A Beijing editor takes his gloves off

China must be given a taste of India’s swing power

“Indian politicians these days,” says today’s editorial in the Chinese Communist Party-linked Global Times, “seem to think their country would be doing China a huge favor simply by not joining the “ring around China” established by the US and Japan. India’s growing power would have a significant impact on the balance of this equation, which has led India to think that fear and gratitude for its restraint will cause China to defer to it on territorial disputes. But this is wishful thinking, as China won’t make any compromises in its border disputes with India.”

This is in response to a recent announcement that India will beef up its military presence in Arunachal Pradesh, adding new troops and air assets along the border with China. The Global Times goes on to warn that “India’s current course can only lead to a rivalry between the two countries. India needs to consider whether or not it can afford the consequences of a potential confrontation with China.”

And as if stating a self-evident fact, it declares that India “can’t actually compete with China in a number of areas, like international influence, overall national power and economic scale. India apparently has not yet realized this.”

(This, in a newspaper that supposedly is less strident than its Chinese language counterpart. Why, Richard Burger, of the wonderful Peking Duck blog, is even its foreign editor.)

Here on INI, Pragmatic Euphony has criticised the India’s military moves for being unsophisticated. However, to the extent the announcement has acted as a truth serum, their mere announcement has already proven useful. It is hard to find a more cogent summary of what is in China’s mind—not inferred by Indian or western analysts, but stated by an organ, albeit a distant and distanceable one, of the Chinese Communist Party.

The editors at Global Times are unambiguously telling the doubting Rams in India that neither fear, nor gratitude will make China compromise in its territorial disputes with India. In fact, it won’t compromise at all. And yet it is India’s current course that will lead to rivalry between the two countries, and it is India that “will need to adjust if it hopes to cooperate with China and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.” Such straight talk is welcome.

Although the editorial denies it, it does betray China’s big fear: that India can swing the geopolitical balance to China’s detriment should it side the United States and Japan. The foreign policy of the first UPA government failed to make China appreciate the value of Indian restraint. That’s why the second UPA government must not repeat that mistake. The consequences of a potential confrontation, after all, go both ways.

23 thoughts on “A Beijing editor takes his gloves off”

  1. Well, we are always a reactionary entity. Hope we’ll react now?

    China is getting a bit too triumphal with the current financial crisis that hit US – derogatory laughter at top US officials (imagine if Americans or anyone else laughed at Chinese officials). Let us see how it comes out on the other side of this crisis if Americans decide to save instead of spend their earning on Chinese imports.

  2. It is a pattern. They are discarding Deng’s advice: be pragmatic, keep your head down, etc.

    That will be their undoing. They probably are in de facto recession already. Some of the triumphalism will hit the hard wall of reality when that happens.

  3. The only thing PRC has over Bharat is its economy. Economics can change. In other parts of the world Indians have directly competed with and easily beaten the chinese. Unleash the Tiger and it will give the dragon a run for its money. For once India should join Japan, Australia, Vietnam and Taiwan with US to complete its own string of pearls around China.

  4. I like the competing part. Global Times got that part correct.

    second UPA government must not repeat that mistake.
    They won’t repeat only when they realise that it is wrong.

    I don’t think, US is building string of pearls around China. Come on guys, US would be spending most of its time in rebuilding its economy and correcting its old mistakes. They don’t have time to create new troubles with the imaginary string of pearls concept.

  5. I was actually left a little bemused, confused by Pragmatic’s post – I couldn’t quite make out if it was calling the Govt.’s moves stupid or hailing it.
    However, as you point out – it is a good move – and a long overdue one. Rediff has been constantly chronicling how China has been building up Infrastructure along the border – and especially in (occupied) Tibet/Kashmir.
    If a mere announcement of sending troops and building troops gets them jittery – then its good, its very good.
    Myabe, as before, the Chinese expected nothing much to happen with their incursions (link) – and they might just be using it as a “recon” tool for an assault at an opportune time.

