Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
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Why have the Chinese ratcheted up a war-like situation and piled up their forces with the heavy stuff along Ladakh? What is it that they want from India? How India should respond will depend on our reading of this.

Not surprisingly, this has spawned an industry of Sinologists, geo-strategists and military-planners. Besides, we keep falling back on the odd words of strategic wisdom inherited from Sun Tzu or Kautilya. With Clausewitz and Machiavelli occasionally surfacing like an item number in a Hindi movie. For the ancient duo, you can attribute just about anything to them, as people often do about Confucius or Buddha. Nobody can fact-check you out of it.

If the first presumption, that today’s big powers still act on strategic wisdom inherited from more than two millennia ago, isn’t dodgy enough, check out the other one. Oh, the Indians are still caught with their chess mindset, while the Chinese play Go.

In chess, you target the opposing king. No such problem with Go. It involves the creation of several knots and blocks to throttle the adversary until he is down on his knees.

Once again, interesting thinking, especially in an era when WhatsApp is the divine fountain that spreads intellect around the world. And when all those who’ve been epidemiologists and virologists lately can become entomologists overnight when the locusts arrive, and psychiatrists when Sushant Singh Rajput dies, have now become grand strategists.

There is twin peril in letting cultural stereotypes take over our minds. Today’s China and India are systems with new complexities that cannot be explained in such generalisations. That closes our minds.

As long as we remain caught in these cultural and ethnic traps, the fog in our minds will only get thicker (sorry, Clausewitz fans). But if you switch to current reality, you might find some plausible answers.

So, what are the Chinese up to in Ladakh? What do they want?

Go back about 20 years and see how India has been dealing with Pakistan. And remember that strategic concept that India invented: Coercive diplomacy.

I can’t say for sure who invented this brilliant two-word formulation, Jaswant Singh or the late Brajesh Mishra. One of them did, to explain Op Parakram that India launched in December 2001, after the terror attack on our Parliament. It entailed piling up Indian forces along the borders — heavy stuff, live ammunition and all — as if every bit poised for war. Seems familiar when you look across the LAC, eastwards?

Could it be that rather than applying any ancient wisdom, the Chinese have taken a leaf out of our book? That their unprecedented and somewhat-too-visible build-up is their own attempt at coercive diplomacy with India? And if so, what is it that they could be expecting as a quid pro quo?

It can’t be a few morsels of territory in Ladakh. That will be too minimalistic for such a risky move. Nor can it be an acceptance of CPEC, or formal ceding of Aksai Chin, or a Tawang-sized capitulation in the east. That is too maximalist. It will never happen. So, what is it that the Chinese want in return for their exertions in the rarefied air at 14,000 feet?


Also read: Xi has thrown the gauntlet at Modi. He can pick it up like Nehru, or try something new


Let’s presume for now that the Chinese are playing the game of coercive diplomacy: You want us off your backs, do this, deliver that, be good boys here. Or, maybe a combination of all three. What could these be, how might the game unfold hereon, and what’s the best way for India to respond?

More recent, and recorded references and parallels are much more realistic than any ancient wisdom or mantras. What did India achieve with its coercive diplomacy? What were its objectives? How did the Pakistanis respond?

I appreciate the risks in using that parallel. India is not Pakistan, of course. Never. But we are only wargaming. You can use ‘green land’, ‘yellow land’ or whatever.

India wanted Pakistan to guarantee that it gives up the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy. That was achieved within a month of the Parliament attack, when Musharraf made exactly those commitments in an address broadcast worldwide. In fact, he went so far as to acknowledge the list of 24 terrorists in Pakistan wanted in India, including Dawood Ibrahim, and promised to look for them and turn them over “because it is not as if we’ve given them asylum here”.

India wanted something more tangible and the war-like stand-off continued. It nearly got out of hand a couple of times, especially when terrorists attacked the families of Indian soldiers at Kaluchak cantonment near Jammu. But, restraint prevailed, partly because of foreign pressure on Pakistan, but mostly because India had never intended to go to war.

I had then asked all key players on our side — Jaswant Singh, Brajesh Mishra and Atal Bihari Vajpayee — if the risk of an uncontrollable escalation wasn’t always there. The answer Mishra gave me, in a Walk The Talk interview on NDTV, was that for coercive diplomacy to work, the threat had to be so real that even we’d start to believe it. It was brinkmanship of the stronger power. Seems familiar, again, as you look east of LAC?

India achieved much from that policy. It bought us peace for several years afterwards. Of course, nobody expected Pakistan to keep its word forever. But we have to also underline what each side did right and didn’t.

India began brilliantly to launch a realistic build-up, but missed a trick in not knowing when to declare victory. It could have been done the day Musharraf made that speech. Pakistan had erred in blinking so early in the game. If India had declared victory then and called off the build-up, the gain would have been no more or less than what came eventually, but an enormous cost, attrition and uncertainty would’ve been avoided. It would’ve also been a clearer victory of coercive diplomacy. Our expectations were somehow maximalist.

The Pakistanis, on the other hand, recovered in the course of time and decided to stay put in defence, to tire India out. And they succeeded too. After a while, the stand-off became pointless and petered out like a dull draw on day five of a cricket Test.


Also read: The Chinese are so predictable, Modi & Shah should’ve seen them coming on 5 August 2019


Here are the lessons India can take forward then, being at the other end of the same equation:

1. Never blink. Stay put. Be reasonable, negotiate behind the scenes with an open mind. But never blink as Musharraf had done so early.

