Sino-Indian Relations: Chinese Forked Tongue

Sino-Indian relations have taken a new beating with China’s latest impudence – a warning from the mouthpiece of the Peoples Liberation Amy, PLA Daily. There will be negative results from the steps India is taking to strengthen its defenses in Arunachal Pradesh and other pockets of the China-India border, the publication has thundered underlining once again the distance the two countries have not covered since their bitter war in 1962.

For quite a while, China has been using its state controlled media to intimidate India by warning of consequences if Delhi refuses to grovel before Beijing. Yet it stubbornly refuses to acknowledge any of India’s concerns. An effort to sound menacing!

China leaves no doubt whatsoever that Sino-Indian relations are a one-way street. And the onus of maintaining good ties lies entirely with India, which is in urgent need of Yuan Renminbi for its infrastructure upturn, going by Global Times and other Chinese publications.

India has beefed up its defences in Arunachal Pradesh with the deployment of Brahmos supersonic missiles.
India has beefed up its defences in Arunachal Pradesh with the deployment of Brahmos supersonic missiles.

Well, New Delhi must blame itself for such a notion. Because it has done precious little to corner Beijing. That is beside the point since the Bamboo capitalist is in no way different from the Shylocks of yore as the experience of African nations, and even that of Pakistan, which, as the global basket case, has become the money poor state, shows.

Cut to Arunachal Pradesh. India has decided to bolster its defence keeping in view the unabated threat from China. With its critique of Brahmos deployment, China is taking upon itself the task of deciding what India should do or not do to defend itself. And it does not want India to do anything to strengthen its north-east flanks, which it is anxiously waiting to devour.

Consider this homily from the PLA Daily: “India deploying supersonic missiles on the border has exceeded its own needs for self-defense and poses a serious threat to China’s Tibet and Yunnan provinces. It (BrahMos missiles) is bound to increase competitiveness and confrontation in Sino-Indian relations and bring a negative influence to stability of the region.”

The commentary noted that India has been beefing up its capabilities along the border with China with UAVs and Su-30 combat jets, and dubbed these deployments as part of a policy of counterbalance and confrontation.

In the same breath, the PLA mouthpiece asserted that the Indian missile does not have the range to hit targets deep inside China and eulogizes the muscles the Chinese army have.

This is Chinese forked tongue at its best.

It is not for Beijing or the PLA to tell Delhi what it should do to defend its long border, more so in Arunachal Pradesh that China sees as its own, calling it the southern extension of Tibet.

Anyhow, China is being disingenuous when it chides India for trying to strengthen the defence of its borders. Because China has a better strategic and defence apparatus, and top class infrastructure in areas close to the Indian border.

Moreover, China has been encircling India by increasing its presence in the region. It is seeking berthing facilities in the Indian Ocean from Sri Lanka to Maldives and beyond. It is developing Gwadar port in the insurgency-hit Balochistan province of Pakistan more as a base for its navy than as a commercial port. The port will be run by the Chinese.

If Brahmos missiles near its border are a worry, then China should also look at its acquiescence in the buildup of nuclear and missile facilities in North Korea, a client state not very different from Pakistan. The world is worried about the whimsical ways of the boyish dictator in Pyongyang, and his fascination with deadly toys.

China’s contribution to building Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is well recognised. There are serious worries everywhere but China about these Pakistani weapons falling into the hands of either state-sponsored terrorists like LeT and Taliban or foreign vintage groups like HuT who have infiltrated the armed forces.

Far from asking the Rawalpindi-based GHQ Shura to exercise restraint, Beijing is encouraging them to be more aggressive. It is bolstering Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities by setting up many new nuclear facilities in defiance of the NPT, which it invokes only to block NPT-adherent India’s entry into the coveted Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Yet, the Chinese are exercised over the Brahmos in Arunachal Pradesh. For two reasons, undoubtedly.

One, China wants India to concede a walkover, rather like 1962, whenever the PLA decides to make its transgression into Indian territories permanent.

Two, China is rattled by the firepower of the Brahmos developed jointly by India and Russia. The Chinese also dread the prospect of the Brahmos being exported to some of its neighbours like Vietnam.

A supersonic cruise missile, the BrahMos can carry warheads weighing up to 300kg. It can be be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. It has been in service with the Indian army since 2007 and is currently being tested for use by the Air Force’s Sukhoi-30 fighters.

India is spending close to Rs 4300 crore to station four regiments equipped with the Brahmos missile in Arunachal Pradesh. The deployment would in effect be 100 missiles, five mobile autonomous mobile launchers and 12×12 heavy duty trucks and mobile command posts.

Is this deployment tailor made to take on the Chinese in case they do repeat their 1962-type attack on India? Opinion is divided amongst strategic experts.

But that is not the issue. The issue is something else. And it is China emerging as the worlds biggest bully, making almost all its neighbours, with the notable exception of the rogue state of Pakistan, apprehensive about its aggressive designs.

China cannot order India to lower its guard, given the history of unresolved contentious issues. Also a constant threat of annexation of its territories in the north and western sectors which the Chinese claim as their own on the basis of history!