China is often compared to a dragon, but her antics are of chipmunks — they look loveable and confident from outside, but carry the heart of a mice. They act like thieves and are highly destructive.
You witness China's arrogance in development projects all over the globe; showing scant regard for the environment or the locals. Not that the Chinese government bothers one bit about its own population, especially when it comes to public freedom and environment, with its indiscriminate dams, leveling of mountains, horrific state of mines, and the like.
China’s current action of mobbing the Senkaku Islands with hundreds of civilian fishing vessels interspersed with People's Liberation Army (the armed forces of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China) naval vessels is akin to human wave tactics of 1962 or chipmunk attacks (persistent gnawing by water rats) in present era. But behind all these tactics of a bully flush with money, is the lurking fear of insecurity in the Communist Party of China (CPC). They may showcase a China they want the world to see, but the chances of implosions, big and small, remain constant. Perhaps that is why 54 percent of China’s defence budget is allocated towards internal threats.
Chipmunks may cavort and indulge in destructive games but when confronted are liable to suffer heart attacks. That Pakistani military has never won a war is well-known but Pakistan has ensured its youth are busy with radicalisation and terrorism rather than learn why their military lost East Pakistan (now Banladesh) and 93,000 military personnel were taken prisoners of war by India. Similarly, China would not like its population to know that when the PLA under Deng Xiaoping (Xi Jinping was then secretary of defence) invaded Vietnam to “teach them a lesson”, it learned a lesson in the bargain; returning home with its tail tucked between its legs. Even in the case of India-China confrontation, leaving aside the 1962 Nehru-Krishna Menon folly, the chipmunks have always ran backwards whenever confronted. During the 1967 confrontation that was engineered by China at Nathu La in the first place, not only did the chipmunks vacate their posts at Nathu La, but after receiving the beating of their lives, dared to return only four days after the firing stopped.
Norman Ohler in his recent book Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany writes how Hitler’s "super junkie" addiction to opiates destroyed his veins, led to paranoia and erratic decisions. Mao Tse Tung too was known for his penchant for opiates. So, in the haze of narcotics, he once wrote a poem describing India as a "useless cow". The present day CPC hierarchy, obviously, continues with the high and mighty habit of smoking grass that lends to paranoia and erratic proclamations. That is why one fine morning as late as year 2005, they came up with the grand claim of entire Arunachal Pradesh being part of the Chinese territory. And so, with opiates in their veins (like Hitler), they call Arunachal Pradesh a disputed territory and cry "hands off" while PLA troops in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir dig missile silos and toilets. Isn’t it the height of brazenness?
But the CPC is burdened with what is better known as Mao Tse Tung’s "finger problem" wherein he said, "Tibet is the palm of China and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and North-East Frontier Agency (now Arunachal Pradesh) are its fingers". So much for the so-called "historical" claims of China on the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh! Mao’s finger problem also explains why China invaded and annexed Tibet. Deng Xiaoping inherited Mao’s finger problem, passing it on to Xi Jinping. It is well understood that China invaded Tibet, Xinjiang, and Aksai Chin, not only for territorial gains but also because of the minerals and oil wealth in these regions.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as “South Tibet”, while in Tibet, China is systematically attacking the Tibetan language, literature, heritage and culture in a bid to push it into extinction. Already, the Tibetan language has been replaced by Chinese in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). But what was most amusing to hear was Chinese protests to US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma’s recent visit to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Wagging a finger like a primary school teacher, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced, “We urge the United States to stop getting involved in the China-India territorial dispute.” China should know that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India, and any Lu has no business to interfere and comment like that. Richard Verma had visited Tawang on invitation of the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh to participate in the Tawang festival.
China’s defence budget sure is galloping and as per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, it will cross the defence expenditure of the US after 2050. However, despite all the stealing, copycatting and reverse engineering, it will be many decades before China catch up with the US in terms of technology, if at all.
It would also be amusing for readers to know that when a visiting Indian General met and asked the Chinese defence minister in Beijing four years back on why China does not respond to global tenders by India for arms import, his response was that “we don’t want to sell weapons to India because you will then come to know how inferior our technology is”. It is a different issue that Pakistan is the biggest importer of Chinese weapons, followed by Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Incidentally, Lu kang commenting on Richard Verma’s visit to Tawang also referred to some “hard-earned peace and tranquility”, which apparently Verma had disturbed with his visit. Surely, Verma didn’t trigger a kinetic attack across the Line of Actual Control on CPC’s casinos? But the laughable part is that Lu talked of “hard-earned peace and tranquility” despite some 350 PLA transgressions across the LAC in 2015 alone.
Now that the Modi government has cleared the visit of Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh early next year, the chipmunks can be expected to create noise synonymous to skeletons dancing on a tin roof. But while the Dalai Lama visit to Tawang may just be another of his periodic visits to Buddhist monasteries, India should convene international events in Arunachal, like say an international cultural festival, where China too can participate or put up noodle stalls?
The author is veteran Lt Gen of Indian Army
Updated Date: Oct 30, 2016 15:49:21 IST