[Diplomacy] India China Power equation, factors and the future ahead

Diplomacy50 Comments

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  1. Similarities: India China
  2. Factor against India
    1. China’s GDP is higher
    2. Proxy aggression
    3. Pakistani Angle
    4. Control over Border Regions
    5. Cyber domain.
  3. Factors against China
    1. #1: Enemy of Enemy is our friend
    2. #2: China’s vulnerability in Indian Ocean
    3. #3: India’s Soft Power
    4. #4: Military technology
    5. #5: India’s economic position vs Chinese Saturation
  4. #6: Demographic dividend
  5. China as World’s Superpower
  6. What should India do to counter China?
  7. Conclusion

Here goes some fodder material for descriptive/Essay/Interview questions on Indo-China.

Similarities: India & China

  • In the 1950s, India and China were weak developing countries.
  • Today, China is the world’s second-largest economy and India is in the top ten.
  • Both have nuclear weapons + huge military.

But there are many factors, which put these two nations on unequal grounds:

Factor against India

let’s first check where China is better than India?
China’s GDP is higher

  • In 1970, India had a higher GDP than China, But Today, China’s GDP is four times that of India’s, and the ratio is still increasing.
  • By almost any measure, China is more developed than India. Because In addition to its GDP, only a small percent of China’s people live in poverty,
  • China has made a far greater effort to educate  its citizens than India.
  • The access to electricity and the Internet are all higher in China.
  • Statistical projections suggest that China’s GDP, could equal that of the US by 2030.
  • While India just tried to be ahead of Pakistan in term of Defense technology, China has sought to counter the United States’ military power. That’s why China has made greater investments in military power, both conventional (Tanks and missiles) and unconventional (cyber attacks).
  • US is facing economic downturn and unemployment. Therefore Obama administration has reduced the defense expenditure.
  • Right now, China has unquestioned military superiority over India and if situation continues to be bad in USA’s economy then Chinese military will become even more advanced and high tech than USA’s.
  • Apart from these things, China is a permanent member of UN security council (UNSC) and thus enjoys the veto power.
  • China has a major voice in the international system, especially in economic and financial matters- compared to India
  • All of these make China a formidable antagonist for India, if the status quo is maintained.

Proxy aggression

  • China tilts towards Pakistan in its dispute with India over Kashmir. China has supported the rebel movements in India’s Northeast and red corridor.
  • China is assertive (and at times aggressive) about its claim on the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Chinese military deployments across the disputed border are much, much greater than India’s.

Pakistani Angle

  • Pakistan is India’s permanent security headache.
  • Pakistan has long received Chinese support, ensuring that India’s attention is diverted away from China.
  • Pakistan is providing China with a friendly route to the Energy rich Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Control over Border Regions

  • China has an ambitious forward policy towards controlling Tibet and Xinjiang.
  • While India prefers to maintain status quo for issues on Kashmir and North East.
  • China has done an impressive job promoting economic integration and infrastructure both in Tibet and Xinjiang
  • India has failed to bring economic prosperity, internal security and reasonable governance in Kashmir and North East.
  • In fact Delhi is struggling to provide, 50 years later, basic road connectivity to its frontier regions.

Cyber Warfare

  • In Information and Technology, India has a globally competitive industry and a deep pool of talent.
  • But it has not been used for notorious purposes like China does :hacking gmail accounts of Dalai Lama and foreign ambassadors, hacking and deleting websites of Tibetian activists etc.
  • Cyber warfare, communication blockade, internet censorship (in an event of war), Chinese capacity are better than ours.

Factors against China

#1: Enemy of Enemy is our friend

  • Chinese relations with the US have entered a difficult phase.
  • China is engaged in maritime territorial disputes with Japan [Recall the earlier article on Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, CLICK ME]
  • China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea have caused deep resentment in Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and so on.
  • And with all these countries, we have good bilateral relations.
  • Therefore, the present international power play is arguably to India’s advantage.

