2ndlook

India-China-India Face-off Ends: How Things Have Changed

Posted in China, Current Affairs, India, Media, Pax Americana, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on May 6, 2013

As for the current intrusion, all these war-like noises in the Indian media are good. It sends a good message

See how Daulat Beg Oldie can be used to cut off China from Pakistan and Gwadar.

See how Daulat Beg Oldie can be used to cut off China from Pakistan and Gwadar.

Right at the onset, the Chinese military contingent pitching tents at Daulat Beg Oldie in Ladakh was a gesture. It was, of course, very clear that India of 2013 was not the India of 1962, when facing China. The small Chinese contingent was making a symbolic gesture – and India was responding to that gesture.

The reasons are clear. Though not to everyone.

China has significant numerical superiority – but technically and qualitatively, India can hold off and beat any kind of Chinese adventurism.

The Great Indian Defeat of 1962

India’s qualitative superiority was also probably true even in 1962.

Keeping in mind that the Indian soldiers of ’62 had been all over the world during WWII. Unlike China. Except the peculiar situations of the 1962 hides this aspect.

What 99.9% of the commentariat on the 1962 War with China forget is that the Chinese used the cover of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was when the world came closest to a nuclear war – according to some. While the world’s attention was locked onto Khruschev-Kennedy confrontation over Soviet nuclear missiles stationed in Cuba, China played mischief.

From 1959, to 1962, border skirmishes with China and ‘friendly’ talks were the norm.

Three contentious years later, Chinese forces launched a surprise invasion on October 20; the same day the Kennedy administration decided to enact a blockade of Cuba to keep Soviet missiles out of the Western Hemisphere.

Only days after Chinese forces crossed the Himalayas, President John Kennedy wrote to Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru asking “what [America] can do to translate our support into terms that are practically most useful to you as soon as possible.”

via A Forgotten War In The Himalayas.

To this offer of help, Nehru wrote two letters to Kennedy. Detailing what help US could extend.

W. Averell Harriman, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, and Duncan Sandys, British Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, led a small group of diplomatic and military experts to India on November 22. While the experts assessed India’s military needs, Harriman, Sandys, and Galbraith discussed the implications of the border war with Nehru. Harriman and Sandys made clear their governments’ willingness to provide military assistance to India but pointed out the related need for negotiations to resolve the Kashmir dispute. In a private meeting with Nehru, Harriman stated that unless tensions over Kashmir eased, the United States could not continue to provide military assistance to both parties to the conflict. Nehru reluctantly agreed to negotiations but warned that in the wake of the humiliation suffered by India at the hands of China, Indian public opinion would not stand for significant concessions to Pakistan over Kashmir. (via FRUS, Vol. XIX, 1961-1963, South Asia.

Indian proposals to the US for help in armaments were met with talks, delays, and inaction. A drip of US military aid started, well after the war was over and continued till 1965 war with Pakistan.

Under the cover of the Cuban Missile crisis, the Chinese gave India a resounding slap in the middle of still-friendly talks.

SECOND -Before Indians could retaliate, the Chinese had withdrawn and were talking peace. The world, in an extremely stressful situation, pressured India to accept Chinese peace overtures.

After slapping us Chinese ‘talked’ peace profusely – before we could slap them back. And in the middle of the Cuban crisis, the world was afraid that this border conflict could draw in opposing allies and deteriorate into a wider conflict.

THREE – According to modern Chinese analysts, like Wang Jisi, in 1962, Mao was struggling to retain his hold on the party. He alone took this decision to send those soldiers to give a quick slap and run back to the Chinese side of the border.

Mao – Not 10 ft. Tall

Wang Jisi’s understanding of Chinese motivations, goes on to cover how Mao

lost control of number of practical issues. So he wanted to testify and show he was still in power, especially of the military. So he called the commander in Tibet and asked Zhang are you confident you can win the war with India?” Wang said.

The name Zhang referred to Zhang Guohua, the then PLA commander of the Tibet Regiment.

“The Commander said, ‘Yes Mao, we can easily win the war’. Mao said ‘go ahead and do that’. The purpose was to show that he was personally in control of the military. So it had little to do with territorial dispute, (may be) something to do with Tibet but not necessarily,” according to Wang, who was also associated with the Institute of International Strategic Studies of Party School of the CPC.

