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NO ‘GO’ FOR CHINA IN THE LOGJAM BY LT GEN P R SHANKAR (R)

also published @ https://thedailyguardian.com/no-go-for-china-in-the-logjam/

As I am posting this, the PLA has put out a tweet that they had to fire in Shenpao Mountains.

The game is on!

All the best boys. Bash on regardless. You have done us proud. 


In my article Sino Indian Logjam- A Review, I had assessed that The Chinese situation is not as strong as it is being made out….. They are in no position to undertake a major offensive anywhere….Their economy like others will struggle. They are not far ahead of the curve as being assessed by everyone. Virus, flooding and militarism will take its toll……China has done what it wants. It is our turn now….. We should deal with the situation with patience, resolve, firmness maintaining focus and with a plan… Even if it means waiting for a year….this is a follow-up of that article. 


                                   


To put the cart before the horse – China is in a no ‘GO’ position in the game which is still logjammed. We did not have to wait for a year. Things have changed. The  fact that  the meeting between Defence Ministers took place at Chinese instance gave the game away. However there should be no complacency. Still need to do more to restore equilibrium. 

 

Military No ‘GO’

                         

                             

 

No ‘GO’ on Land.  India has halted Chinese efforts to alter the LAC unilaterally in its tracks in the Chushul sector. India seems to have gained control of Karakoram Ridge line heights,  South of Pangong Tso, down to Rezang La (see map). Despite extensive analysis let me reiterate. Chinese observation into our areas from Chushul to Dungti seems closed. Our observation into the Spangur Bowl has increased manifold. It closes Chinese offensive options and opens ours if the balloon were to go higher. The Fingers Area and  Sirijap come under observation. Place Artillery OP officers on this ridge line and they will play havoc into the Chinese. The Spangur Gap can now be exploited by us. In the larger picture, if China mounts any offensive further North in Depsang, it will get a bloody nose there,  a riposte through Chushul and assured destruction in the Fingers Area. Necessary  action has also been taken to deny the Chinese other footholds. Everyone now knows that Tibetan troops have been used. It is a huge political message.  


    


No GO at Sea. China has carried  out demonstrative missile firing in Bohai, Yellow, East China, and South China Seas (see map). Connect the dots. PLAN, is hugging its shores under mainland protection. USA has continuously deployed aircraft carriers in the South China Sea, sailed a destroyer through the Taiwan Straits, flown reconnaissance aircraft and B-1B bombers over the region and sided with Southeast Asian nations. As per reports, the Indian Navy has deployed along the Malacca Straits,  near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and even in the South China Sea.  The Navy is also taking care of the Chinese vessels present around Djibouti and has deployed its assets in the vicinity for protecting our national interests. It is in control of IOR. Who is on the backfoot? Additionally,   Japan and U.S. defence chiefs are to shortly meet in Guam about China and Chinese missile demonstrations and their combined response. No GO for China.    

Indo US PartnershipThe CDS signalled that China is a security threat to India and asserted readiness to use military force. He did it in a webinar to discuss US-India ties! China has achieved what it did not want – Indo- US operational synergy. So much for their strategic thinking. Now USA has once again  said that it is ready to help resolve dispute. By this offer USA has, hyphenated India and China. That is a real down grade. 

Chinese View Point.  India Today’s  Analysis by Antara Ghosal Singh illuminates Chinese thought. They are fuming at our audacity and think that our action is our last face-saving exit fight. Waving a Tibetan flag on the Karakoram’s has infuriated them. Chinese also worry about our naval presence in South China Sea and our relationship with USA. Many want to counterattack India to prove China’s great power credentials. Some  feel India is not China’s primary strategic direction, and they could be walking into a Indo – US trap.  They want a grand strategy focusing on three key objectives (i) Ensuring that India does not regard China as its principle strategic opponent, in place of Pakistan; (ii) Ensuring India exhausts its energy and resources, causing negative impact on its economic development by worsening the security situation in Kashmir, and in overall South Asia; thereby forcing India to be back at the negotiating table (iii) Ensuring India does not openly stand in line with the United States while competing with China. Finally they want to assure domestic Chinese populace “not to be perturbed”  and have complete faith in the government and PLA. Global Times is screaming blue murder and issuing all kinds of threats but worried that Chinese troops will have to spend winterthere. Probably unprepared! . That editor and their military guru Song Zhongping can take a walk in the Karakorams hand in hand!  

  

AssessmentChina is in a difficult two front position under pressure and  worried. Winter is setting in. It cannot mount a major offensive in Ladakh. Any reinforcement in Aksai Chin will weaken its front door and open an opportunity in South China Sea. If it does nothing, it will continue to lose face. Every military professional knows what has happened here. In my opinion, we should create a few more instabilities. If Chinese feel  victory is theirs since they are a great power they can hop it. Attempts will be made to bring Pakistan into the fray. Chinese will look for an opportunity to attack us. We must be cognisant of that.  We must strategically communicate that China is our principal opponent hereafter. They should also be clear that Indo – US relations are growing stronger with their actions.  


