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Why, when the Chinese PLA comes bullying its way along the borders in Ladakh, am I invoking an outrageous American political satirist, P.J. O’Rourke?

Among his finest pieces is his ‘A Brief History of Man’. You can find it in his collection Republican Party Reptile. In less than a thousand brilliant words, it spans the entire human history. He takes all the great civilisations and reigns that rose and fell or survived in that sweep.

What’s relevant to us today is one short sentence in which he dismissed China: “Meanwhile, in China, there were the Chinese.”

You can interpret that any which way you wish. My guess is that he’s conveying that sense of resignation you find about the “inscrutable” Chinese. A familiar thought in the West.

But we don’t live in the West. We’ve lived next door to China for as long as first civilisations grew.

If we study our own post-Independence interactions with the Chinese, what is it that we might describe as inscrutable? Their military assault across two fronts in 1962 may have been a surprise to our leaders, but that is only because they were delusional.

Every Chinese action with respect to India since, from their ultimatum to India to “return their stolen yaks and sheep” in 1965 when the 22-day war with Pakistan raged, to their supposedly ‘surprise’ appearance along the Ladakh frontier this year, in fact, shows that the Chinese are far from inscrutable. They are predictable.

The push at Nathu La (Sikkim) in 1967 was probably to check out the resolve from India. Which they saw at its weakest — having fought two recent wars (1962 and 1965), famines, ship-to-mouth existence, political instability and a diminished Indira Gandhi. Remember, China had already joined the nuclear club in 1964.

The Indian response was a lesson they quickly learnt. A lot of detail on that short, sharp, local but historic engagement has recently been published in a full-length book Watershed 1967: India’s Forgotten Victory over China by Probal Das Gupta, which I was honoured to write a blurb for. What did the Chinese do after that? They have kept the peace for 53 years.

Will you call that response evidence of Chinese inscrutability? They probed us, got a rude push-back, and decided to wait and stir the pot in different ways, at different times.


Also read:Modi’s India isn’t Mao’s China. Silly forecasts assume we’ll let corona kill millions of us


Over six decades, since about 1960, the Chinese have been able to dictate the evolution of their ties with India, with the pace and landmarks of their choosing. Whatever blunders we might fashionably blame Nehru for today, he ceased to matter in 1962. The Chinese retained what they really wanted in 1962. The truth is, they had it in their possession almost fully, barring small, tactically important slivers in Ladakh. They asserted their ownership and let their larger claim, Arunachal Pradesh, fully in Indian control, go militarily uncontested.

They never gave up claim on it. Their view rose and ebbed as power equations evolved, in the region and the world. They checked us out again in 1986-87 at Wangdung-Sumdorong Chu (Arunachal), when they saw Rajiv Gandhi take India’s defence budget to a never-before-or-after 4 per cent-plus of GDP, especially when the India-Pakistan situation was on the edge during Exercise Brasstacks.

Once again, the response (Gen. Sundarji’s Exercise Chequerboard) was firm and the Chinese backed off. Lesson again, the Chinese won’t open fire for the heck of it. Or when they are absolutely sure of an easy victory so they could be seen like ‘teaching an upstart a lesson’ as they did in 1962. Predictable.

So much else — Mao Zedong reportedly flashing that enigmatic Mona Lisa smile at young Brajesh Mishra, then heading the Indian embassy in Beijing as a mere Charge d’Affaires in 1970; an attack on Vietnam to the embarrassment of Atal Bihari Vajpayee visiting Beijing as the Janata Party’s foreign minister; a nuclear test when President Venkataraman was visiting China in 1992; sabre-rattling over Dalai Lama’s visits to Tawang — fits that pattern. Everything, from 1962 to Doklam fits a pattern: Deliver a message, add leverage, and return.

All the stand-offs after that, including recent ones such as Chumar, Depsang Plains and Doklam, have ended the same way. The message is, see, who’s the boss out here? In Chumar, it was to India as it was feting Xi Jinping. In Doklam, to Bhutan.