The strategist believes that most of the wars fought under the CPC leadership had strong links with domestic crises.

“Everything China did in the border war with Soviet Union was triggered by domestic crisis in 1969″ and so was 1979 war with Vietnam which was launched partly because Mao’s successor Deng Xiaoping wanted to emerge as top leader, he said.

Asked whether he was convinced that domestic issues, more than territorial ambitions, prompted Mao to launch the war against India, Wang said “Yes yes I buy that theory because I looked at other episodes of history.

“The general conclusion is that (India-China) border war was neither based on real interest in getting territory nor solving territorial dispute.”

Asserting that China did not gain much out of the war, Wang said he was told by a top Chinese diplomat who served in India that the “war was totally unnecessary”.

via Mao ordered 1962 war to regain CPC control: Chinese strategist.

How Now …

Unlike the 1962 situation and China’s use of the: -

  • Cuban Missile crisis as a cover
  • While planting a resounding slap
  • Immediately offering a hand of friendship

was classic Chinese.

Today’s India’s airforce with Su-30MKI air dominance aircraft, Brahmos missiles, aircraft carriers have no Chinese equivalents.

China depends:

  1. On Russia for vital engines for its aircraft.
  2. On it unreliable domestic armaments industry.
  3. It is also on an international blacklist for arms supply.

India, too is dependent on imports. But, look at India’s track record.

At the height of the Kargil war, India was able to muster the French and Israelis to make emergency modifications to Mirage aircraft. These modifications helped IAF to fire laser-guided bombs that smoked out the Pakistani soldiers from camouflaged caves in the Himalayas.

China & War

China has no such options.China’s track record in war scenarios has been patchy.

In Korean and Vietnam Wars the Chinese support and intervention had no effect. China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1979 was a failure. Its’ attack on India in 1962 was under the cover of international crisis. China’s was badly brutalized at the hands of the Soviets in the 1969 War with Soviets.

Keeping this in mind, China will be mindful of an open attack.

Peaceful India?

India on the other hand has a successful record against the US-Pakistan War against India in 1965.

Similarly, staring down the US 7th Fleet while attacking Pakistan on two front, or turning tables in Kargil.

In the all the three wars of 1965, 1971 and the Kargil War, China was kept out of the war, with only lip sympathy to Pakistan.

Gentlemen … Applause

But while all this was happening what do some Brown American do?

Here is what Sadanand Dhume was doing.

Other Brown Americans do it differently.

Another will ‘shield’ Hinduism, while attacking India’s economic achievements and future (auto, software industries, for instance.). Another will scorn Indian education challenges with a dubious US public school model.

These Brown Americans are no less than the more famous stone-pelters from Lal-Chowk in Srinagar. All that they want to do, is throw stones at something Indian.

NEW DELHI: The 20-day military standoff with China at an altitude of 16,300-feet in Ladakh has ended. After furious activity over diplomatic channels, coupled with two flag meetings on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, the Chinese troops retreated from the Depsang Bulge area to their bases on Sunday evening.

The resolution of the troop face-off came even as preparations were in full swing for foreign minister Salman Khurshid’s visit to Beijing on May 9 despite a growing political clamour to cancel the trip. Now, the visit will go ahead as scheduled, in preparation for the May 20 visit to India by Chinese premier Li Keqiang.

There was no immediate word on the conditions decided for the mutual withdrawal of the troops, confronting each other on the heights since April 15. The earlier refusal by the Chinese to withdraw its soldiers from northern Ladakh, where they had pitched tents 19 km inside Indian territory, has created a national security scare in India.

via China-India face-off ends as armies withdraw from Ladakh – The Times of India.



13 Responses

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  1. admin said, on May 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm
  2. admin said, on May 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm
  3. admin said, on May 6, 2013 at 4:35 pm
  4. panduranghari said, on May 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    This was posted by Rudradev on BRF

    Why does this faction think China needs a war?

    It’s like this. Throughout the 1990s, the Chinese accumulated what they thought was going to be their greatest source and permanent guarantee of wealth; forex reserves of Western currencies, and more importantly, debt owed by Western governments. Mainly the US government.

