The USS Nimitz | Photo: US Department of Navy
The USS Nimitz | Photo: US Department of Navy
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For those who have kept themselves well informed of the Indian Navy’s preparedness, the high-end naval exercises conducted with US Navy’s nuclear-powered warship, is no surprise. If it sounds like being prepared for a fight, well, it undeniably is. The series of exercises, weeks after a similar joint drill with Japanese Navy in the Indian Ocean, are meant to improve interoperability and fine-tune ‘real-time air defence preparedness’.

USS Nimitz (CVN-68), commissioned in 1975, is one of the world’s largest warships and the Nimitz-class’ most powerful supercarrier. The joint exercises by Indian and US navies send strong signals to China not only about India’s increasing international clout but also its changed domestic political outlook.

The metamorphosis in the political atmosphere is evident. In July 2007, the USS Nimitz had docked near the Chennai port and there was a howl of protests by pro-China groups, self-styled environmentalists, the Communist Party and then-Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa over fears of nuclear radiation. This time, there was not a word when the Nimitz joined Indian warships off the coast of Andaman & Nicobar Islands on 20-21 July.


Also read: Dropping lightweight tanks in Ladakh not enough. India’s forces need to be made more lethal


The message for China

The India-US naval exercise is a cause of worry and anxiety for Beijing — because it is meant to be. Close on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic, India had to face a hostile People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at its borders in Ladakh and the standoff continues. If the infamous 2017 Doklam standoff has taught us anything about the Chinese strategy, it is that Beijing wants to keep New Delhi occupied in the northern frontier while it increases its footprints in the Indian Ocean, especially by creating naval bases.

China’s Galwan misadventure is a premeditated strategy to increase its strike capability and military advantage by creating PLA positions all along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to the south of Siachen Glacier so that it can be at a vantage position, denying India military supremacy over Pakistan.

India will have to be prepared to deal with Beijing militarily not only in the northern sector but also in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which, according to military experts, is guarded mostly by the PLA — the Pakistan Army is merely a mute spectator in the infrastructure development projects. Accordingly, half of the Indian Navy’s 40 MiG-29K fighter jets have been reportedly deployed at airbases in the northern Ladakh sector to frustrate the China-Pakistan axis gaining military and strategic upper hand.


Also read: India has two options with stubborn China. The better one involves taking the battle to them


Start with Quad, move to South China Sea

While New Delhi has fortified the northern and western sectors, it cannot be content with this. India will have to kick start the Quad initiative and work with the existing members — the US, Japan, and Australia — to include other nations that are common to the South China Sea conflict — Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines among others — and important trade partners for us.

We have improved our military ties with the US and also strengthened security and strategic ties with Australia, an important partner in the emerging anti-China coalition. The Australia-India Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and the Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement are two very significant steps in deepening our ties in the emerging Indo-Pacific security and trade architecture.

India shares the security concerns of the countries in the South China Sea and strongly condemns China’s hegemonic moves. Clarifying the US’ position, the country’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo has said, “The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire. America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law”. On Thursday, Pompeo, while urging nations around the globe to seek “accountability from the Chinese Communist Party”, was more direct in his attack, saying “the old paradigm of blind engagement with China has failed”.

Beijing has held that the situation in the South China Sea is very peaceful and stable and has accused the US of “stirring divisions”. It has also claimed that its negotiations with Asian countries, particularly those claiming equal sovereign rights in the South China Sea, are on track and would not welcome any ‘foreign’ intervention.


Also read: Opaque disengagement process at LAC and ‘we won’ noise will hurt India


Can’t allow a new axis

For New Delhi, any hegemonic supremacy for China in the South China Sea is a sure invitation for trouble in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and our legitimate leadership in the Indo-Pacific.

India’s IOR strategy should include a robust naval policy and diplomatic outreach towards the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) countries. This will necessarily include increased economic arrangements, especially in developing military, civil and trade facilities in these countries.

It is important for New Delhi to convince the US, irrespective of who occupies the White House in the coming months, to reconsider its Iran policy. While India has managed to get a waiver for Chabahar port development and will have to shed lethargy and speed up the work, US sanctions and India’s strategic tilt towards the country should not disturb New Delhi’s equation with Tehran.

