20. India’s Strategic Environment: Part Four

Moving northwards to Nepal, seen from an Indian angle, it becomes apparent that it is in a bit of a mess. Having literally shooed the erstwhile monarch out of Narayanhiti Palace and carried the Maoists into the throne room, as it were, the first thing the Maoists did was to establish a major outreach programme to Beijing, which has been waiting for precisely such an opportunity. The first thing that Prachanda did was to visit Beijing, instead of New Delhi. Subsequently, Nepali officials went by the planeload to China, by one count, as many as thirty delegations. It was not a one-way passage. Then, as New Delhiwatched open mouthed, Chinese reciprocated with return visits, and substantial aid was granted, including military. The PLA chief Chen Bingde visited, taking along with him the head of theTibetmilitary district.

Two months ago, a Chinese man who can best be described as China’s security czar, Zhou Youngkang, close to both President Hu Jintao and his putative successor, Xi Jingping, brought about five dozen high Chinese officials to Kathmandu. The highest level visit that Nepal had ever been conferred with by the Chinese in almost nine years, it set the stage for an expanded bilateral agenda with an emphasis on security matters. Narrowly viewed, it could be seen as a sign of Beijing’s intention to curb Tibetan activity but it would be naïve to look at it at anything less than a Chinese move to expand influence over Nepal and thereby exert pressure on India. After all, at one point of time, Chairman Mao is credited with pithily extending his palm which he said was Chinaand the five fingers:Sikkim,Bhutan, Ladakh, NEFA, and Nepal— territories that needed to be liberated.

Right now, it is testing the waters: it floated a $3 billion dollar proposal to develop Lumbini, where Buddha was born. If it succeeds in pushing it, the place will be swarming with Chinese engineers, the same way as Chinese engineers are swarming all overPakistan, including in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The new ambassador has spoken repeatedly about it. Add to the fact that there are already two dozen China Study Centres operating along Nepal’s porous borders with India, ostensibly to spread awareness about China’s culture, and the scene becomes pregnant with possibilities.

Says Jayadeva Ranade, a longtime China watcher formerly with the RAW, “Frankly, I would describe our relationship with China as one under strain, despite New Delhi’s efforts to keep the borders tranquil.”

Ranade has watched the Chinese increasing pressure on India from 2006 onwards with a long-term massive build-up plan across our borders and in Tibet. The Chinese are working on an extensive encirclement policy. In Pakistan, they plan to extend the Karakoram Highway all the way south to the warm waters of Gwadar, where they are helping to develop a port.

Answer the questions to the point. Do not bring in unnecessary. And no cut and paste job plese. The MODERN SLOGAN IS INNOVATE; BE ORIGINAL OR PERISH.

19 thoughts on “20. India’s Strategic Environment: Part Four

  1. Nepal is a Hindu state and lakhs of Nepalese earn their livelihood in India. But Nepal is sovereign and independent. The Nepal however feels that India plays the role of Big Brother. India feels that Nepal is exercising the power of the `Tyranny of the Weak:” Comment.

    1. Nepal has to depend on Indian sea ports for trade as it is land locked. There is also a huge trade deficit between India-Nepal. Some sections of Nepali politicians dislike Indian ‘interference’ in its domestic politics. So, the ‘Big Brother’ feeling.

      It is playing India and China against each other…using Chinese influence to bargain with India-this is the tyranny of the weak. Also, there is the issue of border security, smuggling etc.

      1. Very well put by Annesh.

        The idea that must be noted is that Nepal is attaining help from 2 important giants of the Asiatic belt- 1. India , 2:China.

        If Naepal feels that India is playing a “big Brother feeling”, then why is India trying to help Tibet. The cause of this could be another aspect to be anger the sentiments of the Chinese. This leads to a fix like situation for the folks out there in Nepal. Nepal will defnitely support China because they know that if they would want to counter-agitate the view by them ,look for Chinese intervention.

        Tyranny of the weak: India is already having issues to clear out with China esp with the “Sea of pearls”, the state arunchal pradesh being missing etc are few examples which are a touchy area for India. this is viewed as a plus point for Nepal to use against India if it decides to go with the Chinese way. ” Strike the iron while it is hot!!” thats the game plan by Nepal.

        1. @Arun: You said “If Naepal feels that India is playing a “big Brother feeling”, then why is India trying to help Tibet.”

          I did not undstnd it. Could u help me undstnd it better? Thx.

    1. Nepal is in a sandwich between India and China, as China invaded Tibet in the 1950s. This invasion reduced Indian strategic territory, has forced India to be in good touch with Nepal in order to prevent Chinese domination over Nepal.

      India is in a worry tank as Beijing does continue to foster its relations with the other states in the region.

      The most prominent expression of these concerns was the n the “string of pearls,” is a growing concern to India.

      In a talk recently given in Paris, former Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal cited out that the “string of pearls” was more than a PR-concept aiming at fueling fear of China’s rise, thus suggesting that competition in the Indian Ocean was likely to gain momentum in the years to come.