    That component, the debt holdings, in the form of US treasury bonds and such, grew enormously through the 2000s, as the US borrowed money to finance its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Chinese export markets in the US also grew enormously in the 2000s until things reached a point where Chinese industries relied on US consumer markets to absorb a very large portion of their output.

    When the 2008 financial crisis hit the Western world, especially the US, China’s b@lls went into their mouth. It was a double-threat for China. On the one hand, all the US debt they held could become devalued in case of a depression. On the other hand, if US consumers stopped buying things, Chinese industries (which relied on US markets to absorb their output) would suffer. The resulting impact felt at home, by the Chinese economy, could have devastating consequences for a totalitarian regime.

    What option does a country have when so much of its wealth is in the form of debt? It must monetize the debt. It must turn the debt into something real, as soon as possible, before that wealth (in the form of treasury bonds) becomes more and more devalued as a result of its debtor’s financial troubles.

    How can China monetize the debt it holds? Here are some ways.

    1) It can demand that the US pay up. But the US doesn’t have money. If the US prints money, then China’s own holdings become further devalued (as it happened with QE2, which further aggravated the situation.) Same for other Western countries, such as EU nations, which are also reeling financially.

    2) It can print money and inject it into its own economy to increase domestic consumption. But this will inevitably lead to inflation, and cause civil unrest. Very bad idea, beyond narrow limits. Keeping tight control over money supply is much healthier from a totalitarian regime’s point of view.

    3) It can invest money into tinpot countries and gain goodwill. To some extent China has been doing this. But sooner or later, some returns have to be there no? So far, what returns have been generated by China’s magnanimous projects in Sudan, Zimbabwe etc.?

    4) It can start a war. It can arm up, invest wholesale in defense R&D, in procurement of foreign weapons systems and manufacture of its own weapons systems. And it can use these weapons systems in the pursuit of other kinds of power i.e. geostrategic power. An additional benefit to this method of monetizing its debt is that it does not lead to civil unrest (at least as long as China can claim victory) but rather, to an upsurge in jingoistic nationalism that strengthens the position of an authoritarian government.

    There you have it. Starting a war is likely considered a good option, given the prevailing economic situation, by a powerful faction within the ruling establishment of China. The US and West do not care if China starts a war with India; it will damage two of their biggest competitors. And Pakistanis of Section B, above, very much want this to happen and want to participate on the Chinese side.

    The ONLY thing that would make the Chinese hesitate in starting a war with India would be India’s possession of a credible nuclear deterrent. And what has Bharat Karnad, Dr. Santhanam told us few months ago about India’s thermonuclear bomb, between the lines, about that?

    In summary, I am guessing that the GOI has understood all this. It understands that the danger of a two-front aggression by China and Pakistan is not just real but imminent. It has calculated that we cannot win, and that we cannot count on external help to win. It may have calculated (ref: Dr. Santhanam) that we do not even have a credible nuclear deterrent to prevent this from happening.

  5. panduranghari said, on May 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    This was posted on BRF by Rudradev

    Why does this faction think China needs a war?

    It’s like this. Throughout the 1990s, the Chinese accumulated what they thought was going to be their greatest source and permanent guarantee of wealth; forex reserves of Western currencies, and more importantly, debt owed by Western governments. Mainly the US government.

    That component, the debt holdings, in the form of US treasury bonds and such, grew enormously through the 2000s, as the US borrowed money to finance its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Chinese export markets in the US also grew enormously in the 2000s until things reached a point where Chinese industries relied on US consumer markets to absorb a very large portion of their output.

    When the 2008 financial crisis hit the Western world, especially the US, China’s b@lls went into their mouth. It was a double-threat for China. On the one hand, all the US debt they held could become devalued in case of a depression. On the other hand, if US consumers stopped buying things, Chinese industries (which relied on US markets to absorb their output) would suffer. The resulting impact felt at home, by the Chinese economy, could have devastating consequences for a totalitarian regime.

    What option does a country have when so much of its wealth is in the form of debt? It must monetize the debt. It must turn the debt into something real, as soon as possible, before that wealth (in the form of treasury bonds) becomes more and more devalued as a result of its debtor’s financial troubles.

    How can China monetize the debt it holds? Here are some ways.