#2: China’s vulnerability in Indian Ocean

  • China’s goods and oil cargos pass through Indian Ocean, over which over Navy has formidable presence. (Observe Strait of Malacca in above map).
  • Therefore, unless China is 100% sure of a full military and psychological victory over India, it would have no use for a military attack.
  • And hence the possibilities of a Chinese offensive in the high Himalayas are considered remote.
  • Besides, the increased Indo-China trade and economic relations are a deterrent to belligerence (Aggressiveness) because those who trade heavily do not usually trade blows.

#3: India’s Soft Power

  • India has a history of largely positive relations with Himalayan neighbours, the central Asian states and Russia (the two notable exceptions of China and Pakistan).
  • China, by contrast, has a history of border disputes and outright war with many of its continental neighbours, from Russia to Vietnam.
  • The growth nationalism in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.  They’re becoming more assertive when dealing with China.
  • Therefore, China’s access to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, is blocked by a network of democracies from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore.
  • India’s rise, by contrast, is not perceived as a threat by other east and southeast Asian states.

#4: Military technology

  • India has no offensive capacity (or doctrine) while China has ample ability to go on the offensive – as it showed in 1962.
  • But the Chinese also know that India’s defensive capacity along the border is more than adequate.
  • Precision strike weapons (guided missiles etc) cost US $500,000 a round in 1990. They cost $10,000 or less today.
  • It means the price of precision strike weapons has been coming down, and their reliability, range and damage-power has been increasing.
  • During war, Use of such Precision strike weapons favor countries with defensive strategies (India).

#5: India’s economic position

  • Economic growth is easier when you are catching up to richer countries.  Because there is a world of foreign technology and business practices for you to acquire and use to increase your productivity rapidly.
  • But After a few decades of catching up, you have taken advantage of most foreign know-how. At that point, economic growth would require you to invent your own technology.
  • This means slower growth in productivity
  • China is perhaps 25 years ahead of India in its economic development, which means that it is 25 years closer to hitting these limits.
  • So India’s potential rate of growth going forward is higher.
  • When we combine this with demography, it is possible for India’s GDP to overtake China in the future.

#6: Demographic dividend

  • Within a few decades, the Chinese labour force will shrink (because of their one child policy) and thus China’s internal consumer demand = reduced..
  • supply of young Chinese people in rural areas who can move into manufacturing jobs = reduced
  • Thus China’s GDP will start declining.
  • But India faces no such demographic crunches.
  • If we pour more money in  vocational skill training, then we’ll have a young, productive and growing labour force = higher GDP in future.

Food for thought

  • It is said that in the coming years, China will replace US as the world super power. However last major power transition from Britain to the US (After World War II) helped India achieve independence.
  • So let’s consider for a moment, what will happen to India, If and when there is power transition from US to China

China as World’s Superpower

  • After the death of the Dalai Lama, China could pressure for India to shut down all Tibetan political activity in India and to force the Tibetan government-in-exile into further exile outside India.
  • Tibetan refugees in India would be asked to take Indian citizenship or to leave India.
  • Unlike the 1962 war, a future military clash may not be restricted to land warfare at the border — instead, we may see a more dispersed set of strikes with precision weapons that disable Indian capabilities as well as cyber attacks.
  • China would also be likely to bring to bear financial pressure on India, using economic warfare levers via high levels of investment and trade.
  • China could armtwist/buy the Politically and Financially weak regimes surrounding India (Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal)  and build permanent military bases there. Just like US did in Middle East and Central Asia.
  • Similarly, China could soon enjoy a permanent and relatively inexpensive naval presence in the Indian Ocean via naval bases in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives etc.
  • And then, China might end up controlling Tawang, which Chinese officials currently refer to as part of “south Tibet” (along with the rest of Arunachal Pradesh)
  • If in future, another 26/11 terror attack happens in india, and India decides to launch military strike against Pakistan, then China would be in a position to pressure India into an unfavourable settlement or ceasefire.
  • China would then silence Indian free speech on internet and in international platforms (UN etc), via combination of diplomatic and economic pressure, and Chinese cyber Attacks.
  • Ultimately, it might result in a kind of “Finlandisation” of India, according to which Indian leaders would make regular pilgrimages (visits) to China to “co-ordinate” and seek approval of Chinese leaders, on all major international questions even at the cost of Indian national interests.

