Posted by: John Elliott | August 13, 2009

China aims to block India’s place in the sun

It’s probably the tip of the iceberg of China’s ambitions to thwart India’s emergence as a significant economic and maybe diplomatic and military power. I’m referring to what might appear to some to be a crazy article on a Chinese strategic issues website, which claims that China could “dismember the so-called ‘Indian Union’ with one little move”. 

The writer has argued that India’s national unity is weak and that China could exploit this by supporting separatist forces, such as those active in India’s north-east state of Assam, and split the country into 20 or 30 sovereign states.

“There cannot be two suns in the sky. China and India cannot really deal with each other harmoniously,” said the article. That almost certainly reflects Beijing thinking, even though the founder of the website has claimed the anonymous writer has no known government links.

The article was posted last Saturday and was publicised in India yesterday, prompting the Indian foreign ministry to say it appeared to be “an expression of individual opinion and does not accord with the officially stated position of China on India-China relations conveyed to us on several occasions”. But what else could India say – especially since the article coincided with apparently cordial talks between the two countries on their border that has been disputed since China defeated India in a brief 1962 Himalayan war.

It is not unusual for China to fly such extreme kites. Philip Bowring of the Hong Kong-based Asia Sentinel website pointed out in a New York Times article two days ago that the arrest last week of two Rio Tinto executives in Beijing for alleged theft and corruption followed an internet article written by an official of China’s National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets, which accused Rio of  commercial “spying” that had cost the nation $100bn in higher iron ore prices – an accusation says Bowring that “does not stand up to the most casual scrutiny of trade data”. Bowring then points out that “although the article is no longer on the website, its claims have not been corrected and its imprint on Chinese minds will not disappear”.

The imprint of the India internet article will also not disappear because, whatever the two countries may say officially, it sums up what has been happening for years.

As James Lamont and Amy Kazmin explained a month ago in an excellent FT round-up of the two countries’ tortuous relations, China has been encircling India by developing influence and outposts in Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, and wants to usurp India’s major role in controlling the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

Pakistan, which China has armed and helped become a nuclear power, has been destabilising India first in Punjab (in the 1980s) and then in Kashmir. China has also for years been encouraging separatist forces in India’s north-eastern states, including Assam, and will no doubt use its growing clout in Myanmar – and Bangladesh – to increase those activities. In the future it could perhaps use its growing influence in Sri Lanka – where it is developing a naval base and advised the government in the recent defeat of the Tamil Tiger separatists – to cause unrest among linked Tamil communities in southern India.

It has also strengthened its border claims – for example by opposing a $3bn Asian Development Bank aid project in Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian border state that China claims as “south Tibet”. And it tried to block international approval of the recent India-US nuclear deal with the US.

This is of course a dangerous game and sometimes India has to respond – recently for example by moving fighter jets to the China border and, of course, by meddling in other countries, as a comment by Abhyaan (below) explains.

I have heard a former senior Indian bureaucrat argue privately that China’s basic – and permanent – aim is to force India to focus on domestic issues and thus thwart it becoming a future international rival.

China, according to this view – which is surely correct  – is determined to be the world’s sole superpower after America, and does not want that status to be upset by a strong and democratic India backed by the US and Europe. Its tactics have become more insistent in the past two years as it has become irritated by India’s growing links with the US, culminating in the nuclear deal.

Everything that China does in relation to India therefore has to be seen through that prism. India will not fragment into 20 or 30 pieces – it is far too unified for that – but there is no prospect of permanent peace and co-operation between the two countries because, as the internet writer has said, “there cannot be two suns in the sky”.

This post is also on the FT’s,dwp_uuid=a6dfcf08-9c79-11da-8762-0000779e2340.html

and Hong Kong-based – see comments below


  1. China only concerns with growing itself and has no time for India.

  2. […] firm negotiating stance on the border dispute, but his remarks nevertheless contrasted sharply with a warning on a Beijing website last year that “China and India cannot really deal with each other … So today I emailed Gao, now back in Beijing, asking him to repeat and expand on what he said […]

  3. This post was run on the Hong Kong-based Asia Sentinel news site where the following comments appeared in Aug and Sept ’09 – je:

    rwritten by othschild , September 23, 2009
    Hm..its sure understandable that Indians are not well appreciated among their neighbors, tribal and feudal leadership doesn’t appreciate regional leadership. But the level of corruption in India, despite being slowly tackled with some shrewd Killing squad by polices forces tired of all this status-quo, is not the best way to convince locals that money given to the nation, will be well spent.
    As for Chinese, when they talk about India without considering the ethnic diversity, they misrepresent the sacrifices of their ancestors. They have serious problems tackling local corruption because their party ethics officials aren’t powerfull enough at the local level to over-rule bribes at police forces.
    Both have to test solutions, see what works until they can have a more relaxed internal situation.
    Give em time.
    By the way, i think we can name a list for Germany, Japan, USA, France, Britain, South Korea, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, South America, Brazil, Mexico…of things those have to watch carefully at.

    China United
    written by Ronaldo , August 22, 2009
    The Chinese government should continue to flood the Tibet and XinJiang provinces with Hans so that the Hans become the majority there to make it impossible for these regions to secede. Of course at the same time they should do something positive about assimilating the Uighurs and Tibetans into mainstream China, for example through educational opportunities, career oppotunities etc which help to disperse the young generation all over China, so that there is little reason to want to secede.

    Watching the Border
    written by Time , August 22, 2009
    China, not India, remains the nation more threatened by the specter of ethnic splitting.
    “The Uighurs of Xinjiang and the Tibetans to their south number fewer than, say, Kashmiris and Assamese in India, yet their aspirations for nationhood garner much greater global sympathy. This is chiefly the fault of Beijing, whose uncompromising, authoritarian rule has pushed certain minorities to the brink and transformed dissident leaders in exile into enduring spiritual anchors for their people.
    Indeed, China could do worse than to look at India, a country that has managed to live with its proverbial million mutinies by safeguarding regional languages and cultures and, most importantly, letting the poor and marginalized throw out their local rulers every election cycle. Perhaps a time may come, then, when rather than spying weaknesses in India’s multiethnic landscape, strategists in Beijing may draw inspiration from their neighbor’s pluralism. In an era of great-power gamesmanship, that may be wishful thinking. But it surely is a better path than the one walked by the warmongers and doomsayers on both sides.”

    Indians turned on their allies many times in the history
    written by Frank of Seattle , August 21, 2009
    Chinese make Indians turning on their allies or masters?
    Aabd al-ghazali, last time I checked, Indians are the only humans fight for all sides. They fight for their white masters American and British. When captured, they will turn on their masters and fight for Germans and Japanese. Just like dogs.
    That is because Indians do not have a sense of pride and dignity. They will wiggle their tails for a piece of bone. