DOKLAM ALERT & INDIA’S FIRM DENIAL

India cannot ignore China's assertive foreign policy

After the 73-day Doklam stand-off ended last year in August, there appeared to be a conscious attempt by Beijing to build a favorable public opinion in India, suggesting the two nations can start a new chapter.  Speaking on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui had said “Xi and Modi, (who met at the BRICS Summit) sent a clear message of reconciliation and cooperation. We should dance together and make one plus one eleven. He had said, both sides should appropriately manage differences, get the problems under control left over by histories such as issues related to the boundary and the Dalai Lama while finding solutions to new problems.”

Exactly a year after, there is once again a “Doklam Alert” however, this time it appears to be “purposely injected” by a US Congresswoman Ann Wagner, who during a Congressional hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee for Asia and the Pacific claimed that – “China has quietly resumed its activities in the Doklam area and neither Bhutan nor India have sought to dissuade it.”   In response Alice G Wellsthe Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, did not directly refer to Doklam, told Wagner and other lawmakers: “I would assess that India is vigorously defending its northern borders and this (the situation at the northern borders) is a subject of concern to India.”

Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen V K Singh was quick to quash this claim in Rajya Sabha and assured that there are no new developments at site of face-off with China at Doklam. He further added, “In our high-level exchanges with China, the government has consistently maintained that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas is an important pre-requisite for the smooth development of bilateral relations.”

 Earlier in the month of May, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj  too had echoed the same saying  “there was no change in status quo at the face off-site in Doklam and asserted that a major outcome of the informal summit (in the month of April) between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jingpin was enhancing of mutual trust between the two countries.”

So if all is well between India & China, then why is a US lawmaker making false claims? Does it ring a bell?

Yes, to some extent it does. Since Mrs. Wager had nothing substantial to support her claim and in fact she did not even elaborate on her claim of China resuming its activities in Doklam, why did she even rake this issue at this particular time? (Doklam anniversary & ongoing Pak general elections)

Analogy between the Elephant and the Dragon

Aristotle’s description had busted the myth that Elephant has no knees. And later on in Roman times, everyone knew elephants had knees because those lucky enough to attend gladiatorial games were treated to the cruel slaughter of the animals hauled in from Africa and India. In fact, in his sprawling encyclopedia Natural History, Pliny the Elder (historian) specifically mentions the elephant’s knees when recounting a battle in Rome’s Circus “One of these animals fought in a most astonishing manner; being pierced through the feet, it dragged itself on its knees towards the troop, and seizing their bucklers, tossed them aloft into the air: and as they came to the ground they greatly amused the spectators, for they whirled round and round in the air, just as if they had been thrown up with a certain degree of skill, and not by the frantic fury of a wild beast.”

According to the Physiologus (collection of moralized beast tales) also, when it is time for the female elephant to give birth, the male must be vigilant, for the elephant’s eternal enemy, the serpent, will snatch the baby. Pliny refers to it as a dragon, “perpetually at war with the elephant,” he writes, “and is itself of so enormous a size, as easily to envelop the elephants with its folds, and encircle them in its coils. The contest is equally fatal to both; the elephant, vanquished, falls to the earth, and by its weight, crushes the dragon which is entwined around it.” In the Physiologus, the serpent seems decidedly smaller, as the male elephant “kills it by trampling on it until it dies.”

These descriptions must be read carefully by all to draw a correct analogy between the Elephant and the Dragon before declaring “Doklam alert“.

What is at stake for both?

The major elements of the relationship between India and China:

Energy(Resource competition): India and China are two of the largest, fastest-growing energy consumers in the world. India imports some 75 % of its oil needs, while China imports about 40 % of its oil. Their combined demand has helped drive oil prices to record highs, prompting both nations to try to lock down sources of energy around the world. China’s quest for energy has prompted China-Africa project.

Trade:  Bilateral trade between India and China in 2017 rose by 18.63 % year-on-year to hit $84.44 billion. India accounts for nearly 80 percent of South Asian economic activity and is a critical gateway to the region’s economy. The two countries are increasing their economic cooperation, particularly in areas like technology. “There’s this idea that India does software and China does hardware, and the two of them together make an Asian market.”