Also read:How India and China resolved three major stand-offs in the Modi era


Whatever our pretence, we journalists are not experts at most things. Least of all on China. But journalists also have the privilege of learning from people who know better. We have learnt over the decades from our finest minds over two generations, from late Dr K. Subrahmanyam, the greatest strategic scholar of independent India, and General Krishnaswamy Sundarji to C. Raja Mohan now, and many others. But two conversations stand out in today’s context.

Dr Manmohan Singh, as prime minister, met a group of editors and gave us a masterful tutorial. He said China was coolly using Pakistan as an instrument to keep India perpetually off-balance. Our future, therefore, lay in breaking out of this ‘triangulation’.

His choice, obviously, was to reach out and seek peace with Pakistan. A much bigger and powerful China, he thought, would see less of an incentive for peace with India than Pakistan. In any case, for China, it is a low-cost strategy to keep India preoccupied with its client-state Pakistan.

That was his idea of breaking out of this triangulation. Today, that option is not so available, as hostility with Pakistan is central to the Modi-BJP politics. They’d rather make peace with China than Pakistan.

That is why the lavish welcomes and frequent meetings with the Chinese leaders. The objective, still, is escaping that triangle.

The second was Vajpayee explaining the Chinese negotiating style. “Dekhiye, aap aur hum baithe hain aur vaarta kar rahe hain (see, you and I are sitting and negotiating),” he said. Both of us want something. I will ask you, let go of a little, you will say no. I’d say OK, a little less then. You will again say no. But ultimately you will relent and let go of some. The Chinese would never do that.

Both these leaders underlined the same point, that the Chinese are consistent, and predictable. Which is why we should not be surprised by what they have unveiled across Ladakh. We should have anticipated it on 5 August last year when we made the big changes in Jammu & Kashmir.

We were not oblivious of the fact that there is indeed a third party in the territorial jumble there, and that is China. Home Minister Amit Shah left nothing to chance when he said in Parliament that “we will bring back Aksai Chin even at the cost of our lives”. Then, there were the new maps, objections to CPEC going through Indian territory, the weather reports. A broad territorial status quo had existed in Ladakh-Aksai Chin since 1962. India made its intention to change this status quo public.

Don’t ask me what is exactly happening on the ground in Ladakh. Are the Chinese on this side of the LAC or that? Because I don’t know. I can’t read satellite pictures. There is nothing like a LAC marked there, not even a distinct geographical watershed. All I can say is, I see no brigade-sized formations spread out there. How others read them depends on which side of the political divide they are on. At a time so polarised that even a 65-year-old, half-cent-per-pill drug like HCQ becomes politicised, you hardly expect much honesty being extended to satellite images of barren, naked mountains.

What I can say is, this should have been anticipated and gamed before the die was cast on 5 August 2019. This Chinese move, like all others in 60 years, was fully predictable. Even the timing. It was only a matter of the snows melting.

 

This article has been updated to accurately reflect that China attacked Vietnam when Vajpayee was visiting Beijing and conducted a nuclear test when President Venkataraman was in China in 1992. The error is regretted.


Also read:China believes India wants Aksai Chin back. PLA has likely secured 40-60 sq km in Ladakh


 

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59 Comments Share Your Views

59 COMMENTS

  1. “ A much bigger and powerful China, he thought, would see less of an incentive for peace with India than Pakistan”
    I didn’t not understand what peace should China make with Pakistan, frankly didn’t not understand the reason of usage of this phrase, please explain.

  2. On August 5, 2019, changes were made by scrapping of Article 35A and neutering 370. Reaction from China could have been expected, mainly due to the threat posed to its CPEC project. However, the virulence of some of recent Chinese actions appear more rooted in aftermath of WuHan virus endemic.
    The leadership role India has taken at WHO at such a crucial juncture, the total tilt towards the US and other global dynamics seem more likely to be violent sabre-rattling by the Chinese. As said here, they are predictable to a large extent, and escalation beyond a point and spilling blood by firing bullets is not something they have resorted to in the recent past. Constant nibbling at our territories is something predictable & always going on.
    Induction of armoured, mechanised infantry units in Ladakh as also Sikkim is something India has done in the last decade. The Chinese sure know what it means to strengthen our infrastructure in forward areas opposite areas held by them.
    The Chinese seem to have overplayed their hand this time as backing off by India is not very likely.
    Perhaps some of the Chinese actions can be attributed more to recent events than what has been done to erstwhile state of J&K, now split into two UTs.

