China’s growing assertiveness: shaping the Indian response

China’s water hege­mo­ny

Tibet is the water reser­voir of India. Chi­na vir­tu­al­ly exer­cis­es con­trol over the waters of rivers like the Tsang­po (Brahma­pu­tra), Indus and Satluj flow­ing into India owing to is supe­ri­or upper ripar­i­an posi­tion in the Tibet plateau. sub­stan­ti­at­ed reports con­vey the alarm­ing fact that Chi­na plans to uni­lat­er­al­ly divert the waters of the Brahma­pu­tra to its vast arid areas in the north and west. It also has com­menced work to dam some oth­er rivers flow­ing into India. India’s hydel project on the Brahma­pu­tra, upstream of Pasighat, has been hang­ing fire for a very long time. Chi­nese cal­lous atti­tude in its areas in water man­age­ment upstream of the Indi­an rivers has result­ed in two dev­as­tat­ing flash floods for India. In June 2000 parts of Arunachal Pradesh were sud­den­ly flood­ed due to the burst­ing of Yiong Riv­er Dam or release of water from the dam. In 2005 again, the Satluj riv­er was flood­ed in Himachal Pradesh from the Pare Chu Lake in Tibet caus­ing hav­oc to many low lying vil­lages in some regions of Himachal Pradesh in the vicin­i­ty of the Indo-Chi­na bor­der. In addi­tion, its pro­posed con­struc­tion of the 116 metres high Zang­mu Dam on the Tsang­po in east­ern Tibet in a high seis­mic zone can cause hav­oc to Assam in the event of a major earth­quake in the region.

 -
Here you can find more infor­ma­tion about:

Though Prime Min­is­ter Dr Man­mo­han Singh him­self assuaged the con­cerns of Indi­an par­lia­men­tri­ans in the Rajya Sab­ha in August 2011 regard­ing China’s diver­sion of waters from the Brahma­pu­tra or damming it inside Chi­na, India will be well advised to ensure its satel­lite intel­li­gence cov­er­age of China’s activ­i­ties in this field are zeal­ous­ly mon­i­tored. Chi­na has a propen­si­ty to keep its water strate­gies under wraps and does not allow any out­siders for on-site vis­its. It has dis­re­gard­ed UN rec­om­men­da­tions on water and infor­ma­tion shar­ing on ear­li­er occa­sions.

A wake-up call for India

Notwith­stand­ing the fre­quent and dozens of rounds of dia­logue between India and Chi­na since the last few years to dis­cuss many vexed issues between the two coun­tries includ­ing the con­tentious bor­der issue, Chi­nese actions towards India are hard­ly encour­ag­ing. Chi­na appears to be still suf­fer­ing from the “Mid­dle King­dom” syn­drome and resents Indi­an aspi­ra­tions as the sec­ond Asian pow­er. Its ‘string of pearls’ strat­a­gem aims at the strate­gic encir­clement of India to con­fin­ing India to the back­wa­ters of the Indi­an Ocean and to restrict India mere­ly to South 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. Chi­na and Pak­istan appear to have decid­ed to con­vert POK as Pak­istani ter­ri­to­ry and in doing so, legit­imise the 5180 sq km of POK ced­ed by Pak­istan to Chi­na in 1963 as Chi­nese sov­er­eign ter­ri­to­ry. With these omi­nous devel­op­ments, India thus faces anoth­er front to secure against Pak-Chi­na col­lu­sion.

Chi­na has suc­cess­ful­ly made seri­ous inroads into India’s imme­di­ate neigh­bour­hood through Nepal, Bangladesh, Myan­mar and Sri Lan­ka pro­vid­ing them sub­sidised arms and mil­i­tary train­ing facil­i­ties besides con­struct­ing strate­gic infra­struc­ture for them.

China’s fur­ther mis­chief in issu­ing sta­pled visas to Indi­an cit­i­zens from Jam­mu and Kash­mir vis­it­ing Chi­na and lay­ing ter­ri­to­r­i­al claims to Arunachal Pradesh, call­ing it South­ern Tibet, all point towards China’s evil machi­na­tions towards India. Despite India’s con­tin­u­ing friend­ly over­tures towards Chi­na, at times bor­der­ing on the sub­mis­sive, it appears that Chi­na will, most like­ly, adopt a con­fronta­tion­ist pol­i­cy towards India. Com­pe­ti­tion for for­eign mar­kets and glob­al influ­ence are like­ly to spur mul­ti­ple chal­lenges between the two ris­ing Asian giants and thus India needs to fac­tor in the myr­i­ad Chi­nese strat­a­gems in the long term per­spec­tive.