Perimeter: The two nations have a longstanding territorial dispute in the Himalayas that led to a border war in 1962. Among the areas of contention, India says China is illegally occupying Indian territory in the disputed region of Kashmir. China has claimed the rights to land in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Security: At the time of India’s 1998 nuclear test, Indian officials said they needed nuclear weapons to deter China, an assertion that raised hackles in Beijing. “There are suspicions on the military side, but both leaders have kept it in check. India is wary of China’s longstanding relationship with its rival Pakistan, including Chinese assistance for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, CPEC and China’s role in a project to upgrade a Pakistani deep-sea port at Gwadar. The nuclear threat from China and Pakistan is combined since China has built up Pakistan’s nuclear and conventional capabilities. China has also expanded its security ties with other nations around India.

India cannot ignore China’s assertive foreign policy

We all know that China has advanced an assertive foreign policy with the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the East and the South China Sea disputes. Having said that we should not forget that China’s alignment with Pakistan and deepening relations with other South Asian countries represent a significant challenge to India’s geopolitical dynamics. China’s economic might allows spreading its influence around the world, which is used to India’s detriment.  It is an open secret that China ensures India remains bogged down in suspicion and mistrust with its neighbors and does not have the strategic appetite to “Act East”.

To counter the above, India has four types of tools at its disposal that it needs to hone: military power, potential partnerships with other countries (Quad), multilateral diplomacy, and international economic integration. India for obvious reasons needs to revise its stance of countering China with the Quad.

However, given its improved relations with Beijing in recent months, it probably won’t be seen actively promoting it. Lastly, we cannot ignore the Indian ruling government’s prime focus – 2019 elections!  Therefore, all steps here on will be measured keeping national & party interest.  The nationalistic fervor will certainly be at its peak, and anybody trying to disturb the status-quo may land up paying heavy penalties.

28 July 2018/Saturday                                                                    Written by Afsana 

INDIA, CHINA TURN OVER NEW LEAF

01 Oct 17/sunday 

Moving away from the Doklam crisis, both India and China on Saturday expressed confidence of amicably resolving border issues and building a new chapter in their relationship.

Soon after the Chinese envoy to India, Luo Zhaohui, said that the time was right for the two countries to “turn a new chapter” in ties and “dance together”, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh praised the positive approach of the two countries while solving the Doklam crisis and hoped to completely resolve the border issues through structural dialogue.

“There was a deadlock in Doklam but we resolved the issue through dialogue. Both India and China shared a positive approach,” Singh said while addressing the ITBP jawans during the Dussehra celebrations in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath, close to the China border.

Singh also visited ITBP’s Rimkhim post near the India-China border.

In an indirect reference to the 73-day Doklam standoff in Bhutan, Ambassador Zhaohui made a strong pitch for renewing Indo-China ties by using the idiom that “India and China should make one plus one equal to eleven”.

“We should turn the old page and start a new chapter with the same pace and same direction,” Zhaohui said while speaking on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

 

Referring to the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen earlier this month, Zhaohui said both leaders sent out a clear message regarding the need to maintain peace and tranquility in border areas and to strengthen their ties.

“China is the largest trading partner of India. We have made a lot of progress at the bilateral level, as well as in international and regional affairs. I am quite sure that with joint efforts, we will be able to focus on cooperation, handle the differences properly, enhance mutual trust, and move forward and take our relations to a new height,” Ambassador Zhaohui said.

AFTER DOKLAM STAND-OFF, CHINA SEEKS A FRIEND IN INDIA

01 Oct 17/Sunday

After the Doklam stand-off ended and PM Narendra Modi and China President Xi Jinping held a meeting, toasted as a success by both sides, there seems to be a conscious attempt by Beijing to build a favorable public opinion in India, suggesting the two nations can start a new chapter.