2. Take your time reading what the other side wants. Is it closer to the minimalist or the maximalist end? See what quid pro quo might be suitable. But concede nothing under duress.

3. Be prepared for the long haul. If your reading is that the Chinese are playing coercion, and their expectations are unrealistic, let them sit there while you dig in across the LAC, fully prepared. Wear them out.

4. And finally, remember, no two situations are alike. No two games, in love, sport or war, play out exactly the same way. So be prepared in case push comes to shove. Remember Brajesh Mishra’s words: For coercive diplomacy to work, the threat of war had to be so real even we believed it. Similarly, the way to counter it is also to imagine the threat of war, from the other side, is so real that you start believing it.


Also read: China is on LAC to tell India who the ‘big brother’ is, not to gain territory


 

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88 Comments Share Your Views

88 COMMENTS

  1. It’s time to go on an all-out war against China with the intention of recapturing occupied Ladakh and with an intent towards liberating Tibet and settling this border issue once and for all.
    We are logistically in a far more favourable situation than China that balances in our favour.
    We have the will and the means to show that no power can intimidate us.

  2. Game theory – The prisoner’s dilemma. Answer – TIT for TAT

    Excellent article.

    The typical prisoner’s dilemma is set up in such a way that both parties choose to protect themselves at the expense of the other participant when Win-Win situation or trust is absent. When parties acting in their own self-interests do not produce the optimal outcome then simple policy answer – TIT for TAT.

    In case of India the duo at the top failed to recognize the implications of abrogation of article 370, ignored increased China’s incursions along LAC as they were testing India’s military preparations, intelligence alertness and political resolve. What Chinese saw is appeasement by PM Modi’s GOI and its crazy response to pandemic. After this Chinese selected the timing that best suited them and made great tactical gains.

    Yes, we should be prepared for war. This is necessary but not sufficient. India needs to look for their weak spot and score point over there because this is the only language they understand. India needs to put China in the same situation that India is currently facing because this is only correct TIT- for TAT answer that will work. as India can’t depend on other to resolve her crisis. .

    India’s anxiety is that PM Modi, GOI and their so-called think tank RSS have no clue rather incompetent. What is worst they don’t take opposition and intellectuals into confidence knowing fully well that India is a democracy. Instead very busing as usual with election politics. So, it is for citizens to make PM Modi and GOI realize the gravity of current situation at the border.

  3. My dear and good friend Shekhar, MEA did not invent the words “coercive diplomacy” Its a centuries old concept, and became part of US doctrine maybe 50-60 years ago. Nor did we win, we lost 2001-2002. I have discussed this in a PhD thesis for King’s college London (I could not get the money to pay tuition, if your MEA had any sense, they would pay it for me and learn about Indian Military Coercion 1947-2017: 33 case studies.) It would be very useful for the military also to read the thing. Moreover, there is a school of thought with which I am aligned is that coercive diplomacy is a failure as shown by the unhappy post- 1945 misadventures of The US. You either fight to win, or dont fight. There’s no inbetween.

    • Sir wish you would keep your thesis freely available on google books or any other website if permitted by your institution or if it is already published give the details of the publisher..If any of your papers is available on JSTOR kindly give their titles and other details.. This is not my field but curiosity to know things better is a human weakness.

  4. KEEP FOCUS ON INDIA’S NATIONAL INTEREST NOT THAT OF BJP PARTY

    China’s Goal:
    First what does China wants? I am assuming China is looking at settling things that takes care of their national interests without incurring any additional costs to them or make advance in that direction like two steps forward and one step back. Their main goal is not Indian border but controlling Taiwan, Hong Gong and control over sea routes besides safe guarding new silk route – One Belt One Road.

    China’s strategy:
    Yes, Chinese are playing coercion but they are also ready for a small/medium war if we keep in our mind the supporting structures etc. that Chinese have created in newly occupied area of the zone up to Finger 4 on Pangong Lake, “the Bottleneck” on the Depsang plain & the “triangle” near PP14 in the Galwan Valley.

    Chinese are also aware that they will face similar situations with other countries. But they have picked India because India’s response and preparation is weakest and also India fell into same trap that Nehru had fallen. By the way Chinese are not taking anything granted as to how Indian’s will respond. They have made arrangements for possible outcomes.

    India’s options:
    Fighting war or being prepared for war on two fronts is out of questions, so what are India’s options going forward? Is India prepared for war at the northern border or open new pressure point like Lal Bahadur Shastri did in 1965 war by opening Punjab fronts? Keep exploring if there are there other options.

    India should tone down nationalist rhetoric, reactionary language on China issue as said by Deve Gowda former PM. Get diplomatic support and additional supplies from other countries.

    I agree India should show and also be prepared for any outcome and show that it is up to China to come to the table.

    India is destined to be a global power but the current PM and his govt, BJP-RSS have unfortunately a very narrow view of India and little understanding of Indian history.

  5. Excellent as usual Mr Gupta (or is it Gupte :-)).
    Just feel you don’t have to pan the whatsapp groups or the instant experts all the time. Why are you waisting your time on them. State your opinion, why do you even want to acknowledge these instant experts? ThePrint and you are doing some excellent work, I don’t always agree with you (I admit that I have a soft corner for PM Modi (not the BJP as such though)), but you (ThePrint) does not have to keep panning the TV channels etc. (I can understand you frustration about people with no experience in these things talk and people who don’t know better lapping it up) you don’t have to acknowledge their existence. You are doing a great job. People who know your value, already know. The people who are not convinced will never be convinced.