Any new realignment of forces such as the China-Pakistan-Turkey-Iran axis will be highly detrimental to India’s security and strategic position in the region. Neither the US nor India can independently take on a hegemonic and expansionist China, which has scant respect for global rule-based order and transparent trade system.

The author is a member of the National Executive Committee of the BJP and former editor of Organiser. Views are personal.

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34 Comments Share Your Views

34 COMMENTS

  1. While admiring Mr.Chari for his frankness I think it would be walking the talk if he would spend the four months from November to march in Ladakh to show the solidarity of BJP with soldiers at heights above 16000 feet and temperature below minus thirty degrees Celsius. This time should not be spent in a heated room but in touring and meeting the soldiers to raise their morale in the freezing hell that is Ladakh in winter. Indeed the Prime Minister should have weekly Cabinet Meetings in Ladakh and tour of forward areas so that the entire Cabinet shares the tribulation of the soldiers and encourages them. After all the soldiers are village boys who because of the emergency are being taken to Ladakh straight from the plains sizzling at above forty degrees Celsius without any acclimatization or training in HAWS (High Altitude Warfare School). Ladakh in summer is a favorite with visitors. It is by touring that area from November to March that BJP can show that it is different from them

    • Mr. Chari spent his aimless youth parading in khakhi cheddis in sultry Nagpur. It is unfair to ask him to spend time on the cold front in Ladakh. The Brahmin’s job is to arrange for others to do the job, so he can live comfortably. When he lays the gauntlet on China and tells them to get ready to fight, he expects others to die for him.

      • Rasogolla is merely a Chinese agent who is worried China’s destruction sooner , a looser dilemma I feel pity for you hopeless and frustrated creature in chin Chinese wet markets

  2. The author is clueless about China’s intentions and the futility of something as ridiculous as a digital strike by banning apps that the BJP has done or the real time geopolitics at play economically between USA and China.

    Mr. Chari, China is not doing this to deny India military supremacy over Pakistan. If you or the party you represent, feels that that is indeed the case, then heaven help India.

  3. India got a beating from China, and Modi meekly kept quiet, and now Chari is telling China to get ready to fight !!!

    These RSS Hindus are all mouth without cheddis.

  4. Mr. Chari, your message comes across as vain Hindu bravado. China has shown it is ready to fight. It is Hindus who have shown they do not have the mettle to fight. Modi, Shah, and Bhagwat are keeping very quiet to avoid another beating, and you are advising China to get ready to give India another beating.

  5. First Naval exercises with Quad, then with Japan and now with the US, are to remind China that he should not take India for granted and will be able to subdue India through threats in Ladakh or elsewhere. India too has reliable friends to stand by him in case of any threat.

  6. Trump doesn’t give a damn to what China does in South China sea, or in Ladakh. All he wants at this moment is to win the November election at any6 cost. He n fact wants China to help him with the election by buying the American goods worth $200 billion before the year end per the phase 1 of the trade agreement he signed with China in last January. That would help the American economy, which is in recession, wrecked by the coronavirus. That would also help his reelection campaign. Here is a quote from yesterday’s Washington Post: “Mr. Trump’s crusade — including racist references to the “Chinese virus” and “kung flu” — would be more plausible if it did not represent an abrupt, election-season U-turn. Until March, Mr. Trump was publicly praising Mr. Xi as a great leader, including in his response to the coronavirus. In private, Mr. Trump reportedly begged the Chinese ruler for help with his reelection campaign while approving of Mr. Xi’s crackdowns in Hong Kong and on the Uighurs of Xinjiang province. In the trade deal he struck with Mr. Xi in January, Mr. Trump gave up demands for meaningful reforms in China’s trade practices in pursuit of pre-election soybean purchases from Midwestern farmers.” Thus Trump wanted China to help the American economy, and also to help him win the election, and China is doing it by buying American goods! Do you think Trump would start shooting at the Chinese while they are helping him win the reelection, and also helping the American economy? No! That is not going to happen.