After weeks of hostile rhetoric from Beijing, often articulated by quasi-official mouthpieces like ‘Global Times’, finally ended with a truce in Doklam, there have been full-page advertisements in Indian newspapers carrying the ambassador’s message that Xi and Modi hit it off and ties could now soar. The military stand-off at Doklam ended with a vindication of India’s position that China was only trying to unilaterally change the status quo near the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction, though Beijing claimed the Indian side had moved out. But China’s tenor seems to indicate a keenness to move on, with the Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui saying it is time for India and China to turn the old page and start a new chapter.

Luo emphasized the countries had made a lot of progress at bilateral level, iterating the good vibes of the Modi-Xi meeting as he had done in an edit piece in ‘The Hindu’. The emphasis seems to be on furthering economic ties and consciously burying the acrimony of militaristic statements.

while Indian officials don’t want to gloat about how China gave up its attempt to build a road through territory that is disputed between it and Bhutan, there is an understanding here that China’s efforts to make amends follow a realisation that Beijing could have avoided the confrontation, more so because it wasn’t really a high-stakes test for China. Though the test of the pudding remains with issues like India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, blocked by China, as also Beijing’s hold on Pakistani terror mastermind Masood Azhar being sanctioned by the UN, the effort to tone down a prolonged period of suspicion and edginess marks progress in ties.

Speaking on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, Luo said Xi and Modi, who met at the BRICS Summit this month, sent a clear message of “reconciliation” and “cooperation”. “We should dance together.

We should make one plus one eleven. China is the largest trading partner of India.

We have made a lot of progress at the bilateral level, as well as in international and regional affairs,” Luo said. The diplomat also recalled one of his teachers, Prof Xu Fancheng, who lived at Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry from 1945 to 1978. Xu is known for translating Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Shakuntala from Sanskrit to Chinese. His reference to ancient cultural exchanges, that include the transmission of Buddhist sutras to China, also stood out.

Luo’s comments follow his newspaper article, in which he said both countries should consider actively exploring the strategic synergy between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and India’s ‘Act East Policy’.

He had said both sides should appropriately manage differences, get under control the problems left over by history such as issues related to the boundary and the Dalai Lama while finding solutions to new problems.

DONGLANG FACEOFF: STATEMENT OF COLONL WU QUIAN, SPOKESPERSON OF CHINESE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE INFORMATION BUREAU

(aa)  Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Deputy Director of Chinese Ministry of Defence Information Bureau during a recent press conference, replying to a question “whether China will review the troops/ military parade on Army Day (01Aug)”, said that they may hold the military parade during Army Day and the relevant information on this will be issued shortly.

(ab)  Wu Qian further said that China strongly urged Indian side to immediately withdraw the Indian border guards to the Indian side of border line and this is the prerequisite and basis for the settlement of the situation. China also warned that it will step up its troops deployment and training in the border areas along India. Peace and tranquillity on the border area are a matter of peace and stability in the region, which is in the fundamental interest of the people of China and India. China strongly urges the Indian side to take practical measures to correct the mistakes and stop provocation against Chinese side and jointly safeguard the peace and tranquillity in the border region.

(ac) Qu Qian also said that he would like to remind the Indian side that (India) should not leave the things to luck and should not hold unrealistic fantasy. It has been proved in the history of 90 years the of founding of PLA that the means of China's ability to defend the national sovereignty and territorial integrity have been strengthened and is determined to remain unswerving.

"Shaking the Mountain is easy, shaking the PLA is difficult".  

BENEFITS OF DOKLAM STANDOFF TO INDIA & CHINA

04 Sep 2017/Monday  

Two and a half months of a tense standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at Doklam area in the Sikkim sector of the India-China border came to an end shortly before the BRICS Summit, creating a better atmosphere for all its participants. For India, the whole of South Asia constitutes a strategic entity, which is India’s natural and rightful sphere of influence. Any great power presence in the region is viewed both as a threat to regional security and as a challenge to its own pre-eminent position. This frames India’s security concerns in the region. As for China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative — and its flagship project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – it intentionally does not aim at containing India, but is rather an economic plan that is expected to benefit both China and related countries. India’s domestic economic reform is at a very critical stage. Many non-traditional security threats such as transnational terrorism, food security, water security have also been testing the Indian government’s capability.

