Friday, July 5, 2013


                                     By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
A.K.Antony, India’s Raksha Mantri is now in Beijing leading an official delegation. China knows all about the mild personality of the man from Kerala who never gets provoked and always keeps his cool. What he says carries weight because the world knows that he is Sonia Gandhi’s man. He is an honest man. So he has not purchased any type of guns for the Indian Artillery in the last quarter of a century. Bofors was the last of the long range effective howitzers bought by Rajiv Gandhi before his fall from grace and loss of his Congress party at the polls. Antony  is against the concept of history repeating itself. Keep smiling is his motto. Never mind what the Chinese PLA General, Luo Yuan said in public and our press corps interpreted it as a warning.
China is a powerful country both economically and militarily. Much water has flown down the Ch’ang Jiang river between the colonial days more than two centuries ago when eight nations, including USA, UK, Japan etc had divided China among themselves and controlled both economy and governance. That was the time when China lost the Opium war and was forced to cede large territory around Hong Kong to the United Kingdom. The wheel of history has turned full circle and the Chinese have recovered lost ground diplomatically without firing a shot.
Sun Tzu was a great philosopher and past master of strategy who wrote treatises on Art of War. His concept is taught and discussed in colleges of combat in many countries including India. Acharya Chanakya wrote and practiced the Chanakya Neeti and became a famous  philosopher in both civil and military circles. Unfortunately Acharya Chanakya did not come in the limelight as his present day compatriots slavishly followed the former British masters and the latter had degraded every thing that was Indian in origin.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu as practiced in China emphasizes brow beating the enemy to such an extent that he loses will to fight and surrenders. The Chinese generals of today dutifully follow the philosophy of life, the art of war etc as enunciated by their ancestors many millennium ago. Ancestor worship is a part of Dharma in China.
With a view to  browbeating the Indian leadership before the arrival of Antony led delegation in Beijing, a Major General of the People’s Liberation Army issued a public statement to be carried by the global media, warning the Indian authorities to desist from provoking the Chinese government and their powerful military lest it boomerangs and harms the Indian interests. It would be appropriate to recall that just before the arrival of the Prime Minister of China in India, the Chinese PLA troops had intruded almost nineteen kilometers into the Indian territory, destroyed some hutments, had threatened the local cowherds before withdrawing on a reciprocal basis. Their aim was to put the Indian Prime Minister, meek Manmohan Singh on the backfoot and psychologically dominate his thinking so that he accepts whatever the Chinese Prime Minister dictates. The Chinese strategy was a success.
What General Luo Yang said and did is a repeat performance of the previous script that was successfully enacted by the Chinese in the Ladakh region that had its direct effect in Delhi. Let not a shot be fired and force enemy psychologically to surrender. Men like Manmohan Singh and his foreign minister are ever keen to walk into the Chinese lap to avoid an aggressive argument. After the Chinese intrusion into Ladakh, when the Indian Foreign Minister visited Beijing he cared not to raise the intrusion issue with his Chinese counterpart as he did not believe in grave digging to unravel the past. A wek kneed policy that brought shame to India.
Antony may be what he is but certainly not to be compared with the personality of Mark Antony of Rome and Cleopatra fame. One need not worry in New Delhi now. As members of the Indian delegation are Lt General Dalbir Singh, an Army Commander slated to be Army Chief in due course of time, and,of course, Admiral Kohli already nominated to be the next Chief of the Naval Staff. These two Chief material officers know how to stand their ground in a discussion on military strategy and not allow the Chinese generals to have the upper hand. India in the year 2013 is much different from India of 1962 that the PLA of China had defeated in NEFA, now Arunachal Pradesh. Even then Ladakh was a different story. More about that on a later date and not now.
Suffice it to say that the Indian troops in 1962 were ill clad, ill armed and ill trained for mountain warfare. There was more politics practiced in the corridors of power and the Army Headquarters than military strategy. The situation is so different now that the Chinese generals would not like to launch a probing action and burn their fingers. Just issuing a public statement warning Indian generals to desist from war mongering would be good enough for the time being. Nevertheless India must not lower its guards and must be ever ready to go to war. Prepare for war and look for Peace to enjoy life.
In the diplomacy of today we meet diplomats and strategists of every nation and say, Good Morning with a smile. Even when armies have moved forward and stand deployed in the battle zone in battle order, never lose a chance to negotiate Peace. We all know that Peace brings Prosperity but war brings destruction and devastation. However, to talk to enemy, we must know the enemy. Let us assume for a moment that the Chinese nation would be India’s adversary, if not a declared enemy. With a view to dealing with the adversary effectively, a thorough knowledge of his culture, language, people at large and behavior of common man or average citizenry in war and peace is an absolute must. Lack of knowledge about the enemy may be suicidal. So, before knowing yourself and your allies, make an endeavour to know the enemy.
The Chinese are an enigmatic people. Everything in China is an enigma. One has to understand nuances of a particular question or reference made before answering it. It does not matter if answering a query takes time; take your time but understand it well before answering it. It is said that the Chinese diplomats and leaders are, generally speaking, non-committal even on issues of normal conversation, what to say of matters military and issues of international diplomacy. If you meet a Chinese person in the morning and after saying Good Morning, just ask him, out of courtesy, how is the weather today?, he will look up and down, look at your face and just smile rather than committing about the state of weather. No wonder it takes a lot of time in discussing an issue of international diplomacy and preparing a document for signature of political or military representatives of both India and China.
The present delegation of India in China knows how to stand firm and not yield ground to wily opponents. The Indian delegation comprises of seasoned army and navy officers who know what is what and are not to cower before an empty threat of a Major General of the People’s Liberation Army. Indeed we know very well that even innocuous statements issued for public consumption or just for the crowd back home, are read, scrutinized and cleared by the Intelligence people and accorded political approval before being used.
In the present case, the Chinese leaders wished to assess the reaction of an average citizen in the cosmopolitan cities before proceeding further. Now they know that India of today is different and must not be put to test by firing paraflares. Our compatriots must rest assured that there is no imminent danger of a shooting war and normal life should go on.
Let there be business as usual.

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