  7. Article is too biased, America is ‘NEVER’ going to War w/ China and the Indians know it. The cost of decoupling from China is so high that the US may end up losing its Super-Power status as is. It may lend support to India in terms of intelligence and, diplomacy (such as these War Exercises) but in reality on the ground, can do little against China.

    India too, should be careful of becoming a pawn to the US. Nothing good is gonna come out of it. The cry for help from India to US, doesn’t pain a good picture of India. Besides, inviting War to the Sub-Continent isn’t going to do good for India either… it too understands the importance of China and building trade ties.

    China — You can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em… So, just try to get along.

    • @Rohan: Ha!! Ha!! You are too biased and don’t understand geopolitics, the Chinese aggression or the art of war!! No one fights for anyone! Congresshad been busy with slavery to the communists, soviets & Islamist’s but the present government is ure wiser & patriotic!!

      It’s sufficient that US & allies war ship’s are docked near China that it will be tied down there so that India can finish it’s job in the Kashmir region!! That is all what is required!!

      Ideally, China should have been a friendlier neighbor but it has chosen to be aggressive and hence sooner or later, it will have to pay a heavy price for the adventurism!!

      India must strengthen it’s economy and allies structure as also remove communist & other traitors which work against the nation!! Everything else will fall in place!!

  8. Mr. Chari, how will some joint naval exercises in the South China Sea help India ? Our problem is we have a land border with China of 4000 km, and China has shown it can nibble away. The Modi government conceded meekly in a cowardly manner. Do you think the Americans will come and exercise there with you when you are not ready to fight ? The Americans are not going to come and die for you.

    Send the RSS cadre to the LAC. What do they train for ? But they will find fighting the Chinese is not the same as fighting in India against minorities with police support.

    And what is ‘our legitimate leadership in the Indo-Pacific.’ ? On what basis is it legitimate ?

  9. THIS WAR NEWS HAS BEEN GOING AROUND FOR A WHILE NOW…… THE STANDOFF BETWEEN CHINA- INDIA I AM SO FAR CONFIDENT THAT ITS ALL POLITICIZE.
    INDIA-CHINA ARENT FIGHTING FOR SURE….WHY WOULD ANYONE FIGHT FOR LADAKH? WHICH IS NOT RICH IN RESOURCE
    US- CHINA ARENT FIGHTING AS WELL……
    WHO BUILT CHINA – USA….. WHY? COZ US COMPANIES GOT GREEDY AND BLINDLY SOLD USA TECH TO CHINA WITH A VIEW TO GET CHINA MARKET…….IF CHINA WAS STEALING USA I.P – WHAT WAS US DOING? IF THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF CHINESE SPY WHO COME TO USA AND MANY OFF THEM GOT CAUGHT……DO WE EVER KNOW WHAT ACTION DID USA TOOK ON CHINA SPIES WHO ARE GUILTY? NO
    IF CHINA IS A GENUINE THREAT…….. WHY IS USA NOT TAKING ANY ACTION AFTER THEY KILLED 140,000 AMERICANS?
    SINCE USA KNOWS CHINA IS SLOWLY CLOSING MILITARY ACTION BY 2025-2030…..WHAT ARE THEY WAITING FOR?
    FROM PAST 1 WEEK….I AM BORED TO WATCH THIS SAME NEWS….I DONT THINK THE THREAT IS REAL!

        • This article is about India, the vishwa guru, not about Pakistan. China gave India a beating, and Hindus like you showed cowardice and kept quiet. As long as India is led by such Hindus, more banana skins will be there.

          • Hey rasagolla I’m sure you would like India to be led by your communist masters in china instead. Why don’t you join their country since you’re so anti indian, anti hindu, anti US, etc.
            Maybe you will have more communist friends over there?