By using the Doklam crisis India successfully increased its military budget so as to be able to properly cope with a potential military conflict with China, which will consume more resources that could be used for domestic development. And, as a consequence for China, it will mobilize more military resources to its southwest, which it hasn’t paid much attention to so far as to its periphery eastwards.

China’s Understanding of India Has Increased

Undoubtedly the Doklam stand-off reflects a deep strategic mistrust between India and China and a lack of mutual understanding. However, against this backdrop, something positive is also happening which would contribute to a better understanding of India in China. Alongside a very strong nationalist sentiment since the middle of June, Chinese official and social media have witnessed a soar of reports on India. The content of the reports are not only about issues related to the Doklam stand-off and geopolitical discussions, but also cover a broad range of topics about India including its political parties, history, nation-building, religions, ethnic groups etc. In China, India has been very under-studied in comparison with other industrialized countries such as the US, France, or Japan. The Chinese public has usually paid more attention to the developed world and to East Asian countries in China’s periphery. The emergence of a large numbers of articles on India in such a short period has reflected Chinese efforts to understand this giant neighbor.

India-China relations are multi-faceted and have many components. Strategic and geopolitical issues are only part of the relations. Exchanges in culture, education, science, and business have been proved to be effective in bringing depth and vitality to India-China ties. It would be regretful if we understand relations only through the lens of security and if the development of relations in other areas are hijacked by the border dispute. In the end, friction may also be a path leading to a better understanding of each other — a reality that India and China have no choice to escape in living together as direct neighbors.

A PROPAGANDA “MADE-IN-CHINA”

The quality of psychological war or propaganda by China during recent Dokalam Standoff has raised a serious doubt over PLA’s capability to undertake non kinetic warfare against its adversary. While Doklam has been resolved for now, recent media coverage from China exposes the hollowness of its military ‘exercise’ claims. A deep analysis of Chinese propaganda shows cheap Photoshop work by the Chinese government agencies.

In the last phase of the Doklam resolution, hectic activities of PLA live fire drills in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and the Indian Ocean were beamed relentlessly across the world to project, how the mighty PLA was preparing for ultimate show-down. The shrill commentary following these live fire drills was linked to ongoing standoff between India and China. The substance of PLA’s arguments was that, since India had dared to stand up to Chinese activities in Doklam and therefore, should be made to pay the price.

Western military experts monitoring the development are now convinced that Chinese soldiers were using  only “blanks” and had no plan other than to “fire blanks for the propaganda arms of the Chinese Government ” like the Global Times, China Central Television and even the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua.

The Intelligence reports prove that, the weapons shown, the canisters for missiles, and their launch positions did not even remotely match those of actually deployed in Tibet. There is no shortage of vast open lands with mountainous background in China and the shots can be from anywhere and anytime in the past.

The exercises shown might have some elements of Tibet in them, but may also be dated or taken from some recent exercises in the Northern Theatre Command (NTC) bordering Mongolia and parts of the Western Theatre Command (WTC) bordering the Central Asian Republics.

Similarly, all the live fire drills of PLA Navy having carried out live strikes needs to be looked at with suspicion. Was the scale of live exercises so small, that the standard procedure of informing neighboring countries about an impending exercise was not taken by China? As a standard practice, when some exercises involving live fire drills take place, commercial traffic within the area of exercise and around it is warned of such an exercise. In the instant case, total silence!

The most hilarious part of the propaganda is that so-called exercises in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) proved to be a very clear and unprofessional ‘cut and paste’ job dating back many years from across China. Western strategic affairs experts, as well as some based in Pakistan, have confirmed that the so- called naval exercises were a routine matter for most navies in the world. However, the propaganda arm of the PLA thought; it would be able to scare India away with its cheap cut and paste job of pirated Photoshop software. Like many other Made-in-China items this too failed.

DOKLAM : WHO DARES WINS?

