China: Is it A Threat to Neighbours and the World?

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Till the end of 1970s, China was a very backward country.  Sometime in 1981 or 1982 in an Economic Times (ET) issue I read an article about a military exhibition held in a European city that also carried a Chinese delegation’s picture inspecting armaments and hardware on display there. Since it is many years, I cannot recall the city or the ET issue where I had read the article.China’s per capita income then was lower than India’s. This article made me sit down and ponder as to what would happen if these advanced countries manufacturing highly advanced arms and other military (and non-military goods produced for civilians) start doing business with China? I was then thinking of the long-range consequences the countries would have in dealing with China, which is a bully and does not believe in fair play? I have observed that majority of countries and humans act immediately to get immediate gains which, I believe, is selfish, rather than considering issues with foresight, long-term vision and considering the pros and cons of the decisions they are going to take. I had told my friends then that if these countries are going to open their economies to China and allow it to freely import and export, they would have manifold problems with her, once her economy grows and she is cash rich and has considerable foreign exchange reserves. The countries could face manifold problems, be it trade, copyrights, presence of Chinese spies in their countries and many other things.

In 1979, under Deng Xiaoping’s reign,China opened their economy for foreign investment, resulting in many countries, their multi-nationals and companies pumping in their money to set up manufacturing units, taking full advantage of cheap labour. In China workers cannot strike, however genuine may be their grievances or else they will face punitive actions, i.e. losing their jobs and livelihood and being prosecuted in Chinese kangaroo courts and being prisoned.

Time has proved me right, because China, which is a totalitarian country, is the world’s fastest growing economy and a leading military power that, with its newly found wealth, is bullying its neighbours. China has raked up territorial disputes with Japan, a nation after the World War II is among the most peaceful countries. China has territorial disputes with hosts of other countries and also lays claim over Spratly islands in the South China Sea, has gobbled Tibet and has had border skirmishes with the erstwhile U.S.S.R. (in 1969), Vietnam (1979-1990) and India(in 1962, 1967) and keeps on threatening to take over Taiwan. With India it is having territorial disputes over Arunachal Pradesh and other territories and also interferes in its internal affairs. During the UPA regime it had warned India to not allow the Dalai Lama to visit the Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims as hers. Dalai Lama is one of the most peace-loving personalities in the history and a winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace (1989). Nevertheless, the Chinese call him a criminal and use other derogatory terms.

Chinese patrols constantly encroach into Indian border and have to be told to go back.  Further, they warn India not to do any construction work, i.e. build posts, roads, bridges, etc. within her side of the border, which is preposterous and behaving like a bully.

China is the third largest country in terms of territory and why does it covet other countries’ territories and creates disputes? Fortunately for India, there is presently a new Government and whatever his detractors and I may accuse him of, however, one has to admit that Narendra Modi is firm and decisive. He may not necessarily do everything right, however, he is fast in thinking, taking decisions, acting upon those decisions and has administrative acumen. He simply is not a wimp.

China has become such a threat to world peace, so much so that Japan, a pacifist nation, has been forced this year to drastically increase its defence budget. Pakistan is the only country that China is very friendly and cooperates with her in production of tanks, aircrafts, etc. and construction projects, etc. Pakistan will continue singing praises of China till such a time the cobra bites and injects too much venom in her before she can react.

Before 1990s, USSR and USA were the two super powers, but due to Mikhail Gorbachev’s openness, restructuring policies and the liberalisation and democratization process lead to the break-up of USSR with 14 territories seceding, though erstwhile USSR or present day Russia is still the largest country in the world in terms of territory, though with a population of just 147 million, it is amongst the countries with the least density of population. Now, China has replaced the erstwhile USSR or the present day Russia as the super power and has become a threat to its neighbours and also to the world and especially to Taiwan, India and Japan.

After Russia and Canada, China is the third largest in the world in terms of territory, though Canada, China and the U.S.A. are all 9,000,000 odd square kilometres in area and there is not much difference because between them, considering the vastness of their territories.

Why does China not introduce human rights and grant freedom to its populace, instead of continuing to maintain a gigantic security and spy apparatus? The answer is simple. If the Chinese democratise and give freedom to their people, many regions would secede, including Tibet, ethnic regions and the regions where Muslims dominate. There have been reports in the media that China has brought their nationals in from far-flung places and settled them in Tibet in order to make the sons-of-the-soil a minority in their own or land of their birth and to destroy their culture and traditions.