    • Just to add, reminds me of the book ‘The Spy and the Traitor’, the story of the cold war era soviet KGB agent, Oleg Gordievsky, who defected to MI6. While the Amerians (CIA) had all the money, all the gadgets, they mainly concentrated on gathering military intelligence, meanwhile Oleg was giving the MI6 political intelligence, what is the soviet mind set? what is the soviet motivation? who do does the soviet union see the west? etc…
      Looks like India would give anything to have someone like Gordievsky, in the Chinese Communist Party.

        • And that is also needed, because traitors hide in the most innocuous places and occupations. If you are in the right, have no fear about spies. If you have something to hide, maybe it rankles.

  6. To mount a credible military deterrent we need more competent and militarily shrewd generals than Rawat and Naravane. These political appointments to the COAS post are tremendously damaging to the military morale and the Chinese know it. You can’t fix these problems in a matter of days or months.

    • The independence of the police, judiciary, universities, RBI, medical insitutes, army, and all institutions, have been politicised and corrupted by the Sanghis. No professional can work with them.

      • Can you define who is a Sanghi? Libtards have become so used to ranting and spouting and shaking their JNU sponsored jholas..a contrarian viewpoint seems to be arbitrarily assigned to convenient targets.

  7. “What is it that they want from India?” If Chinese were playing chess they would want India to blink but if they are playing “Go” then they would want nothing! Or to put it more precisely they would want it to do exactly what it is doing.Destroy its resources by moving more troops to the LAC,more fighters to forward airports,Purchase more and more Rafales , more S-something missiles,more Chinooks , more Apaches and waste all its money and energy chasing the mirage of becoming a superpower on someone else’s technology . That someone else meanwhile would be laughing all the way to the bank. China would love India to have more Hindutva , more Gauraksha and ever more Citizenship registers.It would love to have the RSS directly in command in the center. At present it would be a merry game guaranteed to win votes but a decade later when the Chinese GDP would have risen to $30 trillion India would still be boasting its $5 trillion GDP. This would be the success of a skillful “GO” player
    Nehru was much more clever.After the 1962 debacle he released Sheikh Abdullah from prison and requested him to go to Pakistan and negotiate a settlement with Pakistan. Fate is merciless and death snatched from him the chance to redeem himself.

    • Playing a game is not easy. When Modi came into the ring with slogans of Vikas Pursh and Sab Ka Saath he seemed to be a threat to be reckoned with. However with a few deft strokes executed sometimes with Pakistan’s help and sometimes alone he is now forced to react to every China’s move like a robot. Like Sachin Tendulkar’s strokes it may seem effortless play but is the result of great skill and lots of hard work.

  8. Mr Gupta, can you please show some responsibility and focus on Coronavirus and it’s mismanagement in India?
    The sad truth is that there is no match between India and China. It’s is foolish to talk up war. Tragically, China will crush India and our defense forces will just be cannon fodder, so that armchair experts like you can make some money out of this tragedy. Indians must be pragmatic at this time and understand realistically where we stand….a corrupt nation with appalling poverty, no infrastructure and a seriously shaky economy. No matter how hard it is to swallow our pride, India must do just that at this time. No flirting with the USA. That country is just trouble…it will use India for its proxy wars.
    China is our neighbor and will stay our neighbor for eternity. It is undeniably powerful at this time of history compared to its neighbours. India must deal with China with respect (no matter the hurt to egos) and try to build our own country so we are not humiliated like this again. Please stop the saber rattling. There are enough internal problems at this time.

  9. Before the start of war in 1971 war. Indira Gandhi entered into a formal FRiendship Treaty with U.S.S.R whereby both counties agreed to face jointly threat to their country s existence.. And that was real reason India could face Pakistani force with greater vigour . USA and China could not take risk to enter in ongoing war as active participants. This resulted into dismemberment of Rouge state called pakistan. Now China is behaving as rouge state not only with India , but practically with all littoral states of Pacific region. so it is time India should align with any anti-Chines arrangement led by USA or any other country . Non-alignment had died. long time ago . Indira Gandhi succeeded because she did not carried the corpse of Non -alignment . Her father failed miserable while he was carrying that corpse on his shoulders. Modi should not wait for more time .Time is running out.

  10. Mr. Gupta, I keenly read and follow you an the Print. You have created a good intellectual and factual digital platform for news and am sure over time you will find much success with it as the news consumption audience comes out of unsophisticated-ness, backwardness, and partisan mindset. Thanks for thePrint.

    On this opinion piece, one-hundred percent agree with you that India needs to be prepared for war as we try dis-engagement. You are taking about people becomes experts in many fields as news breaks and situation arises, but I must warn you do that too in your opinion pieces – both on print and video. It is natural because we have so much information these days from the internet. Your tone talking about these so called sudden experts is representative of what I call “the institutionalized expert’s irritation at the internet expert” syndrome.

    You see, I started noticing this with doctors. I have a disease, so I go to the internet and look up and painstakingly read so much material that I can say I am current on the health problem afflicting me. Then I go to a doctor and ask him or her questions based on my recently acquired super duper knowledge on the subject matter at hand. But doctor seems irritated at my questions and puts me off saying don’t google and come to me. The issue here is doctor is definitely offended by the fact that some layman is able to talk to him in technical terms and ask prodding but pertinent questions regarding the drug or disease which the doctor must have not thought about himself.

    It is natural the doctor with his years of training and experience can miss many ways of thinking about the disease because it is not he who’s suffering it and since am the patient and I have spent considerable time researching the internet with excellent resources these days, there’s every possibility I can have an edge over him in current knowledge on the disease and have important medically sounding doubts.