  3. After reading the Article of Mr Shekhar Gupta, I felt Modi made a biggest mistake of his life by not appointing Mr Shekhar Gupta as Defense Minister & Home Minster . Modi missed Mr Shekhar Gupta who can understand Chinese & even predict what they will do or react at what period of time. Come on Modi, even now it is not too late. Appoint Mr Shekhar Gupta & give him charge of Defense & Home ministry. Ask Foreighn Affair Minister S Jaishankar directly report to Mr Shekhar Gupta. Once it is done, Xi JinPing will get scared, he will withdraw his Army even prior to 1950 Boundry.

  4. ROFLMAO….this journalist says Manmohan Singh’s great idea was to do peace with Pakistan so that we are better able to deal with China.

    And why not? Like 26/11 never happened. Death to India by a thousand cuts is a theory of some crazy butcher (full halal) in Rawalpindi?

    (Btw, Manmohan Singh “strongly condemned” the 26/11 invasion of Paki Jehadis of our commercial capital.)

    Manmohan could have done more damage to our foreign policy (remember Sharm El Sheikh meeting in Egypt with Pakis and linking troubles in Baluchistan with India),
    had he stayed longer than that wretched footnote in Indian history called Inder Kumar Gujral and his so-called “Gujral doctrine” — a garage sale, everything must go, hoping his name would go down in Indian history with the Jaichands =total sellout).

    Btw, Shekhar Gupta did you say thanks to Manmohan for the Padma Vibhushan he gave you).

    • Hindus do not know how to have peace with Pakistan or China or Nepal. In fact, Hindus do not know who to run India peacefully. They are divisive by nature. This stems from their casteism and communalism. Under Hindu rule, India is unravelling before our eyes. Modi was the godman of the Hindus, or the Great Hindu Hope. But he has messed up India more than anyone. And yet Hindus cling to this failure as they have nowhere else to go.

  5. A Brief History of Man mentions China in one sentence at least. About India, the 1000 word Brilliant article doesn’t mention a word.

  6. First issue: Why is the blame of friendship with pakistan issue placed on Modi. Is it Modi’s fault that pakistan was created and is being ruled by extremist ideology. Or is it Modi’s fault that democracy failed in pakistan and is rules by paki army elites who benefit from dispute with India and any form of peace is against the interests of their organisation. How is hostility with pakistan central to Modi-Shah politics? They benefited from it politically doesn’t mean they purposefully planned it this way. There is no cause an effect. This is more like political opportunism. Also, doesn’t it make sense for them to hold this ideal after they failed pursuit of peace. Doesn’t Indian people who are the victim of pakistani terrorism deserve political representation. Why are you blaming the victim’s representation as hurdle to peace.

    Second issue: How will predicting political intentions of China predict where China will enter militarily in terms of physical location. Even if you know it, how do you stop it without physical action. The way the article has been written, it suggests that no prediction was made from India’s end. How did you conclude that, its a weak argument Shekhar Sir. Feels like you are assuming the loser and placing the blame prematurely. Wait and see, maybe India will come out better in this exchange.

    • ‘Wait and see, maybe India will come out better in this exchange.’

      The BJP bhakth informs me that Modi has a plan up his sleeve and he will reply to Xi at the correct time.

  7. One joke very common and popular in the erstwhile Soviet Union is reproduced below. It refers to ( an imaginary) telephonic conversation between then Soviet supremo Brezhnev and then US president Nixon:
    Brezhnev: “ KJB tells me that you have a new supercomputer that can predict events in the year 2000”
    Nixon : “Yes, we have”
    Brezhnev: “Could you tell me names of our politburo members in the year 2000?”
    There is long silence and no reply from Nixon.
    Brezhnev laughs and says: “ It seems, Mr. President, your computer is not so advanced after all”
    Nixon : : “ The answer is on my computer screen, but I can’t tell you that”
    Brezhnev: “Why ?”
    Nixon “ Because the answer is in Chinese”
    It is predicted that soon Chinese economy would surpass the US economy and in the next two or three decades it would become 2 or 3 times bigger than the US economy. This is China’s master plan : To become superpower no.1 of the globe. What kind of geopolitical strategy India should adopt to deal with such kind is scenario is the moot point. That no superpower can be benevolent is a given. However, USA at least has a democratic set up, an open society where pursuit of knowledge is respected. How China will behave as the new boss of the globe? India should be wary of such an eventuality.

