Updated: Jul 7, 2020
From its very origins the Communist party of China (CCP) has always claimed its an expansionist entity. It occupied Tibet in 1950 and seized 38,000 sq. kms of India in 1962.
As per the World Bank, in 1960, China was poorer than most African countries. Only after America opened her arms, wallet, technology and markets to embrace China in 1979 during the visionary leadership of Deng Xiaoping of the PRC (1978 -1989) did China begin to turn the corner. China's economic rise began when it abandoned much of 'Economic Communism', adopting free market economics to unleash the power of its human capital. (The PRC till date retains total 'Political Communism').
Never before in human history has a nation risen so spectacularly and successfully as the the People's Republic of China (PRC)
With economic prosperity rise the demands for greater political and personal freedom, but this was difficult for the CCP to accept. It hardened its stance from 1989 and became more centralised and began to grow more aggressive internally. With the rise of Xi Jinping, beginning in 2007 the PRC has pressed the pedal to the floor in its drive to become the preeminent economic, political, and military power in the world.
Sino lovers say, that China's rise is a peaceful one, with amity towards all. Well, CCP's actions throughout its existence, show anything but that. CCP leaders have always told lies and cheated every time, not only to the world but to the people of China.
The PRC is a nation without an army. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) swears allegiance only to the CCP and not to the Chinese nation or people. Its main purpose is to protect the CCP and its leaders and to suppress any dissent by the masses against the CCP and to subjugate the economies of all other countries, hook or by crook, mostly crook.
The CCP leadership has in earnest revived its mission to become the sole superpower, with the rest of the world as their vassals, that serve the CCP leaders in the Chinese empire. To their great credit they have analysed, understood and played the global system excellently and are leaving no stone unturned in an attempt to achieve this goal.
First step, Asian hegemony, next, world dominance. So it has stepped up conflicts with all its neighbours. China borders 14 countries, yet it has disputes with and territorial claims over territories of 23 countries.
The Art of War decrees, that leadership is best, which conquers without fighting. The CCP and the PLA act so provocatively and aggressively that most nations, and leaders simply submit without any resistance.
With cunning, and without firing a single shot, the CCP/PLA have got used to the habit of bullying, never passing up an opportunity to grab and seize, knowledge, land, resources, and assets of others.
From its formative stage, Mao had made clear that the China must occupy and rule the Himalayas which they see as a hand. Tibet, being the palm, with Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal, Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh as the 5 fingers.
India's first Prime Minister, Nehru, was a pompous but timid man, with little or no understanding of geo-politics. He simply acquiesced to China gobbling up both Tibet in 1950 and 38,000 sq. kms of strategic and vital Indian territory in 1962. Worse he and his political and military leadership team abdicated from their duties and prime responsibility of protecting India and her people. It was left to the people and the ill equipped soldiers to defend the country.
Nehru had such a powerful influence, on the spineless, clueless leadership of the (now almost defunct) Congress party that for past 60 years years they followed the same timid approach. They allowed China to encroach a further 10,000 sq. kms, of vital Indian territory.
China dishonours and simply bullies. It has been getting away for much too long and used to being offensive without giving others the right of defence or protest.
With a US$10 billion per year propaganda machinery, China has been able to project an image manifold greater than what it really is. Take for example the PLA Navy. It has a significant naval fleet, but in reality, has only 30 vessels that can operate effectively for more than 1000 miles from their naval bases.
China is paper dragon and noisy one at that. However an emboldened PLA leadership carried away by their own chest thumping, shiny weapons, and bullying has been itching for a fight with everyone. They know that they should not be doing this, but bullies can never restrain themselves.
China in a show of strength and its usual bullying, decided to once again shut India up and scare its leaders. It has pushed into Indian territory and tried to occupy territory at 3 strategic locations (see map), deploying overbearing manpower and weaponry, in past few months.
Indian political and military leadership, anticipated China's intentions, but let China believe that as in the past the dignity and land of India could simply be trampled and occupied.
India has decided to confront and contain China. To not only limit but reverse the military and dominating economic, power and influence of China in India.
On 15th June 2020 in the harsh terrain of the Galwan river valley, matters reached a flashpoint, when the Chinese decided to ambush the patrolling Indian soldiers and brutally kill them.
On one side were the large number of intruders, the large number of under-motivated Chinese PLA soldiers, fighting for a cause they had little respect for and no faith in. On the other side were the small group of well led highly trained and motivated Indian soldiers defending both their honour and their land.
The incredibly brave Indian soldiers, ambushed by an overwhelmingly larger number of Chinese soldiers (3 times larger) fought with such ferocity and valour inflicting high casualties on the Chinese, that it shocked and intimidated both the PLA and Chinese leadership.
The Chinese were taken aback by the spirited response of the Indians. If a planned ambush and premeditated attack could be so convincingly foiled, then what sort of awesome adversary were these new breed Indian soldiers and leaders?
So humiliating was the outcome to the Chinese leadership that it has imposed a blanket censorship on all information in the Chinese state controlled press and media.
Perception always lasts longer than fact. The reality has changed, but the perception amongst the Chinese political, military and media leadership is slowly catching up.
China with its bullying ways has provided India a perfect excuse to curb China's stranglehold on Indian manufacturing economy. China has also begun to lose big chunks of its US$ 80 billion annual exports to Indian markets. Military power is based on economic strength. An economically weaker China will be less of a nuisance to the world.
The stakes are very high and the consequences of perceived failure grave. China has to reconsider whether its bullying misadventures are worth the economic and political costs. For the CCP the carefully cultivated image of invincibility is paramount.
A humiliating setback might give others and their own people ideas of opposing the CCP regime and worse even bring it down.
With powerful nations uniting to take on a belligerent and expansionist CCP one should be prepared for dramatic changes in China's political landscape and leadership. Maybe even a collapse of the CCP.
The ball is in China's court. Unfortunately China has boxed itself into a tight corner. To fight and most likely lose is to face humiliation, to withdraw is to face greater humiliation.
A wounded animal is more dangerous than a healthy one. India should give China a face saving as they did last year after the 2017 Doklam standoff but not before extracting lasting strategic political, economical and military mileage. Only then the dragon be allowed to return to its lair with its dignity intact.
China will dishonour all agreements in due course of time, but as for now, this will be the only way, peace can return to the Himalayas.