    This I have seen in people of many professions where considerable training and field experience matters. They are unable to digest some kid on the internet is able to talk strategy, sun tzu, epidemiology, and entomology. But they can, because the internet has so much information and given a day and a subject matter at hand, and a sufficiently intelligent mind and basic maths, science, and language skills, it is so easy to become at least semi-doctors in the limited subject matter. Especially a subject matter no matter who claims to be an expert, doesn’t really know anything for sure.

    So we have to learn to live with this and enjoy the staggeringly different and diverse viewpoints, opinions, and analysis that people throw up in a free democracy with freedom of speech and freedom of internet access.

    • Very good observation. The author himself can be accused of being an expert on everything under the sun if one reads his writings. Your example of the patient is apt. Many times the ‘layman’ produces insights which the’expert’ cannot, simply because education and training produce a certain pattern of thinking. And herd mentality and living in echo chambers with other ‘experts’ reinforces that. That’s why one comes across so many instances be it in sports, politics, economics, even healthcare where common sense trumps expert analysis.

    • Hello AC,
      I agree completely what you say about SG and The Print. But I have a different point of view on Freedom of press and Defence matters.
      Defence natters are not like a disease as each problem in Defending a Nation’s sovereignty is a unique instance. No other Nations have ever had, have or will have a more than 3500 Kms of undefined, disputed and very difficult borders. Under these conditions it is very easy for either of the Nations to “intrude” into the other’s territory at will. Unlike India China exhibits intentions of territorial expansions wherever feasible including at the Indo-China border. Presently when India is faced with problems internally with a raging pandemic and a wearing economy, any belligerent enemy will attempt to take advantage of such borders to further its aim, especially when the aim is to become a global power. China is doing just that.

      I only hope the Indian media and its people recognize this and leave this matter to be handled by the system, which is capable of handling the situation. Speculating on a ball by ball commentary on what may be happening on the borders is of no help to anyone but the enemy. The Nation will be better served if the media concentrates on grappling with the health and economic crisis, where it can help by not getting distracted and falling prey to enemy intentions.
      It is silly o expect a Nation to depend on google and public debates for its Defence rather on the democratically established and developed systems for its Defence.
      Any type of freedom (afforded by the Constitution and the Armed Forces of a Nation) has to be exercised with equal responsibility.
      Regards

      • ‘I only hope the Indian media and its people recognize this and leave this matter to be handled by the system, which is capable of handling the situation.’

        No, colonel sahib. What happens when the system is not capable and the elected leaders (despite having a mandate) are unqualified ? What is Modi’s qualification, other than a riot in 2002 and a forged degree ? In any other democratic country, such a person would be in prison and barred from contesting. Amit Shah has fake encounter cases against him.
        Do you think this over-fed corpulent fellow and his corrupt son can get back Aksai Chin ? Rajnath Singh cannot express himself in Hindi. Sitaraman is only useful for defending Modi over Rafale scam.

        And as for democracy, we have a govt. which reports to an unelected body that does not believe in the constitution and flag. In which other democratic country does that take place – an elected body reports to an unelected body ?

        The govt. has shown its incompetence – we shall say it even if China takes more land. More disaster awaits if we do not speak. You, as an army man, should not be political and bat for corrupt governments.

        • What was Rajiv Gandhi’s qualification other than a surname and the 1984 riots. In any other country it would be called dynasty and monopolistic politics. That dynasty has led to the likes of commenters such as you who have become entitled to a certain leeway whilst not allowing the same to the rest of the country.

  11. Are you sur Pakistan blinked? What looked most certain at that time was that, the US wouldn’t let India attack Pakistan. Secretary of US State dept. Gen. Collin Powell was in India, leaning heavily on Indian government. Don’t you think Musharraf knew that America wouldn’t let India attack Pakistan? Then, knowing that America wouldn’t let India attack it, why should Pakistan blink? Also, do you think India would have attacked Pakistan? I doubt. It was more like India yielded to American pressure, and ordered its troops back to barracks from the border, at the same time thanking America for providing an excuse to do so. In any case, regardless of the assurances Musharraf may have given to India, Pakistan went back on them, and went back to using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

    Also, wearing out the Chinese is a good idea, but in the process India may also get worn out, and would certainly bleed lot of money! Can India afford this prospect, and if it can, for how long? President Reagan started arming the US with an aim to bleed the Soviet Union if it started arming itself too! In the end, the latter collapsed, in 1990.

    There is at least one case where two countries went to war with each other OUT OF SHEER MADNESS! Some 20 or 30 years ago, two poorest and smallest Latin American countries, I think Honduras and El Salvador, went to war with each other BECAUSE THE RESULT OF A FOOTBALL MATCH BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES WASN’T ACCEPTABLE TO ANY OF THEM!

  12. BJP bhakts claim that with every disaster and its criticism, Modi becomes stronger. Then, Xi should give more beatings, so Modi becomes stronger.

    • Khangress mongrels believe that with every fake Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai our neighbourly love grows stronger, so let us continue to bury our heads in the sand and stick out our behinds for continued spankings.

  13. India should stop taking sides with the USA and focus on growth first. USA wants to take the war with China to India. They want India as the battleground to contain China. Even if whole China is dead, can you people imagine how much India would be destroyed by then. USA would still be safe on the other end of Pacific Ocean. India, stay low and grow first. That’s the perfect defence

  14. The Chinese are well advised not to forget forget Kargil. Posturing is one thing, real combat is something else – the Indian Army has shown that it can take punishment, turn the tide and give back the brutality in double measure.

