Showing posts with label PLA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PLA. Show all posts

Monday, July 13, 2020

Correcting mistakes in Indo-Pacific Region

Pic source: Wiki

An unstructured commentary on developments in the extended neighborhood in Indo-Pacific Region. Let us take a few key countries.


If you think, India has done well in correcting mistakes of the past with decisive steps with long term strategic goals as pivot. Think again. My impartial view is, Australia is equally better. They've done quite well in a short term & in a structured way.

Would you believe, if I tell you, it is nothing short of miracle, that a country as big as Australia escaped by a whisker from clutches of China. It was a 360° assault on Sovereignty. Now This may sound a hype or even a myth. But, that's what quite happened. Let me give you a few key pointers without going into the details.

China was in the midst of making Australia (!!??) as their vassal - just as they were trying with India. Why would they do that? Very simple answer is, it is always good to have two large democracies as vassal of an authoritarian regime to get all their 'acts' validated in the region. The proverbial, "plausible deniability" would be much easier if you have democracies by their side. China can always make the argument, "Hey, but free and fair democracies in the region support our actions." 

Now that we know the motive, does it end here, what is the ultimate goal? By sending thousands of students every year to Australian universities, China has also tried to influence students from other countries who study in those very universities. Mind you, these other country students include those from India, Singapore & Pacific islands. These students come from either poor or upper-middle class families. Quite humble souls. They're there to just to study & go about their business. By sending in more numbers per university, Chinese students were always more in number & roam around in one pack, than those from free thinking democracies who are tough to gel as one pack. This started something what I call, "the inflicted Stockholm syndrome" artificially. To such an extent that recently, an Indian professor invited severe backlash from Chinese students when he referred to Taiwan. Yes, this happen. Some reports were out on China has been stealing research papers from universities & sending them back to China. I leave it to you to do research on how politicians funded by China have a hold on Australian Universities.

Does it end with colleges? No. This goes to workplace and work environment there too. And then, this extended into precious real-estate & military / strategic interests in Pacific Island family. The scale was enormous and did drag attention after ruffling a few feathers.

I feel, it is in this context that Indo-Pacific was actually born. Mainly to thwart the advancing Chinese wedge. You know, the good thing about the wedge? It has to be driven in a particular angle. Chinese have made a wedge. But they are slapping it against the wood. Which won't break the wood! Similarly, they are aggressive diplomatically. But, no one is sure on military. Here, China's adversaries have already started preparing since 2016. Long before China woke up & was busy regulating tourists to countries basis their 'quota' - from Maldives to Australia to Africa. (Trivia: Yes, tourists spending is part of every deal signed by China with every other country as part of BRI. Open source, you can research. It will require one more post on Chinese tourists.) 

Game began in 2015. World was changing. Japan had Abe entering 3rd term. India had a change of guard with PM Modi at the helm. Scott Morrison as Federal Treasurer was getting strict with Chinese. Cancelling some key deals with Chinese in sight. Two key ones worth mentioning would be: 1) Blocking an Ausgrid project linked to Pine Gap. 2) Blocking sale of S. Kidman and Co. 

A special thanks to ASD / ASIO & FIRB officials for stopping such key asset bids / sale to China. Even PM Turnbull wasn't confident of going forward with the recommendations and feared that there'd be a backlash from China. (Widely covered in media.)

Meanwhile, politics played its part & Treasurer Scott Morrison becomes PM Scott Morrison. Blessing in disguise. All along, security cooperation with countries in the region had started - albeit as a soft-launch with India, US & Japan. Australia is still not part of QUAD - militarily. As much, I'd welcome Australia's participation, the threat of China infested security apparatus is still significant. The cleanup is going to take some time & rightly so. Am sure, with the "2020 Defence Strategic Update" - which is a formal roadmap backed up with funds worth A$270 Bn. That's 40% increase of what the "strategic review 2016" promised A$195Bn.

Few weeks ago, China stopped food imports from Australia. And was hoping someone else could sell it to them. This is no loss for Australia. Any purchase from half-way around the globe would invite serious logistical issue in case of war. What would happen when food is getting choked is anyone's guess.

Fast forward mid-July 2020. With such aggressive Chinese moves and the infamous 'chewing gum' comment by Global Times, the process has only got more momentum and motivation to move away from China.

