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Chinese action in Doklam is new normal

The current standoff between India and China on the plateau of Doklam is setting a new power equation and Beijing has tactfully chosen the time of its own to engage India. Although India has very limited option to deal with China in such a situation, China has array of scopes to clinch its own point of view. All through the crisis, China was punching but India was defending. Since India does not have any claim on Chinese side of the territory belonging to Tibet, Beijing is at ease to raise claim and then push inch by inch. This type of strategic forward strategy by China is unknown to many Indian politicians.


By and large, Indian political and diplomatic establishment is always rather happily comfortable to deal with Pakistan due to traditional rivalry but consciously unaware of China.

India has till date zero investment on China in terms of knowing the real China. There were many attempts in the past to do so but all the efforts have miserably collapsed due to no sense of purpose.

One such action was taken by the former NSA S S Menon who being NSA at that time simultaneously ran China study center for policy assimilation inside the PMO.

He was the same person but wearing two different caps. In fact, none succeeded to produce any result but it is customary for such practice in a country like India where there is hardly any accountability for anything.

But China is a different ball game. Everything is planned much in advance like jails were built in Tibetan region in 1952 to keep Indian prisoners of war much before 1962 war occurred. The current crisis has a strong legacy right after Xi Jinping came to power.

Indeed, Jinping, like Prime Minister Modi, wants to pursue a strong foreign and defence policy to bring a perceived rejuvenation of Chinese nation through mixed ways of actions which can open way for China in a crisis ridden world to become next super power.

However, Jinping’s vision of China is totally different from that of his Communist Party leaders in the past. Not only Jinping is unorthodox but very blatant going by Chinese standards.

During his state visit to US and first encounter with Trump Jinping demanded removal of few US military officials from their current postings. But he perhaps failed to realize that Trump is not all that powerful like him.

Indeed, US institutions and layers of power matrix can intervene to undo many things even if President Trump wishes to oblige. The case in point is Russia sanction act, although Russia had accelerated Trump win.   

China’s game plan is very clear if one is willing to take a fresh look with an open mind. China wants to rewrite history, not just revisit the past.

By doing so, there are some precursors which need to be put in place. After building a comprehensive national power which includes both soft power and hard power, now China is poised to exercise to see the efficacy of those tools to further advance Chinese interests in a geo political stratagem which is often unreliable.

Now China is into a spree of great rejuvenation process of Chinese nation which is quite similar to the approach of Great Leap Forward.

Although Mao failed miserably and it finally led to Cultural Revolution, Jinping’s China is full of hard cash and greater wealth accumulation. The strategy has been fine tuned in a smart way. First Jinping wants to teach lessons to all those who had meddled with China and simultaneously consolidate power.

Now, the president Jinping is keen to propel himself to the chair of Chairman. This is somewhat sounds like he wants to overcome Mao for many Chinese was their last Chairman. Indeed, Karl Marx was right that history repeats itself, first as tragedy and second as farce. Now Jinping wants a durbar culture of the emperor to return but in a refined manner.

His call for BRI was utterly disregarded by India and Modi has become his target as Mao had targeted Nehru. In fact, Mao had a strong suspicion of Nehru that he is more close to the Dalai Lama than him. After the Dalai Lama formally took shelter in India in 1959, he ordered 1962. The rest is history.

The present idea of China is to entangle India which is rising fast. If India can be tackled then lot of peripheral countries can be managed easily. Most of them are smaller, except Russia which is now a friend of China albeit temporarily, can learn lesson of Chinese adventurism.

If the PLA is so competent and strong, the PLA lost 20,000 of its troops at the hands of Vietnamese in 1979. In fact, mountains are majestic but PLA is fragile inside. From a mere militia in 1927, it is a long journey but it now wants to control pillars of power and quite vocal about its intentions.

This is a fear by many CPC leaders who think some day the PLA can support China to become democracy and military leaders are often instigating democratic protests in China. The CPC-PLA relationship matrix is changing due to family ties and internal discomfort.

The wealth is passing into the hands of select few and current loyalists but loyal soldiers are ignored or probed at times due to coterie culture of Jinping.

The case in point is Bo Xilai, General Guo Boxiong, General Xu Caihou and Lt Gen Gu Junshan who were publicly humiliated and sentenced.

Since China has done one 1962 with India, it has for ever broken the trust. There cannot be another as the case was 1967 skirmish where PLA suffered heavy casualties..                          

The Doklam crisis is swift response to India’s boycott of BRI but any way it was coming. China has identified a total of nine points along the Line of Actual Control where it can engage India in similar situations.

Already first one has passed successfully in Depsang Valley where India had to succumb to Chinese demand for dismantling all its bunkers which were constructed since 1986 and during Operation Falcon.

The UPA government had no inkling of the Chinese master plan so they simply surrendered the strategic advantage. Now comes the turn of Doklam plateau. Thereafter, similar standoff will more frequently happen since China has succeeded by pressing India on one point it will go for more.