Well then Good grief, China is not the world power! But then the question is:

What should India do to counter China?

  • When we invest money in military or medical research or child education, it’d determine what capabilities we will have 20 years hence. But unfortunately the current political environment: policies are oriented more towards short term electoral benefits.
  • The foremost task for India is to maximise its potential national power by maximising its economic growth & demographic dividend, reducing poverty, enhancing social peace and securing international peace.
  • Adopt an anti-access, area denial strategy in Tibet, where China is dependent on a limited number of roads, rail lines and runways.
  • India should cooperate more actively with other Asian countries to make it harder for Chinese naval power to operate in the Indian Ocean.
  • India must fix its cyber vulnerabilities, Government websites and communication system — this is a problem more in need of attention than large sums of money (by the standards of military spending).
  • Compared with India’s, Chinese military hardware costs are lower because they typically involve domestic production. Therefore, India should increase the spending on Research and Development for Domestic production of military hardwares.
  • Chinese military strategic doctrine emphasises speed and surprise and thus Indian counter doctrine should emphasise paranoia and flexibility.
  • Tactically speaking a mountainous border is good terrain to Indian army to defend, but it still leaves room for strategic surprises — for instance, a Chinese attack through Bhutan.
  • Ideally, India’s military should constantly think through such novel scenarios and fine tune the deployment accordingly.

Conclusion

  • We must of course engage, economically and culturally with China to better our relationships.
  • But China’s geopolitical interests are fundamentally adversarial to India’s. China is a nation with definite views on the international order and border Issues, which will prevent it from becoming India’s most trusted ally.
  • The gap between Chinese and Indian power is much less than previous decades, but there is no room for complacency.
  • Moreover, the costs of adopting preventive measures are much lower than the costs of inviting Chinese aggression by failing to compete.
  • Therefore, it would be irresponsible for India not to take steps to ensure that China thinks twice before challenging the status quo in relationship.

Update: Contribution from Mr. Vijay Ravi Srikanth

Bitterness in Indo-China relations because

  1. Recent evidence to understand China’s aggression :denial of visas to kashmiris and residents of Arunachal stating that they are integral parts of china(given special type of visas).
  2. South china sea dispute(recently warned against India- Vietnam’s oil exploration pact).
  3. China Voiced against our President’s visit to Arunachal.
  4. Rapidly developing infrastructure and Highways at Borders and new deployments(photographic evidence from NASA’s satellites).
  5. increasing ties with Pakistan(Chashma nuclear reactors, Paksat launching, string of pearls policy) f.India’s ship has been taken into its custody and released soon after some questionnaire saying that We had violated the international maritime laws in south China sea(India denied ) f.constructing dam with no prior consultation with India on Brahmaputra in Tibet(Zangmu project).
  6. g.negotiations started with Bhutan and Nepal regarding strengthening of ties and military bases.

