LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Sir,

The article on China’s Three Warfares Strategy appears a one sided narration. All that is enunciated about China’s capabilities and war fighting methodology is true but I don’t see such a scenario of one sided superiority ever fructifying. Besides India, China has too many and capable hostile nations in the neighborhood as also at far away distances. South China Sea, Senkaku Island, Nine Dash line are just to name a few which would preclude any full blast military misadventure by China against India. We need to increase vulnerabilities of China manifold, both in the air and over the oceans. Through diplomacy, we need to shape world opinion, beyond the capability of China to manage. —Col Ramchandra Singh

Dear Sir,

A rejoinder to Shashi Tharoor praising MEA for solving Doklam Stand Off There is no triumph of diplomacy as the MEA is trying to project or Sashi Tharoor is trying to compliment the efforts of the MEA staff. The real thing to recognise is that the PM and the PMO stood firm against the provocations of the Chinese press or the PLA as both tried to browbeat India. Frankly it was an unprecedented stand of PM Modi and the decision to allow the security forces to ensure that China did not attempt any foolhardy military move whereby the largest armed forces in the world locked horn with the second largest armed forces. As far as one can observe, the PLA may have acted on its own without the sanction of Xi, both at Doklam and in Ladakh. I sometime wonder if Xi even knew where Doklam was or what did it involve vis-a-vis Bhutan. PLA, it seems, does not understand what it means to upset China’s over a hundred-billiondollar trade with India including in the energy sector in which 20 Chinese companies are involved. China knows what happened in 1967, in the same area when massive casualties occurred on the Chinese side. Chinese have only 1962 to be show cased without what they suffered in the hands of the Indian Army in 1967. If the standoff is over, it is because of the realistic assessment of Indian Army capabilities and possible loss of face of Chinese military power. China after Doklam episode has become fully aware that she has to deal with India which has evolved a very different political leadership and the role of both the diplomacy and diplomats have been reduced to increase communication, keep them open to inform the Chinese of India’s political resolve, project military power as needed and make the Chinese aware of the international embarrassment that they would have to suffer if military brinkmanship is continued. I have always maintained ever since 2013, when Xi unveiled the OBOR concept globally and started supporting Pakistan through CPEC, that both the strategies as non-viable. China’s efforts to use economic power to support the political ambition to become a superpower and hence establish the long term dream of establishing the Middle Kingdom is flawed to the core. A centralised single party dictatorial regime which lacks the incorporation of political liberalisation can hardly sustain a superpower status even if it achieves numerically based on comparative military balances. India is far ahead of China in terms of democratic checks and balances that have been incorporated in the Indian political system. China is yet to undergo political liberalisation to become commercially viable as a super power. Xi is fully aware of China’s shortcomings. Having stated the above, there are four observations to offer: 1. Xi still does not have complete control over the PLA. 2. There is a possibility that new pinpricks may occur across the international border with China coinciding with Modi’s visit to China between 3-7 September 2017. This will prove point 1 above. If it does not, then Xi has consolidated control over PLA. 3. If Pakistan does not behave and continues to support terrorism then a series of coordinated surgical strikes across the India-Pakistan border to neutralise the terrorist camps before the onset of winter may have to be undertaken by India to eradicate/completely neutralise the terrorist camps in Pakistan. This may be seen as limited war against Pakistan. 4. The PLA and not the Xi government may like to pre-empt Indian action in Kashmir against Pakistan by limited incursion/pinpricks on India China border. Xi will then have the perfect reason to start the long drawn process of clipping the wings of the PLA which has been a pain in China’s political hierarchy—unspoken and unwritten for a long time.

—Prof Gautam Sen, Pune

Dear Sir,

For some compulsive doubters, it will be a matter of sacrilege to laud the government for firm handling of a challenging situation. It has become their nature to distrust the government on every issue. It is their obsession to look for blemishes where none exists and thereby spread negativity. How can this government do anything right? I have read the replies given by the Chinese spokesperson three times. It is as clear as it can be that the Chinese statements are couched in a language that provides them a face saver after belligerent threats. He has repeatedly said that China has made adjustments on ground, a euphemism for pull-back of troops and machinery. How could China publicly accept that it was forced to agree to mutual withdrawal after all those threatening sounds? Whatever be the questions put to him, he is repeating the same sentences, couched in diplomatic language without deviation. Did the spokesperson say that the Chinese continue to stay in their previous positions? No. Did he say that the road construction machinery remains ready to restart road construction? No. The whole issue had flared up only because the Chinese tried to construct a road and India opposed it. If that has been stalled/aborted, what are we unhappy about? As regards patrolling, it has been going on for decades. It appears that Indian sceptics want a public apology from the Chinese President and an affidavit not to attempt such things in future. Even then, many ‘Not in My Name’ activists and ‘Intolerance Brigade’ enthusiasts will find some reason to disbelieve him. They revel in gloom and see black all around. One is reminded of an old Mohd. Rafi song in film Barsaat— “Main zindagi mein har dam rota hi raha hun….” Let us have faith in our government and India’s future.

