Last week, I was surfing channels and suddenly came to a halt at a Hindi news channel. It was showing a typically ‘tamasha’ news on why and how China was preparing to attack India in the near future. The channel asked- “What is the intention of the Chinese government and if China attacks India, will India be able to hold China at bay and defend her territory?” What followed in the next half hour was utterly unbelievable and sheer nonsense. All kinds of old visuals from past Chinese military exercises and movie clips based on Sino-India war of 1962 were repeatedly shown in the background. The voice over was typically jingoistic and keep blabbing about fear of Chinese aggression.
The story kept discussing China’s military might and how well India was positioned to save it from a repeat of 1962. The report reached its incredible zenith when it claimed that there were several underground tunnels below the mountains through which Chinese forces could easily move in and spring a surprise to on Indian defence forces. After going through the ordeal, I tried my best to visualize a repetition of another 1962 but I could not find it even in the distant future.
China is a major economic and military power in Asia as well as in the world. China’s vested interest in Taiwan and in the South China Sea is known to the entire world. China almost started the process of knocking Taiwan out but fortunately because of 2008 Olympics it had to abort the bid. China’s clash with Vietnam is also known to the world and so its resolve to own Spartley islands, politically or forcibly. China is already busy in Xinjiang region trying to calm the Uighur separatist movement and trying its best to hold Tibet. The military intervention in Taiwan is a possibility in any day now and war of words with Vietnam has already started. So China is too busy in other matters which are, for that country, are much more important than engaging India. Secondly, India’s relation with China is improving and the fruit of it is the recognition of Sikkim as an integral part of India, which China was reluctant to accept in the past. The joint military exercise with India which was held last year shows that the Chinese mindset that it doesn’t consider India as its enemy.
Thirdly, India is a big market for Chinese goods and India contributes a significant share in China’s economy. Both India and China complement each other economically as China is a major hardware producer while India produces software which are complementary to each other. Both China and India are global powers and do have considerable influence in Asia. So even if China plans to attack India it has to think about the considerable economic price it has to pay at the cost of its national interest.
Fourthly, India is now a global player and if China attacked India, it has to face the wrath of all developing as well as developed nations. China is already facing criticism about the Tibet issue. Tiananmen Square has already brought in lots of negative publicity and the nature of the Chinese government’s secrecy and closeness is under discussion. So by attacking India, China will be in trouble and India is equally prepared and India will not submit like 1962. Indian Army is the third largest army in the world and is respected worldwide in terms of its operation capabilities. Indian Air Force pilots are some of the best pilots and India does have a Navy which can do considerable damage to any country in Asia. Moreover India is now capable of hitting Beijing and Shanghai with nuclear bombs which is enough to deter China from attacking India.
India and China both share the dream of being super powers in the near future and both know that in the coming years the hegemony of US led power will decline which will create a free space that both India and China will fill. India and China both are aware of each other’s ambitions and aspirations and will never try to be a hindrance to each other. Both China and India need each other for their survival and prosperity. In the age of globalization and mutual economic cooperation, we need not be unnecessarily worried about much hyped military intention of China. India a vibrant democracy with more than 100 crores of people need not be cowed down in fear from its northern neighbour.
[Image courtesy: http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/jan/11spec.jpg]