Managing China


A sputtering economy with a strong yuan is not the same China anymore. How should India deal with a hesitant China.

Is India trying the same dance steps with a different partner? Things have changed ... (Cartoon by Tom Toles; courtesy - usnews.com/). Click for larger image.

Is India trying the same dance steps with a different partner? Things have changed … (Cartoon by Tom Toles; courtesy – usnews.com/). Click for larger image.

Flying dragon

The Chinese threat to India is something that occupies the minds of Indian defence strategists and every right-thinking Indian. Indian perception springs from the 1962 experience.

Last time China had a problem, it resulted in the India-China War of 1962. Just after the disastrous Great Leap Forward and before the equally disastrous Cultural Revolution.

The Great Leap Forward began in 1957-58, saw famine and hunger across China. After the Communist takeover of China, land seized from land owners, was given to peasants in 1949. Ten years later, in 1959, the Chinese State took away the same land from the same peasant. Food shortages, starvation followed. Western (questionable) estimates are that 30 million people died during this period.

War with India followed in 1962 – a diversion from the domestic Chinese catastrophe.

Crouching tiger

To handle this threat, India made, arguably, one of the best moves possible. An alliance with Soviet Russia.

As allies go, Soviet Union was in a different league, compared to USA. (Cartoon courtesy - siciliandefence.wordpress.com; artist attribution missing at source.). Click for larger image.

As allies go, Soviet Union was in a different league, compared to USA. (Cartoon courtesy – siciliandefence.wordpress.com; Source – from Chinese daily-Global Times; artist attribution missing at source). Click for larger image.

India tilted increasingly towards the Soviets in seeking protection from China. The Chinese humiliated India in 1962. The Soviets brutalised China in the late 1960s in a “border conflict” that may have been the biggest undeclared war ever. The US was wooing Yahya to act as via media to establish diplomatic relations with China on the basis of “enemy of my enemy” equations.

Mrs G was stampeded into the Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty when she learnt from Kissinger that the US was pursuing diplomatic initiatives with China. The Chinese refrained from military action because the Soviets threatened to respond in kind. (via Cold facts about the Bangladesh war).

Is India doing the same thing now. Cosying upto USA, to seek an US umbrella against Chinese thunder? Just one thing needs to be remembered.

US is no Soviet Union – as allies go.

Can oil bring US, China and India together?

As things stand, oil is a good reason for China, India and USA to cooperate. US oil consumption is stagnant. But China and India are growing oil markets. Big Oil from US seeks to control flow of this oil to India and China. China is more mature power now. US power has its limits. India’s position is stronger.

Things have changed.


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  1. Galeo Rhinus
    May 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Glad to see some objective analysis on this subject.

    This type of hawkishness is important for survival.

    Having agreed in principle with you, India’s “alliance” with the US, IMO is tactical and should expire when not needed.

    Also, this alliance is important for India to secure its borders. A firebreathing dragon to the east is a real threat, but even the bite of a mad-dog can be lethal – after all, this barking dog to the west is on American leash.

  2. June 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm

  3. June 1, 2011 at 7:30 pm

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