China’s growing assertiveness: shaping the Indian response

“Indi­an elites show lit­tle evi­dence of hav­ing thought coher­ent­ly and sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly about strat­e­gy.”
— George Tanham

One of the man­i­fes­ta­tions of chang­ing Chi­nese doc­trine is the intro­duc­tion of a new cliché in the lex­i­con of Chi­nese think tanks, name­ly ‘Grand Periph­ery Mil­i­tary Strat­e­gy’. The Chi­nese move to expand high speed rail net­works and equip­ping over 1,000 rail­way sta­tions with mil­i­tary trans­port facil­i­ties points towards con­crete mil­i­tary steps being tak­en in this regard. This will ensure rapid offen­sive deploy­ment as required to the many and diverse bor­der regions of Chi­na. Thus proac­tive mil­i­tary actions along sev­er­al the­atres will be a pos­si­bil­i­ty. The excel­lent fast rail net­work to Tibet is a pre-emi­nent exam­ple of adher­ence to the Grand Periph­er­al Mil­i­tary Strat­e­gy of Chi­na and fur­ther its con­nec­tiv­i­ty to Nepal and the Chumbi Val­ley is being planned in the near future. China’s nuclear weapons–cum-missiles nexus with its client state, Pak­istan and mod­ernising the Pak­istani Armed Forces is sin­gu­lar­ly aimed against India. For Chi­na, Pak­istan is a low-cost guar­an­tor of secu­ri­ty against India and Chi­na now a high val­ue guar­an­tor of secu­ri­ty for Pak­istan against India. Since the last two years or so, the Chi­nese foot­print in the dis­put­ed POK region is growing.

 -

Click to enlarge
This arti­cle is pub­lished with the kind per­mis­sion of “Defence and Secu­ri­ty Alert (DSA) Mag­a­zine” New Delhi-India
Defence and Security Alert (DSA
 -
Here you can find more infor­ma­tion about: 

Near­ly 200 years back, Napoleon had prophet­i­cal­ly stat­ed that “let Chi­na sleep, for when she wakes, the world will trem­ble.” Today, Chi­na is the world’s fastest grow­ing econ­o­my, with the largest, if not the most pow­er­ful, Armed Forces in the world and for­eign reserves at US$ 3.2 tril­lion — far exceed­ing even those of the sole super pow­er — the now eco­nom­i­cal­ly weary and strate­gi­cal­ly fatigued US, all trans­lat­ing into China’s ever grow­ing glob­al clout.

China’s bur­geon­ing finan­cial and con­se­quent­ly its mil­i­tary might con­tin­ues to be on a rapid upswing pro­pelled by its ancient civil­i­sa­tion­al wis­dom of realpoli­tik embell­ished by a strate­gic vision and nation­al­is­tic ambi­tions which are dis­tinct­ly unpar­al­leled. That Chi­na will be a super pow­er by 2025, if not ear­li­er, will be under­stat­ing a stark real­i­ty. If the 21st cen­tu­ry has to be an Asian cen­tu­ry, as repeat­ed­ly pro­claimed by many geo-polit­i­cal lumi­nar­ies, Chi­na leads the way well ahead of the oth­er play­ers on the scene includ­ing India, Japan, S. Korea, Viet­nam, Malaysia etc. Chi­na is usu­al­ly brack­et­ed with India as the lead play­ers in emerg­ing Asia but India mere­ly plods along nev­er hav­ing risen yet to its true poten­tial because of its inner con­tra­dic­tions. That Chi­na sees India as its main rival, glob­al­ly, region­al­ly, eco­nom­i­cal­ly and mil­i­tar­i­ly, makes the grow­ing asym­met­ric chasm between the two neigh­bours and Asian giants a seri­ous cause of wor­ry, in the fore­see­able future, for India.

As Chi­na builds-up a for­mi­da­ble mil­i­tary machine, it is con­scious of incul­cat­ing a respon­si­ble image for world con­sump­tion in keep­ing with its grow­ing glob­al sta­tus. Thus Chi­na has been since 1998, issu­ing every two years White Papers on nation­al defence with the lat­est in the series issued late last year — on China’s Nation­al Defence in 2010. This paper com­pre­hen­sive­ly cov­ers all macro-issues con­cern­ing nation­al defence.

China’s stat­ed aim in its afore­said White Paper is the pur­suit of a defence pol­i­cy which ensures a sta­ble secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment and per­mits the devel­op­ment of its econ­o­my and the mod­erni­sa­tion of its mil­i­tary. Impor­tant­ly, it relies on mil­i­tary pow­er as a guar­an­tor of China’s strate­gic auton­o­my and aims to ensure that Chi­na con­tin­ues to enjoy unre­strict­ed access to crit­i­cal strate­gic resources like oil and nat­ur­al gas. Chi­na, fur­ther stress­es that its nation­al defence pol­i­cy is pri­mar­i­ly defen­sive in nature and that Chi­na launch­es counter-attacks only in self-defence. Chi­na fur­ther claims that it “plays an active part in main­tain­ing glob­al and region­al peace and sta­bil­i­ty.” It con­tin­ues to pro­claim, that it fol­lows a “no first use” nuclear doc­trine and is a respon­si­ble nuclear and space power.