  8. Mr Shekar, was there a single Chinese soldier at the modern day LAC before a Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959 ? The fact that no Chinese soldier exist at the LAC shows that it was independent Tibet which shared the border with India and Tibet singed the Shimla agreement to concede Tawang to India.

  9. Shekhar Gupta, Congi stooge and darbari journalist, cites MMS — peace with Pakistan!!
    Why the self-flagellation among Indians of hoping for normal, peaceful relations with Pakis? Like a very true and peace loving neighbour Pakistan stabbed Vajpayee in the front instead of shoving the dagger in the back.
    Even after Kargil the likes of Congi darbari hacks like Shekhar Gupta endlessly chanting “peace with Pakistan”.
    As for Gupta’s “I knew It” prophesy — just ignore. Puerile stuff.
    Shekhar Gupta what no coronavirus report this week?

  10. Manmohan Singh’s idea of ‘triangulation’ was wrong.

    Pakistan doesn’t act against India at the behest of China. Pakistan has been anti-India since 14th August, 1947. It sees India as an existential threat, a historic rival of its civilization and identity.

    Pakistani Jihadi-Military state is against unity of India let alone our progress. They have an irrational approach towards India, seeking parity with a country many times bigger than them.

    China on the other hand ain’t an Indophobe state. They don’t hate our Hindu majority and identity or even our economic growth (in fact they want a stake in it). What they want is India to not get into a Japan and South Korea like strategic alliance with US.

    Modi’s idea of peace with a rational China and confrontation with an irrational Pakistan isn’t very wrong.

  11. Shekar, we have been trying for peace with Pakistan for how many years now? Is it time to try something different? Let us be a bit realistic and not make it ideological.

    • You have been trying to have peace without addressing the core issue : Kashmir is disputed territory. So is Aksai Chin. Amit Shah thought he could change it unilaterally. For that, India got a beating. Soon India will have to fight on two fronts at the same time. India will need RSS fellows to help.

  12. “Manmohan Singh’s choice was to reach out and seek peace with Pakistan. Today that option is not so available – as hostility with Pakistan is central to the Modi-BJP politics.”
    Wrong. As long as Pakistan is a military state, it will not stop sponsoring terrorism against India. So “peace with Pakistan” is possible only if and when Pakistan becomes a real democracy and stops sponsoring terrorism against India. This is the fundamental truth about Pakistan. “Hostility with Pakistan” is not “central to the Modi-BJP politics”. It is the other way around – hostility with India is central to Pakistan’s politics.

  13. I am not knowledgeable enough to say if this assessment is correct or not but this was a nice read. I must thank you though for the decent books you have quoted. Added to my reading list.

  14. Evidently bh akts are going after Gupta. Please note in all six years of rule not one inch of Pakistan occupied territory has been reclaimed. Instead on the average one Indian soldier per day is being killed. In Ladakh as per news we lost 30 sq km.
    Note also in six years not one bh akt has put up a tent in the Kashmir valley. No guts.

  15. Mr. Gupta I tried to find a single tweet/statement/article to see have you have commented on the subject which ytou (with not so lazy intelligence ) mention as easily predictable.
    Mr. Gupta please stop cribbing about the current dispensation not giving so called decorated journalists imporance (as you mentioned MS / N Rao or ABV used to give (obviously with perks like seat on PM’s flights or parties to howcase your egos if invited to cheering with who’ who)
    You admitted after elections that Mr. Modis’s achievements were intentionaaly ignored and tried to be brushd under carpet but “we” failed. Good for the candid acceptance. Particularly after being part of multiple conspiracies including inciting Supreme Court lawyers to come up with press conference. However with no breaking the ice after multiple attempts in Modi 2.0 era, you are back with your weekly dossier of negative prpaganda.
    Ameen ! You may succeed in 2024. And then corrdors of power would be giving you red carpet welcome

  16. I have a problem with the illustration that indicates that Taiwan is part of China. TAIWAN is NOT part of CHINA, please revise the illustration to get the fact right.