Why does China, in spite of economically having made immense progress, does not enjoy a healthy per capita income?  Whatever progress China makes, but it will still not at any time have the per capita income of advanced economies, because it is the most populated country in the world and so her per capita income will not increase phenomenally. The same reasons are also applicable to India also.

Then, why does China have the second largest military budget in the world, after the USA and the largest Army? The reason is simply because, 1) they rake up territorial disputes and are the world’s biggest bully and 2) They have a restive population clamouring for freedom and looking for opportunities to secede. Therefore, they need a strong military machine to bully other countries and illegally grab their territories by sheer force and again, within the country, to control riots and kill and wound the rioters and people. The Government is not answerable to anyone or its people and does not believe in human rights.  All decisions are taken by the few most powerful politicians at the top and put to voting in their parliament, where all the deputies are mere rubber stamps. They will all vote without anyone dissent or otherwise they will be in deep troubles.  Why destroy one’s career, princely earnings and perquisites they enjoy, other than being a rubber stamp and voting “Yes” to whatever is put in motion.

People who always keep in touch with international news and modern history may be aware of the Tiananmen Square massacre that took place when the Chinese Government mobilized 3,00,000 men, backed by tanks, to quell this peaceful protest by attacking and killing and injuring thousands of students. Since China is a totalitarian regime, it is not answerable to people, who cannot take their government to courts. If such bloodbath had occurred in any democratic, there would have been a hue and cry, enquiries and probes to find who were wrong and punish the guilty and compensate those who were killed or injured.

India cannot defeat China in war, but can contain it and give it a bloody nose by bolstering its defence forces, manufacturing all arms, including combat and transport aircrafts and naval ships and other military products in the country. Only that military hardware. Considering the urgency or lack of know how cannot be manufactured or manufactured at short notice, should be imported. Defence production in India should not be the exclusive domain of the public sector undertakings, including DRDO., but should be made open to huge undertakings in the private sector.

Secondly, India should allocate 3.5% of its budget for defence spending and being prepared to face both China and Pakistan. If Pakistan keeps on unprovoked firing across the border and trying to infiltrate terrorists into India, then India should respond firmly by using superior force and using high calibre and heavy weaponry, so that the enemy gets badly hurt and constantly bleeds.

Money for defence can be arranged by taking decisive actions, rather than increasing the taxes, which will burden the people, especially the poor and middle classes. The Indian Government has many employees on its payroll and an unwieldy bureaucracy and with modernization, automation and retaining the best employees and getting rid of excess force in all its departments, the Government can cut down its spending and some of this money can be diverted for defence, education, health, family planning, etc. After the Chinese Liberation Army, the Indian Railways with 1.7 employees is the world’s second largest employer. Does Railways really require 1.7 million employees on its payroll, especially when a lot of irregularities are taking place at its workplaces?

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  1. Dear Mr. Kariuki,

    Nice to read your comments to my write-up which had appeared on 27.01,2016. I am happy you liked my write up.

    From your name, you do not appear to be an Indian or anyone hailing from the subcontinent. Could you please let me know which country’s national are you? My wild guess is that you are from one of the countries from Africa.

    With best wishes,
    Nelson Lewis

  2. Dear Mr. Lewis

    Your article is very interesting, comprehensive, and discusses some of the serious issues facing India and the west. China is not only wanting to be a super power financially but it also wants to be super power militarily. The way they are accomplishing this is through industrial and military espionage on one hand and through dumping of cheap and counterfeit goods n the other. Their inattention to pollution has caused serious issues including poor health conditions among millions and polluted water and food resources in China. Sadly, the west has fallen a prey to cheap goods. China is now trying to expand its Navy as they have realized that to be a super power a country needs a powerful navy (like what Britain had for 2 centuries and the US has been having since WW1).

    This naval threat is only one aspect of China’s growing ambitions to expand its territory in the Pacific – the other bigger threat to the west and India is China’s capabilities to conduct cyber attack. The US recently beefed up its cyber command and is investing more to prevent cyber attacks. Sadly, the US universities is where the Chinese students learn advanced technologies and on the other hand some of the Chinese living in the US have been stealing defence and industrial technologies from their employers. Cyber attacks are routinely conducted by the Chinese to obtain US military secrets.