    • Mr Arjun Khanna : When you pontificate

      “.. Indian Army has shown that it can take punishment, turn the tide and give back the brutality in double ..”

      isn’t it the jingoist in you braying loudly ?

      Kargil was against a puny, militarily and economically weak state called Pakistan. The conflict today is against a superpower that has already surpassed India many times over on almost all spheres – military and economic. China has bankrupted and squeezed out Indian manufacturing and its military scorecard is impressive..

      But equally worrisome is the fact that under the Islamophobic, Hindutva inspired rule of Godhra man Modi and termite man Amit Shah, India has squandered the one asset that placed her streets ahead of China, viz. soft power.

      Meanwhile, you continue to support Çhinese economy with your Chinese made smartphone don’t you Mr Arjun Khanna ?

  15. While there is the similarity of ‘coercive diplomacy’ between these 2 instances, there is another unmissable similarity. That India is reacting / defending in both. So long as one’s adversary, regardless of relative strength, believes that ones worst case response is defense or a localised response, the defender shall never ever be able to create an effective deterrent, by way of doubt on what the worst case fallout could be, in the mind of the aggressor.

    A suitable example would be that India, despite our claim over PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan and our clear economic and relative military strength, would be forced to think hard before launching an all out war to reclaim these territories. It is so, because we know for a fact that Pakistan’s response to such aggression would neither be restricted to just defence, nor would it be localised.

    This has a lot to do with how a nation state sees itself. If China can take a few leaves from India’s book on coercive diplomacy as this piece suggests, it may be worth our while to refer a few from Pakistan’s. Circular references can sometimes give us the right answer in the non-tech world. The aggressor initiates and knows the answers to why, how much and when. The least the defender needs to ask is what if?

  16. As usual, it is unclear what SG is saying. He talks about India’s brilliant coercive diplomacy against Pakistan. Did it solve anything ? The Kashmir dispute continues and it has intensified. The statistics show the number of attacks on India has increased year by year since 2014.

    We know India’s coercive diplomacy which comes from Hindu chauvinism has led to not only Pakistan, but Sri Lanka, Nepal, BD and Maldives aligning with China. All this has happened due to Modi.

    And how does it help to know China is engaged in coercive diplomacy ? Look at his 4 points of advice.

    1. Never blink. Stay put.
    (Modi stayed put and said there was no intrusion. Was that a successful ploy ? China then said they were building in their territory !)

    2. Take your time reading what the other side wants.
    (Modi can do that for elections, his mind and intelligence do not extend beyond that).

    3. Be prepared for the long haul.
    (that sounds like the BJP Hindu who says Modi has a long term plan which he will reveal at the time of his choice).

    4. Remember Brajesh Mishra’s words: For coercive diplomacy to work, the threat of war had to be so real even we believed it
    (Hindus have an inferiority complex with respect to China after two beatings. They would not have the guts to mobilise against China. The army is filled now with banias and Brahmins, and their morale is low, and not sufficient to fight Mongolians. Even against Pak, after the Parliament attack, Vajpayee mobilised the army at the LOC for a month and climbed down. What was achieved ? What is SG talking about ?).

    India is ruled by incompetents. Modi has been given a blank cheque by Hindus solely due to anti-Muslim communalism. Modi can beat up Muslims in India and be a hero for Hindus, but against China, it is something else. He does not have the capacity or ability. Indians are stuck with Modi for another 4 years, and China will exploit that weakness. They understood Modi’s weakness, Xi cultivated him since 2002 when the west closed their door, so he was ready to touch their feet. In his relationship with Xi, Modi for sure will have accumulated skeletons in his cupboard which Xi knows about. It is like Putin and Trump.

    • It is not “Hindu chauvinism” that has led to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, BD and Maldives aligning with China. It is Chinese money and corruption within these countries. India is full of those seeking to weaken her from within, that is the downfall of all the invasions and conversions – China has no such issues and a populace that works for a common goal, not for Minority appeasement.

    • Well, it was Modi who said he had a Plus One relationship with Xi and China, and not many people understand it.

      At one of his tete-a-tetes with Xi, Modi also came up with a silly acronym STREANH (he meant STENGTH but he did not know how to spell it).

      Congress does not have such jahils, so why do you blame them ?

  17. Agreed. India has nothing to lose here. Amass along LAC, always send bigger patrols. Harass the chinese patrols when you meet them. Be aggressive. This time have your iron rods, knives what not. Ensure the chinese soldiers are wary of going on patrols in fear of meeting the rough and tough, physically superior soldiers. Dig in for the long haul. DO NOT give anything. Wear them out in negotiations too, don’t be in a hurry to settle anything – because really there is nothing to settle. Modi is an expert here – Indian middle class have gotten zilch from him after 7 years in power. This is the perfect opportunity to militarize the eastern sector – chinese have given us a great excuse for doing that. Soldiers need to be out patrolling, not sitting in peace time garrisons.
    In the meantime, learn a thing or two from our Pakistani cousins. Create trouble using villages on the other side. This time the Chinese have played right into our hands and i believe the govt is doing everything right so far. Remember you can only win a negotiation if you don’t really need it.

    • ‘and i believe the govt is doing everything right so far. ‘

      You are the ever faithful bhakth of Hindu communalism. It may work in India to win elections, but not with China.

      • Lol. The left accuse him of being a bhakt, and the bhakts accuse him of being a congressi. This is proof that SG is neutral.

