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Dragon’s strategic myopia

China has opened too many geopolitical fronts—military aggression, Hong Kong, coronavirus, etc. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Ladakh conveyed unprecedented strategic resolve. The message to China: India will not back down. The message to the world: China can be stood up to.




Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Sino-Indian military pause is part of a geostrategic continuum. Some experts opine that India is cornered. They are as myopic as the PRC planners. Bottom line: It has been China’s choice to come in uninvited. It is India’s choice to let it go back.

As per Yun Sun, a Chinese scholar in Stimson Centre, “If a strategic friendship with India is untenable, it frees up room for tactical gains.” It explains the Chinese aggression. It is a politicallymotivated, expansionist tactical land grab, adopting a strategy of “Belligerent War Avoidance”. It needs a matching political response. Surprisingly, some feel that if we cannot evict the Chinese militarily from Finger 4 and restore status quo ante, we have lost it. The issues are larger. We will just see who is in a corner.

Two-Front Situation

India has thwarted China twice. Unchecked incursion at Naku La and Galwan could have resulted in our troops in the Giagong Plateau or the DSDBO road being cut off, respectively. If any of these attempts were successful it would have been a disaster. If the ambush at Galwan had been successful and had the Chinese suffered less casualties, China would have declared victory all the way back to the Middle Kingdom and would have painted the town red of having taught India a lesson. Finito. Full credit to our boys for giving China a bloody nose. China has been able to come up to Finger 4 in the Pangong Tso area and firm in due to a relatively better approach to the Fingers Area. The core issue is how to get China to restore the status quo ante. For that talks are on at appropriate levels and some disengagement has commenced. Besides this, both armies have mobilised and are battle ready. Notwithstanding, after their Galwan debacle, big talk and threats have disappeared from that comic strip called Global Times. Enhanced posturing has gravitated forces towards the Chinese rear door. If India fixes considerable Chinese resources here, they will not be available elsewhere. In the South China Sea, China is carrying out a major naval exercise which portends an island grab. The US is also carrying out an exercise in the area with two carrier strike forces to foreclose that option. Mutatis mutandis poses a direct threat to Chinese mainland also. Additionally, the US has redeployed forces from Europe into this area. The PLA’s force gravitation would have taken place towards the East Coast also. If anything goes wrong. The PLA could be short on ground forces. As per Yun Sun, “China has always been careful to avoid a two-front confrontation with America in the east and India in the west.” Not this time. Careless or myopic? Overall PLA is stretched in a tinder box situation. If a shooting match starts at either end, China is in a bigger pickle.

Geostrategic Issues

Geopolitical Isolation: China has opened too many geopolitical fronts — military aggression, Hong Kong, virus, etc. Our Prime Minister’s visit to Ladakh conveyed unprecedented strategic resolve. The message to China: India will not back down. The message to the world: China can be stood up to. In Ladakh, the Indian armed forces hold a clear edge for multiple reasons. China will get a rude shock if it attempts to force the issue. India is not in a state of adverse asymmetry with China. Read the Harvard Belfer Centre report. The current India-US posturing emboldens smaller nations to face China squarely. The UK is upset over the Hong Kong security law and seeks more hands to handle China. Taiwan has been actively cocking a snook at China. Australia has increased its defence budget by 40% for the next 10 years. France has pledged steadfast support to India. Germany and the US have blocked Chinese antiIndia moves at UNSC. A dissipating five eyes Intelligence is back together. The Quad is taking better shape. Vietnam and the Philippines are protesting Chinese activity in the South China Sea. Balance of ASEAN, Japan and South Korea are also pushing back. Even Cambodia, one of China’s major beneficiaries, is not toeing the line. Lo and behold! Its iron brother seems to be rusting. A recent view in Dawn is curious. “It would be naive to think that Islamabad and Beijing are not exchanging notes on what’s unfolding in Eastern Ladakh. Yet, it would be equally simplistic to think that there is about to be a pincer movement by the two against India. China has its own reasons for doing what it has embarked upon, and that policy does not include any free lunches or simplistic scenarios”. China is isolated and the world is uniting against its bullying as per New York Post. I agree with it.