  6. i agree with aryan. it is high time we dumped this non-aligned BS and teamed with the developed world, which have given us our economic revolution. rather than team up with communist china, rogue north korea, genocidal ditcher srilanka, or with confused russia.
    we need to be with the part of the world, that is a melting pot uniting all cultures of the world, the US, UK and EU.
    Those are the nations that are aspiring to improve humanity by landing on moon or settling humans on mars.
    Does North Korea, Pakistan or China have any plan or contigency for human survival in the event of another tsunami or catastrophe ? NIL / NOTHING.
    China, Pak, N.Korea, Russia – themselves dont have a clue of what needs to be provided to their own poor people. How can they save the world. Its a blunder if India, flirts with this new axis of evil.
    Chinese economy? The Chinese economy is a closed economy, its a bubble waiting to burst, no-one whats goes on inside. Its all pure speculation from outside.
    Chinese products may be cheap, but they are not sustainable, environmentally or with respect to durability.
    As pointed out above, Indians win hands down in most parts of the world when competing with chinese businesses. Where the chinese win, its aided by their ‘triads’ and mafia in their china-towns.

    Are Indians listening?

  7. It is a pattern. They are discarding Deng’s advice: be pragmatic, keep your head down, etc. That will be their undoing.

    What’s going to kill them 10 years from now is their population bust. Their sustained 1-child policy has constructed a disastrous a demographic cliff. Their median age is already 34+ (India’s is just past 25). So there’s a lot of productive Chinese doing chop-chop. Once that population ages, they’ll look increasingly like Japan – geriatric, and gunning the engine but stuck in neutral. Productivity increases can only compensate so much before the weight of demographics wipes it out.

  8. Wouldn’t N-deterrence work vis-a-vis PRC?
    Just wondering.

    And yes, sadly it is true that PRC is at least a generation ahead of us in terms of most measures of hard power (i.e. the one that counts when push comes to shove) we’d care to think of.

    Wonder what Dilli’s gameplan is though. Or if they even have one at all. IMO, if the PLA tomorrow does an Aksai Chin in Arunachal around Tawang or someplace, I don’t see the requisite will in Dilli to do a Kargil on them. Easier to bury the news and pretend normalcy, IMO.

    Till our second strike capability is beyond any reasonable doubt to any and all neighbors, friends and foes alike, I doubt Dilli can afford to take a tough line even on matters of territorial integrity in the face of creeping acquisition by the PLA, I fear. We’ll have to await the launching of the ATV for that, I guess. And a full fledged deployment of the ATVs is at least year

  9. I hope GOI is prepared to counter PRC’s tri-dimensional game.

    On one dimention it is pushing India’s NE with its military-centric (there is no civilian population that can use the infr that is being developed) infrastructural development.

    In the second front PRC is using/influencing UK+EU and Australia type nations to undermine Indian national interests by voting against Indian moves in multilateral institutions.

    The third and most important dimension to PRC strategy is Pakistan. India must make it clear to PRC as well as the world community that PRC will have to pay the price for any Pakistani misadvanture, because a Pak-nuclear weapon is nothing but a green-PRC-nuke.

  10. Sud, ATV is just going to be a prototype and trainer platform. Real subs will be built only after ATV.

  11. Indian manufacturing can outperform China, if we have the right managers, staff, policies, planning and political will :
    Nokia Chennai is rated number 1 in the world for Nokia operations worldwide


    There are many such examples.

    We can make India, become the next manufacturing hub if we can remove part [a major part] of our focus on IT/BPO/Services. We need manufacturing.

    The recession is the best time, to spearhead our engineering departments, and kick our the communists in getting a growth oriented manufacturing and agricultural stimulus.

    We need to think and say in our hearts, watch out, china here we come!

  12. what’s all these chest-thumping i find among you Indian posters.
    Man chill- out can’t you?. Still licking the wounds od 1962. The chinese never made a big deal of the boarder skirmishes of 62 of which most ordinary chinese are unaware of.The real war was fought in Korea that is is the real triumph for china over her enemy the most riches and most powerful in the world the U S along with your old british master.
    The chinese were really good to you guys. They moved back to their boarder area after giving you a quick lesson they never hold on to the land they have captured and return back to you guys all the armaments their captured. Buried your jawans kIA with respect and dignity.They are just telling you don’t try to solve problem through force of arms. The chinese will negotiate, give and take but would not take coercion of any sort. China want to live in peace with India and all her neighbours.
    Here is the difference between an Indian and a chinese.
    The chinese want to be competing with the best in the world and never see herselves as inferior to the whites.Beijing olympic proves it to you. while the Indian constantly compares themselves with China and always retained in their psychic an innate inferiority complex before a white man. Hare ram hare ram.Kia hoghia hai Hindustan. Time to wake up from slumber.