  17. And Samir Sardana’s comment below is pure propaganda. All nations, including America, Australia, Britain are constructs. So what? They exist today.

  18. There is one very interesting thing with LIBRANDU journalist. They expect our rulers to know things that these librandu jernos could understand after decades of journalism. They had given lectures to central government after demonetization, GST implementation, Corona pandemic and now China’s recent adventure. What they can’t even imagine at a given point of time, they expect governments should have not only imagined but perfectly solved their imagined confusions. This is one of the reason of Librandus fake wisdom. They only know how to demean others. They don’t know how to build cooperation and confidence among two nations. World’s all major problems are being complicated by these strange creatures called librabdus.

  19. I respond to Var’s pro-China comment below. China has had border disputes with most of its neighbors. It claims the whole South China Sea and the East China Sea. Its belligerent on Taiwan. It sabre rattles on all fronts.

    And yet it illegitimately occupies Xinjiang or East Turkestan and Tibet. Contrary to what Var asserts, Aksai Chin was indeed held by India, both under Zorawar Singh and then under indirect British suzerainty.

    India has to insist on the status quo ante. China will have to vacate the 15 to 25 square miles it has recently intruded into. India is not entirely without options. It can shut the Indian market to Chinese products despite the real economic cost of doing so, it can cosy up to Taiwan, it can raise Tibet in international fora, it can provide a base to Uighur interests and it can impede the Chinese in the Indian Ocean, including in neighboring Sri Lanka somewhat aggressively.

    Modi should seek advice. There are brilliant minds amongst India’s retired military and diplomatic officials.

    • Arundhati you clearly are wrong on factual grounds.

      Zorawar Singh’s escapades ended with 1842 Chushul Treaty which upheld the 1684 Tingmosgang Treaty, meaning Aksai China was Never Indian. It were the British through their Johnson line which cartographically annexed it.

      Learn our history instead of parroting what was brainwashed down our throats for decades. At least the Chinese people have the excuse of having a range of censorship, what excuse do you have.

      Regarding having border disputes with all, that point was already clarified. It is China which has resolved 12 of its 14 Land Borders while it took India 4 decades to even enter into talks with a so called friendly country of Bangladesh. It too like Japan has disputes with nearly all its neighbors, at least the Chinese have the added complexity of having the most number of neighbors in the world to work with and they still resolved majority of their issues while some still remain.

      Regarding economic/trade war between India-China, just a simple look at hard economic data metrics will show how that will play out and who that effects more. Hurting oneself so that you feel good about it is not what geo-strategy is about, its masochistic silliness, Indian version of what Pakistan as a failed state has been engaged in for decades now.

  20. Excellent analysis Shekhar Sir, couldn’t be better. If we had gamed it before 5th August, then why the shock and surprise. Let our Military response start rolling. If gaming is started now then look at attacking Karakoram Highway as retaliation. Our present Set up has a chronic habit of Jumping and thereafter Finding out where we have landed – Remember Nepal tarai blocked, Demonetisation, Bullet Trains, Rafael Jets , GST launch and Lockdown . Planning is the missing piece everywhere.

  21. Okay, fair enough to ask then, what is the outcome figured out from this confrontation? Again going back to status quo or getting Aksai Chin? Or getting PoK and Gilgit back?
    The Great Game is on and it’s merciless.

  22. Predictability is subjective tool in the hands people who talk and act without accountability for the out come. Some years ago there had been an eminent prediction of Pakistan style take over in India.It makes world lot of difference as to who is predicting and what what would be the effect if the prediction were to come true or otherwise.
    Children in the school learn how to deal with a bully. But we forget that as we grow up. History has lessons too and we need to deal with China based on our experience and with due regard to the grown trajectory followed by us and them.
    We lost once against China and Pakistan lost four times against us.
    NEVER SPIT IN THE SKY – it only falls back on you.