China is facing internal problems

  1. no democracy, nearly a million protests in previous year, strict laws of inheritence- growing dissatisfaction, resurgent movements and separatist movements(Uyghurs, Xinziang, Shanghai, Taiwan).
  2. a million protests is not a simple issue as any protest is nothing but a simple and visible tip of ice berg- i mean a great amount of dissatisfaction among people.no country can concentrate on external issues without improving internal problems.
  3. recent India China developments- joint consultative mechanism, SHADE(shared Deconfliction- first military development of its kind between India and China)
  4. India’s recent developments in military issues Dassault Raffale deal, INS sahyadri, Shiwalik, Satpura, Agni 5, Arihant(nuclear),INS Vikramaditya , Ins vikrant(under construction) and pacts like GLONASS, process initiated to launch one more new naval base at Kolkata(preparedness towards China’s string of pearls policy. regular military exercises-with France and Germany, exercise in Rajastan….many others malabar exercises(all these happened in recent past- a year)
  5. china’s one child policy may show a negative impact on its future but it is only up to 2 to 3 decades. After that it would be more advantageous to it.
  6. our missiles and nuclear power may deter war but once the war is broken out, out of unforeseen accidents it causes huge losses to us.
  7. Today India- China trade value is nearly $70 billion. so huge. and so it is a crucial time to diversify our markets to avoid dependence on China by strengthening our economy.(otherwise it can create inflation in our country during war times because of huge mismatch in bilateral trade balance)
  8. It is time to strengthen our systems to cope up the situation. we have to focus on long term issues also(education, research, diplomacy, new markets and trade….)

Ref:

  1. Various editorials on IndianExpress
  2. http://econintersect.com/b2evolution/blog3.php/2012/08/30/investing-bets-china-and-or-india
  3. The India-China Rivalry by Robert D. Kaplan map republished with permission of Stratfor.”

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha


So far 50 Comments posted

  1. Chandan

    Beautiful…!!

  2. puneet

    very nice.:)

  3. Dinesh

    Hi,
    Great job , Classy….

  4. kp

    Mrunal plzz come up with an article on “Arab Spring”. I would be very thankful to you.

  5. AK

    Awesome! Please write an article on Khap Panchayats and COP 11 CBD.

  6. DHARMADIP

    VERY NICE, THANK YOU

  7. parmod kumar

    logical… effective…

  8. parmod kumar

    thanku…….

  9. Abhishek Singh

    thank you sir, I was waiting for india-china article for long time.
    nice blog sir

  10. bharat

    thanks……………lots helping ………….i want to add 1 point
    china now trying to fail our TAPI pipeline by putting alternative proposal to Turkmenistan >>>>>trying to cut india oil and mineral supply

  11. vijay ravi srikanth

    hi dear Mrunal
    this is an excellent article
    i would like to add some more points to this
    1.recent evidence to understand China’s aggression
    a.denial of visas to kashmiris and residents of Arunachal stating that they are integral parts of china(given special type of visas).
    b.south china sea dispute(recently warned against India- Vietnam’s oil exploration pact).
    c.voiced against our President’s visit to Arunachal.
    d.rapidly developing infrastructure and Highways at Borders and new deployments(photographic evidence from NASA’s satellites).
    e.increasing ties with Pakistan(Chashma nuclear reactors, Paksat launching, string of pearls policy)
    f.India’s ship has been taken into its custody and released soon after some questionnaire saying that We had violated the international maritime laws in south China sea(India denied )
    f.constructing dam with no prior consultation with India on Brahmaputra in Tibet(Zangmu project).
    g.negotiations started with Bhutan and Nepal regarding strengthening of ties and military bases.

    2. china is facing internal problems
    no democracy, nearly a million protests in previous year, strict laws of inheritence- growing dissatisfaction, resurgent movements and separatist movements(Uyghurs, Xinziang, Shanghai, Taiwan).
    a million protests is not a simple issue as any protest is nothing but a simple and visible tip of ice berg- i mean a great amount of dissatisfaction among people.no country can concentrate on external issues without improving internal problems.

    3. recent India China developments- joint consultative mechanism, SHADE(shared Deconfliction- first military development of its kind between India and China)

    4.India’s recent developments in military issues
    Dassault Raffale deal, INS sahyadri, Shiwalik, Satpura, Agni 5, Arihant(nuclear),INS Vikramaditya , Ins vikrant(under construction) and pacts like GLONASS, process initiated to launch one more new naval base at Kolkata(preparedness towards China’s string of pearls policy. regular military exercises-with France and Germany, exercise in Rajastan….many others malabar exercises(all these happened in recent past- a year)

    5.china’s one child policy may show a negative impact on its future but it is only up to 2 to 3 decades. After that it would be more advantageous to it.