    1) It can demand that the US pay up. But the US doesn’t have money. If the US prints money, then China’s own holdings become further devalued (as it happened with QE2, which further aggravated the situation.) Same for other Western countries, such as EU nations, which are also reeling financially.

    2) It can print money and inject it into its own economy to increase domestic consumption. But this will inevitably lead to inflation, and cause civil unrest. Very bad idea, beyond narrow limits. Keeping tight control over money supply is much healthier from a totalitarian regime’s point of view.

    3) It can invest money into tinpot countries and gain goodwill. To some extent China has been doing this. But sooner or later, some returns have to be there no? So far, what returns have been generated by China’s magnanimous projects in Sudan, Zimbabwe etc.?

    4) It can start a war. It can arm up, invest wholesale in defense R&D, in procurement of foreign weapons systems and manufacture of its own weapons systems. And it can use these weapons systems in the pursuit of other kinds of power i.e. geostrategic power. An additional benefit to this method of monetizing its debt is that it does not lead to civil unrest (at least as long as China can claim victory) but rather, to an upsurge in jingoistic nationalism that strengthens the position of an authoritarian government.

    There you have it. Starting a war is likely considered a good option, given the prevailing economic situation, by a powerful faction within the ruling establishment of China. The US and West do not care if China starts a war with India; it will damage two of their biggest competitors. And Pakistanis of Section B, above, very much want this to happen and want to participate on the Chinese side.

    The ONLY thing that would make the Chinese hesitate in starting a war with India would be India’s possession of a credible nuclear deterrent. And what has Bharat Karnad, Dr. Santhanam told us few months ago about India’s thermonuclear bomb, between the lines, about that?

    In summary, I am guessing that the GOI has understood all this. It understands that the danger of a two-front aggression by China and Pakistan is not just real but imminent. It has calculated that we cannot win, and that we cannot count on external help to win. It may have calculated (ref: Dr. Santhanam) that we do not even have a credible nuclear deterrent to prevent this from happening.

  6. Manu said, on May 7, 2013 at 1:40 am

    I am guessing that the GOI has understood all this. It understands that the danger of a two-front aggression by China and Pakistan is not just real but imminent. It has calculated that we cannot win, and that we cannot count on external help to win. It may have calculated (ref: Dr. Santhanam) that we do not even have a credible nuclear deterrent to prevent this from happening.

    Pandu Bhai based on the conclusion Bharat Rakshak seems to have already surrendered even before a single shot has been fired. God help us all if anything does start

    • panduranghari said, on May 7, 2013 at 7:06 am

      I doubt if they are asking for surrender or wishing for one. But the logic is bery strong. I do not doubt capability of indian armed forces what i do doubt is the political will of the govt. which os pretty much non existent. I see the situation in India now to the time of 1942. Of course i was not there but the parallels are stark.

  7. admin said, on May 7, 2013 at 7:49 am
  8. masculineffort said, on May 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    You seem to be underestimating the Chinese. Their record in the Korean war was not patchy. I think facing the forces of the western imperialists for three years is quite an achievement don’t you think? The Korean war was a draw BTW.

    In 1962, our Chief of staff, Gen. Kaul, was a cousin of Nehru (nepotism anyone?). An abject coward whose behavior demoralized his men.

    While in 1962, we had men with WW2 experience, keep in mind that the Chinese had even more experience than we did. We fought 1939-1945. They fought Japan from 1937-1945, had a civil war from 1945-1949, and fought the west to a standstill in the Korean war from 1950-1953. Pride in our own men is good. But underestimating the enemy is a sure sign of disaster.

    Still, our leadership showing some spine is a welcome development.

    • Anuraag Sanghi said, on May 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Korean War

      How much of that credit will go to the North Koreans? After all, as a de-facto nuclear power they have held back the imperialists for 50 years. Then there is the Russian angle.

      Is draw a sterling record? The Russo-Chinese role in the Asian Wars is rather mediocre.

      Just like the Chinese involvement in Korea was the American involvement in Pakistan in the 1965 and the 1971 wars. We had clean resolution to both these wars. In 1965, we drove the Pakistanis back. In the 1971 war, we had a decisive ending.

      In war, I thought, a win is everything.

