In the Oval Office of POTUS in White House, Trump approved the recommendations put forth by Robert O’Brien -the National Security Advisor of United States regarding Chinese threat emanating to US Interests in South & South East Asia. Mike Pompeo the US Secretary of State said,” US WOULD BE SHIFTING MILITARY TO FACE CHINESE THREAT TO INDIA, SOUTH & SOUTHEAST ASIA. WE ARE GOING TO MAKE SURE WE ARE POSTURED APPROPRIATELY TO COUNTER THE PEOPLES REPUBLICAN ARMY (PLA). WE THINK THAT THIS IS THE CHALLENGE OF OUR TIME & WE ARE GOING TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE RESOURCES IN PLACE TO DO THAT”.

Mike attributed the movement of Forces out of North Atlantic Alliance to be positioned in Diego Garcia to be readily available to counter Chinese threats in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines & South China Sea. Keeping this threat perception in view, the resources that could be employed would be Air Power, Intelligence, Navy, Marines & other allocations of Security Apparatus. A dire need was voiced to table a US European Conference at the earliest so that the Chinese threat & it’s manifestation could be understood & studied in details.

A look at the 59th quadrennial US Presidential Election. US Voters will select presidential electors who in turn will vote on 14 December 2020, to either elect a new President & Vice President or re-elect the incumbents Donald Trump & Mike Pence respectively. Donald Trump who took office on 20 January 2017 began his re-election campaign usually early for an incumbent President.

Now, let us analyze the above call by Trump. Is he driven by election goals as he, of late, has started ramping up anti-China rhetoric – talking of Force Deployment in Diego Garcia? We all know that Trump is unpredictable. So, one thing is for sure that Trump & his cronies would continue a lot of such rhetoric for the next 3-4 months to garner votes.

Diego Garcia is a part of British Indian Ocean Territories (BIOT) with US Military Base CAMP JUSTICE located in a coral atoll in Central Indian Ocean 1910 miles off East Coast of Tanzania & 1360 miles from the southernmost tip of India. Located South of Equator, there are 60 small islands that are around it. It is a LaunchPad for Expeditionary Forces. It has two parallel 3750 Metres long all-weather runways, a number of anchorages, enough hangers, a deep-sea pier with adequate port facilities for large naval vessels. In addition, it is reported to have 1,35,000 Barrels of Fuel Storage Space & adequate lodging & boarding conveniences for thousands of Soldiers & miscellaneous staff. With a US Base strength of 4000-4500 at present, about 10,000 more Men from Atlantic Organisation may build up here.

PLA Bases are expanding in Djibouti, Western Indian Ocean & Gwadar. China has also got port facilities in Myanmar, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka. India does not support US Operations in the Persian Gulf because of good relations with Iran-an arch-enemy of the US. Besides, the Indian Navy does not want to operate in waters where the Pakistan Naval alliance exists.

While India must plan joint strategy with Washington to operate in Western Indian Ocean & littoral South Asia, it may mean giving each other matching concessions while aligning with the US in Arabian & Indian Ocean. In any case, there exists a Bilateral Agreement between the US Navy & Indian Navy that the former can make use of all Indian Port Facilities including deep seaports.

India has no presence East of Malacca Straits & unless it acts in concert with US, Vietnam & Japan in Pacific littoral, the Indian Navy cannot hope to fight PLA Navy (PLAN) on its own in China’s backyard. It is here that the US may ask for use of port facilities in & around the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This should be no problem.

Most Chinese oil shipments, container vessels & bulk cargo traffic pass South of Malacca Straits. The other Choke Points to stifle China’s maritime traffic is by cutting off its Sea Lines Of Communications (SLOC) near the Persian Gulf & in South of Dondra, Sri Lanka. Indian Navy today is well poised & is fully competent to stifle Chinese maritime traffic should the circumstances so dictate, & at the same time, carry out aggressive patrolling – thus keeping a check on Chinese naval reinforcements.

Reverting back to Ladakh Sector Stand-off. From the past US track record, one finds the US confining herself to mere rhetoric. It has not given proof of any direct help to India. It may be recalled that all Arms, Arsenals, Equipment & Accoutrements supplied to Pakistan by the US were used against India in 1965 & 1971 Indo-Pak Wars. China had issued an Ultimatum to India in 1965.US had simply glossed over it.

However, today things are different. While it may be neither practical nor feasible to help Indian Forces on the ground, US could always provide credible help by bolstering much needed latest Long Range Maritime Aircrafts like Boeing P-8 P, Arms & Special Equipment, Satellite Facilities, Intelligence Networks & offer straightway – whatever is demanded by India. This would be the real acid test of a strategic relationship between the two largest democracies of the world.

The little understanding that was reached between India & China in the last 30 years stands totally ruined today by the CHINESE DADAGIRI & DOMINEERING with utter disregard for International Law. The entire world remains a mute spectator to the Ethnocentric Behavioural Pattern & Sino Centrism of China under Xi Jinping- a self-appointed Supreme Leader for life – dreaming of Global leadership by hook or crook like a Stalin.

Indian Forces are well firmed in the Western, Central & Eastern Sectors of the Sino-Indian Border.No one wants a War but a country like India can no longer tolerate Dragon’s brinkmanship & bulldozing. Indian Troops are fully acclimatized & motivated to fight the aggressor. It is beyond comprehension to understand reasons for China’s arrogant behavior like this -especially when COVID-19 is pandemic & when they are not in a good shape internally; also as they are passing through a bad & critical phase. Does China want to divert the attention of its masses from the country’s Failures!

Anyway, let us not speculate too much about China. What we have to do now is to prepare ourself fully, & at all times, on land, air, water & cyberspace to meet successfully any challenge posed by a conceited & treacherous enemy. Simultaneously, a long term National Strategy & a continuing diplomatic offensive all over the world exposing China has to be carved out with particular reference to United
Nations. The entire world is witnessing an irrational & rogue China that has no scruples.

At the same time, a strong school of thought is gaining currency. While Xi Jinping wants China to become the most dominant World Power by 2029, there is also a feeling that China may meet the fate of the USSR & fragment into smaller nations!

Come what may, it is India alone that shall have to fight her own battle against China – expecting no outside support – yet build stronger deterrence to deal with Xi Jinping. MORAL SUPPORT FROM FRIENDLY COUNTRIES- YES. Tremendous goodwill of the majority of countries of the world supports the moral righteousness of her cause, culture, traditions, values, line of thought, principled approach & right stand.

Let us not forget that in the ultimate analysis, the SINO-INDIAN BORDER IIMBROGLIO HAS TO BE SETTLED BILATERALLY!

Dr. Mohan Bhandari

Let. Gen. (Dr) Mohan Bhandari, also known as the Thinking General, was born in August 1946. A veteran of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the general has spent a number of years combating counter-insurgency/terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir and various other parts of the country.

He is the proud recipient of three Presidential awards presented for his exceptional services to the nation. He was the Indian Army’s face for both print and electronic media.

The general is a rare mix of a successful soldier, erudite scholar, a powerful orator, a prolific writer, and a gifted painter. At present, he is a visiting faculty member at the Academic Staff Colleges of the UGC, universities, and schools of instructions.

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