Digital Strike: The fallout of India banning 59 Chinese apps citing security and sovereignty issues is going to be widespread. It circumvents WTO and GATT regulations. China talks of legally protecting its interests. Whom will it appeal to? International Court of Justice? Ah ha! Laughable. In addition, Huawei and ZTE will be eventually squeezed out from India, US, and UK. Chinese military aggression legally empowers other countries to follow India’s lead. Tik Tok alone represents a $6 billion loss. That will widen irreversibly. Chinese firms are being excluded from contracts in Telecom and Infrastructure sectors in India. Many Chinese firms are being delisted from US stock markets. Market reputations count and valuations will be hit severely. Incidentally, the balance of trade used to be around $60bn in China’s favour. I read a report that it is down to $44 billion. If India picks up the slack on offer in the digital world China’s pole position is under threat. It is an Indian opportunity to exploit. It also opens a case to firewall China out of the digital world on a reciprocal basis. The cost of the land grab in Pangong Tso will keep increasing as time goes by. The digital isolation is severe and is beyond normal understanding.

 Economic Slide: Examine any Chinese economic index. It is going southwards. Imports are down. Exports are down. Consumption is weak. BRI is in deep trouble. Military expenditure on two fronts will spike. Jobs are scarce. If bloggers and gamers are considered as ‘employed’ in China, the situation is bad. The digital strike has wider economic ramifications. The Virus is dampening the economy and will not allow revival beyond a point. The theory that “while we are weak, others are weaker” will hold up to a point. As the current situation and the virus persist, decoupling will move faster. There is an opinion that disengaging from the noxious elements of the Chinese economy isn’t a divorce, it’s a de-worming. The law of diminishing returns will set in soon. The famed and flaunted comprehensive national power of China is eroding. An aging China will hasten the erosion.

Lebensraum & Nazism: Communist China, first usurped East Turkestan, Tibet, and Aksai Chin militarily and made a deal illegally with Pakistan for the Shaksgam Valley. Later they coerced Central Asian Republics into parting with territory when settling borders. Now they are again looking at Indian territory from a convoluted perspective. It is a precursor to slicing territory off Nepal, Bhutan, and Russia. The claim on Vladivostok has clearly rattled Russian neutrality. China claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea and disputes with all maritime neighbours. Debt trap diplomacy supports expansionism through BRI and CPEC. Hambantota in the pocket, Pakistan is the next target. Hitler’s lebensraum pales in comparison. Examine the sociological pairings. Middle kingdom and Aryan supremacy. Century of Humiliation and Versailles Treaty. Nazi and Uighur concentration camps. In some ways the Galwan Valley intrusion is akin to the Ardennes Offensive. Xi Jinping and Hitler. Desire to create the greatest military on earth and orchestrate operations. Public exhortation to prepare for war under garb of “peaceful rise”. If China is not checked now, a scourge will rule. India has provided a bridgehead to stem it. Will the world leaders heed the message and act? Or. Will they be Chamberlains at Potsdam to allow the reincarnation of Hitler?

Century of Self-Humiliation: Much is made that Chinese seek revenge on the “Century of Humiliation”. However what is hidden is the post imperial “Century of Communist Engineered Self Humiliation”. It encompasses two man-made famines, Civil War (the Long March), the failed Great Leap, Expansionism, the Purges and disastrous wars with Japan, Russia and Vietnam. Do not forget the disastrous “one child policy” which will hasten an aging China into decline. The Communist Party has distorted history and peddled it. We believed it. Chinese strategic thinking is insidious. We fell for it.

