Prof Shen, Namrata Hasija, Aadi and I had a very interesting dialogue on the Indo – Taiwanese relationship in the context of dealing with our common adversary – China. It was an important dialogue for me. It vastly expanded my understanding of China. Major points which flowed from this dialogue were :-
1. Understanding the internal politics and compulsions of China is very important while dealing with China. There is always an overriding political overtone in Chinese military actions. That was evident in Eastern Ladakh. Many of us failed to decipher it.
2. The CCP is neither a monolith nor is it a system where Xi Jinping’s word is law. They have different factions. Each of them vie for power. Xi Jinping has to strive to stay in power. Understanding the nuances at play is important to assess Chinese military intentions. Due to these internal power plays, China’s ability to take risk beyond a point is limited.
3. Prof Shen made a very important point. ONLY AN IDIOT WILL BELIEVE WHAT THE CCP SAYS. This is a great take away. It puts into context all the propaganda, IW and influence ops of China.
4. The scope and importance of military cooperation with Taiwan is very important. After all we are at the opposite ends of a common adversary. Together we can keep China firmly in the centre and curtail its military adventurism.
5. Due to contemporary geopolitics, official ties with Taiwan can grow only up to a point. Beyond that it is up to people to take it forward. People to people contact and exchange of views are important tools in Diplomacy which the Government is currently underrating and even neglecting. The strategic community needs to do more.
6. As Afghanistan looms large on the horizon, the fall out on the neighbourhood becomes important. Also, it is emerging that Chinese play in this region will increase in conjunction with Pakistan. It is therefore all the more important that we understand China through a Chinese lens even if it is coloured.
If you are a strategic analyst or a student of military affairs, I would recommend that you watch this video. Normally I do not make such recommendations. However in this case I am making an exception to those who want to expand their strategic horizons. In any case it is fundamental. KNOW YOUR ENEMY and you will never lose a thousand battles….that is what Sun Tsu said did he not?
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