Prog­no­sis and the Indi­an response

The not so “peace­ful rise” of Chi­na and its provoca­tive actions vis-à-vis India — por­tends more com­pe­ti­tion than coop­er­a­tion between the two Asian giants. China’s own stat­ed reuni­fi­ca­tion poli­cies point to the fact that it can use mil­i­tary pow­er to regain cer­tain parts in its neigh­bour­hood which it per­ceives to be its own. Thus, India as it endeav­ours to resolve all con­tentious prob­lems with Chi­na in a mature and peace­ful man­ner, must gear up to face the Chi­nese drag­on square­ly for Chi­na only respects strength. In order to do that we need to, first­ly, cor­rect­ly assess like­ly Chi­nese threats both in the short-term and long-term per­spec­tives. In par­tic­u­lar, the Indi­an gov­ern­ment must not play down Chi­nese chal­lenges in any form. Sec­ond­ly, we must address with deter­mi­na­tion, the mil­i­tary asym­me­try to counter the threat from Chi­na and ensure no bureau­crat­ic slug­gish­ness or pro­ce­dur­al short­com­ings in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and pro­cure­ment of our mil­i­tary hard­ware for all the three ser­vices in a speedy time frame. The three ser­vices must be made capa­ble for offen­sive oper­a­tions in Chi­nese ter­ri­to­ry. Third­ly, we must pay ade­quate atten­tion to fur­ther devel­op our strate­gic infra­struc­ture lead­ing to the Indo-Chi­na bor­der. Nuclear and space assets require to be vast­ly improved as well as our elec­tron­ic and cyber war­fare where­with­al. Fourth­ly, under an inter­na­tion­al umbrel­la we need to go for either bilat­er­al or region­al water-man­age­ment treaties between India and Chi­na and the oth­er Asian low­er ripar­i­an states. Fifth­ly, India needs to take the lead to ener­gise all Asian group­ings like the ASEAN to ensure peace and sta­bil­i­ty in the Asia-Pacif­ic region with active coop­er­a­tion of the US and Aus­tralia.

It is high time that India car­ried out a real­i­ty check of its over­all capa­bil­i­ties vis-à-vis Chi­na. It now needs to upgrade its mil­i­tary strat­e­gy from dis­sua­sion to deter­rence. For effec­tive deter­rence, India needs to enhance the capa­bil­i­ties of its nuclear forces by field­ing 5,000 km range Agni IV and Agni V Inter­me­di­ate Range Bal­lis­tic Mis­siles and sea launched long range mis­siles by nuclear subs to com­plete the nuclear TRIAD for our forces. The syn­er­gy of the three ser­vices and India’s future mil­i­tary build-up to deter the for­mi­da­ble Chi­nese will only be suit­ably ener­gised if the coun­try goes in for long await­ed defence reforms in India’s high­er defence man­age­ment struc­ture.

About the Author
Lt Gen Kamal Davar PVSM, AVSM (retd) — The writer is a dis­tin­guished sol­dier hav­ing served in all the­atres of oper­a­tions in his 41 years of ser­vice. A vet­er­an of the 65 and 71 oper­a­tions, he was wound­ed in action in the 1965 ops. He was the first armoured corps offi­cer to be spe­cial­ly select­ed to be GOC Ladakh where he imple­ment­ed many inno­v­a­tive oper­a­tional and logis­ti­cal inno­va­tions. He has been Chief of Staff of a Corps HQ in Jam­mu and Kash­mir and then as GOC 11 Corps respon­si­ble for the defence of Pun­jab. He was espe­cial­ly select­ed by the Gov­ern­ment of India to raise the Defence Intel­li­gence Agency after the Kargil War. After retire­ment he writes and lec­tures on secu­ri­ty issues. He is wide­ly known to pas­sion­ate­ly espouse the cause of joint­ness in the Indi­an Armed Forces. As the first DG DIA, many intel­li­gence ini­tia­tives includ­ing abroad were tak­en by him.

Note by the Author:
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 geopo­lit­i­cal 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

Defence and Secu­ri­ty Alert (DSA
Defence and Secu­ri­ty Alert (DSA) mag­a­zine is the only ISO 9001:2008 cer­ti­fied, pre­mier world class, new wave month­ly mag­a­zine which fea­tures par­a­digm chang­ing in-depth analy­ses on defence, secu­ri­ty, safe­ty and sur­veil­lance, focus­ing on devel­op­ing and strate­gic future sce­nar­ios in India and around the world.

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 →