O, what a tangled web we weave,

When first we practice to deceive!

- Walter Scott

Dragon today is deploying heavily opposite India with particular reference to Ladakh, Sikkim & Arunachal Pradesh. Its hostile & aggressive actions in Pacific Ocean Region, South China Sea & Senkaku Islands besides creating problems for all its neighbors reflect its mindset of a bully. In this piece, we shall focus upon India & Taiwan only.

China invaded and occupied Tibet in 1950. After the Chinese aggression on India in 1962, more than two scores of Border Talks have taken place between both countries but China continues to change goalposts in every talk, in so far as, its perception of Alignment of the Border is concerned. This typical expansionist ethnocentric behavioral pattern of the Dragon is characteristic of its utter disregard for civility & International Law. Even the 13th Round of Corps Commander level talks between the Indian Army & PLA held on 10 October 2021 has not yielded any output except the display of the obfuscating mindset of the Chinese.

India's map and the extent of Indian territories China actually possesses are worth taking note of. With Aksai Chin & Shaksgham Valley with China & Northern Areas & POK with Pakistan – all illegally possessed, the Northern head of India has almost become triangular. Out of a total area of J & K comprising 22, 22362 Sq Kms, 1, 20,849 Sq Kms of the area is under illegal possession of both Pakistan & China. Pakistan is illegally holding on to 78,114 sq km of Indian territory whereas China has in its possession an area of 37,555 sq km illegally occupied in Aksai Chin. Besides, Pakistan had illegally handed over an area measuring 5180 Sq Kms (Shaksgam Valley of J & K)) to China in 1963.

And now, China claims the whole of Arunachal Pradesh (90,000 Sq Kms) calling it Southern Tibet. Also, another sinister act of China has come to light as it has changed its maps of Arunachal Pradesh in 1959 & renamed places around Tawang.


It may be recalled that in May 2020, China had once again surreptitiously entered Eastern Ladakh in force and raised claims over undefined parts of territory under Indian control. China's intention is not to exchange maps and specifying its perception of the boundary with India is a clear case of deceitful opportunism.

Zheng - a Professor at the China University of Geo-Sciences in Beijing and the lead scientist for a Beijing-funded Northern Himalayan minerals survey avers that mineral belt lying deep underground in Shannan (Lhuntze) opposite Arunachal Pradesh and the nearby area's values approximately 370 billion yuan (US$58 billion).

It may be recalled that since May 2020 Chinese and Indian troops are engaged in aggressive face-offs since May 05, 2020, at locations along the Sino-Indian border in Eastern Ladakh near the disputed parts of the Pangong Lake, Depsang Valley, and at North Sikkim near the border between Sikkim and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

While China has built an extensive network of roads and infrastructure in the disputed territory, it has objected to India's construction of the Durbok- Shyok- Daulat Beg Oldie road meant to maintain troops deployed in Eastern Ladakh.

After annexing Tibet, China constructed Chinese National Highway G- 219, connecting Xinjiang with Tibet through Aksai Chin which China claims as its territory. By claiming India's Ladakh region in India's Western Sector, China seeks to provide depth and contiguity to Shaksgam Valley- an area illegally ceded by Pakistan to China. By occupying Ladakh, China intends to provide security and ensure unhindered movement through Gilgit- Baltistan – a part of the Indian territory of J&K.

We now shift the scene to Taiwan where China is presently engaged in a Shadow-Boxing with massive air violations of Taiwanese airspace. Similar to what China is doing on the Indian Borders, a repeat of this may soon transform into an escalation of this 'Shadowboxing' to heavy deployments opposite Taiwan in a bid to capture it. Xi has openly threatened Taiwan. Once a Dutch colony, Taiwan was annexed by China in 1683 but was lost to Japan more than 200 years later in 1895.

Population pressures and natural disasters led to a number of rebellions from 1850-1901. The situation culminated in the collapse of the Qing dynasty in the 1911 Revolution and the beginning of a weak republic governed by the Nationalist Party, alongside a number of competing warlords. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) founded in 1921 was another challenger to power. The warlord period continued until the Japanese invasion in 1937 and the ensuing World War II.