Strategic Myopia

 The Chinese are strategically myopic. It is now clear that too many tactical objectives were attempted through miscalculation without thinking through strategic ramifications or having a fall back option. PLA has failed in Ladakh in achieving its primary objectives. Indian infrastructure is intact, and its development is going to be trebled. All their enforcement actions are having opposite effects. India by itself has a bouquet of options to handle China. These are unfolding. The disastrous Galwan ambush and its handling have made India the underdog and everyone is rooting for it. World opinion, trust, and image matters to China. That is on India’s side. Any military confrontation with India runs the risk of driving the Indo US relationship closer. That has happened. Beyond that India and the US have discovered a strategic partnership paradigm where China can be forced into an adverse two front worst case option. Very importantly, China has managed to shred the One China Policy. Where are my bifocals? The Chinese are now caught in a situation. After Galwan, they cannot risk another setback. They cannot declare victory and go back after the hidden losses. After the PM’s talk, the area between Finger 4 and 8 is a mirage. Till they continue to sit there it will continue to fuel Indian and international antagonism to check the Chinese. If they continue to sit there past August, the elements will get them. Very importantly, this generation of Indians will always consider China as its enemy. They are not prepared for all this by any stretch of imagination. China might soon realize that Nations do not run on conflict and nationalism alone. Either democracy or economic prosperity must go with it. If one goes out, the other comes in. Need to get my long-term vision checked. Any Chinese ophthalmologist around?

Strategic Gains

Where does it leave India? Having stood up to China, international opinion has gravitated to our side despite some Chinese acolytes and disbelievers. The armed forces will stand resolute. That confidence and message is quite clear. Has China miscalculated the rise of India? That is what South China Morning Post thinks! Are we seeing the emergence of India as a new global power? That is what Dawn thinks! This event has probably paved the way for a seat on the UN high table. However we still need to focus on seeing the Chinese off properly. A process is underway. Let us have the strategic patience to go through the long haul. Till then do not trust the Chinese. Shoot first and talk later. In the meanwhile we must capitalise on the strategic opportunities which have opened. “Aatmanirbharta“, Decoupling and Distancing from China, Strategic Independence and Digital Leadership need to be converted into practical programmes and outcomes. That is also a long haul. That will be our victory.

 From little acorns grow mighty oaks.

Let us thank our boys at Galwan who stood fast and resolute in the face of odds,

 They have made it possible for India to hold its head high

 In the pantheon of things theirs might be a small tactical action

 It is that little acorn from which a mighty India will grow.

Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on his blog www. gunnersshot.com.

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o commemorate the 23 years of victory over Pakistan in the Kargil War of 1999, the Indian Army on Monday organised a motorcycle expedition from New Delhi to the Kargil War Memorial at Dras (Ladakh).

The 30-member rally was flagged off by Lt Gen B S Raju, the Vice Chief of Army Staff from the National War Memorial, New Delhi on Monday.

Over the next six days, the team of 30 serving personnel who have embarked on this expedition will endeavour to replicate the indomitable spirit of the Kargil brave-hearts by rekindling the spirit of fortitude, courage and adventure synonymous with the Indian Army, said the Ministry of Defence.

The bike rally would pass through Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh before culminating the expedition at the Kargil War Memorial, Dras on 26 July 2022.

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Two Army officers were killed in an accidental grenade blast along the Line of Control in the Mendhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch, the Defence Public Relations Office said on Monday. During the treatment, one army officer and one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) succumbed to their injuries.

JCO Sub Bhagwan Singh

Captain Anand

“Last night, an accidental grenade blast occurred in Mendhar Sector, Dist Poonch, when troops were performing their duties along the Line of Control. The blast resulted in injuries to soldiers.

During the treatment, one officer and one JCO succumbed to their injuries, “said PRO Defence Jammu.

According to the Defence PRO, the blast occurred along the Line of Control (LOC) on Sunday night, when the army troops were performing their duties, thus injuring them. All the injured soldiers were immediately evacuated to Udhampur via helicopter.

As per the reports, one officer and one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) succumbed to the injuries.

The Indian Army expressed grief over the death of two officers.

