China is following a well-calibrated sinister design to occupy areas in Doka La. This devious stratagem is being followed by China in all the areas being illegally claimed by it in its periphery with the intention of establishing its hegemony.
By SD Pradhan
China is following a well-calibrated sinister design to occupy areas in Doka La. This devious stratagem is being followed by China in all the areas being illegally claimed by it in its periphery with the intention of establishing its hegemony. The present Chinese move has serious security implications for India as the real intention is to the tri-junction southwards by several kilometres.
The Chinese expansionist strategy is based on Sun Tzu’s two concepts. First, that ‘all warfare is based on deception’ and second that ‘the height of strategy is not to subdue the enemy in battle, but to subdue him without fighting at all’. In the context of the second, he said that ‘supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.’ He focuses on the pre-war period as a principle realm for strategy.
This pre-war period requires crafty manipulation of friends and enemies with the objective of destroying the will of the enemy to challenge. Drawing from Sun Tzu’s concepts, China pays particular attention to deceitful and duplicitous propaganda coupled with coercive diplomacy to achieve its imperialistic objectives in its periphery.
Since 2002, China began paying more attention to evolve an aggressive policy to achieve its objectives in the periphery noticing that there was a global shift in balance of power from West to East that was in its favour. It was able to redeploy its forces that were in the north aimed against Russia and its defence budget had rapidly increased providing it with muscles for coercive actions.
As a first step, it fine-tuned its propaganda campaign. Hu Jintao came up with the concept of ‘China’s peaceful rise’ to camouflage its activities. This was later changed to ‘China’s economic development’ realising the term was sending negative signals.
Internally, the Chinese leadership realised that its objectives meant a kind of war with neighbours and therefore propaganda and coercive diplomacy should be systematised, aimed at subduing ‘adversaries’.
The Chinese Central Military Commission in 2003 came up with the concept of ‘three warfares’. The first is ‘Psychological Warfare’ that seeks to influence and/or disrupt an opponent’s decision-making capability, to create doubts, foment anti-leadership sentiments, to deceive opponents and to attempt to diminish the will to fight among opponents.
The second is ‘Media Warfare’ (also known as public opinion warfare) – ‘a constant, on-going activity aimed at long-term influence of perceptions and attitudes’. Media Warfare aims to preserve friendly morale, generate public support at home and abroad, weaken an enemy’s will to fight and alter an enemy’s situational assessment.
Third is Legal Warfare (or ‘lawfare’) that is aimed at exploiting the legal system to achieve political or commercial objectives. It has a prominent role in the warfare trilogy. Lawfare has a range of applications. They range from conjuring law to inform claims to territory and resources, to employing bogus maps to ‘justify’ claims.
This strategy is used against India and other neighbouring countries to lay claim over areas which belong to other countries. As a part of this sinister move, China formed a Committee of 13 agencies/departments in February 2012 to fabricate evidence and publicise its claims over the most area in its periphery. After it made recommendations, China, in its new biometric passports, projected all the areas in its periphery which it was claiming as parts of China that included Indian territory.
Simultaneously, China began to encroach on Indian territory. Its patrols began to destroy our bunkers and often wrote in our areas that the territory belonged to China. The areas in Ladakh and Doka La received sharper attention due to their strategic significance. It also began to use its economic might to obtain support for its objectives.
Against India, it began to develop closer ties with neighbouring countries through its policy of a ‘string of pearls’. That the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor has strategic objective is well known. In the Indian Ocean, it has plans to establish its dominance replacing India. The ‘one belt –one road’ is also aimed at enhancing its sphere of influence around India.
In the current case, China is providing a highly distorted version to project that India and Bhutan are violators of a well agreed 1890 Convention. In this context, two important points have been brought by Claude Arpi, an expert on Tibet and China affairs.
First is that that Tibet and Sikkim were not consulted by the two imperial powers. Tibet then was an independent country for all practical purposes. And second, that according to the Sikkimese records, the Gipmochi is in Batang La which is India’s perception of tri-junction.
The Chinese actions demand an effective counter propaganda taking in account all the three dimensions to expose the Chinese duplicity and deceit and its unreasonable acts. It must be recognised that the Chinese demands of the areas in its periphery are a part of larger plan for Chinese expansion. A coordinated approach by all effected countries is called for.
Times of India, July 10, 2017