  23. Instead of preaching about chinese predictability, the closet establishment journalist should have talked about indian deception and treachery against kashmiris by removing article 370 and 35A, and overall so called forward policy of nehru.

  24. “Big Picture” perspective, is required from the angulature of philosophy

    Large nations which have never existed in History as independent entities, for more than 100 years – trap a large number of races and classes,within their borders – when those races, DO NOT belong in that nation . These are accidents of history,or war treaties .dindooohindoo

    India is a primer case.It never existed, in even 10% of its geography, as an independent state .IT WAS THE BRITISH, who gave it a geographical contour

    The North East are South Tibetans – in their entirety (By genes and DNA) – with a smattering of Mons and Hans. These are NOT Indian – just like the Kashmiris are NOT Indians.

    These people need and DESERVE,A separate nation, for their EVOLUTION.

    Every sentient and race,has a RIGHT TO EVOLVE.

    The Kashmiris and the North East Indians,have a right to 1st secede,and then do whatever they want.

    There will be successes and failures – and that, is the journey to evolution and salvation .Even if they return to India – that will also be an evolution – and make India a stronger nation. “IF”

    The question is NOT – what has India done for the North East ? The Question is “What can India do – for them ?

    The answer is – NOTHING !

    India is a poor ,primitive,heathen,backward nation – which can’t take care of ITS OWN .On principles of equity.Why should Dalits lose, say 20-35 Billion USD ,a year ,to hold Kashmir and the North East ? That money has to be spent on the Dalits ! They are the TRUE INDIANS

    Y should Dalits and Kashmiris and North Easterners sacrifice their lives, for impotent ,limpet weasels and cowards of the Hindoo Kshatriya,Bania and Brahmin race and their misplaced egos ?

    The Chinese are 1 race and 1 nation !

    The Mongols are the master race of South and East Asia.

    The synthesis of the Mongol and Han DNA, in the right quality and quantity, is ONLY, in the PRC . The “PERFECT quality “ of the fusion, is in Nippon, DPRK and Korea – but they do not have mass numbers

    China raped India ,2000 years ago.

    And they will do it again.

    Every race deserves its own nation,and every nation HAS TO JUSTIFY its existence, to EACH of the RACES within it – all else ,is an “unnatural fusion” – and then ,”some calamity or disaster strikes”, and the nation is destroyed to bits.

    The said calamity is not “chance” – but is a natural corollary.Allah has made these laws of nature – which are a priori, and the “so called humans”, are robots- who will keep blundering and getting killed, and raped.

    Communists understand the laws of nature, and that Allah made them – but they do not pray to Allah – as they know that THOSE who pray to Allah and Jesus – are doomed by their immorality and their blasphemy – and so,their prayers WILL NEVER be heard –as the laws of nature WILL NOT be changed

    India is on the verge of being destroyed – as a part of the corollary of the laws of nature
    .
    Keep a cool head – and watch the destruction – like a True Yogi – with detachment – as there is nothing you can do.Same for sex – practice as much, and with as many,as possible – but w/o any attachment, to the sentient partner (beyond the transient instances) – let the partner liberate itself – and thus be free of angst and hate – and focus on the next sexual partner

    That is salvation and the destruction of India is EVOLUTION.

    • You serious? I guess you are not much of a Reader of Indian Texts. Our Sankalpa Mantra refers to our Location as Bharta Varsha. I guess you would not know that. India has more reason to exist than any other country. The idea and notion of nation states is arbitrary and It began in Europe. So do not make comments about things that you do not know.

  25. “China was coolly using Pakistan as an instrument to keep India perpetually off-balance. Our future, therefore, lay in breaking out of this ‘triangulation’.”

    Which means to settle the Border with China because a deal is possible since they have a proven track record of doing so as they have resolved 12 of their 14 Land borders, only Bhutan & India remain which is basically the same border issue.

    Secondly twice China offered to make status quo permanent, both times India refused. Meaning India is also consistent, in that it is just totally incapable of solving the border issues with ANYONE, let alone China.
    It took 40 years to even enter talks with a supposedly friendly country in Bangladesh for border talks with them and with Nepal issues still linger even after 7 decades.