    Mr. Modi is doing the right thing – acquiring the most modern and sophisticated defence equipment and technologies form the west (particularly from the US and Israel). The moribund technologies sold by the Russians has taken a heavy toll on India’s defence capabilities. It is outrageous to notice that half the MIG fleets are either unusable or have crashed killing good IAF pilots. India should stop buying defence equipment from Russia. India should pay attention to 2 recent developments – the increased friendship between China and Russia, and also between China and Pakistan. More disturbing is the Chinese offer to invest over $40 billion in Pakistan’s infrastructure. In light of these developments, India should not only acquire more and newer defence technologies and equipment from the west but also find a way to join NATO or create an equivalent body like NATO joining hands with USA, Israel, Australia, and Japan to address the threat from China and Pakistan in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean areas.

    Mr. Modi needs to create a new Department of Cyber Technologies within the Ministry of Defence. India has good computer and cyber technology experts who can work closely with the UK and the USA. Cyber warfare is the next frontier – if we think that today’s terrorism is bad, cyber warfare can bring down computer and communications networks, electrical grids, water systems, banking and financial systems and of course the ability for the government to operate. Military intelligence should therefore be beefed up significantly using high-tech and simple methods. It should not be hard for Indians to mix with the locals in Pakistan and also the North East Indians to mix with the Chinese and gather information.

    Joint war exercises is another way to be prepared for any Chinese misadventure in India Ocean or the Pacific Ocean. India should continue to conduct these with not just the USA but also with Australia, Japan, and Israel. This will send a strong message to China and Pakistan. Many a times, the Indian military has been caught off-guard – right from 1962 Chinese debacle to the Kargil incursion. All this goes back to poor intelligence gathering methods and use of outdated technologies and weapons.

    One of the other important aspects is to privatize the defence industry so that competition and foreign collaboration can produce better and more reliable weapons. It has taken decades for Indian government owned research institutions and factories to produce simple things like a light weight aircraft or helicopter or the tank. The bigger danger is that none of these weapons have been battle tested – neither the tank, nor the helicopter, nor the aircraft. Compare this to the AWACS, the C-17 transport aircraft, the F-16s, the M1A2 Abrams tank, or the nuclear submarines from France or the US – the two recent India owned Russian submarine accidents tell a sad story!

    The Indian military weapons are all outdated except for the recent acquisitions like the AWACS and C17s. Indian army needs newer and more powerful weapons including armored personnel carriers and amphibious assault vehicles. Given that India has thousands of miles of coastline, it is time to consider developing Indian Marine Corps as part of the Indian Navy. The Navy’s fleet of ships needs to be fitted with modern technologies and weapons. The IAF needs newer fighters and bombers including a Long Range Strategic Bomber – the US is building a new one – may be good time to collaborate. Until then India could buy the B-52 – a proven workhorse bomber that has led the USAF in every war the US fought since WW2 and is probably one of the best planes ever built.

    All these changes need good planning from the military, the politicians, and the bureaucrats. Can these all be achieved by putting aside corruption? Mr. Modi has a very good chance as his party is the majority party now! This is the greatest opportunity to address the issues on a war footing or pay the piper later!

    • Dear Mr. B. Dinesh,

      Thank you for the comments, wherein you have expressed your views and I feel that the same are quite reasonable and I agree with them.

      India is unfortunate to have two neighbours, namely China is a totalitarian, communist and country that likes to grab other territories, create problems and unrest and Pakistan, which is a country which is run by the Army (as their Prime Minister is a mere dummy, who dances to the numbers played by the Army and the military establishment) and is also a country that is notorious across the world for being a factory that produces terrorists and delivers the finished products to their clientele through its convey belt system.

      I also agree with you that Russian arms are inferior, though cheaper than western arms. U.S. ams are superior, but one cannot depend on her to be a “all-weather friend”. However, India should do everything to have an indigenous arms industry that manufactures all sorts of sophisticated arms and till then, buy the best arms from the U.S. European countries and Israel.

      As you rightly said, India should have treaties and military alliances with the U.S. U.K., N.A.T.O., Israel, Japan and all other countries that feel threatened and/or alarmed by the China’s defence expenditure which is only second to the U.S. China is the second largest spender on defence and, naturually there, has the world’s second largest military budget.

      India should increase its military expenditure to 3.5% or more, without taxing Indians, just by pruning their unwieldy, lethargic, creaky, incompetent and corrupt employees in the Government Departments starting with Railways which has a workforce of 1.7 million men and quite a number of them just come to work place (at Railways), sign the muster and go to work outside. They have an arrangement with their superiors. So, this is the case of, “You scratch my back and I scratch yours.” The Government could get rid of excess manpower in Government Departments starting with Railways, which employs 1.7 million men, the world’s second largest employer after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

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