        • My comment ‘You are the ever faithful bhakth of Hindu communalism’ was addressed to Shishir, not to SG.

          SG is one of these Hindus with one foot in the camp of Hindu fascism, and the other in the liberal camp. He will typically say and express awe about Modi’s habit of springing surprises like demonetisation (as if it was a stroke of genius), and he will also say Delhi police was partisan in the Delhi riots.

          He will never say Modi is a fascist, and fascism has failed everywhere without exception, and fascists take the country down with them. He will say Modi has got a big mandate, and imply he must be awesome therefore.

          The fact that ‘the left accuse him of being a bhakt, and the bhakts accuse him of being a congressi’ does not therefore mean he is neutral. SG may not be an outright Hindu fascist, but he is a fellow traveller and an indirect enabler. There are many Hindus like that – who may not participate in a pogrom or riot themselves, but will nevertheless not denounce the perpetrators outright because they are Hindu. They don’t want the subject discussed frankly.

  18. The analysis by one of our great journalistic minds is apt. However, the problem is, India is not Pakistan. India is NOT the aggressor and nor does it want this situation. So what do we do? We should also adopt coercive policy as is portrayed by Mr. Gupta that China is doing. As said, no game is same. Drawing parallels with the coercive policy adopted by India towards Pakistan in early 2000s need to be repeated again here. It is imperative that eye to eye and shoulder to shoulder stand down across LAC is needed. Getting enamoured by the ‘might’ of China is not the answer and India has some strategic and locational advantages over China. We should play this to our advantage. In doing all this, the Government should have the ‘right’ approach and take the nation along and not use the situation to score over its adversary parties domestically. This will defeat the purpose and not taking everyone along will present a divided house and show weakened state of affairs. And China is a old foe with new power to sense it quickly and play the war game accordingly.

    • It seems to me Hindus are clutching vainly at straws, with talk about coercive diplomacy.

      You say India has some strategic and locational advantages over China. What are those ?

  19. Threat of war looks real from the amount of build up that’s being talked about. But then you never know, we had deadly build up even in the aftermath of the parliament terrorist attack. The US initiative can be a real deterrent for the Chinese, I hope the Americans are serious. But then, we also have history reminding us about the “seventh fleet”, ENTERPRISE I think its name was, that the US had sent in 1971 to intimidate India!
    We are in God’s territory. Only He knows whether war will happen or not. It would not happen – – paradoxically – – if India had HEAVILY bombarded a VERY SMALL AND FOCUSED area on the night of 15/16 June.

    But for that someone would have needed to have 300 inches long GUTS and not an IMAGINARY 56 inch chest.

    • BJP Hindus are happy with the IMAGINARY 56 inch chest ! They till me Modi becomes stronger after every failure and criticism,

      • But Modi himself betrays otherwise! Beneath his heavy cream-powder make up he very much looks a hassled man.

        • Unless the Chinese keep hassling for months, Modi can quietly slink back to his normal self. He has a thick skin, he habitually lies., and his followers are not going to call him out for that. He will continue to persecute minorities, plot riots and tell the adulating NRIs the whole world is in awe of India due to him, and Arnob Goswami and media will praise him. The Ambanis and Adanis will be taken care of, and they will take care of him. Covid will rumble on, and the economy will crawl along. The Indian public has endurance and does not demand anyone to be accountable. They are happy with his Hindu symbolisms. They have given him a blank cheque.

  20. Very disappointing article from Shekhar. Modi is not blinking and his Army is strongly up to the Chinese much before Shekhar thought of this article and of reinventing the word “coercive diplomacy”. Modi stood firm in Dokhlam against them and he badly hit Pakistan twice. But it seems China does not understand that Modi cannot take anything lying down from either Pakistan or China; otherwise, his political image will be finished. Modi has competent armed forces and supportive infrastructure backing him. From this point , China either backs off as per mutual agreement or gets a whack before September. And major powers are around to support India in any case if required. In either case Modi wins. Forget Tzu; Chinese have been plainly stupid and idiotic. This is as plain and simple. Further, China has not factored in as yet what Modi can do in future – Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Quad and of course, Baloch . Let us wait till it starts snowing in September and revisit this issue.

    • So the best of Modi is yet to come ? Like the 15 lakhs, end of black money, card economy, Make in India…..it will come in the Hindu’s next life.

  21. I follow SG’s views and think that he provides a balanced perspective. In this case , I am afraid that the Chinese are hell bent on a war. If you recollect after the abrogation of article 370 there was a Pakistani contingent with its army and Imran Khan that visited China. I think the plans were drawn to shake the indian hold on Kashmir and possible evict India completely. At the very least throw India out of Siachen. The Chinese will open a two front attack with their aircrafts from Skardu. This will mean that India will be obliged to attack Pakistan as well. We need some solid support from the West or Russia to tide through this. Mark my words and be ready for a war.
    Secondly, Modi in this case is constrained by Indias limited capability not a desire to absorb pain.

    • ‘We need some solid support from the West or Russia to tide through this.’

      Why ? The BJP was telling us Modi has made India a superpower. Superpowers do not need assistance.

      No western country has commented in India’s favour. There is no reason for them to support India. People will just keep quiet.

      • Where and when did they say. This is not about the BJP or Modi. You cannot suddenly compete with China without preparing. This is not the time to be anti government.

        • Modi was telling us India is the vishwa guru. BJP Hindus were telling us due to Modi, the world is taking notice of India and is in awe.

          Why should I not be anti-government when it is responsible for destroying the economy, for creating communal divide, for mishandling Covid and surrendering land to China ?

