What Xi Jinping calculated was that India is economically ravaged and it could not even tackle the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Nepal
When Chinese president Xi Jinping sent the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, he wasn’t pandering to his country’s insatiable appetite for land. His target was Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was, in fact, aiming to effect a regime change in New Delhi. But, his wily calculations went awfully awry and he will have a lot of answering to do when the standing committee of the National People’s Congress meets in Beijing on June 28. His gross misadventure cost the PLA at least 45 of its officers and men even though 20 Indian soldiers were martyred. The brutal killing of Col Santosh Babu and his brave men of the Bihar Regiment did not weaken Modi politically. Instead, it has strengthened his position, even more, the jejune tweets of principal opposition leader Rahul Gandhi notwithstanding.
What Xi calculated was that India is economically ravaged by the pandemic which originated in Wuhan and it could not even tackle the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. Also, the anti-CAA protests in urban areas (largely staged managed by pro-Pakistani elements) had created an anti-Modi political ecosystem in several cities across the country. The swift action by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had unearthed the nefarious external forces which orchestrated the communal riots in Delhi just on the eve of U.S President Donal Trump’s hugely successful visit to Ahmedabad. Xi met Modi as many as 18 times but failed to assess the man’s determination.
Modi had rightly snubbed Xi by firmly refusing to participate in the One Belt Road initiative principally because it passes through territory which rightfully belongs to India.
Both Beijing and Islamabad are simply stunned by the swift moves which Modi made in Jammu & Kashmir soon after the start of the second innings of his tenure. Article 370 was scrapped in one fell stroke; a bold decision which many find it difficult to believe even now. The historic changes in the Northern state and the systematic elimination of Pakistani intelligence agency ISI-funded militants had broken the backbone of the anti-national movement. Senior leaders like Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest. The Hurriyat Conference was reduced to the status of the Lions Club of South Kashmir. When the ISI triggered a bomb blast in Pulwama, Modi did not restrict himself to the usual denouncement. He sent the Indian Air Force to bomb the Balakot terror factory on Pakistani soil. It was a risky thing to do considering the fact that Pakistan has been repeatedly been warning of nuking India. When IAF fighter pilot Abhinandan was captured by the Pakistanis, Modi ensured his safe return even as Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi was fulminating against India. Modi next introduced t the new domicile law in J&K, which will effectively change the demography of that state in favour nationalist forces.
What worried both Beijing and Islamabad was that after polishing off the Kashmiri biryani and washing it down with hot kahwa, Modi was turning his gaze at Pak Occupied Kashmir, through which the strategic Karakoram highway passes through. Modi had rightly snubbed Xi by firmly refusing to participate in the One Belt Road initiative principally because it passes through territory which rightfully belongs to India. The Indian armed forces had assured Modi that it would be possible to take back PoK since Pakistan under Imran Khan Niazi was politically weak and dissensions within the army under Gen Bajwa were peaking. The growing control of the civilian government by Gen Bajwa had created huge resentment against the army in a Pakistan which was suffering from long spells of highly corrupt military rule in the past.
It was then that Xi felt that if he let Modi have his way then he would have real trouble on the South Western borders of his country and his pet project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a part of the One Belt Road initiative, It was then that he decided to give a violent military nudge to the Indian Army in Ladakh in the hope that public opinion would turn against Modi as it had against Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru after the 1962 aggression. It is true that the Indian armed forces of 2020 are far superior to the ones in 1962 in terms of numbers, training, weaponry and morale. Nevertheless, there is a need for some bold moves to contain the Chinese menace. Xi is facing criticism from within the Chinese Communist Party for his failure to control pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent worsening of the economy with several American and South Korean multinationals either threatening or actually pulling their manufacturing hubs out of mainland China. China has become an object of abject ridicule the world over. Never in the past has China’s position in the comity of nations be so low as to be treated as a pariah; its economic might notwithstanding.
Defence treaty between India and the USA
If there is one thing which will halt the Chinese in their tracks is a full-fledged defence treaty between India and the United States of America. In fact, the growing friendship between the two democracies has been a cause of deep worry in the corridors of power in China for the past several years. When I interacted with officials of the India desk in the Chinese foreign ministry some years ago, the only question uppermost in the minds of the officials was whether India would agree to be a part of a global strategic alliance against China under the leadership of the USA. Several years ago when I got to interview Henry Kissinger over lunch in Mumbai, he made it a point to mention that China was neurotically obsessed with the possibility of an Indo-U.S. security pact. It is time the worst fears of Beijing are made to come true. Narendra Modi should take the historic decision of entering into a security act with Washington before the US goes to the polls. Before sending the Thambi regiment to Dakha in 1971, Indira Gandhi signed the Indo-Soviet Peace Treaty which largely ensured that China and the US would give her a free hand in vivisecting Pakistan into two. In fact, after the brilliantly successful operation in East Pakistan, Indira Gandhi had transferred thousands of troops to the Pakistani border in a bid to take over PoK. It was only a clear warning from President Richard Nixon which restrained her.
Ties between India and the US have grown rapidly under the Modi regime. India has already entered into a comprehensive global strategic partnership with the US which was reviewed and given muscle during President Trump’s visit to India in February 2020. The need is to upgrade it into a regular defence pact. It is high time India acted coy with the US. It should give up its pretence to non-alignment and openly enter into a vastly upgraded defence relationship with Washington. This would not only take care of China but also Pakistan which is still dreaming of bleeding India with a thousand cuts. An Indo-U.S defence pact will be a strategic game-changer unprecedented in the post-cold war era. In any case, the international ecosystem is currently totally arraigned against China. Such a pact will also stop the growth of Han imperialism which has spread its wily tentacles in not only Asia but in Africa and Europe as well.
The world has been in deep slumber as China, starting with Deng Xiaoping, went about systematically spreading the Chinese sphere of influence across the globe through economic and military means. At least now it should wake up before Mandarin replaces English as the language of world communication and the Yuan replaces the US dollar.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 Xi Jinping tells Chinese military to prepare for war. Is it against India, US or Taiwan? – May 27, 2020, India Today
 Chinese Lawmakers to Meet Again in June, May Pass Security Law, Say Reports – Jun 21, 2020, NY Times
 Bihar Regiment: Know Some Key Facts About The Infantry Regiment Colonel B Santosh Babu Belonged To – Jun 18, 2020, Defence Aviation Post
 Agencies probe role of ‘external force’ in Delhi riots – Mar 09, 2020, TOI
 Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti placed under house arrest; Section 144 imposed in Srinagar – Aug 05, 2019, The Hindu
 Pulwama terror attack: Indian Army blames Pakistan Army, ISI for suicide bombing on CRPF – Feb 20, 2019, Indian Express
 IAF Bombarded Terror Factories Deep Inside Pakistan – Feb 26, 2019, PGurus.com
 Abhinandan: Captured Indian pilot handed back by Pakistan – Mar 01, 2019, BBC
 New recruitment rules would help separatists in Kashmir change Jammu demography – Jun 10, 2020, PGurus.com
 Pakistan’s civilian govt still doting on Army but Gen Bajwa knows things have changed – Nov 30, 2019, The Print
 Protests Put Hong Kong on Collision Course With China’s Communist Party – Aug 12, 2019, NY Times
 Indira Gandhi was about to capture PoK after Bangladesh war, reveals CIA – Jan 28, 2017, India.com
 Joint Statement: Vision and Principles for the United States-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership – Feb 25, 2020, White House