      1962 War

      I think this Kaul was a relative, Nehru was out of touch kind of defeatist narrative is imbalanced. Are we not missing the global context? In the face of an surprise attack, it is OK to retreat. This cowardice kind of narrative is irrelevant in modern war. In modern war, it is all about 3 things:

      1. Materials – at the right time
      2. Materials – at the right place
      3. Materials – in the right quantity

      In 1962 we were off on all three counts. China used the global crisis as cover to attack. Anything more or less to my mind is reading too much in a limited operation.

      China’s Army

      China’s civil war was dependent on Western aid. Both sides were aided by the West – and Mao was also aided by the Russians. The Japanese were losing bigger battles. the Chinese did not quite have the global exposure that the Indian soldiers and commanders had. Remember it was Indian soldiers which sent back Rommel’s Afria Corps.

      Indians soldiers were fighting in Middle East, Africa, Europe, SE Asia- and remember recently, WWII analysts declared the Kohima Battle as most decisive battle. So you can imagine the quality of the Indian soldier with the INA and the British army.

      • masculineffort said, on May 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm

        The quality of Indian soldiers was never in question. The quality of the men leading them has always been a huge question mark, at least in the last millennium. Lions led by donkeys is not an inappropriate term for the predicament that faces us. When I say leadership I mean the senior leadership, the brass. Not the platoon commanders or regimental level officers. General Rommel said, “There are no bad soldiers, only bad officers.” He proved his statement in the North African campaign when he led Italian troops to victories against British troops. Italian troop performance under their own officers was worse than abject.

        By 1962 however, a good part of the soldiers and officer corps with WW2 experience had retired. In fact Nehru had to recall some of them for the conflict.

        Regarding the Kohima conflict, people in Nepal still remember that from their grandparents. They also have high praise for their Japanese adversaries. In their sweet humility they concede that the Japanese were every bit as brave as they were. Wonderful folk, those mountaineers.

        In the Korean war a draw is indeed a sterling result given the quality of the opposition. The entire western world excluding france. The North Koreans could not have done it without Chinese help. The Americans did not contribute troops or fighter pilots to the Pakistanis the way the Chinese helped the North Koreans. Not one American actually fought or died for Pakistan.

        As for the vietnamese, yes they stalemated China. But then again, the Vietnamese had defeated even the French and the Americans earlier and the mongols earlier than that. The Vietnamese are an indomitable people and formidable soldiers. So a stalemate to Vietnam is not really all that shameful in my book.

        At the end of the day, we lost. They won. They took Aksai chin and connected Tibet to Xinjiang while we did not take any of their territory. Case closed. The rest is all talk. One can talk all day and find all sorts of reasons for defeat. Jo jeeta wohi sikander as we say. Let’s beat them unambiguously and then we too can make all sorts of claims. After all the no one questions the result of the 1971 war or the Kargil war.

        Come on, why do you insist on underestimating the Chinese? They are not bad soldiers.

  9. Vishaya said, on May 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Your blog is a good read for Indians who think they have lost everything. You create an imaginary world in which India will win everything. People read this and feel good. It is funny you talk about creating a blockade when no roads are there and the Chinese have been building roads like crazy

    When a war starts this is what will happen

    1. Your Prime Minister will start “appealing” to United Nations and then through back channel to the American President and Israeli Prime Minister to come and help.
    2. China will conquer more territory.
    3. Finally you will withdraw from your own land for “peace”

    admin note

    This forum has hundreds of subscribers for the comments sections also.

    I am sure they would like to see a good discussion.

    You have had good airtime at our expense to make your case. You are definitely abusing our hospitality now.

    You are on notice now.

    Unless you have something substantial to discuss or say – take your closed mind somewhere else.

  10. Vishaya said, on May 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Please post the comment on the post related to sex crimes which has adequate data and links on sex crime in India and the world.

    This comment by Bull Topic /Sam Malone /Vishaya Nandi relates to sex crimes in India.

    This comment and link are irrelevant to this post related to military and military confrontation between India and China.

    admin note

    This forum has hundreds of subscribers for the comments sections also.

    I am sure they would like to see a good discussion.

    You have had good airtime at our expense to make your case. You are definitely abusing our hospitality now.

    You are on notice now.

    Unless you have something substantial to discuss or say – take your closed mind somewhere else.


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