    6. our missiles and nuclear power may deter war but once the war is broken out, out of unforeseen accidents it causes huge losses to us.

    7.today India- China trade value is nearly $70 billion. so huge. and so it is a crucial time to diversify our markets to avoid dependence on China by strengthening our economy.(otherwise it can create inflation in our country during war times because of huge mismatch in bilateral trade balance)

    It is time to strengthen our systems to cope up the situation as u have told. we have to focus on long term issues also(education, research, diplomacy, new markets and trade….) as you have concluded

    1. Reverie

      Thankyou for sharing the additional points !

      1. Vijay ravi srikanth

        Good luck….i’m also preparing for exam. Please share valuale articles with me. I too can do it. Civilsdocuments@gmail.com

        1. Reverie

          My prep is not going so well but I’ll share when I have something. What are your optionals ? Mine are Pub ad and Psychology.

  12. manoj bhandari

    china’s own policies will destroy him.. china will never become a world ruler like USA , becoz his own people esp. uigyur region and xinjiang region are very angry with step mother behave of chinese govt. towards them. so growth of china and his foreign policy will never destroy india. world is appreciatin india’s growth but fearing with china’s growth.. this shows we are at stronger side not china…

    1. saurabh

      really? are people of india united? give me one thing that’s in india’s favour!
      1. corrupt administration and govt., u and me can try to improve it but wont be able to completely overhaul it in just few years.
      2. peoples fighting over religion
      3. within religions, fights over caste.
      4. everyone is so happy to declare himself as backward somehow so that he/she can get the reservation(easy way out) to get prosperous.
      5. poor decision making at political level and that trickles down to administrative level.
      6. 30% population spending less than 28 rs per day, several states suffering from left wing extremism, others from hindu muslim divide, and still others from caste bias, bonded labour, unemployment.

      finally, western nations are by far supporting india only in speeches, what have they done actually to substantiate that support?
      did they work on UNSC reforms?
      did they pressurize pakistan over kashmir issue?
      they are using india as a runaway option in case china roars and because of huge indian american community. they aint doing anything against india but neither for india that could be mentioned as preferable treatment over china.

  13. chandu

    While India just tried to be ahead of Pakistan in term of Defense technology, China has sought to counter the United States’ military power. It shows where india is.It is better to have perfect Dictatorship(Like china) than having incompetent Democracy(Like India).But in exams one can not belittle india like this.
    Its very good article,I want all of my civils and groups material in your style.(Mrunalism)
    Thank you.

  14. munny

    Hi Sir, thank you for the information.
    I couldn’t get clear view on the point #5: India’s economic position ,could you please help me with little explanation

    1. Srinu

      #5 India’s economic position
      1. It is good to have economic relations with developed(richer)countries at the initial stages of our development. It helps us to increase our technlogy =productivity also increases.
      2. After reaching some stage a country need to invent its technology to improve further=invest more on research (it takes some time to give fruits); so in this transition period there will be a less growth.
      *Demogrphy-India with majority of young generation=higher labour force=more productivity(not population ha ha).
      India is in the stage 1 so more GDP. While China is in stage 2.
      Hope this info can make the concept easy.

      1. munny

        thank you Srinu

  15. Swagat

    Two things which need correction in the article:

    1. typo: It is straits of Malacca, not straight. The graphic has it spelt correctly, but the text that follows has it wrong.

    2. The fifth point on India being able to overtake China in the near future. This may be possible if at all, in the distant future (after 3-4 decades) and no where in the near future.

