This is IDF’s 14TH COVID Analysis to ask; Can temperamental President Trump retain USA’s Super Power status and America First, to derail China’s Dream or Vice Versa with inputs from Prasun Sengupta, and is Chinese leadership and Xi Jinping a worried lot, about and what India may do in border areas constructing roads, airfields and bridges along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) and in Foreign Policy of trade, by restricting China. Also Chinese are suspicious and view  PM Modi’s all round steps as a  New Forward Policy, some what like Nehru’s in 1962. Are Chinese using military tactics to intimidate India to gain Strategic and Trade Concessions ?

Views of  world experts were analysed as Government was silent in post ‘COVIDAL’ inflection point in history. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh only on 30th said India and China are talking to each other at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the Ladakh standoff with China which is  at four points along the Line of Actual Control in strategic Galvan river finger zones, and Pangong Tso Lake area where India has linked Dubruk with fortified Daulat Oldie Beg(DBO) airfield with GRSE built Bailey Bridges. 

India Today’s Roundtables with Kishore Mahabubani (pro China), Michael Pilsbury,(pro USA anti Russia), Shashi Tharoor(ambivalent) and Gen Dalbir Singh (pro Army capability today) on 26th and another linked with experts are worth seeing, if you missed them,  especially recommended for viewers abroad to appreciate the near skirmish and diplomatic tension on the borders with injuries, but no shots. 

Mahbhubani Pilsbury Tharoor & Dalbi roundtables:

IDF met a budding Foreign Service Singaporean Sindhi in Singapore in the 1990s, named Kishore Mahbubani, a blued eyed lad of PM Lee and  an Ambassador later  and was impressed by a brief chat when in Sindhi IDF told him IDF was India’s Defence Advisor in the High Commission. He offered much advice and introduced senior officials, and specially mentioned friendship of recently passed away Vice Admiral Varghese Koitharara with Col Lee Hsien Lung (now PM of Singapore) son of Lee Kuan Yew and their efforts for arranging Submarine exercises, which had led to SIMBEXES, and the closest strategic partnership today. Varghese was a predecessor in the Singapore High Commission, and left behind amazingly clear handing over notes to follow  and later wrote two land mark books on Society, Politics and Religion and India’s Nuclear Policy, relevant even today. RIP Koithara 16TH NDA course Logistician and Thinker. Driver of Navy’s Supply branch into Executive,still hotly debated and Cadre Review as the paper writer of conviction in Personnel Branch of the Navy IDF saw personally !

Kishore Mahbubani latest book, “Has West Lost Out”, argues passionately and provocatively that the West can no longer impose its power and ideals on the world at large, and—paradoxically—that only by admitting USA’s  decline can the West set itself up for strategic success in the long term, asserting with conviction China may win.  Kishore knows China. Others say China has an unhappy population and is like a pressure cooker on the boil. It could  explode in time.

EVIDENTLY a worried China is needling Indian military on the Line of Actual Control(LAC) at a time when BJP/RSS-NDA had taken the eye off India’s Economy to push nationalism, the flavor of the times world over with ‘oligarchic social democracy’. COVID-19 has struck India at a most inappropriate time with recession as FM Sitharaman admitted to an appealing WION TV Anchor Palki Sharma. Sitharaman offered no rosy scenarios,  a dilemma the world faces, except China which claims it is back to work and has taken grip on Hong Kong which thinker Mahbubani explains is like India took Goa in 1960s despite USA’s warning ! India has rightly not made any statement. Hong Kong is a financial capital in Dollars and could help China’s Remembi go global or bust ! A subject by itself,  as Sindhis abound in Kowloon and had offered to bail out India in 1991. China may have thought a strategy to down the dollar ! SunTzu said win without War !

China’s Military pressure on LAC comes at a time when India may have to take sides or go back to non-alignment baggage of the past, so China Wants To Know Is India In The Quad? Will India Retain One China Policy For Taiwan In World Health Organisation ? Does India Stand By Tibet as a  TAR Of China ? Is India  Going To Stop FDI & Business With China ? And direly wants India’s top  leadership to talk to resolve the LAC and assure China it is not in the US Camp which is pushing for a US  Panchen Lama to replace the Dalai Lama and re-ignite the  Tibet and Xinjiang Uygur  issue. China also suspects India’s eyes are on Aksai Chin in the long term planning.  

Other less cerebral experts on give military ground geography and Aksai Chin that  China has challenges and may want to link with Shahsgam area. IDF weighs uniformed  Shukla and Ata Hasnain’s views for the Army’s actions and feels nobody wants war, nor are the ground deployments made recently meant
for waging war. Prof P Stobdan a Ladhaki spoke for Ladhakis, and  Lt Gen Syed Atta Hasnain spelt out the reality on ground and possible Chinese motives.

The Analysis  on main points of this panel  are tabled.

++The ongoing PLA-BDR deployments along the LAC are meant for
strategic messaging, and not for war. The PLA possibly suspicious, began preparing for the deployments after India altered status of J & K on August 5, 2019.

++Ladakh’s terrain allows only high-altitude plateau and air warfare, since Ladakh is an extension of the Tarim Basin of China &  wars are not easy to  be fought in most  mountain ranges around Ladakh (the Karakoram & Himalayan). Consequently, the Indian Army’s Mountain Strike Corps (MSC) will be of little use there.  China has opted for Air Mobile Brigades.

++PLA’s deployments and exercises along the LAC in summer are highly defensive,
unless directed from CMC and has no dedicated air base in Tibet but troops but can be flown in to air fields like Nusari Gyansu. Consequently, it is entirely possible that China has been feeling the heat from India’s air land force-mix restructuring that has been underway in
Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarkhand since 2012, and fears losing
Aksai Chin if India’s force redeployments go unchecked & unchallenged.

++It is possible that this time, China is likely to begin bargaining with India to arrive at a final settlement on the status of Aksai Chin, and Central Sector since under no condition does China want to forego Aksai Chin and India can settle Arunachal issue. That is game of of poker game but needs political will of give and take Gen JJ Singh has outlined in his book on China. Pakistan is another concern in the debates of linking at Karakoram. 

COVID-19 is an inflection point of de-coupling in the world with changes in the world’s Economies and Politics. China’s rise and the United State’s relative decline on the world stage has led to a tense and complicated relationship between the two. China is determined to restore the power and prestige it held before the 19th century, while the US is desperate to maintain its superpower status and image as the ideal democratic society, but Black and White worries have resurfaced. A risen India under PM Modi has a Hobson’s choice between USA and China or to attempt a middle path if one is possible. On 30th on TV PM Modi in Hindi assured the nation Mere Me Kami Ho Sakti Hai, Desh Me Nahi as he completed a year in Modi-2 . Shan Na Varuna.


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