­to­rial gains but also be­cause of the min­er­als and oil wealth in these re­gions. Deng Xiaop­ing re­it­er­ated Mao’s ‘fin­gers’ quote and passed it on to Xi Jin­ping. Sig­nif­i­cantly, Xi Jin­ping was Sec­re­tary De­fence when China un­der Deng Xiaop­ing in­vaded Viet­nam in 1979 to “teach Viet­nam a les­son”.

It may also be re­called that while China had been lay­ing il­le­gal claim to Tawang plateau, in year 2005 she sud­denly en­larged her claim to en­tire 90,000 sq km of Arunachal Pradesh. The Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion (CMC) of China till last year had only one civil­ian mem­ber – Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, Chair­man of CMC. But con­cur­rent to China’s mil­i­tary re­forms this year, Xi Jin­ping donned mil­i­tary uni­form and be­came the Com­man­der-in-Chief of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA). The mil­i­tary re­forms es­tab­lished five Theatre Com­mands, the Rocket Force and the Strate­gic Sup­port Force, lat­ter com­bin­ing the func­tions of in­tel­li­gence, tech­ni­cal re­con­nais­sance, elec­tronic war­fare, cy­ber war­fare and space war­fare. The CPC is supreme and all mili­tias too have been brought un­der the CMC mak­ing Xi Jin­ping the most pow­er­ful man in China. He has now be­come the strong­est ever hav­ing been anointed ‘Core Leader’.

Xi Jin­ping’s pol­icy to­wards In­dia has been that of com­bat­ive en­gage­ment. Some 350 trans­gres­sions across the line of ac­tual con­trol (LAC) in 2015 alone and the China-Pak­istan nexus with PLA de­ployed in Gil­git-Baltistan, CPEC and Chi­nese sol­diers mak­ing ap­pear­ance at Pak­istani posts across the line of con­trol (LoC) cer­tainly bodes ill will for In­dia. PLA has tested sev­eral new class and vari­ants of of­fen­sive plat­forms like mis­siles, hy­per­sonic glide ve­hi­cles and has de­vel­oped bal­lis­tic mis­sile de­fence. In Septem­ber last year, China un­veiled the DF-26 IRBM for pre­ci­sion strike against theatre level ground tar­gets and her nu­clear ICBM force is be­ing mod­ernised to in­clude the road and rail mo­bile CSS-X-20 (DF-41) ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing MIRVs.

China’s West­ern Theatre Com­mand is re­spon­si­ble for her bor­der with Myan­mar, In­dia, Bhutan, Pak­istan-oc­cu­pied Kash­mir (PoK) and Afghanistan. China, in­di­vid­u­ally and in con­cert Pak­istan, has been en­gaged in war at the sub­con­ven­tional level against In­dia. Not only is China pro­vid­ing sup­port to In­dian Maoists and North East in­sur­gents, Chi­nese in­tel­li­gence es­tab­lished the United Lib­er­a­tion Front of West­ern South East Asia (UNLFWSEA) in Myan­mar last May, com­bin­ing nine ma­jor North East in­sur­gent groups in­clud­ing the NSCN (K) and ULFA un­der a com­mon um­brella. So, fu­ture con­flicts / skir­mishes will likely be hy­brid in mul­ti­ple do­mains. China’s sud­den claim to en­tire Arunachal Pradesh en­sured the Sino-In­dian bor­der res­o­lu­tion re­mains un­re­solved in per­pe­tu­ity. Though Myan­mar re­fused to barter its sovereignty in ex­change of PLA pres­ence on her ter­ri­tory, like Pak­istan but China has lethally armed the United Wa State Army (UWSA) in Shan state of Myan­mar, even with mis­sile fit­ted he­li­copters.

China has de­vel­oped ad­vanced bor­der in­fra­struc­ture, strate­gic roads-rail, dual use air­fields, lo­gis­tics, lethal weapon sys­tems and strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions within the West­ern Theatre Com­mand, which gives the PLA ter­rific mo­bil­i­sa­tion speed. We need to take cog­ni­sance and move faster in de­vel­op­ing own bor­der in­fra­struc­ture. Also noteworthy are China’s joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises es­pe­cially in high al­ti­tude ar­eas in­volv­ing rapid mo­bil­i­sa­tion, cap­ture of passes and use of PGMs, which are cer­tainly aimed at us, not Tai­wan or any­one else. Not only the ar­eas of Eastern Ladakh and Arunachal need ad­di­tional troop de­ploy­ment, we must cre­ate ad­e­quate sec­toral re­serves to re­spond to Chi­nese ad­ven­tur­ism. At the strate­gic level, we must be able to re­spond to main­land China, con­ven­tion­ally and asym­met­ri­cally in all do­mains of war, es­pe­cially in the SEZs along her eastern seaboard. This is the par­a­digm which In­dia needs to fo­cus on that re­quires re­vamp­ing of our na­tional se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture, down to how we would op­ti­mally em­ploy com­po­nents of our na­tional power at the strate­gic, op­er­a­tional and tac­ti­cal level. There is ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity that the new Core Leader of China may have the am­bi­tions of Hitler.

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping

LT GEN­ERAL P.C. KA­TOCH (RETD)

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