While this crisis may have blown over, it serves as the right wake up call to India to shore up its defences with a proactive and pragmatic policy from Himalayas to the Indo Pacific to develop leverage to protect its interests.
as long as the territorial dispute is not resolved, China remains India’s foremost military threat. The ministry of external affairs must make all out efforts to seek an early resolution of the dispute and not be lulled by Deng Xiao Ping’s gratuitous advice to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi that it is a dispute left over from history and should be left to future generations to resolve. This strategy of postponing dispute resolution may suit China, but it certainly does not suit India.
Chinese perspective of raising tensions in Ladakh is not shaped by any altruistic motives of improving its positions on the border or lay claims to new areas. It is a well planned strategic response aimed at coercion to prevent India from improving its overall strategic posture in the region.
While China has ratcheted up its show of assertiveness in the recent years, India has been quietly preparing for a parity to prevent war. Often parity does not have to be equality in numbers. The fear of pain disproportionate to the possible gains, and the ability of the smaller in numbers side to do so in itself confer parity. There is a certain equilibrium in Sino-Indian affairs that make recourse to force extremely improbable. Both modern states are inheritors of age-old traditions and the wisdom of the ages. Both now read their semaphores well and know how much of the sword must be unsheathed to send a message. This ability will ensure the swords remain recessed and for the plowshares to be out at work.
Infrastructure, military capabilities and cost of war may preclude military adventurism at the moment but when push comes to shove India can and must look China in the eye diplomatically and militarily. Since the aim of the WZC is a political victory for China, India must signal strong resolve to ensure it retains its moral ascendancy. To begin with, the foreign minister must not go to China.
India still has a range of options to make China see reason without losing face. It hardly matters that India loses face, the country having been been inured to it, used to it and reconciled to it by now. If these options are not exercised early enough – timing always being of the essence – India’s humiliation would have been compounded and its military position further degraded. What is worse the status quo might conceivably turn out to be freezing of positions as obtaining on the date of the agreement; meaning thereby the new LAC on the DBO sector would be 19 kms within Indian territory.
This then may be testing waters of Indian resolve in dealing with China before Prime Minister Li Keqiang visits India. India needs a better than Non Alignment 2.0 strategy to keep China in check. To begin with, India must seriously consider developing asymmetrical capabilities to counter the Chinese threat and enunciate its red lines unequivocally.
Major conclusion that emerges is China is embarked on building all round comprehensive military capabilities to emerge as the dominant military power in Asia with ability to challenge even the US in its core areas of interest. The manner of its engagement in international peace keeping and anti piracy operations highlights its global ambitions as a responsible stake holder.
The military gap between India and China is growing steadily. Clearly, China’s negotiating strategy is to resolve the dispute when the Chinese are in a much stronger position in terms of comprehensive national strength so that they can dictate terms
The book presents rich account of genesis and the current state of affairs in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Assam, Bangladesh and Burma. Lintner, who has traveled extensively and chronicled the region as a journalist(legally and illegally), has presented a deep and apparently only account of the longest insurgency movements in India’s North East and the support they have received from India’s long time foes China and Pakistan.