The Indian Army tweeted, “General officer commanding (GOC) @Whiteknight_IA and all Ranks salute brave hearts Capt Anand and Nb Sub Bhagwan Singh who made the supreme sacrifice while performing their duties on the LoC in Mendhar Sector. We offer deepest condolences to their family members.”

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Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Sunday said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to induct Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and Light Combat Aircraft MK-1A and MK-2 along with the 114 multirole fighters. This will be done to bolster India’s combat capabilities through indigenisation under “Make-in-India” in the future.

The IAF chief said that the move will not only “strengthen the Air Force” but also bring a “huge boost” to the Indian aviation industry as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative of the Narendra Modi government. “On the aircraft front, we are looking ahead for the AMCA and the LCA MK-1A and also the LCA MK-2 a few years from now. The case for 114 MRFA is also progressing well. With this, it will not only strengthen the Air Force but also bring a huge boost to the Indian aviation industry,” ANI quoted the Air Chief Marshal as saying.

“We have already committed for seven squadrons of AMCA. The numbers for the LCA MK-2, we will take a call as and when the first production model comes out and we start inducting the aircraft into the air force and we can always increase the quantity based on its performance and rate of induction,” he added while speaking about the number of units of the aircraft that the IAF is planning to induct.

When asked about the timeline of the induction of the S-400 air defence system from Russia into the forces, he said that it will be done as per the schedule adding that all deliveries should be completed by the end of next year. “The induction program of S-400 is going as per the schedule. The first firing unit has been inducted and deployed. The second unit is also in the process of getting inducted. Delivery schedules are on time, hopeful that by the end of next year all deliveries will be completed,” Chaudhari said.

“The threat of multiple fronts always exists. The capabilities of the air force in handling two fronts at a time will necessarily have to keep getting bolstered by the induction of various platforms. On the ground, we will need more radars, and additional SAGW systems and all of these are going to come from indigenous sources, for which the action is already at hand,” he added.

The IAF chief further said that the forces are fully in sync with the Centre’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat push which has resulted in the “quick induction” of platforms such as the light-combat helicopter and aircraft and radar systems.

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Ajay Jandyal



The Indian Army on Sunday inducted radars to trace survivors under the debris which was laid after a cloudburst struck the area near the holy shrine of Amarnath on Friday.“Xaver 4000 radar has been inducted and has been operational at Amarnath since late noon for finding any survivors under the debris,” said Indian Army officials. Earlier, Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha on Sunday visited a base camp in Pahalgam and met pilgrims.“The security personnel and administration have carried out an efficient rescue operation. We pay condolences to those who lost their lives. Efforts are underway to resume the Yatra along with repairing the path. Pilgrims should come, we will provide them with all facilities,” Sinha assured.

Rescue operations underway at cloudburst-affected areas of Amarnath, on Sunday. ANI

The Amarnath yatra was temporarily suspended on Friday, till further notice. 

However, the pilgrims have been waiting at the Baltal Base camp for it to recommence.As many as 35 pilgrims were discharged following treatment, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) Officials informed on Saturday.“35 pilgrims have been discharged following treatment. 17 people are getting the treatment and are likely to get discharged tonight. All safe and healthy,” said SASB Officials.The critically injured patients were airlifted to Srinagar.“Critically injured people were airlifted to Srinagar. 2 people who were buried but were alive were rescued. We’re taking all precautionary steps. 41 missing as per Jammu and Kashmir police out of which some were rescued. Yatra may resume within a day or two,” said Kuldiep Singh, DG, CRPF.As per the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) data on Saturday, at least 16 people have died in the cloud burst incident near the holy shrine of Amarnath.Meanwhile, four Mi-17V5 and four Cheetal helicopters of the Indian Air Force were deployed for rescue and relief efforts at the Amarnath shrine on Saturday.The Cheetal helicopters flew 45 sorties, carrying five NDRF and Army personnel and 3.5 tonnes of relief material while evacuating 45 survivors from the holy cave.Earlier the officials on Saturday informed that the LG chaired a high-level meeting to review the ongoing rescue and relief operations at Amarnath cave.Meanwhile, the Indian Army informed that they have pulled up “critical rescue equipment” to speed up the rescue operations in the affected areas.“Indian Army pulls up critical rescue equipment to speed up the process of rescue operations and route maintenance in view of recent cloudburst of Amarnath in which 16 people lost their lives while several are assumed missing,” said the Indian Army.