    And because China is now engaged in a Great Power compentition with US/West countries like India are nuisance to it and hence it is desperate to solve the border but it is India which is not willing to compromise because its Govt even if it wanted to resolve the Border can not because it would be considered political suicide in next elections.

    Who in their right mind thinks 100% of territory India claims it will either get back or more importantly it is 100% right in even claiming it in the first place. There is a dispute for a reason, there is no 100% anything in India-China border.

    Aksai Chin has Never been Indian, not even during British times, not even during Kashmir Kingdom time, not even during Ladakh Kingdom times. It was Tibetan and hence now by extension Chinese. yet India isn’t willing to give it up and someone one is expected to entertain the argument that it is the Chinese which are being unreasonable.

    • There are a lot of nuances involved here. China properly resolved its issues with other coutries- however, India is not ‘other country’. It specifically wants to keep its border issues with India simmering because this is one way of keeping India preoccupied.
      True, they insinuated some kind of trade off- but they never ever deigned to even offer that formally.

    • Aksai Chin was part of the Dogra state of Jammu and Kashmir, it belongs to India.

      Also, these delusions of China that India is just a “nuisance” and not a worth competitor are laughable. Yes, China is 15 years ahead of India in terms of economic growth but that is only because it had a 15 year headstart in terms of economic reforms and also the fact that the West/US assisted the Chinese growth during the cold-war to encircle the Soviets.

      Eventually Indian economy would become bigger than China because of India’s young population. It’s that what the Chinese fear. India is their only immediate competitor, not US.

      • “Aksai Chin was part of the Dogra state of Jammu and Kashmir”

        Ill informed comment stemming from the brainwashing that happened in India over multiple generations and decades on this issue.

        Kashmir Kingdom adhered to the 1842 Chushul Treaty which upheld the 1684 Tingmosgang Treaty.

        Meaning Aksai Chin was NEVER Indian, EVER. Get your facts right.

        Walking across a place doesn’t mean it is de jure yours, you need to have ratified accords for that. It were the British Johnson line created multiple decades after Chushul Treaty which formed the basis for British India and then later its successor state Republic of India’s cartographic claims over Aksai Chin. It is illegal and will never be India, India will overtime ratify this even if it happens after we’re all gone.

        Also India is not 15 years behind China in everything. This we started 15 years later narrative is outdated and unfounded. It is sector dependent. In IT of certain fields India was ahead of China by 2 decades and now its about even and in certain other fields India is 2-3 decades behind China. There is no 15 years dynamic across the board.

        And lastly India having young population is not relevant because Demography is not Destiny. You have to work for development, it is not automatic because India had decent Demography for prior decades as well, what is different over next 3 decades is the scale of it being bigger which doesn’t mean growth will bigger or better on its own.

  26. “We’ve lived next door to China for as long as first civilisations grew.” Not true. We’ve only lived next door to China after it invaded and occupied Tibet in 1950. Before that, for millennia, we shared a border Tibet.

    • Correct, for thousands of years, India’s neighbor has been Tibet, not China. Yet, many people keep repeating the nonsense. India shares a border with Tibet, not China.

  27. Very interesting angle to the whole issue by Shekhar Gupta. This is what is called rare intelligence gathered from common pieces. Everyone including countries understand language of power and respect it. China better with PLA not having won any real battle and ending with bloody nose both with Indo in 1967 and later with Vietnam. India has nothing to worry except it’s own insecurities.

  28. With Indian and Chinese soldiers stationed face to face there, LAC will soon be de-facto converted to LOC. Either troops remain almost always or Chinese agree to sort of LAC demarcation in the form of Indian patrolling rights. With that, Modi’s idea of demarcating LAC pending boundary dispute will be achieved. Anyway, neither India nor China is sure of exact LAC and this situation is the best that can happen. This is possible as India has now useful infrastructure along LAC and can mobilize troops much faster than before, besides using satellite images and drones for timely reconnaissance. Shekhar is as usual confusing the issue of India anticipating Chinese move past 5th August 2019. If India had indeed built up its army presence in anticipation, it would have provoked Chinese and hence, India had to wait for Chinese to make first move and then block them immediately. This has been achieved successfully, plus or minus a few kilometres, if at all.