Rimland Problems

 

Tibet. On 29 Aug, while speaking at the Seventh Central Symposium on Tibet Work, Xi Jinping’swords were   “solidify border defences and ensure frontier security” , “form an impregnable fortress in maintaining stability” , “Tibetan Buddhism had to adapt to socialism and Chinese conditions” “protect national unity and educate the masses in the struggle against splittism”. The implications are very clear and ominous. We will see the LAC being strengthened. The Tibetans will be subjugated and ‘Re-educated’. Buddhism will be communised. Any call for Tibet autonomy will be dealt with an iron hand. Hitlers actions will seem juvenile in comparison. 

 

Mongolia. China wants to replace the language of instruction in Inner Mongolian schools from Mongolian to Mandarin Chinese. The plan follows a pattern. Earlier Tibetan and Uighur languageswere restricted in Tibet in 2018 and Xinjiang in 2017. Thousands of ethnic Mongolians have protestedagainst this move. They fear that Mongolian would be relegated to a foreign language as part of government plans to assimilate ethnic minorities into Chinese Han culture.  Chinese have responded by using heavy force including armoured vehicles.

 

Xinjiang. It is now well known that China has detained more than a million Uyghur Muslims in re-education camps. Despite international pressure, China continues with the crackdown on Uyghurs’ human rights through its  vocational training centres which includes forced sterilisation. A massive protest was held outside Dhaka Press Club in Bangladesh. That is interesting.

 

Taiwan & EU. Taiwan has changed its passport design for “easier recognition & less confusion” with China. A clear step in being distinct from China. The more interesting part was that The Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil and a delegation recently visited Taiwan. Wang Yi , China’s FM while visiting Germany said that the Czech visit was an intervention in China’s internal affairs, had crossed a red line and they will pay a heavy price. The Czechs responded  by calling CCP ‘rude clowns’. However the response from the German Foreign Minister was telling –  Threats don’t fit in here’.  Wang Yi had gone to Germany to mend fences with EU and achieved the opposite! Bloomberg headline– ‘Europe Just Declared Independence From China’. The sentiment in EU is not clearly for China. 

Hong Kong. A report by South China Morning Post says ‘The national security law hasn’t brought back the old Hong Kong. Rather, it has created a new, unfamiliar place. The new law has instilled fear. Hong Kong can never be at peace with itself until the underlying causes of last summer’s uprising are addressed’. The cause of the uprising is democracy which is getting crushed on a daily basis. USA has sanctioned Hong Kong economy. Hong Kong as an economic conduit is passe. That is a big loss for China.

Assessment. The rimland is unstable and in trouble. For the first time in a long while,  all non-Han regions are experiencing some issues. Needs to be exploited to put pressure.      

Internal Economy- New Inputs

 

Floods. Japan Times came out with a report titled  ‘The big China disaster that you’re missing’. As per that ‘the Yangtze River Economic Belt is home to more than 40% GDP.  On its own, the region could be the third-largest economy in the world’. This has been disrupted due to floods. In future the flooding risk will only grow due to climate change and ‘the hundreds of thousands of levees, dikes, reservoirs and dams on its seven major river systems’. Hence future prospects are not bright.

 

 Sub Prime Crisis. Recently, Shenzhen authorities released guidelines for consumer bankruptcy. A week earlier, China’s Supreme Court lowered the interest rate ceiling on all non-bank credit, from 24% to 15.4% .  The rate cut is substantial.  Bankers  are still in shock. The fact is that there  is a huge shadow banking industry in China whose interest rates are usurious. Tens of millions of subprime borrowers have been exploited and will never get out of debt traps. Hopes of a  consumer led economic revival in China are bleak. Chinese internal economy is not in great shape.

 

External Economy

 

SCRI. The Supply Chain Resilience Initiative  of Japan, India and Australia is  taking shape. Things are being fast tracked. All three ‘China trade dependent’  countries want to  reduce ‘dependence’. They feel – “the Indo-Pacific region is where the shape of the international order of tomorrow will be decided. We want to help shape that order – so that it is based on rules and international cooperation, not on the law of the strong”.

 

KRA Canal. Thailand has scrapped the KRA canal project. This has a major strategic implication. However there is a huge economic implication also. In addition, Thailand has put a submarine deal on hold. This is due to peoples pressure despite the ruling party being keen on the deal. Significant.