    Other arguments:

    In 2003-04, Goldman Sachs came up with a report called, ‘Dreaming with the BRICs: 2050’ which was one of the first reports to coin BRIC and their rise. The report stated that while China would be the largest economy with US at number #2, India would still be behind them by a considerable margin. And all this is of course only in terms of GDP. Our per capita incomes though will be far lesser than China/US.

  16. abhinav

    mrunal, plz add article on syria and libiya, i’ll b thankful!!

  17. tsar

    amazig explanation…thaxs

  18. ashish

    “those who trade heavily do not usually trade blows.”
    exceptional.

  19. Goud

    Sir, if I read NOS material is it enough?
    then also should I read NCERT books???
    Sir please reply….

  20. Honey singh

    OMG….you nailed it so well….you rock buddy…..hats off !!

  21. Mohammad Arshad Raza

    It seems tailor-made for the exame

  22. roopal

    sir
    ur japan article of which u hav given reference is not there.kindly check.how can i get that?

      1. roopal

        thnx….nicely written!

  23. vikramaditya

    i hv qualified as GET in HPCL & SAIL.
    I need some tips from u 4 GD & INTERVIEW.

  24. SAURAV

    great job {{{{{{{ but india should took some fund. dev. for skilled base education which is ahuge lake today

  25. S. Naresh

    Mrunal plzz come up with an article on “internal security of India as leftist extremism”. and “Terrorism and its impact on India” I would be very thankful to you.

  26. chandan

    Thanks….speechless!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. vivek patil

    what is ‘poverty gap’ as mentioned in the article in the beginning ?? pls elaborate more on that…

  28. shiva krishna

    No one will respect us if we do not have power, economic, military, political…thats the only way…

  29. Ruchin

    Superb article . These articles are boosting my confidence and increasing my knowledge . Thanks Mrunal . Please elaborate this point “Adopt anti-access area denial strategy in tibet “.

  30. anupama

    mrunal sir please provide us a list of indian defence equipments like missiles,rockets,fighter helicopters ,submarine tank and missiles etc……..their names ,their functions,latest developments in them,etc………will be greatly thankful to you

    1. Mrunal

      daunting task for one person.
      i suggest you make a new thread on this person: http://mrunal.org/forum/
      contribute some from your side, others will join the team and task will be finished in no time.

  31. Pradeep

    as Vijay Ravi Srikanth mentioned that INS Vikranth is under construction, but that is not the case it is already decommissioned.
    admin plz make a note of this.
    thank you.

    1. Amit

      INS Vikrant … is under construction only.. the completion would be done be near 2017 probably…..
      INS Vikrant (HMS Hercules )that has already been decommissioned is india first aircraft carrier…..!!!!
      Same name confusion…!!!!

  32. sanjay

    nice article.useful for mains and interview. thaks mrunal sir

  33. Chandrakanta

    that was very helpful..thank u!

  34. pranesh kumar

    firstly, india is not afghanistan today so that china could chew it like US. remember USA+NATO attack on afghanistan, they are fighting till now. so it will not be a one sided war for china to defeat india. getting in complete war with india will cost china heavily and take its economy decades ago eveN if india gets defeated.INDIA HAS NOT ACQUIRED ITS WEAPONS AND WARHEADS TO KEEP IN MUSEUM.
    SECONDLY in the event of indo-chinese war with india moving towards defeat there are every possibilities of WORLD WAR-3. BECAUSE WORLD MAJORS AND OTHER ASIAN COUNTRIES WOULD NEVER DIGEST CHINA BEING SOLE CONTROLING BODY IN ASIA.
    SO CHINA DEFEATING INDIA …… FORGET IT. AND IF THEY DO SO, BOTH INDIA AND CHINA WILL BECOME VICTIMS.

  35. na

    india had a treaty wid srilanka that sri lankan land wont be used by anyother country that would effect indias security. then how come china develop port at hambantota?!

  36. Jude_Prudence

    Future Ref:

    Rodrik’s Trilemma stands the test here.
    Fodder: Krugman’s Dilemma

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