          These people are only good at torturing minorities. That is all. They will let Chinese take over Indian economy and touch their feet, and even cede land.

          If you give a blank cheque to malicious incompetents, India will go back to a collection of states as it was before the Mughals and British.

          • India has long given a blank cheque in the form of minority appeasement which has led to people like you who think only of their own community even when the country faces such challenges. Keep dreaming your separatist dreams, there is a Pakistan that came out of it, but no more.

  22. Get over your obsession with Pakistan for God’s sake. Post independence we have time doing so. It is too small to be any threat that cannot be dealt with. They are half the country post 1971.
    China has since the victory of the CCP. We have for reason not paying it priority over all else. They will always pretend to be friends but never will they be. Their examples of betrayal abounds. Hope we WAKE UP.

  23. Not a single anti-India or anti-Modi idea in this article. What happened to Shekhar Gupta? I want what he smoked today.

    • That means there was no content in the article.

      If there was content, SG would explain what Modi did wrong and advise Indians they made a mistake giving this man a mandate for incompetence. Of course most Hindus will not be able to digest that, but if you have integrity, you must say so even if it is unpopular.

      • Rasgolla, why don’t you have integrity and admit that you have got used to appeasement politics of the Congress, the stoppage of which has made you a very bitter person.

  24. Stupid article by Masked Leftist Guptha , OpParakram was a failed concept and India achieved nothing , Pakistan is still sending terrorists and Indian Muslims & Leftists supporting Pakistan , India needs to strengthen itself and first root out internal enemies then go for all out war , once for all settle the issues

    • Modi has been within India against Muslims and leftists, no doubt that is the reason you worship him. But it does not help against China.

  25. Silly article by Masked Leftist Guptha , OpParakram was a failed concept and India achieved nothing , Pakistan is still sending terrorists and Indian Muslims & Leftists supporting Pakistan , India needs to strengthen itself and first root out internal enemies then go for all out war , once for all settle the issues

  26. Your analogy of the present China-India standoff at the LAC with the Op Paraktram of 2001 falls flat on one fundamental count. For Op Parakram there was an immediate provocation from the Pakistani side that their terrorists have attacked the Indian parliament. But in the present case what is the Indian provocation to China? One plausible presumption is that India is slowly going into the American geo-strategic fold. But the reality is totally different.; India is buying Russian jets and anti-missile systems S 400 triumph from Russia, on the LAC standoff there is nothing that President Trump has spoken which can be construed as his support for India. In contrast to other western countries India is rather muted in its criticism of China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, have not yet banned Huawei in India, silent on Hong Kong and Taiwan and above all the Indian Prime Minister, otherwise considered an aggressive nationalist, prefers to sound quite conciliatory when it comes to matters concerning China. There is no apparent reason for China to justify this belligerent posture at the LAC.

    • He is not comparing the cause of why Op Parakram took place with the current standoff’s cause.. He is comparing only the on ground situation which is similar. in this case China is clearly in for the long haul and is determined to show India her place. Mark my words matter of time before Pak joins in. the best case is that China will use pak airbases to negate Indias air superiority.

  27. Looking from outer space what is happening in Ladakh is exactly what had to happen. First the BJP declared that it was going for a clean break with the old Nehruvian policies of thinking twice before you leap. Second it abrogated article 370 to signal that policy of peaceful cohabitation with China is dead. Third to rub that in it declared that it was willing to shed blood to wrest Aksai Chin from China. Fourth it made a dramatic show of its intention to collaborate like an ally with the US in its conflict with China (that conflict has deep roots discussed by Graham Allison in his book “Destined for War”). Fifth as hinted by General Panag India has something to do with 10000-15000 special forces of Tibetan exiles trained by CIA kept ready for any eventuality. Sixth it started ramping up its infrastructure along the LAC. China would have been in Mao’s words ” extremely discourteous” to turn a blind eye and ear to all these endeavors to attract its attention.This is where strategy comes in and of course China which plays “GO” rather than chess has used its own way to deal with the situation. What is surprising is that unlike Nehru the present dispensation seems to live in bubble in which only two countries India and the US exist. Unfortunately other countries exist and make their presence known in rather unpleasant ways sometimes in Kashmir,sometimes in Ladakh sometimes in SriLanka or Maldives or Nepal.What is surreal is that not one Indian politician refers to the almost certain destruction that is just 50 years away.Hard science tells us that by 2070 about one billion persons will die in India and much of the subcontinent will become like the Sahara but then why should politicians who can see only as far as the next general election care?

    • Very well said, except for the last Nostradamus like stuff. The fake Ramboism of Modi-Shah is laughable but also irritating. No tukde-tukde gang has been discovered in the context of JNU, it has remained a jumla like, “15 lakhs in every account”. But another REAL and seditious tukde-tukde gang is FULLY active in India for the last 6 years, and that is what the PRESENT (non-Vajpeyi) BJP is. These guys want to kill our beloved India as we have known it. One can only hope that the Americans are serious about the help they are talking about.