Needless to say, this opportunity will definitely be used by QUAD. There are unconfirmed reports in Indian media that, India plans to invite Australia to join the annual Malabar naval exercise. Hopefully, this time, it would be for real and complete. For it is Australia which can help us create a 'bridge' with Pacific Islands along with Fiji.


Frank Bainimarama, especially is key to the pivot on Pacific Island race that is going on. The race is about how to get more of these island nations on their side of the game. The game is between China and US backed allies. Led by Republic of China (Taiwan) and Australia. With India entering the scene, I think, there's more to this. Indian PM's visit to Fiji in 2014 is a milestone and subsequent changes in polity of Fiji is worth mentioning. Why so? Because, Modi & Bainimarama did something unexpected. Invited Heads of State of all 14 Pacific Island nations, for formation of "Forum for India and Pacific Island Countries (FIPIC)" based on India's Africa engagement success story. Constant followup made further improvements. The 2017 India and Pacific Islands Development Conference, for instance.

Tuvalu, Samoa and few other are flipping more than often between China & Democratic nations. Wrong. They should stand with free world and do the right thing. Rest of the world should do all that is possible to stop these small nations falling into the debt trap of China. Unsustainable amounts of monies to these countries would make them colonies of China once & for all. The line should be drawn to stop China far before it leaves shores of Mainland China.


Another key partner in this anti-China coalition that is building up, is Philippines. In 2016, Philippines won the ruling in Permanent Court of Arbitration. Until July 12th 2020, Philippines was seen going slow / soft on the ruling. Which emboldened China in its rogue attitude and honing skills of Wolf-warrior diplomacy. Ultimately leading to a failure today. As Philippines did a U-turn on this issue which could dent China's claims in South China Sea. Manila said today that it is not willing to compromise on 2016 ruling. Few days ago, Manila also made another statement. That, India is interested in navigating South China Sea.

Guam (United States)

In 2018, there were some movement about Indian Armed Forces (Airforce & Navy) in Indo-Pacific region. Especially, expansion of its role in Pacific. It was widely reported too. Then, it went out of news cycle. Probably put into backburner. Thanks to China & its arrogance, this re-appeared in last week of June 2020. Now, news is that US is planning to introduce National Defense Authorization Act for 2021. This would now enable Fighter Jet training in Guam, for detachments from Australia, India & Japan.


On South Pacific, India is doing something very interesting. It is leveraging age old ties with Chile to help counter China. Chile, in all probabilities would be India's pivot to Latin America. The PM Modi - President Pinera meeting of August 2019 might have played well, I guess. October 2019, Chile Announces Cancellation of 2019 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. (That it was a surprise for US is a different story.) Now, fast-forward to April 2020, after being hit badly with China Virus, Chile & Latin American countries in the larger context are moving away from China. Probably, the meeting of August helped Chile sense what is coming for China even before the pandemic. China's fall was written on the wall. Pandemic, just made it faster.

Some news from Chile, on how Indian Private & State owned Arms Manufacturers are preferring Chile.  Indo-Russian JV Brahmos is also invited, is additional story. That means, a bell must have rung. For us, Chile is a pivot for larger South American continent. Hope to see more joint efforts. Wish the participation of Indian Navy in EXPONAVAL 2020 things would move to next level of cooperation.  Hopefully, expect more developments in this regard.

Thanks to China Virus, Democracies have got a golden opportunity to wake up to crude reality & achieve world peace through non-coercive actions based on logic & justice. I am hoping to see a day when Pacific Island nations, Australia, South Korea & Japan - along with India, be part of an unsinkable coalition across Indo-Pacific region making it unsustainable for China-like countries to even have guts to go against Rules Based Order. Any make any offensive moves & threaten people of free world. If this is dubbed as Cold War 2.0, SO BE IT. An example should be made out of China in the coming months & years. Hope to see CCP Politburo members & PLA Generals in International Criminal Court.

UPDATE: Australia approaches UN over claims over South China Sea. In its petition to the UN, Australia rejects China’s “historical claims” in the SCS since they violate international law & the UN's Law of the Sea Australia is also the first country outside the South China Sea region to approach the UN on China’s claims. Read more here.

Must watch / read references:
1) Stratnewsglobal interview with Amb Navdeep Suri (ex Indian envoy to Australia)

Monday, August 07, 2017

Fault lines of China - A Great Leap Backward

Image result for pla tank wardrobe malfunction
(Pic courtesy: Bharat Rakshak Forum)

Fault lines. Few days ago, China pulled of a majestic stunt. Celebrated PLA's 90th Raising day. This, in itself a fault line of sorts. Let me explain why.

Faultine PLA:
Back in time, before proclamation of freedom, this was just a nomad / noman's Army. It was nothing more than a militia that evolved as group of militias. That means, proclaiming freedom with sheer muscle power & at the barrel of gun. Before we proceed further, let's first understand who were these militias and why it is a fault line.

"Late in 2014 President Xi Jinping went to Gutian, a small town in the south where, 85 years before, Mao had first laid down the doctrine that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed force not of the government or the country but of the Communist Party." - Source: The Economist

After World War I, the advent of Soviet Union like totalitarian Communist State sent a few young farmers of Communist Party of China to take brute force to gain sympathy & support of people to proclaim Independence & form a copycat Soviet Union adapted by Manchurian ways.

Fast forward to today, these very same Communists have little support these days. Communist party leaders who came to power in 1949, without any experience in leadership. Even if we ignore that, these people are barbarians with too much man & muscle power. Leave alone planned development. The "Build, build & build" strategy is clearly failing. Pushing the country into debt trap by it's own deeds. This won't last long. The much celebrated "development" & "GDP growth" has clearly failed to empower it's people. Many of whom are still living sub-standard lives.

Okay, so when was the last time PLA saw action? 5yrs ago? 10yrs ago? 20yrs ago? 30yrs ago? World doesn't think, you're good enough to fight. Soon, PLA's worthiness would be tested.

The mighty army is nothing better than a terracotta army of their emperor few centuries ago.


The Inner Mongolian region has more Mongols than Mongolia itself. Of late, there's been demand for redrawing boundaries & merging itself with parent Mongolian Nation. This idea has fallen silent for a couple of decades now. But, with a anti-Chinese President in Mongolia, things are expected to heat up. Two pointers here: 1) Mongolia wasn't part of Qing Dynasty (as they parted ways). 2) Inner Mongolia is first successfuly population jihad project by China. With making Inner Mongolia a 79% Han population. Change demographics, claim land & resources. An inch a day.

Not without a reason PM Modi visited Mongolia recently. During that trip, a strong & balanced effort has been forged with Mongolia - including defense cooperation.


This province, bordering Inner Mongolia is China's root of all troubles in it's West. The province with significant Muslim population is subjected to inhuman methods of governance. Needless to say, daily abuse of even the basic human rights. I would leave you to read up on this yourself. This report (among several others) on The Diplomat shares more insight in this issue.

Hong Kong SAR:

Hong Kong SAR is corner stone of sorts, of China's "One Country, Two Systems" & "One China" policies. Needless to say, the Asian Powerhouse, thanks to British Democratic values, want to be democratic. And, independent. Something that Chinese would oppose big time. Any pro-democracy Government / person is harassed. Recently, there were street protests when the Chinese President was there. 


Historically, it won't be wrong to say that Taiwan is first nail in China's coffin. Till date, an ally of West, Taiwan has stood up to the Chinese leadership & dictatorship. Taiwan is an Independent Nation. Though with very little diplomatic support against the giant neighborhood, the thin numbers Taiwan has are powerful enough to stand up to Chinese. Of late, Taiwan Cultural Center in India is seeing heightened activity.

South China Sea:

It's like a giant nation's giant mistake. To make enemies out of 7 neighboring Nations in one go & over a single issue. Claiming & stealing almost entire South China Sea from neighboring nations is not going to end in a good way. Problem is, China, as of today has moved away from "peaceful rise" & "peaceful co-existence". Seems like it. 

South China Sea disputed territories
(Pic courtesy: 

Far East:

So, if we turn to believe that China enjoys a good relationship with it's bigger neighbor, Russia, we're in for a shock. It is NOT! China is doing what it did to Inner Mongolia, in Russia's far east. Part of Russian Far East is being claimed by China. Historically, Chinese say, it belonged to Manchuria - including oil rich Sakhalin region.

OBOR initiative:

As mentioned in my earlier post, the project would push more nations into debt trap. The cash surplus would move away nations. The project is funny. It's similar to swiping credit card, get cash & spend it on luxury projects that can't be built over a century, at least. You see what the implications are? You can afford a lot, if one's credit card limit provides cash limit of say 10x of your salary. It may make you look rich with say, buying a few luxury car. But, would you be able to repay? NOT! That's what is happening with OBOR. 

Devil is in the detail. Wherever GDP growth hasn't uplifted / reached common man, it has fallen flat. Even Greeks & Spaniards are facing it. US too will. GDP growth should also be of some quality. If not, not worth it.

Debt bubble: Chinese Debt trap is linked to the OBOR / BRI project. The more they push others into debt trap, the Chinese themselves are pushing them into one. Slowly, yet consistently. Their real estate market is going in for a burst - within months, if not weeks. Matter of time. Many experts are predicting it. One such published report today.

Cultural hegemony

So, taking into all the above pointers, people of China need a safety valve. In India, similar discontent resulted in the massive defeat for Congress party. In China, in the absence of any such safety valve of Democracy, would need at least cultural well being. THAT TOO is neutralized by the Chinese. Recently, there was a plan to destroy an ancient Buddhist site for mining copper. This is no different from what Taliban did in Bamiyan. (Note: Months after Bamiyan was destroyed, Taliban fell!)

Hans Vs other ethnic minorities:

Hans are as common ppl like anyone. They too have this tendency to push more people & earn a decent living. In pursuit of that, they push into new territories & antagonize natives of that place. Something like what they did in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang & Tibet.

Party Vs PLA:

The rift between the PLA & the Party is going in for a big time showdown. Expect it sometime around Chinese Party Congress (in October 2017). The anti-corruption in military has deprived Chinese of experienced commanders. I highly doubt that there are any top Generals who have seen combat battle / action in their long service. (If any, let me know!). The ill-advised PLA is depending on the terror state of Pakistan to help it on India. It is all alone when it comes to other nations - when put together. None would come to save Communist Party. They'll not even have their own people, who are facing high turbulent & suppressed life under communists.


Vietnam holds the distinction of fighting a perfect war in the 1970s. Was patient for years together when the Peace Talks were held in Paris. Until after SEVEN long years, Paris Agreement was signed. It defeated the mighty US militarily. Soon after it gave a tough fight to Chinese, who were stopped by Vietnamese Armed Forces from it's excursion. A land grab, averted.


Tibet. Independent weak neighbor of China (before it was forcefully occupied), was the first Nation to fall for China's 'peaceful rise'. Dalai Lama stays in INdia running a Government in Exile. I don't expect an armed uprising against the Chinese. But, I do see the Lamas of Tibet rising peacefully against Han PLA & Communists.


India. The name that gives China nightmares. Growing & emerging India - a Democratic, Culturally diverse, Strong Nation is a definite threat to China. China occupies part of India's Jammu & Kashmir province in two parts - in Aksai Chin & partly in Pakistan Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

The long standing border dispute & the war of 1962 has given bad taste among Asian super powers. The problem is, only in 1962, in 5000yrs of existence China has ever won a war. With anyone! India didn't lag behind much. In 1967 & 1987, Chinese got a bloody nose. Even in 1962, Rezang La is a place that Chinese would have dreaded dreams even today.

Unlike it's bullying with smaller neighbors, it can't do the same with India. China can't occupy India for a long time. Nor it can keep it's own flock while it is doing it. More so, India's close relations with Japan, Russia, US & ASEAN would complicate the issue. Global pressure would bring them down.


Though only time would tell what would China be doing 5years down the line. For now, I can safely conclude that China has opened itself too many fronts. Within & outside. 

If China thinks, by posturing big against it's neighbors - all at once, they're in for a shock & are broadly mistaken. Money can buy you friends. For time being. Not for long & good ones. You reap what you sow. Stop this land grab to make good friends. Until China does that, it is a problem for their very existence.

If they are doing so much land grab citing so many of their old books that are written few centuries ago, India has the right to claim entire China. The word "China" itself was first used in Indian Epic, Mahabharata.
"Cīna was first used in early Hindu scripture, including the Mahābhārata (5th century BCE) and the Laws of Manu (2nd century BCE)."
(Source: The Polity of Yelang (夜郎)and the Origins of the Name ‘China’)
So, it is a matter of time, that all of China's problems implodes - one at a time, leading to a huge firework show. Let's watch the show "Fault lines of China - A Great Leap Backward" from pavilion.

Zhù nǐ hǎo yùn!