Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Jul 2017 12:29:36

VICE-CHIEF of Army Staff Lt. General Sarath Chand has quite justifiably warned the country that the manner in which China was expanding its influence across the Himalayas it is bound to remain a threat to India in coming years. And the spectre of such threat is already looming large over the issue of stationing of troops at Doka La in the Sikkim sector. China has been issuing new warning every day, threatening military action and bitter consequences if India did not withdraw its troops from the area. This stand-off between the two countries for the last one month has generated lot of heat and even foreign powers, like the United States, have begun to appeal to both to find negotiated settlement over the border issue. 

Lt. General Sarath Chand is right when he says that China is expanding its influence in the Himalayan region. China has been on the spree of encircling India through its approaches to India’s neighbours like Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh. In this context its entry into Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) is no simple trade and business proposition. Apart from gaining business advantage through its port project in Gwadar, China’s interests are much more strategic and has much to do with tightening security noose around India.'

While smaller countries are being enticed by China through the so called business and economic support and offer of building infrastructure projects, the real motive behind such allurement to India’s neighbours is to snap India’s traditional influence in these countries. China’s aim is similar in Bhutan. China wants to somehow break India’s traditional ties with Bhutan by using its economic and military power. The Doka La stand-off with India, thus has its genesis in China’s insatiable expansionist designs.

China’s whole aim is to stop India’s rise as a regional and global economic power and establish its own rein all over. Similarly it is abhorrent to any American influence in Asian and Indian Ocean regions. It is systematically and in a planned manner erecting its own security set-ups in every strategic region in the world and pose itself as the dominant global power, rivaling the United States. China’s angry reaction to the recent India-US-Japan tri-nation naval exercises is a sign of its jitteriness over the building closeness of India with the United States. And quite expectedly China warned India against such exercises.

Hence it is becoming increasingly clear that the unsettled border dispute will remain the big irritant in future Sino-Indian relations and India will be required to be prepared to face the periodic muscle-flexing by Beijing. While Indian think tank may consider the existing level of military preparedness sufficient to meet any challenge from Pakistan, it may prove wholly inadequate while dealing with the Chinese military challenge. There is no denying that its military superiority far outweighs that of India. Indian think tank, therefore, has to take into account the Chinese more than Pakistani factor while planning for the future. Lt. Sarath Chand’s caution has to be taken in the light of the prevailing situation in relation to China.

To meet this constant threat from China, there has to be a qualitative change in the all-round defence preparedness. Because all the bonhomie that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi tried to nurture especially with two neighbours, China and Pakistan, has been put to naught by the unusual and sudden hostility by Beijing and Islamabad’s unrelenting trouble-mongering on the borders. Both neighbours appear to be hell-bent on keeping India engaged on all fronts. But Indian authorities have made it known to both of them that they were under the illusion that India would be brow-beaten by such rhetoric and misplaced muscle-flexing.