By Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
Chinese Prime Minister Mr. Li keqiang, undertook three days visits of India. This was the first foreign tour of Premier Li, ever since he took over as the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China. Earlier, there were looming threats for a likely military confrontation over a military post in the northern Kashmir. Both sides have been accusing each other for the incursion in the disputed region. At last, sense prevailed and both sides reconciled and pulled back their forces. According to some Indian analysts, this dispute was more serious than the one that resulted into Sino-India war in 1962, had it been allowed to escalate. Since both sides had learnt a lot from the 1962 war, thus, they finally resorted to diplomatic solution, after the flag meetings of the local military commanders from both sides bore no positive results. In this regards, the visit of Indian Foreign Minister to Beijing was a big break through.
According to Indian sources, Chinese military had intruded 19 km into Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh area (Indian Occupied Kashmir). The LAC is yet not been demarcated in this area. Indian Defence analysts view that this Chinese intrusion was aimed, “to cut the only supply route to the strategic Indian Air Force base at Daulat Beg Oldi, and thereby force India to dismantle it.” Chinese side however, had reservations of an Indian outpost at Chumar. This Indian strategic military outpost was indeed, “a strategic lookout point that overlooked Chinese communication lines in Aksai Chin.” Finally, India agreed to dismantle this strategic military outpost, which put the Chinese Military at ease, and they moved back to their normal position along the LAC. As per the Indian military, “The bunkers in Chumar were dismantled after we acceded to Chinese demand in the last flag meeting. These bunkers were live-in bunkers.”
For the time being, the border issue has been put under the carpet, in order to pave the way for a high-level visit by the Chinese Premier Mr Li to India. Nevertheless, the Sino-India border issues have a history and unless resolved permanently, there remain chances of confrontations. However, in the contemporary world, neither India nor China can afford a military confrontation. An article, Chinese Premier Li keqiang, wrote prior to his maiden Indian visit is a proof that, China is looking ahead for a better Sino-India cooperation in 21stcentury. In this article, Chinese Premier appeared cherishing his old memories in India and presented India as a dream world. Mr Li painted a picture as if there would be no problems in improving the Sino-India relationship in the coming years.
This gesture was quite visible once prime Minister ended his three days Indian tour. Upon completion of his visit, Prime Minister Li said that, his Indian visit was successful and he “felt at home.” Regarding his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Sing, Premier Li declared those as the “deep, friendly and frank.” He further said that, “It made me feel like I was at home. I really appreciate his (Singh’s) arrangements.” otherwise, while selecting India as the first country for his visit abroad, Prime Minister Li, wanted give a clear message that, the two emerging Asian economies are going to cooperate and increase their states. The minor border disputes and external interference would not hinder the larger interests of economic interdependence. India even cancelled its tri-lateral military war games, it had agreed with Japan and United States.
There is no doubt that economy is the biggest factor in the future relationship of major powers and between the nation states. Currently, the Sino-India bilateral trade is over 60 billion US dollars and is likely to cross $100 billion by 2015. The trade balance has been in the favour of China so far. However, in the process, both sides are being benefitted. Immediately after the visit of Chinese prime Minister, Indian Premier, Dr Singh vissited Japan. There are serious issues between China and Japan. On the other hand, India has good relations with Japan, through its look east policy. Japan has contributed a lot towards Indian economy and both are cooperating in the field of defence. However, this is tricky relations, not only with Japan, but, the tri-angular relationship between; India-Japan and United States. India has a stratwgy to get benifit from all without loosing. But, the followers of Kautilya have their own long-term planning.
A book entitled “Grand Strategy for India: 2020 and Beyond, was published by ‘Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (IDSA) New DelhI’ in 2012. Krishnappa Venkatshamy and Princy George edited the book. With respect to Indian security, the book outlines that, “India’s security in next decades will also depend on how the broader regional situation evolves. Much of the world is wary of China’s rise. India, in particular, is concerned about China’s continuing support to Pakistan and its growing footprint in regions that are of strategic interest to India.” Besides, the nuclearization of South Asia and its surrounding regions is yet another simmering issue for the Indian and global security strategists.
The book emphasizes the Indian security planners to strengthen the defence capabilities in order to counter the impending challenges, facing the Indian state: internally in the form of insurgencies in its north and northeastern states and regionally from China and Pakistan. The writers of the book, which indeed is an assemblage of many articles, portray India as the global power, thus persuade it to enhance its role as a global player, ready to contribute “to global public goods such as protection of global commons, humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and environmental mitigation.” While Indian strategists are sweating for greater Indian role in the international politics, the world biggest democracy has one of the worst poverty at home, suffering from poor goverance with inbuilt corruption and nastiest record of human rights.
The Indian strategists propose for India a bigger role at the strategic level in the contemporary strategic environment. This group of acumen foresee that, in the systemic transformations, India is emerging as a global power along with; China, Brazil and Turkey. The rise of these powers at the global level would mean a decline of US and European supremacy. These strategists advise the government functionaries to strengthen the institutions and progress economically; very cogent strategy. Surely they predict, neither Pakistan would withdraw from its claims over major issues like Kashmir and water issues, nor China is going to lay off its demands of disputed border areas, therefore, this panel of strategists advise India to diplomatically engage Pakistan and China, while strengthening its defense capabilities alongside. Indeed, through diplomatic engagement and short-term CBMs, India to engage its rivals, until it establishes itself as an economic and military power, thereafter, issues would automatically diffuse.
Prime Minister LI, might have good memories to cherish and good will for a future Sino-Indian relations, India would have its own way in the global politics and immediate neighbours would not be its choice as Kautilya fixed its preferences forever.