After Japan's defeat in World War II, China assumed control of Taiwan. The defeat of Japan led to a civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists. The Communists, with most peasants in their rank and file, were able to prevail and establish the People Republic of China (PRC) and the Nationalists had to move out to Taiwan and establish the Republic of China (ROC).

China (PRC) continued to claim Taiwan (ROC) as its own territory. ROC, which did not want to give up its status of being the true representative of China, continued to represent China in the United Nations but a setback was delivered by the United Nations in 1971 by recognizing PRC. Taiwan, which prospered under the ROC, chose to establish a multiparty democracy in the early 1990s.

Focusing more on growth than on contention, Taiwan thereafter chose to water down its claim on China. Taiwan, then ruled by Kuomintang (KMT) Party, chose to enter into an agreement with Beijing which is known as the 1992 Consensus. Through this Consensus, Taiwan focused on working closely with Beijing. This helped Taiwan's economic interests as Beijing had launched its Four Modernization programs in 1978 covering areas of agriculture, industry, defence, and science, which in turn, created an increased demand for goods manufactured in Taiwan.

While KMT continued to state ROC as the true representative of China, foolishly, it did not support Taiwan's independence. It accepted that the one-China principle with different definitions by the two sides was in the interest of governance and trade. Beijing has seized on this vague position of KMT and cites the 1992 Consensus as acceptance of one China under the PRC. The rival Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) does not, however, support the 1992 consensus. It first came to power in 2000 but lost to KMT in 2008. It made a comeback in 2016 under its Madam Chairperson, Tsai Ing-wen.

As the President of the Republic of China, Tsai has provided a new assertive voice to Taiwan's identity. Her unprecedented call with then US President-elect Donald Trump in 2016 raised many eyebrows in Beijing. She has refused to accept the 1992 Consensus and declared to Beijing's exasperation that she would safeguard the sovereignty and territory of the Republic of China. Tsai stated that she would "conduct cross-strait affairs in accordance with the Republic of China Constitution, the Act Governing Relations between the People of Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, and other relevant legislation."These developments led to Beijing closing contact with Taiwan and adopting an openly belligerent attitude and threatening military maneuvers.

The United States has so far acknowledged the one-China principle with PRC as the sole legal government of China and Taiwan a part of China. The US maintains trade and cultural ties with Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). Though the US demonstrates through its interests and maneuvers in the South China Sea that it maintains the capability to assist Taiwan in a military conflict there is no agreement or declaration to that effect. However, in the last five years, the US has sold over $18 billion worth of military hardware to Taiwan and eased restrictions on its officials from interacting with Taiwanese counterparts.

The strategic cooperation between the US, Australia, Japan, and India in the form of QUAD (The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) established in 2007 went dormant but was reestablished in 2017. This alliance has been quite worrisome for China because of its capability to counter China's expansionist moves in the Pacific and the South China Sea including thwarting China's effort to forcibly capture Taiwan. On the occasion of the 100th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party in July this year, Xi Jinping made a very aggressive speech stating "Solving the Taiwan question and realizing the complete reunification of the motherland are the unswerving historical tasks of the Chinese Communist Party and the common aspiration of all Chinese people."Taiwan denounced this speech and called China to abandon military intimidation and embrace democracy.

While China continued to cow down Taiwan through verbal Tai chi (shadowboxing), a new surprise development happened on 15 September when the US announced the formation of AUKUS, a trilateral security pact between the US, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The pact opened doors for Australia being helped to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. This came as a serious blow to China's growing aspirations. To assert itself further, China chose its National Day on 01 October to fly its fighter jets and bombers over Taiwan's Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ). ADIZ is a buffer space outside any country's airspace. These incursions created an alarming situation for Taiwan as it doesn't have the capability to match China's might.

China has boundary disputes with almost every neighboring country, viz, Russia, India, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, North Korea, South Korea, Bhutan & Nepal. These disputes are an impulse by an expansionist China, unduly seeking hegemony over lands & waters of sovereign nations. Similarly, it has also self-instigated maritime disputes in every other country in the South China Sea including Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.

What does the Dragon want? Will the world tolerate this 'Dadagiri' & remain a mute spectator! It is high time that all civilized Nation States get together & thwart the evil, wicked & criminal designs of the Dragon before it is too late.

And remember-

"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are"

- G.B.Shaw.

Dr. Mohan Bhandari

Lt. 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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