New Delhi: China’s game plan for the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control with India in Ladakh will include a combination of pressure, deception, disinformation and continuation of its long-term expansionist policies.
This was deduced by the Delhi Policy Group (DPG), one of India’s oldest think tanks on strategic and international issues of critical national interest, from the statements from a series of meetings between senior Army commanders, foreign ministers and ministries and the special representatives on the border question of the two countries.
In his paper on ‘China’s post-Galwan Posture’, former ambassador Nalin Surie, distinguished fellow for diplomacy at DPG, said that over six weeks after the brutal, unprovoked, illegal and fatal attack by Chinese troops on Indian soldiers in East Ladakh, the situation there remains tense and fragile.
“Chinese obduracy has ensured that the rebuilding of confidence, let alone trust, in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is in serious doubt,” he said.
India and China have made no headway in de-escalation in the Pangong Tso lake region of Ladakh, where both sides have built up forces and are preparing to dig in for the long haul.
Surie in his paper said that the “Chinese game plan to extricate itself from a situation of its own creation which has won it no friends except Pakistan” would contain “a mix of pressure, deception, disinformation and not having to abandon its long term and long held objectives”.
The former diplomat predicted that Beijing will insist that it is on its own territory and defend its position at all cost while accusing Indian troops of being the aggressors.
China will also insist that India should compromise its position and “meet the Chinese side halfway”, Surie said.
The third line of attack, Surie said, will be to repeatedly “warn India not to misjudge or make a strategic calculation of the current situation and not underestimate China’s firm determination to safeguard its territorial sovereignty”.
The Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong warned of this on July 10, and reiterated his advice at a public forum in New Delhi on July 30.
China has concerns at the growing congruence of interests in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region between India and the US and other QUAD countries, particularly post the Chinese attacks in East Ladakh, the DPG paper said.
Besides, the growing distrust between the Trump administration and China, Beijing may also be worried about Russia’s neutrality.
As a result, Surie said that the Chinese will also put pressure on New Delhi by claiming that India will greatly suffer from economic decoupling.
“India’s decisions on Chinese Apps, Chinese tenders for projects and investments in India have undoubtedly caused considerable disquiet. Given the state of the world economy and the future prognosis, loss of one of the largest and fast growing markets in the world is not going to be easily digested by China,” the former Ambassador said.
Part of China’s response will be to strengthen its economic assistance and cooperation with our neighbours and other economic partners, Surie said.
Incidentally, the Chinese embassy in New Delhi threatened Strat News Global, an independent media portal of “severe consquences” if it did not “delete a video” comparing Xi Jinping with the Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler.
Strat News Global founder and editor-in-chief Nitin Gokhale revealed this on Twitter, confirming Surie’s analysis that China will use pressure, deception and disinformation in the long haul with India.