Most strate­gic ana­lysts the world over and par­tic­u­lar­ly its neigh­bours, how­ev­er, dis­miss China’s noble-sound­ing rhetoric as noth­ing more than a pub­lic-rela­tions exer­cise as China’s actions in the past few years, all across Asia, have been any­thing but con­tribut­ing to region­al har­mo­ny. On the con­trary, Chi­na is well on the way to have become a region­al hege­mon as many of its actions clear­ly show espe­cial­ly the tur­bu­lence it has cre­at­ed by its mus­cle-flex­ing in the many water­ways which lap the Chi­nese coast­line whether it is the South Chi­na Sea or the East Chi­na Sea includ­ing its many unfair claims on var­i­ous island ter­ri­to­ries in South-east Asia.

China’s nuclear weapons-cum-mis­siles nexus with its client state, Pak­istan and mod­ernising the Pak­istani Armed Forces is sin­gu­lar­ly aimed against India. For Chi­na, Pak­istan is a low-cost guar­an­tor of secu­ri­ty against India and Chi­na now a high val­ue guar­an­tor of secu­ri­ty for Pak­istan against India. Since the last two years or so, the Chi­nese foot­print in the dis­put­ed POK region is grow­ing under the garb of engi­neer per­son­nel being sta­tioned in the region (approx­i­mate­ly 7,000 to 10,000 per­son­nel already there) and reports sug­gest that POK may be leased to Chi­na for 50 years or so

Grand periph­ery mil­i­tary strategy

One of the man­i­fes­ta­tions of chang­ing Chi­nese doc­trine is the intro­duc­tion of a new cliché in the lex­i­con of Chi­nese think tanks, name­ly ‘Grand Periph­ery Mil­i­tary Strat­e­gy’. This pre­sup­pos­es the fact that the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army, sur­pris­ing­ly to many out­siders, lacked the capa­bil­i­ty of defend­ing its ‘far flung bor­ders.’ Now oth­er Chi­nese mil­i­tary thinkers are rein­forc­ing this new­er strat­e­gy to be adopt­ed in the face of rapid­ly chang­ing geopo­lit­i­cal dynam­ics in South Asia, Cen­tral Asia, South-east Asia and North-east Asia. The Chi­nese move to expand high speed rail net­works and equip­ping over 1,000 rail­way sta­tions with mil­i­tary trans­port facil­i­ties points towards con­crete mil­i­tary steps being tak­en in this regard. This will ensure rapid offen­sive deploy­ment as required to the many and diverse bor­der regions of Chi­na. Thus proac­tive mil­i­tary actions along sev­er­al the­atres will be a pos­si­bil­i­ty. The excel­lent fast rail net­work to Tibet is a pre-emi­nent exam­ple of adher­ence to the Grand Periph­er­al Mil­i­tary Strat­e­gy of Chi­na and fur­ther its con­nec­tiv­i­ty to Nepal and the Chumbi Val­ley is being planned in the near future. In addi­tion, the rail link being con­cep­tu­alised along the Karako­ram High­way link­ing Xin­jiang, through the dis­put­ed ter­ri­to­ry of Pak­istan Occu­pied Kash­mir, to the warm water port of Gwadar in Balochis­tan along the Makran Coast is anoth­er exam­ple of Chi­nese strate­gic deter­mi­na­tion to extend its influ­ence beyond its periph­eries and dom­i­nate regions well away from its boundaries.

As one of the sig­na­to­ries of the Unit­ed Nations Eco­nom­ic and Social Com­mis­sion for Asia and the Pacif­ic spon­sored 81,000 km long Trans-Asian Rail­way, Chi­na has come out with a plan to build high-speed rails to Laos, Sin­ga­pore, Cam­bo­dia, Viet­nam, Thai­land and Myan­mar along its south-east periph­ery. It has also got the sig­nal to con­struct the Chi­na-Iran rail that will pass through the Cen­tral Asian coun­tries of Kyr­gyzs­tan, Tajik­istan and Afghanistan.

Michael Caine and Ash­ley Tel­lis of the Carnegie Endow­ment for Inter­na­tion­al Peace in their sem­i­nal work, Inter­pret­ing China’s Grand Strat­e­gy: Past, Present and Future, have opined that “the con­tin­ued increase in China’s rel­a­tive eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties, com­bined with its grow­ing mar­itime strate­gic ori­en­ta­tion, if sus­tained over many years, will almost cer­tain­ly pro­duce both a re-def­i­n­i­tion of Bei­jing strate­gic inter­ests … that direct­ly or indi­rect­ly chal­lenge many of the exist­ing equities.”

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →