Friday, October 10, 2008
The analysts from Jane’s Information Group, believe that the Chinese Communist Party can only continue to rule the country if it maintains economic growth at more than 10 per cent. It is already investing heavily in Africa for food and natural resources but this could lead to a CONFLICT WITH INDIA with the trade route that crosses the Indian Ocean.
Are we ready for this future conflict?
China, historically has been a land power, barring the dynasty of Zeng He in 15th century, when China had famed treasure fleets. Then, it was more for explorations rather than expansions or even guarding any trade lanes. As threat of invasion from north increased, China quickly abandoned its ocean going enterprises – considering them to be expensive.
However 21st century is panning out quite the opposite. China has found itself increasingly dependant on resources and markets accessible only via maritime routes. Where US and Japan are dominant naval powers, China is stepping up its naval capabilities quite dramatically. Chinese navy is seeking to project powers not only throughout East and South China seas but also to Indian Ocean basin and beyond, to West Africa and Latin America.
By 2015 China is expected to have six Jin-class submarines capable of firing the JL2 ballistic nuclear missile that could threaten both the western and eastern American seaboards acting as deterrent to any US intervention if Taiwan or other areas erupted in conflict.
China’s nuclear attack submarine force is expanding “quite considerably” with six T93 hunter killers and more than a dozen Kilo class boats.
Fast attack craft, each carrying eight anti-ship missiles, are to increase from 40 to 100 giving the navy “a considerable capability. There had been a major build up of assault ships including 30 large tank landing craft that would allow long range operations.
2009 – Chinese navy pilots will begin training for aircraft carrier operations, that are expected to become operational early next decade.
ARE WE READY FOR THIS CHINA .... CLEARLY BENT ON CHANGING GEO-STRATEGIC SHIFTS AROUND INDIA.
Nestled between India and China at an altitude of 14,500 feet, and 4 hours bone shaking drive from Leh, lies Pangong Lake (also known as Lukung Lake). 45 kms of this lake lies within Indian territory while the remaining 90 kms lies within China.
Things deteriorated in 1999 after China, taking advantage of the Indian Army’s buildup in Kargil, built a 5-km permanent track into Indian territory along the lake.
The Chinese have led incursions into India because they know that they can – and can get away with it. It’s as simple as that. Our politicians refuse to acknowledge even today the Chinese threat. Reminds one of the 1962 debacle when Krishna Menon ordered COFFEE PERCOLATORS to be made in ARMS FACTORY – thinking that the Chinese aggression is a myth, only to be proved wrong at a catastrophic cost to the country.
In July 2008, an Indian motorboat on regular patrolling duty along the perceived border in the lake, was surrounded by three Chinese naval crafts. Things started turning tense as the Chinese crafts approached the Indian boat (which was sufficiently armed with two machine guns and a 20 -member contingent). The situation calmed down only after the quick thinking operator swung around the larger Indian boat in circles to disperse the Chinese crafts.
The Chinese Navy operates close to 22 armed patrol boats in the lake — mostly smaller vessels seating five to seven soldiers. India, on the other hand, has two patrol boats that are operated by the Army. While these boats are bigger — carrying up to 21 soldiers — the numeric superiority that China enjoys is undeniable.
Stuck in the corridors of South Block is a proposal to ferry in an additional 10-12 boats for better patrolling of the lake.
BACK TO 1962: The Govt of India, with Krishna Menon as Defence Minister, was least interested in defence preparedness. Ordnance factories were manufacturing coffee percolators and toasters, because they had “extra spare capacity”. But as they all shouted in Parliament, “ ------every inch of our land will be defended to the last man.” With what?
DEAR HON'BLE DEFENSE MINISTER - WE NEED MORE THAN COFFEE PERCOLATORS AND YOUR DUMB ASSURANCES. FIRST AND FOREMOST, INCREASE THE PAY OF OUR ARMED FORCES AND BRING IT TO PARITY WITH ITS CIVILIAN COUNTER-PART. OTHERWISE, WE WILL SUPPORT A MILITARY TAKEOVER OF INDIA BY OUR ARMED FORCES !
The Chinese have two major claims on what India deems its own territory.
One claim, in the western sector, is on Aksai Chin in the northeastern section of Ladakh District in Jammu and Kashmir.
The other claim is in the eastern sector over a region included in the British-designated North-East Frontier Agency, the disputed part of which India renamed Arunachal Pradesh and made a state.
In the fight over these areas, the well-trained and well-armed troops of the Chinese People's Liberation Army overpowered the ill-equipped Indian troops, who had not been properly acclimatized to fighting at high altitudes.
Unable to reach political accommodation on disputed territory along the 3,225-kilometer-long Himalayan border, the Chinese attacked India on October 20, 1962. At the time, nine divisions from the eastern and western commands were deployed along the Himalayan border with China. None of these divisions was up to its full troop strength, and all were short of artillery, tanks, equipment, and even adequate articles of clothing.
In Ladakh the Chinese attacked south of the Karakoram Pass at the northwest end of the Aksai Chin Plateau and in the Pangong Lake area about 160 kilometers to the southeast. The defending Indian forces were easily ejected from their posts in the area of the Karakoram Pass and from most posts near Pangong Lake. However, they put up spirited resistance at the key posts of Daulat Beg Oldi (near the entrance to the pass) and Chushul (located immediately south of Pangong Lake and at the head of the vital supply road to Leh, a major town and location of an air force base in Ladakh). Other Chinese forces attacked near Demchok (about 160 kilometers southeast of Chusul) and rapidly overran the Demchok and the Jara La posts.
In the eastern sector, in Assam, the Chinese forces advanced easily despite Indian efforts at resistance. On the first day of the fighting, Indian forces stationed at the Tsang Le post on the northern side of the Namka Chu, the Khinzemane post, and near Dhola were overrun. On the western side of the North-East Frontier Agency, Tsang Dar fell on October 22, Bum La on October 23, and Tawang, the headquarters of the Seventh Infantry Brigade, on October 24. The Chinese made an offer to negotiate on October 24. The Indian government promptly rejected this offer.
With a lull in the fighting, the Indian military desperately sought to regroup its forces. Specifically, the army attempted to strengthen its defensive positions in the North-East Frontier Agency and Ladakh and to prepare against possible Chinese attacks through Sikkim and Bhutan. Army units were moved from Calcutta, Bihar, Nagaland, and Punjab to guard the northern frontiers of West Bengal and Assam. Three brigades were hastily positioned in the western part of the North-East Frontier Agency, and two other brigades were moved into Sikkim and near the West Bengal border with Bhutan to face the Chinese. Light Stuart tanks were drawn from the Eastern Command headquarters at Calcutta to bolster these deployments.
In the western sector, a divisional organization was established in Leh; several battalions of infantry, a battery of twenty-five-pounder guns, and two troops of AMX light tanks were airlifted into the Chushul area from Punjab. On November 4, the Indian military decided that the post at Daulat Beg Oldi was untenable, and its defenders were withdrawn over the 5,300-meter-high Sasar Brangsa Pass to a more defensible position.
The reinforcements and redeployments in Ladakh proved sufficient to defend the Chushul perimeter despite repeated Chinese attacks. However, the more remote posts at Rezang La and Gurung Hill and the four posts at Spanggur Lake area fell to the Chinese.
In the North-East Frontier Agency, the situation proved to be quite different. Indian forces counterattacked on November 13 and captured a hill northwest of the town of Walong. Concerted Chinese attacks dislodged them from this hard-won position, and the nearby garrison had to retreat down the Lohit Valley.
In another important section of the eastern sector, the Kameng Frontier Division, six Chinese brigades attacked across the Tawang Chu near Jang and advanced some sixteen kilometers to the southeast to attack Indian positions at Nurang, near Se La, on November 17. Despite the Indian attempt to regroup their forces at Se La, the Chinese continued their onslaught, wiping out virtually all Indian resistance in Kameng. By November 18, the Chinese had penetrated close to the outskirts of Tezpur, Assam, a major frontier town nearly fifty kilometers from the Assam-North-East Frontier Agency border.
The Chinese did not advance farther and on November 21 declared a unilateral cease-fire. They had accomplished all of their territorial objectives, and any attempt to press farther into the plains of Assam would have stretched their logistical capabilities and their lines of communication to a breaking point. By the time the fighting stopped, each side had lost 500 troops.