 

India’s Second Digital Strike.  India has banned  118 more Chinese apps . With this the total is  224 banned Chinese apps. It includes the popular PUBG. The  valuation of the parent Chinese companyTencent  has gone down by 34 billion dollars. Surprising that the effect is so huge.  The game is obviously deeper. For all those who feel that these digital strikes are cosmetic. Rethink please. 

 

Assessment

 

All glowing reports of Chinese economic indicators are suspect.  Combine these issues with established facts like aging population, export slump, food shortage and joblessness. Add the pushbacks in various international projects and the ‘Stand Still’ mode of BRI. Their diplomacy is not making headway. Everyone wants to break from ‘China Dependency’. Add the digital strikes initiated by India and now being followed up by other countries. The emerging picture is bleak. Xi Jinping has come out with the ‘Dual Circulation Plan’ to revive the economy. Experts call it vague. Frankly the model is unworkable. (see graphic). It depends on internal consumption. It depends on developing the troubled Rimlands through the Go West Policy. It depends upon making asses of those nations who want to firmly decouple from China. Everyone is wise to Chinese games. Remember China has a history of exporting food grains when there was famine during their disastrous great leap forward. This forthcoming period might be their second great leap backwards. There is requirement of experts to go into issues and make professional assessments. To my mind our China studies are being done by those bedazzled by Chinese glitter rather than hard facts on ground. Needs a hard headed reality check based on facts rather than past achievements.  

 

Overall Assessment

The Chinese are talking big. From the beginning their strategy has been ‘Belligerent War Avoidance’.  Comprehensive National Power means nothing in cold high altitude. Battles  are about blood, guts andglory

From any angle  – China is not as strong as it is made out. Their influence operations makes them seem taller than the four feet they are. When we call them “Dragon” we are building them up into mythical powerful beings that they are not. They are normal people who can be defeated.  However it will do us well to remember that China will be even more troublesome hereafter. There are also indications that Xi Jinping is purging the system again. Maybe some instability ahead. Time to be steady,  balanced and give them a few more battle shocks. Extend the battle into the rear in their unstable rimlands. 

The overall situation is tense and will remain so. However I doubt if the situation will escalate uncontrollably. In my opinion a few firefights will actually settle the issue. To me it is confirmed that Chinese are simply not battle hardened. Will they escalate it to higher level? Very unlikely in this current two front scenario. As I had predicted,  as time passes, the Chinese will have more to lose.  

A lot has been spoken and written about Multi Domain Warfare. I too have written extensively about it. However , battles are finally decided on ground. Never forget that. A lot has been made of primacy of economic power. All that is fine. When the chips are down, it is only military power that will stand tall and can defend a nation not diplomacy nor economies. We have a fine military machine which is standing tall. India should not run it down further. Already enough damage has been done by naïvepoliticians and  rule bound bureaucrats. India must decide what is the security or insecurity it wants. China will come back harder at us in future. 

A word about the two front situation we are likely to face. Pakistan is not up to it.  The  Pakistani generals are busy converting CPEC into Pizza outlets in USA. I do not think their Generals  are in a mood to get into a scrap with India and jeopardise their ill-gotten wealth. The Pakistani Army has survived since it has not got into a conventional war with India. Do you think it will take that jump just because some Chinese tell them to do so? They will lose all their Pizzas!           

OTHER Articles in this Series 


Sino Indian Logjam – A Review

https://www.gunnersshot.com/2020/08/sino-indian-logjam-review-by-lt-gen-p-r.html

 

Sino Indian Logjam : Facts, Risks, Options and the Sum of all Fears @https://www.gunnersshot.com/2020/09/sino-indian-logjam-facts-risks-options.html?m=1

 

Sino Indian Logjam : Aim, Capability and Environmental Analysis

https://www.gunnersshot.com/2020/09/sino-indian-logjam-aim-capability-and.html

20 responses to “NO ‘GO’ FOR CHINA IN THE LOGJAM BY LT GEN P R SHANKAR (R)”

  1. An analytical insight. For the first time we took the initiative. This will be a defining winter.

  2. Sir,This is an excellent analysis. Can we expect any dramatic moves after the Foreign Ministers meet on the sidelines of SCO Summit? If China doesn't want to escalate further, we need to analyse it's exit options form present Ladakh Standoff without any perceived loss of face.

  3. Excellent analysis!

  4. Factually correct article. India must support Tibetan Freedom struggle.

  5. Wonderfully articulated Sir.Wish people in power read this.

  6. Ravi…..again a fantastic well analyzed article……option of creating unrest in Tibet in case the chinks don't see sense would also be definitely in our strategic plans

  7. Very well analyzed and articulated sir. Strategy sans Sun Tzu is not the Chinese forte. Is this the beginning of the end of Xi?