  10. We should in fact thank Chinese for their Ladakh misadventure and the subsequent events as it compelled India to change the direction of its Chinese policy once for all and that too, in the right direction. Now India will meet the Chinese on equal if not superior terms on the Ladakh border as well on the Eastern borders and the LAC is now effectively converted into LOC. If this means a minor skirmish or a short war or whatever, so be it. Let the ghost of 1962 be buried once for all. The continued intransigence of the Chinese will give Indian government more time and heft for bringing in changes in laws or procedure to halt and reduce unbridled imports from China. We need to bring the trade deficit to zero and stop import of capital equipment in power and telecom sector. At the same time, this situation allows the government to formalize military alliance with US and as Quad. We should once for all give up non sense of being non-aligned or multi aligned. USA and the world needs India to fight China and we should engage with the USA and other democracies to take on the communist government of China and its allies. Thanks to China, India can now grab this historic opportunity.

  11. While we are rushing to do emergency procurement of foreign weapons, which are hard to obtain in volumes on short notice, we must build more basic weapons that we already have the technology for. These must be built in excessively large numbers to intimidate the two enemies we have, Pakistan and China. The aim is to go overboard, in a cheap way, to ensure that the enemy is kept in fear.

    We must, for instance, build 10,000 tactical ballistic missiles, aiming 4,000 at Pakistan and 6,000 at China, to enable an attack about 200 miles into the line of control to decimate lines of supply. That is how North Korea keeps the USA worried and avoid any USA action against it despite carrying out non-stop bizzare politics and diplomacy. Of course, China probably can build 50,000 such missiles but it will know that we mean bloody business as well.
    We can keep Prithvi-III 200 miles inside Indian border, spread out all over to avoid surprise pre-emptive and counter-attacks. The money will be well-spent and provide long-term deterrence and negotiating power.
    I complete do not understand why India does not go “overboard” with its defence. We need to since we have unsound neighbours.

    • You must have a strong economy before you can spend so much on weapons. Modi has sunk the economy. You are another gobar filled Hindu mind.

  12. All well and good, but we must go beyond token gestures like conducting exercises with the US Navy. We engage in such ‘symbolic’ gestures but our leadership – across all parties – lacks the vision and courage to act.

    Consider the facts. For decades, we have claimed PoK and Aksai Chin, but made no attempt to recover these territories; we have put our faith in the so-called LAC when the Chinese have not even deigned to say where they think it lies, and transgressed it every now and then with contempt; we have tamely accepted their brutalization of Tibet; we have overlooked their virtual colonization of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir; we have engaged in yet more token gestures like reporting weather conditions in Gilgit and Baltistan, even as the Chinese have built the CPEC highway right through it. And yet, we trade with China, take in their investment, allow their companies to sell into our markets at the cost of a massive trade deficit, and cultivate normal relations with them at the highest level as they they were our long lost buddies. What message does this give about the seriousness of our own claims, our self-respect, our strength to assert ourselves? Even piffling Pakistan which has beggared itself and earned the opprobrium of the world by sponsoring terror feels free to take a swipe at us now and then. So: is it any surprise that months have passed since the Chinese walked across the LAC yet again, and all we have done is sent our generals to meeting after meeting to politely ask them to disengage, even as they show their contempt by sending lower-ranking generals to meet ours, and ignore our requests? Ah yes, of course, we also sent two frigates to sail alongside the USS Nimitz for a couple of hours! I am sure that makes Xi Jinping quake in his boots!

    If we are serious about our security and image – as we ought to be – then we must walk the talk, not just project some fake image of being tough guys. The army is there to fight, not negotiate. For negotiation we have diplomats and politicians.

    Once the dust has settled, we must make ourselves strong enough that no one dares trespass against us in future. And, finally, we must have a long-term strategy to deal with our two troublesome neighbors, recognizing them for the threats they are. If we are serious about claiming PoK and Aksai Chin one day, then start by making life difficult for the masters of Pakistan, Xinjiang and Tibet in their backyard.

    For all that, first get the economy in order, by getting some real talent to manage it, rather than the sycophantic novices currently holding key portfolios and bureaucratic posts. Second, raise defense spending seriously up and get the defense procurement machinery to actually work in some sort of time-bound manner (it took them over 20 years to buy the Rafale – imagine what exceptional incompetence it takes to pull that feat!) Third, reorganize the military into a lean, joint war-fighting force. Fourth, in the diplomatic sphere, stop treating China with kid gloves and make if feel the heat. Criticize it at every forum for its repression in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong; express diplomatic support for Taiwan; and shut China out of our economy. Above all, stop behaving like the Chinese are ten feet tall; and even if they were, there comes a time to stand up for our self-respect and security.

