As tensions continue to rise between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Indian strategists and experts said that India needs to build up its own capabilities in order to counter China on all fronts and not just on the border.
“The tensions between the US and China will certainly either put us in a sweet or in a delicate position in the time to come. India needs to build up its own capabilities in countering China – not just on the border, but we need to take them on all other fronts,” President of Centre for China Analysis and Strategy Jayadeva Ranade said.
He was speaking at webinar titled, “Revisiting One China policy: Economic and Political Options for India: Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan, and Xinjiang” jointly organized by the Law and Society Alliance and Defense Capital on Friday.
Ranade stressed that India needs to control the things which are going on and that also includes focusing on China return students, with some “bias” towards Beijing.
“Since a large number of our students go to China and come back with a sort of pronounced bias in favour of Beijing, if not brainwashed by them, why should we not shift away from China and shift that cohort of students to Taiwan?” he said.
“They will return back learning classical China, and as fluent speakers. They won’t be brainwashed and influenced by China as well,” Ranade added suggesting that the Indian government should take up the issue and think about how to fund scholarships for students going there.
Apart from Ranade, Secretary General of Forum for Integrated National Secretary, Sheshadri Chari; Director of Vivekananda International Foundation Dr. Arvind Gupta; Editor of Strat News Global and Bharat Shakti, Nitin Gokhale; and Senior Fellow at Peace and Conflict Studies, Abhijit Iyer Mitra also joined the webinar to discuss the intricacies of the issue and explore possible options for India to modify its China policy.
Sheshadri Chari mainly focused on the issue of Xinjiang and said that China’s move to annex Xinjiang was a “strategic move” to get direct borders with India (Aksai Chin), Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan, Tibet, Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan.
“The development of Urumqi-Kashgar road, an all-weather road, China will get access to South Asia. Kashgar is a part of the Karakoram Range. The road goes through Gilgit Baltistan (GB), connecting it to Islamabad. China would further be able to create a road from Galwan valley to GB. It will join the Kashgar-Islamabad road in GB. So that GB becomes the central part of CPEC. All these areas are a part of Pakistan occupied India. Thus, China will be making a road in Indian territory to dominate the region,” Chari explained.
He said that India should be more concerned about the scope and range of the “One China Policy” as it also has significance as far as China’s relation with Tibet, Outer Mongolia, and Xinjiang is concerned.
“China doesn’t use the One China Policy, instead, it uses the term – ‘One China Principle’. We should never accept the principles propagated by China,” Chari said.
“What can be done? We should not engage in a barter system with China on One India and One China Policies. Even if you don’t accept, One India policy or not, we will not accept the One China Policy at all”, he added.
The ‘One China Policy’ is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government. Under the policy, the US recognizes and has formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan, which China sees as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland one day.
The One China policy is a key cornerstone of Sino-US relations. It is also a fundamental bedrock of Chinese policy-making and diplomacy. However, it is distinct from the ‘One China principle’, whereby China insists Taiwan is an inalienable part of one China to be reunified one day.
Meanwhile, Senior Fellow at Peace and Conflict Studies, Abhijit Iyer Mitra suggested future course of action which would involve developing Intelligence cooperation with Taiwanese, “who have excellent counter-intelligence capabilities and brilliant technological intelligence”.
“We should encourage these ‘trade ties’ with Taiwan, similar to the ones that China does in India in the guise of trade. Similarly, Taiwan has much better access and development in technology with China. Chinese technology is at a much lower level in fundamental terms than Taiwanese. We should ensure that middle-level manufacturing moves away from China to Taiwan,” Mitra said.
He also recommended diverting Chinese attention to the South China Sea and other borders by providing resources and support to countries like Vietnam and Philippines, who are ready to take on China.
“Vietnam needs western technologies, but has a trust deficiency towards the West. India should act as a platform for the transfer of Western tech to Vietnam,” he stressed.
He further argued about the need to have clarity on alliances and suggested moving away from non-aligned movement’s different versions. “What is the problem in building a doctrinal relationship with Japanese and US forces”, he said.