—Maj Gen Mrinal Suman

Dear Sir,
I immensely enjoyed reading Maj Chandrakant Singh’s article ‘Tibet Abandoned and the Lessons of Nathu La’, published in the June-July 2017 issue of SALUTE Magazine. He writes with authority and conviction and I agree with much of what he has stated but he has been unkind to Mr Nehru. Tibet was not a part of India so the idea that Nehru “ceded it to China” is a misplaced indictment which is heaped on Mr Nehru, often. Mr Nehru did not condone the PRC’s usurpation of Tibet ever but stated the de facto situation with concern and alarm. And that too, for the record in 1954. But, the Dalai Lama’s most powerful plea to the UN Secretary General as early as 1950 for appropriate intervention to check PRC’s aggression, fell on deaf ears.

Maj Chandrakant Singh has however given fascinating insights about Sikkim. Princesses Pema Tseuden & Choki’s (Kula) father Sir Trashi Namgyal became the King when his elder brother, the King Sidkeong Truluku passed away suddenly and rather young. He had had his schooling at Harrow and was a most enlightened human being.Fortunately for Sikkim, his half brother, Sir Namgyal was also an extraordinary human being; gentle, philosophical and very talented. He was an extraordinary, self taught artist and his canvasses of mists and mountains were obviously of such merit that he was invited to exhibit them in Paris. His elder son, Paljore Namgyal had his schooling at Bishop Cotton School, Simla, was Captain of the Soccer Team etc. In 1940 he attended the ICS Probationer’s Course at Dehradun with an eye on his future role as The Chogyal but he opted to join the RIAF for war service. He completed training at the RIAF School at Lahore, got his Wings but a year later, on landing at Peshawar airstrip, the aircraft caught fire and he perished. I could go on & on but must stop! Both Princesses were outstanding in school, attaining distinction in every subject in the Senior Cambridge examination. Kula went on to head the first school for girls started in Gangtok.

India’s Counsel at Kashgarh was established around 1895 and had nothing to do with affairs of Tibet. The last Counsel, Eric Shipton had set out from Srinagar in early 1947 on his six week journey over the Karakoram Pass to reach Kashgarh and by the time he reached there, had no idea that India had gained independence! Incidentally, Youghusband had first attempted to coerce the Tibetan in 1903 with two battalion force, via North Sikkim, crossing from Sase La (about 40 km due South of Khamba Dzong) with the idea of laying siege to Khamba Dzong and bring the Tibetans to the negotiating table. But a la Napoleon at Moscow, the Tibetans simply ignored his presence & he withdrew. Now in 1904, the mission was increased to four Battalions (32, 34 Punjab Pioneers, 2/8 GR & Royal Linconshire), MMG contingent and 4 Mountain Artillery Guns etc. The casualties suffered by our detachments in 1954 were as a result of a cloud burst and flash flood by night and if memory serves me right, our Post at Gartok had faced the brunt. So no cause for Nehru bashing!

—Lt Gen Baljit Singh

Dear Sir,

The fundamental is our acquisition process for the armed forces and Int agencies has been paralyzed after the allegations over Bofors, which VP Singh and Devi Lal also said was a poor quality gun (Is it?). We have no choice but to modernise and give the armed forces whatever they want ASAP. Any money spent is worth it to a) Deter a war, and b) Win it if imposed.

—Gulshan Luthra

Dear Sir,

At present, stakes are going to be too heavy for China to embark on a mission to escalate tension on the border and wage a war.The whole world is going to treat them as aggressor because there is no support at present for their viewpoint. Secondly China is enjoying the Indian market to further its economic growth in a big way. The trade deficit between two countries is enormous. China will not like to throw away that advantage to US and European countries who are itching too get the market share from Indian market. Thirdly, India will definitely shun Chinese goods thereafter and burn the ones which can be burnt.They have ruined our domestic industry over a period of last 20 years. It is felt that the present stand off will remain rhetoric only.

—Col Pamal Kumar Popli

Dear Sir,

The change in the national discourse in the country has undergone a perceivable change lately. The fact that the J&K boil is gradually inching towards its logical conclusion as also the results of the firm stand at Doka La showing that the dragon is no longer a dreaded monster have instilled a sense of pride nationwide. The icing on the cake is provided by the upsurge in the economy.

—Brig Raj Sharma

Dear Sir,

At present, stakes are going to be too heavy for China to embark on a mission to escalate tension on the border and wage a war.The whole world is going to treat them as aggressor because there is no support at present for their viewpoint. Secondly China is enjoying the Indian market to further its economic growth in a big way. The trade deficit between two countries is enormous. China will not like to throw away that advantage to US and European countries who are itching too get the market share from Indian market. Thirdly, India will definitely shun Chinese goods thereafter and burn the ones which can be burnt.They have ruined our domestic industry over a period of last 20 years. It is felt that the present stand off will remain rhetoric only.

—Col Pamal Kumar Popli

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