  8. The analysis is thought provoking without transgressing the boundaries of Indian official act. KudosRegardsBank Nifty Tips

  9. A comprehensive 360° look at what was projected as a fire breathing dragon…. The dragon doesn't look much the same after going through this well researched article! Thank you for chiseling away the unwarranted magnification & aggrandisement of this slimy neighbour of ours & getting them back to their four feet nothing stature. Yours, Sir, are some of the most authentic & credible commentaries on Indo-China issues. Enlightening to go through.

  10. Made excellent and comprehensive reading. Another 2 months and the real test of battle hardiness and resilience will commence up North. I feel our men are way better acclimatized for holding fast physically and psychologically than the PLA. Its always a delight to read your thoughts… cheers

  11. This well analysed and articulated study highlights chinks in much touted Chinese superiority over Indian battle readiness. Thanks to self proclaimed “strategic experts” of the likes of Ajay Mishras, we are constantly fed with perennial negative narratives, weakening our mindsets. Kudos to Ravi … More power to such objective analysts and strategic thinkers ! Thanks a ton !!

  12. This well analysed and articulated study highlights chinks in much touted Chinese superiority over Indian battle readiness. Thanks to self proclaimed “strategic experts” of the likes of Ajay Mishras, we are constantly fed with perennial negative narratives, weakening our mindsets. Kudos to Ravi … More power to such objective analysts and strategic thinkers ! Thanks a ton !!

  13. Gen Shankar Excellent Analysis and the Trumpline is in the overall analysis Military Power must be higher than the Domains of Power mentioned by you. Very nicely put across.Bet Wishes Brig Ajit Apte(Retd)

  14. Fantastic as usual. Hope the idiots in GT read this

  15. Great insites sir. Two things I would like to pointout to support your analysis.1. Wheat stocks in Pakistan have mysteriously disappeared after floods hit China. The price of wheat flour has gone up by 70% to 100%. In my opinion, China has upsurged the food stocks not only from Pakistan but also from other countries such as Kazakistan etc. This exposes the food insecurity of bat eaters. Need to probe further to evaluate China's battle readiness vis a vis food reserves. Note the other mega suppliers of food to China i.e. Aussies and US have already pulled the plug on supplies.2. China is playing media games using India media!!Since Ladakh has happened, some of Indian popular news channels are running lengthy audio visuals on military might of CCP and PLA in grab of news. New military hardware, launching of missiles and new systems are broadcasted masquerading as news items. Money plays a big role in this. And this must stop. As this is propoganda that too using our prime time. Politicians and bureaucrats need to plug this gap to build a narrative which shows enemy in poor light, which bat eaters are indeed.

  16. Madan Bhatnagar-09/09/20Despite the problems China is facing as brought in this Article, we must not underrate China’ military mightEven the have overtaken USA in the Naval fieldThey are now , largely self sufficient in their Defence Production – even male fighter jet enginsThey can sustain a loner war than usHowever our Defence forces are amongst the best in the world & we can stand upto China Added strength is the almost certain military assistance from the USA if war , unfotunstely breaks out with China

  17. Veteran Apolitical Agnostic Manmeet’s candid views as Veteran Foot Infantry, and Ex-MI officer ( having served 2 years and retired from this area in 2009@ 54 years ):——————————-Worst- Case Scenario-1:😊🙏🌸Chinese will fire shots not in air ; but fire for effect first by small arms direct firing weapons including RLs ( but that has little impact in HAA & Mountain Warfare).Infantry Motars shall be used ,, followed by Arty firing …. it’s tit for Tat …. expect flare up … blame game … and then CEASE FIRE ASAP by USA and Russia Telephoning both sides 😊🙏Followed by New Agreement wherein INDIA will be on Better Terms of Engagement… ——————————-Best Case Scenario-2:😊🙏The better sense prevails; and both come to accept status Quo and have talks without escalation.😊—————————Mid -Way Scenario-3:Keep firing in air… the warning shots by both sides without causing injuries…. let snow fall set in and things will die down by end September/ early October 2020.Simultaneously , hold diplomacy and Military talks.( Win Win for Both)—————————-Overall Assessment: Unlikely to have a War in its classic sense in 2020.Rest all is Shadow Boxing 🥊 😊🙏Jai Hind/ India 🇮🇳 New Delhi 08 September 2020

  18. Sir, excellent article and remarkable analysis of the situation as always. Hopefully the CDS and others will get to read this. World is watching, India has stood firm and also taken initiative. As a soldier it gives me immense happiness. We have to be prepared for a long stint here as well as be prepared for their response elsewhere. Proud to have been a part of the Indian Army.

  19. Brilliant analysis General; way to go. We need to show the Chinese their place.

  20. Brilliant analysis General; way to go. We need to show the Chinese their place.

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