    Having achieved this, what Shekhar says is right- that Ladakh and Askai Chin is part of India has been reasserted and we are now publishing its weather everyday. We now need to hasten up further infra development along the border and meet Chinese man for man, road for road and equipment for equipment so that we can greet them Hindi Cheeni Bhai Bhai every day.

    Manmohan Singh’s formulation of India’s triangulation is wrong. Given that Pakistan was already a client state of China and Pakistan’s visceral hatred for India, India in fact faced just one enemy on its Eastern, northern and western borders- that is China and we need to prepare as such to deal with it. Hence, we needed to first deal with Art 370 internally, then with Pakistan while maintaining a good show with China as we build up our infra on its border.

    Various statements by Army Chief from time to time are indeed indications of confidence that Armed forces have now to deal with China. Of course, Nepal was a total surprise but that”s another matter.

    So we are doing fine with China and Pakistan. Once this summer passes off peacefully in the valley, Pakistan would be at its weakest on the J&K issue by winter, If we have a deal with Taliban, with they formally recognizing J&K as integral part of India in exchange for India not recognizing Durand Line as border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, we will have Pakistan on a tricky surface.

    Can we invite POK and Gilgit Baltistan people to vote online for choosing their representatives in the UT of J&K?

  29. The Chinese are testing the Indians as they have done previously. Why they are doing so now is simply because of the economic devastation wrought on the country by the present govt. They find India weakening economically. They will attempt it whenever they think some weakness can be exploited. It is imperative for Indians to vote in and then force a govt to pay attention to economic matters for the next 25 years. Religion based politics should be a strict no-no. Unless parties which play on religious sentiments are soundly punished by the electorate at the hustings, I am afraid it is going to create an incentive for parties to keep using religion to emotionally manipulate the electorate. As a result, rapid economic improvement will forever remain a pipe-dream.

    • So…. Why are the Chinese attacking Vietnamese boats now?…. This has nothing to do about India, but Jinping’s way of diverting the attention of the Chinese people away from China’s internal problems.

  30. Everybody knows you are a PAID Congress chamcha so don;’t try preaching your sermon to us.You are spreading Fake news.

  31. I have been long enough in the Army to say that I am 100 % sure that this scenario would have been war gamed by the Indian Army and the Air Force. It is certainly not a surprise to people like us. It could have been to those who had not applied their minds to it.
    You say so confidently that the Chinese are not inscrutable. Then why haven’t you ventured to predict how this scenario would end?

    • very valid point sir. That would be the subject matter of SG’s article ONES EVERYTHING IS SETTLED ON THE BOARDER. If you see, some of our great journos are good at writing articles RETROSPECTIVELY…

  32. You know, I’ve been reading a lot of articles about recent Indo-China border dispute, and a thought occurred to me today….what if, it’s India that has crossed the LAC?

    • In our dreams we go from earth to moon. In your dreams have you ever come from moon to earth? Haha, just kidding. I don’t know if the Chinese are predictable or not, but I can predict two things : a war will take place, and our Savings Bank accounts will be frozen. Don’t blame me if this sounds crazy. By the way, another of my predictions is : Narendra Modi will be the third Modi to run away from the country.

  33. Why do I remember the guy who used to sit watching me play cards and criticise my moves AFTER the game was over ? Gupta ji, unlike Rahul, you cant even claim ‘ I told you so ‘ here. Why was the road constructed if Modi didnt see see them coming ? Arm chair joyrnalism is Comfi, just as Arm chair Opposition ! Great going !

  34. Takeaways:
    1. Chinese are predictable and consistent.
    2. Their reaction should have been factored in on 05 Aug 2019.
    So what ???
    Rest of the article is just an account of our history with China since 1962.

  35. The Congress, Islamists, Jihadis, Leftists and Liberals along with sold out media like The Print are largely to blame for this.

    These entities are sold out termites, doing the work of India’s enemies and keep the Govt distracted .

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