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China - and the dangerous drift to war in Asia

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by sunnoficarus, Mar 25, 2013.

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  1. Flight

    Flight LE Book Reviewer

    And why should they back down?

    Doubt it's escaped their notice that China built one of the largest high altitude military airfields in the world not terribly far from there. The Tejas indeed has operations from high altitude bases as a key performance metric.

    Nor that the string of pearls and obor seem to rather circumnavigate their borders.

    I'm Also the Indians have more experience of fighting high up than most, they had to rewrite the range tables for their artillery after experience in kashmir.

    With India's economy starting to take off China know that the longer they leave it the less their advantage.

    Sent from my LG-H815 using Tapatalk
  2. Well the rhetoric remains high, India and Bhutan claim the area is disputed and subject to trilateral talks, China says that India accepted the border years ago and whatever Bhutan thinks is a matter for China and Bhutan. Much as in the South China Sea. But India is not the Philippines.
    Chinese public pronouncements and newspaper commentary seem, to me at least, to created the situation where even the suggestion in the Indian press of mutually backing off look like a climbdown by China.
    An analysis by @smartascarrots would be useful on this point.
  3. That's a Redbeard Rum moment. British India bequeathed a de-facto border based on the watershed of a line of mountains and known as the McMahon Line. The use of the watershed followed standard practice internationally and both sides were happy with it for the first couple of decades.

    Round about the 60s, the Republic of India's government decided unilaterally that the border actually was demarked by the foothills to the north of the watershed, considerably inside what they'd previously agreed was China. They tried to enforce their claim militarily in 1962 when the PRC was still reeling from the Great Leap Backwards but came second. They've been protesting loudly ever since that the PRC cheated by being better at war than them.

    Interesting point in light of the repeated claims of 'aggressive expansionism' leveled at the PRC - the territory concerned in this dispute doesn't include all of that ceded by the Qing Empire to British India. The PRC cheerfully recognises the remainder as sovereign Indian territory.
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  4. That bit I knew, and as regards " he says, she says", it's all worth investigating.
    I'm wondering what you think the mood and planning is likely to be right now!
  5. For the PRC, the CONPLANs are based around retaining territorial integrity. Xi recently made a speech in which he said, “We will never allow any people, organisation or political party to split any part of Chinese territory out of the country at any time, in any form.“

    The 'any... political party' bit was widely seen as a swipe at Taiwan's ruling DPP but it applies equally to the Indian standoff.

    What's more interesting to a spotter like me is the impact this might have on the 2007 India-Bhutan 'Friendship Treaty' which essentially rendered Bhutan an Indian dependency with Bhutanese foreign policy run from New Delhi. It's not hard to see how this situation benefits India given their unilateral disputes in the region with the PRC.

    Bhutan's in a tight spot and if either side presses an agenda counter to Bhutan's interest they're likely to lose it to the opposition. The PRC for their money like to keep things unilateral as they simply don't see the usual third parties as genuine honest brokers.
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  6. The CBC linked the Chinese statement to the stand-off with India over Bhutan. Here's the story link: China will not permit loss of 'any piece' of territory, president warns . This story was previously referenced in this post: China - and the dangerous drift to war in Asia

    Here's the relevant bit:
    The sub-heading of the story was even:
    The 2007 treaty was actually a revision of a 1949 treaty. India interpreted that treaty as giving India the authority and responsibility for the defence and territorial integrity of Bhutan. The government of Bhutan held a different interpretation and insisted they were not a protectorate, but there wasn't a whole lot they could do about it considering that India controlled all their outlets to the rest of the world.

    The 2007 treaty revision allowed Bhutan more freedom in areas of foreign policy and in purchasing non-lethal military equipment, provided that India didn't object to either.
    BBC NEWS | South Asia | Bhutan and India sign new treaty
    India, Bhutan sign friendship treaty

    In 1975 India invaded Bhutan's neighbouring country Sikkim, deposed the government, held a referendum under the supervision of India's army to abolish the monarchy, and then annexed the country, making it one of India's states. I imagine that Bhutan drew the appropriate lessons from those events.

    It's quite possible that China may see this as an opportunity to prove to Bhutan that India is a toothless tiger and that Thimphu needs to deal directly with Beijing instead of letting Delhi handle things.

    India has a number of interests in Bhutan including strategic and economic (particularly their hydro electric power resources). It would be a great humiliation to them if Bhutan were to draw further out from their orbit.

    For Beijing, I imagine that securing Bhutanese neutrality would be a great diplomatic coup which could possibly be used to advantage as an example elsewhere.
  7. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    We can read ordinary print you know.
  8. I'm crap at copy & paste computer stuff on Saturday nights for obvious reasons.