• US is ‘no-where’ to China’s Technology

By Haider Abbas

The last 17 months stalemate of India and China is showing no sign of abating, and very surely, it will have a fallout on UP politics, as UPites always have a pan-Indian perception where the stakes are always around national scenario. As if Ladakh intransigence of China was not enough that China, has for the first time, officially declared that Arunachal Pradesh (AP), is illegally occupied by India! Interestingly, this has not come through any published article in China but from Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As per the views published on October 13 , on a question by Chinese Shenzhen TV about India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian answered, “China’s position on the China-India boundary issue is consistent and clear-cut. The Chinese government has never recognized the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh” established unilaterally and illegally by the Indian side and firmly opposes the Indian leader’s visit to this above-mentioned area. China urges the Indian side to earnestly respect China’s major concerns, stop taking any action that would complicate and expand the boundary issue, and refrain from undermining mutual trust and bilateral relations.” India rubbished the claim saying AP is an inalienable part of India.

This stand from China came after two days when border talks between India and China, as predictable, failed for yet another time. India’s is now firmly a part of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) which is a conglomerate of India, US, Japan and Australia to take-on China in Indo-Pacific region, particularly over Taiwan, where China and US have been locked-up from quite sometime. India’s PM who visited US in the last week of September, and tried to negotiate a place inside Australia, United Kingdom and United States (AUKUS) but there was no response, which India desperately wanted, but US found India better placed inside QUAD instead. AUKUS is a hardcore security alliance which has downplayed QUAD in its essence. QUAD now stands de-securitized leaving India red-faced more than ever. India, has already enraged Russia, its one time long ally, to not to flirt inside QUAD, and now, QUAD has been made toothless. What a grand failure India has reached in its foreign policies?

China’s seem to be in an anger mode, and India which was sitting pretty with an assumption that when China and US would spar over Taiwan, India would ‘heave a sigh of relief’, but India has been forewarned, through an article published in The Global Times, China’s government official organ, on October 13 , that no such comfort-zone is likely to be! This is for the first time China has used such an stringent language. ‘India should keep the big picture in mind and avoid strategic misjudgments of China. Territorial integrity is one of China’s core interests. Indeed, China hopes to promote stability along the border area and recover China-India relations. But this definitely does not mean China will give up a single inch of its territory in exchange for gains in other areas. Some strategists in New Delhi tend to believe that while dealing with challenges in China-US relations and China-Japan relations, China may not have enough energy to fight back against India’s encroachment on China’s territory. Some even believe that China may make concessions in order to win it over from the US. But such a mind-set is a sign of misreading China. Therefore, despite all the competition, it is unlikely that a real war will break out between China and the US. Some Indian scholars believe China-US tensions will keep China too occupied to take care of border issues. This reflects their limited vision. India has not viewed China-India relations from bilateral perspectives. Instead, it has taken many third-party factors into consideration. India has also exaggerated the so-called China threat, trying to provoke China-US disputes. But with its national strength, China is fully capable of simultaneously dealing with challenges from the US, Japan, as well as India.’ The same article is warning in its tone, ‘New Delhi may boast that it can successfully handle a so-called two and a half front wars – against China, Pakistan and India’s internal security threats. But in fact, it is not easy for India to even deal with China alone, not to mention Pakistan and India’s domestic problems. If India keeps provoking China and attracts all of China’s attention to India, it will be very detrimental to India itself.’

It is worthy to mention here, that India abrogated Article 370 from JK&L on August 5, 2019, soon after Narendra Modi assumed to second term, which made Pakistan and China go to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for thrice in the next one year. China openly considers AP as its South Tibet and adheres to Mao Zedong’s Five-Fingers foreign policy, that considers Tibet to be China’s right hand palm, with five fingers on its periphery: Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and AP, and which, China has ought to liberate. As if the Ladakh nemesis were not enough that AP has added to it. India’s President Ramnath Kovind is on a tour to JK&L over Dusshera holidays.

The AP is now getting into the center stage of controversy which has around 15 cities and covers an area of around 83,000 sq. kms. Therefore, what India insists on as status-quo-ante of 2020 is now a passé, as now China looks deep down into the Indian neck, with an eye on seven-sister-states, the biggest of which is AP. India too has stationed its army and is engaged in military drills in AP and China has built military villages close to AP border too. There is now what seem to be a grueling battle building up which has taken 72 years to come to the fore between India and China.

On the Ladakh front, India is building bunkers, on the lines it had made in Kashmir, but according to SCMP report published on October 13 , ‘Ladakh villagers want to be relocated as they are ‘living in fear’ as villagers are demanding land and shelter somewhere else.’ This is in the wake of Chinese presence just across the border. There is already a death-knell to the throbbing tourism industry which had boomed after Ladakh had become a Union Territory in the wake of August 5, 2019.

The situation is already out-of-hand in AP and India is just looking for US for help, to lock-horns with China over Taiwan, as one of our top defense analyst Brahma Chellaney, in an article on Project Syndicate on October 12 , has suggested “If the United States cannot (or will not) prevent Taiwan’s subjugation, why should anyone else count on US protection?” In an roundabout reference that why would India then jump into US mess until US makes it itself. The reality is that US would like India to come by its side over Taiwan but would remain ‘off the course’ in AP and on other border regions despite the BECA which was signed in the last days of the outgoing US President Donald Trump.

There hasn’t been any respite to India ever since when 75 days stand-off 2017 happened, followed by Galwan valley fight which saw 20 Indian soldiers dead. But, India is now very overtly banking on US, whereas, the fact is that US is battling its own ghosts as its Pentagon Chief Nicholas Chaillan has resigned on October 11, citing reason that ‘he resigned because US cyber security is no match for China, calling it ‘kindergarten level’’ informed Business Insider .

Whatever will happen will have to have direct consequences over UP elections in 2022 and later in general elections in 2024.

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The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and a political analyst.

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