Dumb charades or Chinese whispers

Japan-IndiaThe Indian Prime Minister has recently concluded a visit to Japan. This has created some insecurity that China ‘hopes the ties will bring peace to the region.’ In the same breath it talks of Japan trying to encircle it when it reaches out to India.  It is medieval strategy when the PLA has intruded into Ladhak and camped 19 kilometres into Indian Territory, just prior to the Chinese PM’s visit to India.

Similar ‘encirclement’ has been experienced by India with China trying to woo Sri Lanka, Burma and strengthen ties with Pakistan. The encirclement race only heightens the ‘fears’ and spikes up defence budgets.

China’s mortal fears of Japan are rooted in history.  The entire eastern region of China was under Japanese occupation for some 25 years. A whole generation would have grown up in this environment. The rape of Nanjing is a chronicled event in history not easy to forget.  In the last two centuries the wars in China have had brutal effects.  Historically everybody has had a war with China directly or indirectly: Japan, Russia, France, the US; to gain access to its labour and resources. It has fought with Vietnam (when it was a surrogate of Russian influence) and with India (backed by the US).

It keeps an offensive – defensive posture with its interests in the cross straits region (Taiwan).  It is adamant about the regions it claims to be Chinese territory. The accession of Hong Kong into the main land is the first one of the territories claim that has transited in a civilised manner and a glorious achievement for them.

All its other endeavours have met with a military snub. China wants to keep the foreigners at bay. There are economic reasons too behind its conflict.

The reality is that there is a deep sense of distrust which needs understanding and not exploitation both by China and its neighbours.  China has to change its perspectives from a post colonial and post cold war era. Its understanding of India is unfortunately marred by the 1962 conflict. The conflict has added to the insecurity of both countries. India too has had an invasion filled history that does little to allay fears of conflict. There are economic factors that need consideration when it comes to conflict and insecurity.

China will figure in the top 5 trading partners of any developed country. In almost all cases the balance of trade is in its favour. It has an umbilical cord-jugular vein relationship with its trading partners. They are able to influence economies of several countries.

The recent intrusion into India has put New Delhi on a defence spending spree. The US and Russia are the shopping baskets for India’s arms.  This makes economic sense to these countries and so many others in the trade. They thrive on conflict. So China and Pakistan both contribute to spending by India and filling up the coffers of the arms manufacturers.

China also buys arms and both these countries are the biggest importers in the world.

Therefore conflict makes economic sense.  The beneficiaries are the manufacturers and the ruling elite of India and China.

The world has little idea about the difficulties of soldiering on the roofs of the world. It is rarefied atmosphere. A year’s tenure can shorten your life span by almost 5 years. Most of the region is sparse, no vegetation, no flora fauna and human beings.  No natural resources like oil or coal or diamonds worth fighting about.

My question is will Canada plonk troops deep into US territory or vice versa?

Why India and China?


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