China’s tactical game in Ladakh isn’t just about the border: analysis
In the wake of the economic slowdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic in China, Supreme Leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are facing one of the biggest crises since the party came to power in 1949. The challenges Before the party and the leader has been deliberating since May 22 in the National People’s Congress and in a parallel Chinese People’s Consultative Conference, the country’s most powerful political advisory body. The measure is already underway to preventively counter any dissatisfaction in the management of the pandemic and the consequent increase in economic anguish. While there is no political challenge for President Xi, who is also the chairman of the Central Military Commission, it is the economic collapse that Beijing fears, along with growing resentment against China, fueling nationalism and igniting old Chinese fears. against foreign threats.
While the NPC was convened to deliberate on the next five-year development plan, the session will also provide a platform for President Xi to respond both domestically and internationally to the pandemic. The expected message will be conciliatory with the national audience, while the international affirmation can be expected to be robust and challenging.
It is in this context that the current confrontation between India and China must be seen at multiple points along the current 3,488-kilometer Line of Control in eastern Ladakh and Sikkim. The Chinese movement is multiple in that it not only diverts attention from the internal economic crisis, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but is also designed to paint India as a villain constantly at odds with Pakistan and, more recently, Nepal. With China believing that India is catalysing resentment against Beijing for mishandling the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, the People’s Liberation Army’s tactical game throughout LAC is also seen by its people as a lesson for the “Club Gweilo “and his perceived powers. . The use of the tabloid Global Times newspaper to paint India as an aggressor in Sikkim and Ladakh is also designed to compel India to reevaluate its perceived alignment strategy with the United States against China.
Despite the fact that the PLA is using a 1960 map released by then Prime Minister Chou En Lai to present the mapping expansion in Ladakh, there is little resemblance to the terrain situation with 1962 skirmishes or 1999 forays into the Kargil sector . The only coincidence is that President Xi can use the Ladakh military option to divert attention from his national audience, just as then-Chinese leader Mao Zedong used the 1962 skirmish to cover up the great Chinese famine due to the failure of the Great Revolution. I leap forward. Another Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, used the 1979 border war with Vietnam to deflect internal dissatisfaction before embarking on the economic recovery of the middle kingdom.
While Ladakh can tactically serve Beijing’s political goals, India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not evasive. It is the third largest market after the US. USA And ASEAN, and could even be the key to China’s economic recovery. Militarily, it is in the interest of neither China nor India to raise the red flag, since there will be a great economic and political cost for such a measure. Pakistan and Nepal do not add to the cost-benefit analysis. And Doklam’s message didn’t exactly work with Bhutan in 2017.
The fact is that after the construction of the Darbuk-Shyok-BOD strategic highway in eastern Ladakh and the rapid construction of strategic roads in the middle and eastern sectors, it is China that is concerned about India’s military objectives. Today, the two sides agree on the ground, whether in the Galwan Valley or Pangong Tso Lake, and are constantly talking to each other through institutionalized diplomatic and military channels. Since LAC is not defined by nature, at least in the western and eastern sector, the option to emphasize its own cartographic interpretation is also available to the Indian Army.
Despite the fact that China is toying with its long-term plan to use LAC to destabilize India, Delhi needs to act together when it comes to Beijing, as any well-intentioned conciliatory movement will be seen as a sign of weakness. Rather than leave it up to their military or diplomatic commanders, the two leaders should have a candid conversation on the lines of the Wuhan or Mahabalipuram dialogue to carry out course corrections and bring the bilateral relationship beyond third-party suspicions. This may sound simple but it is terribly complex as another challenge looms on the horizon with the Tibetan-in-exile leader Dalai Lama, who is now 84 years old and still has no designated reincarnation. The nomination of the Panchen Lama Dalai Lama, the second most important priest after the Dalai, is now 31 years old and has still been under the tutelage of the Chinese Communist Party since he disappeared on May 17, 1995. Given the scale of problems involved and his impact on the sovereignty of both In the case of the countries, the only option left is for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to keep the communication channels open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.