      • ‘REAL and seditious tukde-tukde gang is FULLY active in India for the last 6 years, and that is what the PRESENT (non-Vajpeyi) BJP is. ‘

        The tukde tukde gang is actually the RSS, the BJP is just its parliamentary wing. In the 1920s and 1930s, they praised Hitler and wanted the same model in India for the minorities (see Golwalkar’s writings). Naturally, the Muslims who were 35% demanded a separate country – who would not ask for it if you threaten them with concentration camps. Hence, the RSS was the cause for the partition. They took no part in the freedom struggle, but they were more intent on fighting Muslims. They are continuing in the same mode, most Hindus endorse it or have no objection, and there is no Nehru or Gandhi strong enough to stand up to them, It follows that the economy will go under, and there is civil unrest over CAA-NRC. It was heading for civil war, it got interrupted by Covid. Consider Covid as a saviour. Of course, it is not surprising that their belligerence towards Pakistan and China would have a cost – which was what we have to pay now. They have no clue how to handle it. They might neglect the Chinese threat as they have no clue how to handle it, and they may go back to minority bashing, which is what buys Hindu support.

        Matters can only change if the Hindu public and opposition demands a ban of the RSS. The Hindu public thinks they are patriots and the opposition has so far not shown the courage to ask for a ban.

    • You sound delusional with your 2070 prediction. I’d take psychiatric help if i had doomsday fears like that. “hard science” he calls it, hilarious.
      Collaborating with the US is a wise move. It makes sense to ally your friends and oppose your enemies. Our enemy is clear – China, Pakistan and every communist sympathizing leftie within our borders.

  28. Yes, we can see the mutual hard staring going on. We understand that both sides can do it for a long time. But, the concern is that they are using it to build solid structures in the area which they need to vacate in establishing the status quo ante. With every new structure they invest in, they are growing lazier in vacating it. Besides, if push comes to shove, it is becoming that much harder for us to throw them out militarily.

    So, we need the resolution soon, they don’t seem to!

  29. Sigh!!! Sekhar Babu is still confused whether China wants a piece of our territory or not. The elephant is not just in the room it is in fact seating on his lap but yet he can’t see it.

  30. An excellent article. Coercive diplomacy – ok, but the question still remains unanswered -‘ what does China want from India?’. The position taken by China is that they want to reduce stress on LAC and they blame India for the violence. Thus, an escape route has been kept open to withdraw Chinese forces from LAC. Yet, if China withdraws immediately without achieving anything tangible, would it not be loss of face for them? And even if Chinese leadership may sustain such loss of face, what have they achieved in the process, except for spoiling India-Chinese relationship? Such a simplistic assumption about the Chinese motive doesn’t gel. One doesn’t need to a geopolitical strategist, but everyone in India would apply common sense logic to understand Chinese game plan and the question about the motive remains unanswered. It is alright to say that we should stay put determined at the LAC, irrespective in f knowing the motive and be fully prepared to face any eventuality, but I feel that a vital piece is missing in the the game being played by China and India must find out what it is.

    • This is a China Pak planned initiative to wrest Kashmir from India. If that happens Inda will have to declare war on Pakistan and be ready for nuclear war.

      • Why don’t Hindus use their brains and accept J & K was disputed territory and it is better to reach a negotiated settlement ? A nuclear is not winnable and it will devastate Hindus also. The alternative is you bleed slowly in a guerrilla was which you cannot defeat. The govt. is bankrupt and they are racking up petrol prices and killing Indians. We are in a serious situation. No point blaming Pak and China. You can blame only the Hindus who gave a blind mandate to such people, and who continue supporting such people.

        • You can’t get more obvious can you? J&K was never disputed territory, had to stop reading the rest of your one sided view after that statement.

  31. Mr Gupta, why create a smokescreen with this article? You have a hotline to your buddies in Congress & China CPC. You already know what China wants.
    Will the list of Chinese demands include a Bharat Ratna for Sonia Ji, a Padma Vibhushan for Rahul Ji and Padma Bhushan for Priyanki Ji – all awards for highest achievements in corruption & anti-national activities.

    • It is Modi who said he had a special Plus One relationship with Xi. He even said some people will not understand it.

  32. Very apt analysis of the situation. India should stay put on the border. It is obvious that the Chinese are playing their mind games on the LAC . One of their intentions may also be to reduce the influence of the US by putting pressure on India in the Indo-Pacific, where India is also a major player and a close partner of the US, as China also now wants to play a major role in the Indian Ocean part of the Indo- Pacific region by limiting the role of US in their grand design of new Chinese world order. So,the US must also be strategically and diplomatically involved in the LAC dispute.

  33. In an earlier comment, Sekhar Gupta wrote that what the Chinese are doing in Ladakh is the same as what they’re doing near Indonesia, 1500 kM away in the South China Sea as well to Malaysia, Vietnam, The Phillipines etc i.e exercising big power muscle to cow down the Region as a bully.
    Surely, you haven’t changed your mind?
    The difference between the South China Sea littoral States and India is that India can stare down the Chinese.
    Don’t, gratuitously, antagonise them but don’t be cowed either.
    This is how life will be with the Pakistanis and the Chinese.
    Lastly, don’t be naive: DON’T EVER THINK THAT GUJARATI SWINGS, COCONT WATER AND THE “OUR 2 GREAT CIVILISATIONS ETC.” line works with the Chinese. They only respect economic and military power.
    With Modi in charge the economy and social harmony have been ruinous. So, really, we’re tackling the Chinese with one hand tied behind our backs!

    • Sound analysis.

      ‘With Modi in charge the economy and social harmony have been ruinous. So, really, we’re tackling the Chinese with one hand tied behind our backs!’

      But still many Hindus worship Modi because they approve the internal polarisation, and that is not going to change, so China will have the upper hand.

  34. Sir Had we not mobilised completely after Msuharrafs holding blatant lie , would it not have been another shimla where Bhutto cried and we wiped tears and here again Musharraf wailed and we stopped the juggernaut.

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