Who dared? Who won? There is no end to debating on this subject, however what is important to a commoner on both sides is that peace prevails. Geopolitical strategy, status quo, superpower, power corridors, last two months readers have read enough and have got enough insight into the ongoing situation courtesy Doklam. There has been a barrage of articles, videos, caricatures of the Dragon and the Elephant flooding the internet. What are they upto? Somebody found them (as depicted in the pictures above); twirling in Doklam and since then both sides kept speculating who dared and who will win ?

In the last few months Chinese media left no stone unturned to underestimate the Elephant (Indian Army), reporting that “the Dragon (Chinese Army) would annihilate the Elephant”. This is akin to what once the European natural historians used to believe about the Elephant: that it has no knees and it can’t have sex until it eats the ridiculously toxic mandrake root, and even when it successfully mates, Dragons eat its baby. It appears that Chinese didn’t read thereafter (laughs) and therefore this skewed appreciation of the Elephant.

Aristotle’s description had busted the myth that Elephant have no knees. And later on in Roman times, everyone knew elephants had knees, because those lucky enough to attend gladiatorial games were treated to the cruel slaughter of the animals hauled in from Africa and India. In fact, in his sprawling encyclopedia Natural History, Pliny the Elder (historian) specifically mentions the elephant’s knees when recounting a battle in Rome’s Circus “One of these animals fought in a most astonishing manner; being pierced through the feet, it dragged itself on its knees towards the troop, and seizing their bucklers, tossed them aloft into the air: and as they came to the ground they greatly amused the spectators, for they whirled round and round in the air, just as if they had been thrown up with a certain degree of skill, and not by the frantic fury of a wild beast.”

According to the Physiologus (collection of moralized beast tales) also, when it is time for the female elephant to give birth, the male must be vigilant, for the elephant’s eternal enemy, the serpent, will snatch the baby. Pliny refers to it as a dragon, “perpetually at war with the elephant,” he writes, “and is itself of so enormous a size, as easily to envelop the elephants with its folds, and encircle them in its coils. The contest is equally fatal to both; the elephant, vanquished, falls to the earth, and by its weight, crushes the dragon which is entwined around it.” In the Physiologus, the serpent seems decidedly smaller, as the male elephant “kills it by trampling on it until it dies.” The Chinese media therefore must read through these descriptions to draw a correct analogy between the Elephant and the Dragon before declaring who won Doklam.

WHY DOES CHINA RENEGE ON ITS AGREED UPON STATUS QUO?

Delivering the General BC Joshi Memorial Lecture in Pune COAS, India said “The recent stand-off in the Doklam plateau is an attempt to change the status quo by the Chinese and I think such kind of incidents are likely to increase in the future,”

 

It is seen that China has historically preferred to act in ways that go contrary to its signed commitments in the framework agreements as part of its National strategy. Its act of sending in PLA soldiers and engineers to build roads inside disputed territory in Bhutan, its recent intrusions across the LAC in India, its building of artificial islands in the South China Sea, is direct violation of its signed commitments or in its adoption of the 2002 SCS declaration that records its commitment to maintain status quo. China signs an agreement, abides by it for some time then renege its signed commitment or guiding principles.

The critical question that emerges is: why does China sign “guiding principles” and “framework agreements” with countries, with which it has territorial disputes and then violates the commitment to the status quo enshrined therein? It appears that Beijing follows this as its National Policy, to contain the behaviour of other states towards bilateral disputes giving an impression that Beijing does not intend to act contrary to the agreements signed. This leads to complacency as an atmosphere of mutual trust is crafted through instruments like “confidence building measures”. Simultaneously China keeps building a narrative citing ancient history to blindside their counterparts across the undefined borders. One fine day when it feels that it can violate the status quo it goes ahead without caring about the world opinion. However, this time China’s game plan has back fired in Doklam.

DOKLAM STAND-OFF : DRAGON LIES TO THE WORLD

On August 1, Xi Jinping, presided over a grand function to celebrate the 90th founding anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army, PLA, being the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People’s Republic of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. From the rostrum he reaffirmed that, The Chinese people love peace. “We will never seek aggression or expansion, but we have the confidence to defeat all invasions.” We will never allow any people, organization or political party to split any part of Chinese territory from the country at any time, in any form. He also urged PLA to focus their thoughts and work towards combat to make PLA move forward and transform into an elite and powerful force to ensure win. This might be directed towards India as the standoff continues on the ridge near the tri-junction of Tibet-Bhutan and Sikkim.