    • @Ajay Singh: What you say makes a lot of sense!! Yet! Don’t forget congress, a quasi anti national & anti Hindu party ruled the nation for too long!! India & Indians can certainly have their place! What you suggest is sure to happen provided a patriotic government remains in power for a significant amount of time and India’s myriad traitors are reformed or silenced!!

      • We have a pro Hindu party and it is a bigger disaster. Economy, mishandling of Covid and China. Can’t Hindus produce someone better than a chai wallah ?

    • Very well put. However, we cannot wait for economic growth and then focus on capability development. One point that you missed out is getting Indian Pvt sector involved at all levels to speed up the process. Our manufacturing base and capability needs to increase. And fast.

  13. Congratulations to the author for giving a quick reply (doubtlessly on behalf of those who matter in India) to Victor Gao whose article (doubtlessly on behalf of those who matter in China) “A Tragedy has Been Averted but the Danger for India and China Persists” appears in today’s The Wire. Some people including the Editor of Print are worried that misconceptions might exist between India and China. This article puts all such worries to rest.After reading this article Victor Gao must apologize to the Indian people for still having doubts about the intentions and policies of their Government. BJP is truly the keeper of the National Conscience and I really admire it for baring it to full public view and not hiding it behind a shroud of diplomatese like Nehru and his followers. Again my congratulations for explaining BJP’s policy ( which is the real policy that the majority want and applauds) in simple English that even Victor Gao can understand.

    • The Chinese crossed the border, occupied land, and the BJP said nothing happened. That is the policy you admire ? It sounds like you are another gobar filled Hindu.

      • From your repeated comments against Hindus I can bet that you are a member of RSS or ABVP or some similar right wing group which wants to give an impression to readers that The Print is an anti Hindu site. People come to Print because of its high standards and impartial journalism. However I wish its moderators were more careful so that the standard of discussion does not fall to a level which is below par for Print. My comment of course is addressed to the moderators.

        • What are my repeated comments against Hindus ? I am very impartial and objective. My comments are against misrule and incompetence. It is a Hindu country, Hindus rule it, then Hindus should take responsibility for the failure of the economy, mishandling of the economy and mishandling of China. In all fairness, you cannot question Sikhs, Muslims and Christians about these failures. Hindus have been embarrassing India for the last few years. It seems you want a cover up. The Print recognises what I say.

        • In fact, you should ask Print why it allows RSS fascists like Chari space to write nonsense like China telling them to get ready to fight. If the Chinese respond, will Chari and RSS fellows go to the LAC ? These fellows are trained to fight in mobs against minorities with police support. Such people should not be writing here. Did you raise your voice ?

    • There isn’t going to be any war. No country wnnts a war. America didn’t even finish its war in Afghanistan, after spending 2 decades and billions of dollars there. And now, would i go to war with a far bigger and powerful China? No, Trump has said time and again that he doesn’t want to fight other countries’ wars. He had promised in 2016 election that he would bring American troops home from foreign countries, and that is what he wants to do. He is withdrawing troops from even a NATO ally Germany. China is no fool, it understands all this.

      There is lot f wishful thinking that the rest of the war wouldn’t tolerate what China is doing in Ladakh. The fact is, no country has any stake or interest in the barren land in Ladakh. No country is going to fire a single shot for it. Yes, all the 10 ASEAN countries and Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and even America wants to trade with China. RCEP trade agreement would be signed by th year end. America wants to start trading with China by implementing phase 1 of the trade agreement it signed with China in January. China is expected to buy American goods worth $200 billions by the year end. PREPARATION OF WAR AND TRADING CAN’T GO TOGETHER. America’s economy, hit hard by the pandemic, is in recession. People are losing jobs and their houses. This is not the time to go to war. Moreover, the new president would be inaugurated after about 100 days from now. He would be busy repairing the economy, and impairing it further by going to war.

      • @Rohit Desai: What you say is true in the short run!! Else, some kind of war will be there because there is no other way to control a belligerent China!!

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