Learning his lessons from the way he handled Pakistan and the responses he received for various types of overtures, Narendra Modi choose to play hard game with China. So, devised are the plans involving Mongolia and Vietnam. When the Chinese cared for nothing, Modi played the ace, by allowing another visit by Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh.
Tawang is one of the crucial monasteries in the spiritual realm controlled by the Tibetan monastery. As Dalai Lama would be picking up his successor, from where he would pick is a point of concern for China. The visit irritated China so much so that it forced the spokesmen of China to bare their concealed fangs. When Kiren Rijiju contended, China is disrespecting by interfering in India’s internal affairs, even this was contended by them saying Tawang is part of Tibet, which is integral to China and so remains a disputed territory. This claim is against the official agreement India and China had in 2005, to keep heavily populated areas that are currently under the administration of both governments away from any further dispute. By being a heavily populated area, Tawang is thus a territory that cannot be treated as a disputed territory. So, the final threat from the Chinese media came in the form of saying that China may interfere in the Kashmir issue!
This offer for mediation was even provided by the US administration in the last few days that was firmly rejected by India but welcomed whole heartedly by Pakistan. Of course, China knows the limitations of Dalai Lama visit as it would only be used as an image issue without any disadvantages in practical sense. So, along with the threats to India over Dalai Lama issue are the analyses damning India’s reluctance to join the OBOR and CPEC. One of analysts had gone so far to say that India would be embarrassed during the proposed Belt-Road Summit.
However, what China cannot explain is one of the proposed roads go right through India to Pakistan, via Myanmar and Bangladesh. Though China wanted to renovate and put in to use the age old Ledo road (a proposal it made in 2013 itself), India had not shown much interest in its revival, lest it would open gates to infiltrators from the east jeopardising the already much disturbed North-East. Significant point here is only about sixty kilometres of this road is in Indian Territory, while more than a thousand kilometres passes through intermediate nations. In fact, it is time the Chinese should go back in history and learn why Ledo road was constructed to help the then subjugated land China was. How many Indian labour had died while the road was constructed in one of the difficult terrains even as their deaths were not communicated to their families back home.
Perhaps, except making a colourful drawing on the world map, Chinese vision about OBOR could not progress further. The sea route is in use since the days of Marco Polo, while the road connections between Europe and central Asia too exist since long. The fact that China had already running trains to Europe only makes one wonder what is new in the new routes being touted as ‘visionary’ by the Chinese.
As it is said, it is the soft power that is more useful in the world diplomacy, for military actions have always evoked negative reactions. In their frustration in failing to get India on board, one Chinese official even questioned whether India could survive a war with the Chinese. Though diplomatically incorrect, this is a valid question with only one plausible answer. India cannot win a war with China.
Where it leaves China, if they consider war an option, after the win? Nowhere! The better minds that still think on the lines of Confucius do not consider attacking India, for they understand the cost of such a war.
Even after the win, China would be weaker and be a softer target for its traditional oppressors like Japan. Attacking a functional democracy, while being friendly with dictators only expose the true face that China hides.
Moreover, Narendra Modi already exhibited the average Indian psyche to the world. It is the psyche of the poor, who welcomed Demonetisation despite they faced problems. They were tolerating the problems of demonetisation, smiling at the inconvenience it caused to the rich. As India too has sufficient arsenal, it is not that China would not suffer in the war. So, even after winning the war, the condition and relations between both nations would remain much the same. So, the better brains of China would never fight a war, as the result would be more detrimental to China. Notwithstanding the hollow threats made by armchair strategists, there is not much China could do to India. Well, it may continue to pamper Pakistan and block the progress of India in international forums. But, India is used to it for long and know how to work around systems.
If Chinese felt it could make India a partner by coercive methods, it exposes the hollowness in their strategy. Even if China makes CPEC a sustainable project, it shall have no bearing on India, as China could not exert influence on Pakistan to give up its anti-India stance in all issues including Kashmir.
As so far Pakistan has not even permitted India to supply goods to Afghanistan through its territory, the talk of India gaining something from this corridor remains a nonsense. Even while Pakistan has confirmed attendance to the Afghanistan centric summit being organised by Russia, Afghanistan President repeats how Pakistan perpetrates terror in his country whenever and wherever he gets a chance to speak. Can China control the reality of what Pakistan is? No. If China feels it can control Pakistan, it shall look at the way America was milked by Pakistan in the name of ‘War on Terror’ all the while supporting and exporting terror.
Despite working aggressively against Indian interests, if China expects India to respect Chinese interests, it only explains how deep ‘yes men’ have penetrated into Chinese strategic think tank. Chinese may not really want to stretch the issue too far to provoke India, Dalai Lama may nominate his successor from Taiwang making Chinese apprehensions true.
China has already kidnapped the one nominated successor by Dalai Lama once. But, will it prevent the Dalai Lama from nominating another successor?
After all, there are no standard procedures in spiritual realm, he may try to nominate successor as long as he lives. This would really create problems for China, for it would be a failure created out of thin air only because they pulled strings too hard.