 

Viewpoint:

On 22nd July, a book published by an American author Ben Keiler, titled “Spying against India” (Chinese Military Intelligence from 1962 to 2012) Volume 1 reveals important details which are in total contrast to the contentions made by the Chinese in the ongoing Doklam standoff. Few excerpts from the book are given as under: –

  • Doc 70 in the book reveals that China could see the deployment of Bhutanese and Indian army units in western Bhutan in 1987.

  • The first battalion of the Bhutanese army defended the area close to the border with Sikkim.

  • In that location they made sure that the Chinese army could not take any shortcut through Bhutanese territory and cut-off and encircle the Indian border defence in the northern areas of Sikkim.

  • The 2nd, 3rd  and 5th battalions were positioned to defend the area between Yatung and the capital Thimphu.

  • The 6th battalion serves as reserve force and could be deployed in any direction.

  • The Indian troops were intermixed with the Royal Army of Bhutan to strengthen the defence and to make sure the Chinese army could not enter any area of Bhutan without fighting the Indian Army.

  • This mix makes sure the Chinese cannot only target the Bhutanese army and grab more land without killing Indian soldiers.

The above details and supporting maps given out in the book clearly bring out the fact that the Chinese were always aware of the Bhutanese and Indian army presence in Doklam area.  Therefore, the present logjam smells of a more complicated game, mainly China’s insecurities related to the recent US-India defence pacts and other eco-partnerships. Hence, this appears to be a far cry from China , trying to draw India’s attention towards itself.

ADVANTAGE INDIA: DOKLAM

 “China’s war threats against India following the Dokalam Standoff in mid-June 2017 have been shrill, threatening and a desire to ‘Teach India a Lesson’. The latest is an SCMP post in which Chinese military sources have been quoted that China will opt for a Limited War at Donglang La and initially employ Chinese air-power and strategic missiles to neutralize India’s Mountain Divisions in the area. Chinese military sources have been quoted as stating that Indian Army will not be able to last a Chinese Limited War for more than a week.” 

Viewpoint: 

So far the entire Dokalam episode has done no bad to both countries but it has definitely done a lot of good to India. This is how we” ll justify the same.

Chinese threats gone half cocked:   Underestimating India’s military capabilities and making arrogant statements in this regard has done severe damage to China who has been trying hard to find its footing as a superpower. These tall claims have reflected China as “aggressive” and India’s measured replies as a “peace loving nation”. Superpowers don’t act this way in the heat of the moment, they come across as a responsible country not just somebody beating their own trumpet, making arrogant statements underestimating others capabilities and eventually falling on the face.

India emerges as a balanced power: The global community (US, Japan and others) acknowledge that India in marked contrast has not resorted to belligerence and war-mongering on the issue like China. It has emerged as a mature nation who has taken time to make calculated assessments based on the ground realities not jus numerical superiority.

Indian Military preparedness checked: With the backing of a strong govt, Indian military dugged into the weak lines along the Chinese border, analyzed them in depth and pledged to give a befitting reply. Simultaneously, Indian military is carrying out further calculated assessments along this border to further strengthen its military capability.

India emerges as Big brother to Bhutan:The present Chinese approach of bulldozing its way has left it with more enemies than friends, who are compelled to silence due to Chinese might. Hence, India supporting Bhutan in countering China’s bullying actions is justified. Strong nations supporting their smaller and weaker friends would send a message to the neighboring countries (Nepal, Srilanka, Myanmar) that in India they have an “all weather friend.”