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Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina on Monday said the most wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Talib Hussain who was apprehended from Reasi district is neither an “active member of the BJP nor a primary member”.

 Speaking to ANI, Raina said, “Hussain is neither an active member of the BJP nor a primary member. There was a letter circular, on the basis of which it is believed that Sheikh Bashir, who is the President of BJP Minority Front of Jammu and Kashmir had appointed Hussain on 9 May.” He termed the reports fake which claimed that one of the two most-wanted LeT terrorists, who were overpowered by locals and handed over to the police, was in charge of the party’s IT cell.

 The BJP leader further said after that Hussain had circulated a letter himself and resigned from the membership of the party on 18 May. “A couple of years ago, Hussain along with with his three colleagues used to come to the BJP office as a media person. He had also interviewed me many times, he used to call himself a reporter for a YouTube channel named ‘New Sehar India’,” Raina said.

 “As a journalist, Hussain clicked photos with us many times in the BJP office. Pakistan terror outfit wanted to target the head office of the BJP of Jammu and Kashmir. It has been done through the targeted medium and carried out such incidents,” he said. “It is too soon to say more on this matter as the investigation is going on. Not only the BJP, but all the offices of other political parties need to be more alert now,” Raina added.

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Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri and Kadmatt, under the Command of Rear Admiral Sanjay Bhalla, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, visited Singapore from 1 to 3 July as part of the deployment to South East Asia. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Indian Navy personnel engaged in social and informal exchanges as part of a cross-visit to improve mutual cooperation. The visit was aimed at consolidating ties and enhancing mutual understanding.The visit of Indian ships helped enhance maritime co-operation and bolster India’s strong bonds of friendship with Singapore that would further contribute towards security and stability in the region. The ships’ visit coincided with Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day on 1 July. “Indian Navy’s South East Asia deployment INS Sahyadri and INS Kadmatt under Command of Rear Admiral Sanjay Bhalla, FOCEF in Singapore from 1 to 3 July. Professional and social interactions with Singapore Navy to enhance mutual cooperation and understanding and consolidate interoperability” read a tweet shared by the Indian Navy. It added, “Coinciding with Singapore Armed Forces SAF Day, 01 Jul 22, the ships’ visit strengthens maritime cooperation, bolstering India-Singapore bonds of friendship – contributing towards security and stability in the region.”

INS Sahyadri is an indigenously built multi-role stealth Frigate and INS Kadmatt is an indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Corvette. The Indo-Pacific vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based region as articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in 2018 is the driving force behind India’s engagement in the region continued to be directed by the Indo-Pacific vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based region as articulated by PM Modi at Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in 2018.In 2021, Singapore Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen participated in the inaugural India Ocean Region Defence Ministers’ Conclave (DMC), wherein he conveyed Singapore’s support to India’s leadership to foster a rules-based maritime order in the Indian Ocean region. This was followed by the annual Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX), conducted by Singapore Navy and Indian Navy. The exercise involved a virtual planning phase followed by a ‘contactless’ sea phase in the southern reaches of the South China Sea within international waters.During the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore’s position as a logistic hub enabled both the public and private sector to source emergency relief supplies such as oxygen- tanks, cylinders, concentrators, ventilators etc. from Singapore to India.

26 Indian Air Force sorties and four Indian Navy Ships transported substantial quantities of these items from Singapore to India till the end of June 2021.

This was followed by the 5th India-Singapore Defence Minister’s dialogue, which was held via virtual conference on 20 January 2021. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh discussed furthering cooperation and engagement with Singapore’s Defence Minister.

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