India News

Communist China’s imperial ambitions – Oneindia News


oi-Balbir Punj


Google Oneindia News

Sardar Patel was prophetic when he wrote to Nehru that India’s defence has to concentrate on two fronts simultaneously – Pakistan and ‘a Communist China which has definite ambitions and aims and which does not in any way seem friendly disposed towards us.”

The hand-to-hand confrontation between Indian Army and Chinese troops on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern Tawang sector on December 9, has left most of the Indians befuddled. While there is generally a sense of satisfaction over the Indian Army contesting the intruders in a “firm and resolute” manner, many still are confused about China’s motives in repeatedly undertaking such hostilities against India.

However, Chinese aggressive postures aren’t random outbursts. There is indeed a method and continuity in China’s madness. In June 2020, China had tried a similar stratagem in Galwan valley which had left dozens of soldiers dead and injured on both sides.

Communist China’s imperial ambitions

The December 9 fistfight in Tawang has once more underlined China’s double-speak. On November 30, just about a week before, Beijing had asked New Delhi to go by the 1993-1996 border agreements against the backdrop of the Indo-US joint military exercises at Auli in Uttarakhand. It is interesting that the Tawang Skirmish took place within a week after the ugly spat over the Auli exercises.

 'Glad both sides quickly disengaged': US 'closely monitoring' LAC situation after Tawang clashes ‘Glad both sides quickly disengaged’: US ‘closely monitoring’ LAC situation after Tawang clashes

There’s always an ocean of difference between what China says, and does. The memories of 1962 ‘Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai’ fiasco are still fresh in India’s mind. As Army Chief General Manoj Pande very rightly said, China acts contrary to what it says and one must focus on Chinese actions rather than words or written scripts. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Navy recent actions – from an unsuccessful bid to infiltrate into Tawang to using Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean – clearly underline Beijing’s intent to coerce India to toe its line.

China has a long standing ambition to emerge as a global power. With President Xi Jinping securing a record consecutive third term, China is turning more brazen about its ambition, especially establishing its hegemony in Asia and achieving a Sino-centric regional order. The Chinese are aiming not merely to gain tactical advantages at specific territorial points but also to force India to tailor its foreign policy so as to help China establish its supremacy in Asia, and in the rest of the world.

Many in India try to explain China’s aggressive behaviour by blaming the victim. The theory runs something like this: New Delhi may have pushed Beijing too far with its growing closeness to Washington and invited dragon’s ire. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This argument is inherently flawed: Was India an American ally in 1962, when it was bamboozled by China? At that time, Pakistan was virtually a US satellite which is now a China’s vassal state.

Such arguments conveniently overlook China’s game plan and eventual goal: to emerge as a superpower to rival the US in the next decade. Beijing is stitching new alliances in the far Pacific and West Asia to rival the US as an alternative pole. Simultaneously, it is putting pressure on India to review its ties with the US and Quad. It wants an isolated and friendless India, susceptible to its pressures and machinations.

During Tawang clashes, Chinese soldiers were 200 in number, faced more injuriesDuring Tawang clashes, Chinese soldiers were 200 in number, faced more injuries

What explains China’s arrogance and aggressive behaviour? The problem lies in China’s civilisational ethos. China doesn’t see itself merely as a nation, with a distinct history and geography. Its self-image is far larger than that, covering a wider canvas. In its own eyes, and in the eyes of the rest of the world, China is at the cusp of being a global power.

China benchmarks itself against the US, and treats India as an irritant – which has to be suitably arm-twisted to make it fall in line. China shares its borders with 14 counties, including Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In its calculations, most of them can either be managed, or count for little.

China’s belligerence isn’t a new phenomenon. The problem with India started just after Independence, but Pandit Nehru refused to see the writing on the wall. However, Sardar Patel was blessed with discerning foresight and he anticipated the danger China posed to India.

Consider this letter the Sardar wrote to Pandit Nehru on 7 November 1950. Recalling the brazen Chinese invasion of Tibet, the Sardar says: “outside the Russian camp, we have practically been alone in championing the cause of Chinese entry into the UNO and in securing from the Americans assurances on the question of Formosa. We have done everything we could to assuage Chinese feelings, to allay its apprehensions and to defend its legitimate claims, in our discussions with America and Britain and in the UNO.”

Turning to the future, he says: “The Chinese interpretation of suzerainty seems to be different. We can, therefore, safely assume that very soon, they will disown all the stipulations which Tibet has entered into with us in the past. That throws into the melting pot all frontier and commercial settlements with Tibet on which we have been functioning and acting during the last half century.”

Elaborating further, the Sardar warns: “Recent and bitter history also tells us that communism is no shield against imperialism and that communists are as good or as bad imperialists as any other.”

Dissecting the Chinese mindset further, the Sardar says: “…Chinese irredentism and communist imperialism are different from the expansionism or imperialism of the Western powers. The former has a cloak of ideology which makes it ten times more dangerous. In the guise of ideological expansion lie concealed racial, national and historical claims. The danger from the north and northeast, therefore, becomes both communist and imperialist.”

Fact Check: Old video shared as recent one of clashes between India-China in TawangFact Check: Old video shared as recent one of clashes between India-China in Tawang

And how prophetic the Sardar was when he said: “Thus, for the first time, after centuries, India’s defence has to concentrate on two fronts simultaneously. Our defence measures have so far been based on the calculations of a superiority over Pakistan. In our calculations, we shall now have to reckon with Communist China in the north and northeast – a Communist China which has definite ambitions and aims and which does not, in any way, seem friendly disposed towards us…”

The Sardar concludes: “I suggest that we meet early to have a general discussion on these problems and decide on such steps as we might think to be immediately necessary and direct quick examination of other problems with a view to taking early measures to deal with them.” Sadly, the meeting suggested by Sardar never took place.

Nationalism, not Communism, is what propels China. In fact, what one sees in China is a hybrid system – it’s a capitalist economy, working under a communist dictatorship, with an imperial mindset. The theories and economic models prescribed by Marx, Lenin and Mao have been given a quiet burial. As Edward Friedman points out: “It (China) is a ‘Right, Populist, Authoritarian’ machine. It already relies on nationalism, indeed on chauvinism for legitimation.”

Dr. Michel Oksenberg, a former National Security Council specialist on China, concludes that “the Chinese people are exhibiting a nationalism which the leadership cannot necessarily control. The leaders have nurtured a nationalism and, to a certain extent, they are now captive of it.”

Friedman echoes the perception: “…China’s chauvinism is almost out of control, increasingly evolving a life of its own.” He recalls how Zbigniew Brzezinski, “often described as a warm friend of the PRC,” finds: “Important parallels between China’s current situation and imperial Germany circa 1890. At the time, German policy was in flux, while Germany itself was a rising power. Like today’s China, Germany’s ambitions were driven by a resentment of a perceived lack of recognition and respect (in the case of Germany, especially on the part of a haughty British empire, and in the case of today’s China, on the part of an arrogant America), by fears of encirclement. By rising nationalistic ambitions and by the resulting desire to precipitate a significant rearrangement in the global pecking order.”

(Mr. Balbir Punj is a Former Member of Parliament and a Columnist. He can be reached at:

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Story first published: Saturday, December 17, 2022, 7:58 [IST]

#Communist #Chinas #imperial #ambitions #Oneindia #News

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button