      Nepal might not be an Indian Ocean state, but Chinese actions there are regarded by the Indian defense establishment through the same lens. Mistrust abounds, China’s advancement in India’s neighborhood causes headaches in New Delhi.

    1. China is investing economically and politically in the post-Monarchical Nepal. It has bagged a contract to develop Lumbini into a tourist hotspot. India allowed maoists to get majority in Constituent Assembly of Nepal->now they are getting cosy with Chinese! Nepal is being used by China to further its territorial influence vis-a-vis India.

    2. Despite the political tensions ravaging up like a pressure cooker between India and China via Nepal as a medium for seizure, China has ensured that it does what it can to uphold its dominance. China sees Nepal as a land bridge to South Asia despite the Tibet issue flouting around. Chinese modes of investment and its touring packages in the Nepalese region are growing at an enormous rate. Beijing plans to extend the high-altitude Golmud-Lhasa railroad connection to the Nepalese border and a second highway linking Katmandu with Tibet is to open shortly.

      Nepal has become the epitome of China’s invasion and ensures that all roads meet its destination. As the maintenance of internal stability is a concern for the Nepalese, the reduction of regional development imbalances and national reunification, the People’s Liberation Army has acquired a more assertive role in Chinese policymaking circles. That may also explain the growing number of Chinese military delegations arriving in Katmandu.

      Beijing, which appears impressed by the Nepalese Maoists’ organized strength, does not seem to believe they have fully evolved into a mainstream political party. A significant section of the group remains rooted to Mao Zedong’s radical Cultural Revolution-era thought, which Beijing has left behind. Privately, some Chinese analysts remain wary of the Nepalese Maoists’ ties with elements of the Indian establishment. Despite recent tensions with New Delhi, the group’s top leaders long enjoyed safe haven on Indian soil when the Maoists were still waging an insurgency

    1. India has already accepted One-China policy(acknowledged Tibet as a part of China). Although Rajiv Gandhi had acknowledged that Tibetans had done anti-China acts from Indian soil, we allow Tibetan govt-in-exile to function. This is realism in our China policy.

      It is time, China reciprocated and acknowledged that Arunachal and PoK belong to India.

    2. India has had a soft attitude towards the Tibet Issue. India’s policy towards Tibet has suffered because of its many dilemmas. In the 1950s, though India opposed China’s invasion of Tibet, it refused to sponsor a Tibetan appeal to the United Nations, turned down US proposals for cooperation in support of the Tibetan resistance and persuaded the young Dalai Lama not to flee abroad but to reach an agreement with the Chinese government.

      By repeatedly reiterating over the years that Tibet is a part of China, India diluted its leverage not only in shoring up the Tibetan cause but also in its border negotiations with China. At the same time, China continues to fear that India might use the Tibetan card at some point in the future. Despite these Chinese fears, India has steadfastly avoided using the Tibetan card as a bargaining strategy.

    1. Karakoram Highway is the Ninth wonder of the world. It is also known as the Friendship highway in China built by both governments of Pakistan and China. It is the highest paved international road in the world with its peak at the China-Pakistan border and it is paved on the Chinese side to a maximum. It connects the Xinjiang region of China with that of Pakistan.

      The reason why China seems to worry is because of its increased pro-Islamic activities in the Xinjiang region. This has raised a huge concern for the Chinese, as they do want an uprising in their province to take place despite their strong ties with Pakistan. But the Pakistan Militant group sees this as an Azad Kashmir as a strong base for preparing the Militant groups for training using the Nature’s terrain as a pillar for preparation and also aims as a route to which they can strike India when it is completely unprepared.

    1. The chinese are a set of hardworking and ideal achieving personalities. Despite constant down fall in terms of Unemployment in the US (as a comparison) after the recession period, as per a biennial report it was stated that the importance given by the Chinese officials toward Science and Technology has been rampant , alongside with creating employment within has led to the rise in the output of Chinese Engineers. From March 2008 to September 2009, the rate increased from 5.4% to 9.8% for the general population, less than a twofold change. For scientists and engineers, it tripled, jumping from 1.8% to 5.4%.

      The reaond behind such a boost was because of Chinese investment in R&D. In terms of research development, a report from the Scopus service of the publishers Elsevier sted that “One key indicator of the value of any research is the number of times it is quoted by other scientists in their work.”

      Although China has risen in the “citation” rankings, its performance on this measure lags behind its investment and publication rate.
      The quantity of research done does take a lot of time to meet the quality, but nevertheless this is an achievement by the Chinese in terms of R&D and engineering aspects

      1. Just to add: China-investment in R&D->multiply the number of engineers, scientists->quickly bag contracts for infra projects in Sri Lanka, Nepal->Indian engineers, investment left behind->China increases its presence & soft power in S.Asia.

        Traditionally China was not included in “South Asia”. But, now, the academic meaning of S.Asia must be revised due to increased China presence!

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