Chi­nese Ex­perts Warn Bei­jing Over Dokalam

Say stand­off could po­ten­tially threaten Bei­jing’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Di­pan­janRoy.Chaud­hury @times­group.com

New Delhi: Apart from rais­ing ten­sions be­tween In­dia and China, the Dokalam stand­off could po­ten­tially threaten Bei­jing’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI), Chi­nese schol­ars and ex­pertshave­warned­forthe­first­time. Ma­cau-based mil­i­tary ex­pert Antony Wong Dong has cau­tioned that Bei­jing’s hard­ball pol­i­tics is push­ingNewDel­hi­fur­ther­awayand could end up mak­ing it an en­emy.

“China is play­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare...but it should re­alise that even if it de­feats In­dia in a war on land, it would be im­pos­si­ble for PLA navy to break In­dia’s mar­itime con­tain­ment,” Wong told Hong Kong­based English daily South China Morn­ing Post (SCMP).

Chi­nais­large­lyre­lianton­im­ported fuel and, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pub­lished by Chi­nese state me­dia, over 80%of it­soilimports­sailthroughthe In­dian Ocean or Strait of Malacca.

“Un­like South­east Asian coun­tries, In­di­a­has­n­ev­er­suc­cumbed­toChina’s ‘car­rot and stick’ strate­gies,” Wong said. “In­dia is strate­gi­cally lo­cated at the heart of China’s en­ergy life­line and the ‘Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive’, and of­fend­ing In­dia will only push it into the ri­val camp, which [Bei­jing be­lieves] is schem­ing to con­tain China by block­ing the Malacca Strait and the In­dian Ocean.” Sun Shi­hai, an ad­viser to the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion for South Asian Stud­ies, told SCMP that he was con­cerned that the worst mil­i­tary stand-off in more than three decades would fuel anti-Chi­nese sen­ti­ment in In­dia. “In­dia is one of the most im­por­tant strate­gic part­ners for China’s ‘Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive’ be­cause of its ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion.”

Zhou Chen­ming (a mil­i­tary ex­pert with Know­far In­sti­tute for Strate­gic

and De­fence Stud­ies, a non-gov­ern­ment­think­tank­inJiangyin,Jiangsu prov­ince, China) told SCMP that China was well aware of the fu­til­ity of an all-out war for a des­o­late bor­der area that is “frozen for up to eight months of the year”. In­dia’s in­ter­est in en­hanc­ing its naval ca­pa­bil­i­ties, es­pe­cially its fleet of sub­marines, is be­lieved to have been prompted by China’s mil­i­tary mod­erni­sa­tion and its in­creased ac­tiv­ity in the In­dian Ocean and the nar­row Malacca Strait, ac­cord­ing to SCMP.

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