  13. Reds don’t worry me. They have a tendency to implode spectacularly.
    They drown in their own bile and ideological filth.

  14. invalid,

    >>Sud, ATV is just going to be a prototype and trainer platform. Real subs will be built only after ATV.

    True. But the final subs will be ~identical to the ATV largely coz the N-reactor powering the beasts are identical in config.

    So yes, a fleet of ATVs in the water, silently waiting for an authenticated doomsday signal to launch a Yugaantam would deter the worst and be comforting.

  15. Just finished reading the article on Global Times. Unless I’m missing some nuances here, the article exists for a simple reason. To quote it : In the last few days, India has dispatched roughly 60,000 troops to its border with China, the scene of enduring territorial disputes between the two countries.

    In other words, it’s just a warning from China’s government – or the Party, whichever you prefer 🙂 The rest of the article about China’s superiority – whether real or perceived – is just some side dish to go with the main course…
    If we agree those claims, there’s nothing new. If not, it’s just a lot of hot air…

  16. photonman,

    The Chinese talk that way in English – it’s really translation from Chinese into English. So there is more to it than hot air.

  17. Chandra,

    Translation or not, that’s what the article says in English. I’m not suggesting that the claims are ‘hot air’; but that the cause of publishing such an article be recognized and that the article be understood as a warning to the Indian government from the Chinese government. Nothing more, nothing less.

    What I do think, however, is that the rest of the article that claims China’s superiority over India can be ignored in this context, irrespective of the factual basis of such claims. IMO this part was included for domestic consumption.

  18. @photonman,

    I entirely agree with your analysis. It’s a warning from the comrades. Now that they don’t have Karat & Co to do their work for them, they’ve had to do it directly.

  19. Well, you missed out the real rubbing-it-in bit.

    It should also be asking itself why it hasn’t forged the stable and friendly relationship with China that China enjoys with many of India’s neighbors, like Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

    In other words, China is out-competing India in its own neighborhood and turf : what hope should India have that it can compete with China at all, at an international scale ?

    The Chinese are underestimating India’s potential. When it comes to ancient civilizations running for thousands of years, just a 10 years of headway in implementing economic reforms is no excuse to be complacent.

    But looking at how deeply the Indian politicians are asleep and how loudly they are snoring, one might doubt that the Chinese daily has a point.

  20. Sud,
    >>> a fleet of ATVs in the water.
    Even when the present ATV is still learning to swim (for around a decade), You seem to talk about things that will take at least 20 years from now. India can’t afford more than 3 N-Subs; as we don’t have enough N fuel to run subs. Also, we don’t know about ATVs role; ship-attack or ballistic missile sub ?

    >>> The Chinese are underestimating India’s potential.
    When we don’t show our potential, it is obvious for others to underestimate.

  21. Invalid,
    >>Even when the present ATV is still learning to swim (for around a decade), You seem to talk about things that will take at least 20 years from now. India can’t afford more than 3 N-Subs; as we don’t have enough N fuel to run subs. Also, we don’t know about ATVs role; ship-attack or ballistic missile sub ?

    IIRC, the ATV is a SLBM sub, definitely not an SSN (attack role). We’re leasing the Russian Nerpa class sub for the SSN role.

    And yes, 3 ATVs would nicely make our boomer fleet. Each with 12 missle tubes and each missile with 3 warheads (all my humble estimates drawn from reading here and there only) – enough to deter, not to dominate. Good.

    As to why we’re not looking for a dozen ATVs, well, no point actually.

  22. Unless you haven’t already read it, there is this very interesting piece appearing in the Asian edition of the WSJ dated 24th June, 2009 on the India China border tensions titled ‘The China-India Border Brawl’ by Jeff M. Smith. It can be taken as a welcome point on this issue from an American perspective.

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