CLASH OF DOKALAM TITANS

From the heightened rhetorics to much publicised live fire drills of PLA the stage now seems to set for a small military action for which Chinese press has been warning since past fortnight. A Chinese daily carried out an editorial saying that “the window for a peaceful solution is closing” for India and “New Delhi should come to its senses while it has time.” Meanwhile, a Chinese defence ministry official yesterday questioned how India would feel if Chinese soldiers entered Uttarakhand or Kashmir. The editorial says New Delhi’s actions have “sabotaged long-standing agreements and understandings the two sides have worked hard to build over the years. China will not “back away from a fight because of its desire for a peaceful neighbourhood”. This developement comes in the backdrop of some Indian newspapers reports of move of troops by Skhna based corps of the Indian Army.

CHINESE EXPERTS ON INDIA’S MILITARY ADVANTAGE

Chinese military experts reiterated that China has  military advantage over India, after an Indian magazine’s report came out that the Indian Army would give China a bloody nose, if war breaks out. Noting that China’s military advantage over India is totally misplaced and hyperbole, a military expert told the ‘Global Times’ that the reports are misleading. Based on different sources, the statistics can be extremely different. For instance, according to data from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), China currently has 2.3 million soldiers and 510,000 troops under reserve components, while the same numbers for India are 1.3 million and 1.15 million, respectively. Based on this, China still possesses more troops than India in total. The expert also noted that numerical advantages alone cannot bring victory on the modern battlefield. Soldiers’ personal competence and educational background play even more important role. Based on Indian government’s own estimation, the country’s illiteracy rate is around 20 to 30 percent, while the number in China is only 4 percent.  The expert denounced that as for geostrategic circumstances and security concerns, the article noted that due to China’s longer shared border, the country will suffer more pressure than India. Chinese expert noted that though India’s front line is shorter, its intense border tussle with Pak will reduce the number of troops that can deployed along the Sino-Indian border. The report claimed that India has more towed artillery and armored fighting vehicles than China, but such weaponry cannot reach their full potential once a war occurs between China and India, as most of the Sino-Indian border lies in highlands and mountain areas, which are not ideal battlefield conditions for such heavy military equipment.

DOKLAM NOT AN ISSUE ON CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA

While China's officially controlled News Papers are busy reminding India about history and threatening war, its youth are largely unconcerned about Doklang. A survey revealed that most of them are totally ignorant of such a border problem because they pay little attention to the official media. This is evident from the insignificant level of discussions on the Chinese social media about the issue.

   The issue did not figure among the top 50 trending topics on Saturday on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, which has over 340 million users in China. China's ultra-nationalists had managed to arouse a lot of passion against Japan during the 2012 territorial dispute because the two countries have been at loggerheads through much of history.
Even the top echelons of the Communist Party seem to have refrained from using the social media to instil anti-India sentiment. Comments about the Sino-India border problem have been few and far between. One researcher who scrutinized Weibo posts told TOI that postings and repostings (retweets) do not exceed a few thousand.
   China has a huge tribe of people called the "50 cent party" who manipulate the social media by posting millions of comments favouring the government and the Communist Party, according to research conducted by several thinktanks and western universities
"I think the '50 cent party' has not yet been asked to paint India as an aggressor on the border. The government may not yet be ready to do that because it is very difficult to improve the relationship with a country which has been widely defamed in the eyes of the ordinary people," a Chinese researcher said while requesting anonymity.
   On the other hand, a section of the government-backed media, including the Beijing-based Global Times, and more than a dozen experts working with government-backed thinktanks have been busy finding fault with India not just about the border stand-off but over a range of issues, including poverty.
Most Chinese youth are active on social media and nearly 70% of Weibo's users are believed to be below the age of 30. Young people are also very active users compared to the older users. But they seem to be too involved with domestic issues to be bothered about angry nationalistic sentiment.

View Point


   The survey points towards the signs that attempts made by a section of the official media to whip up passions against India have not succeeded, probably because there is no history of animosity among ordinary Chinese towards India. This is a positive sign and must be exploited by Indian Media. Also, it ponts towrds the fact that Indian masses also need not drum up war hysteria based on some Chinese News Papers.

   Only two of the 50 top trending topics are in some way related to foreigners. One is about some programmes on South Korean TV and another involves a complaint about a Chinese youth being badly treated by.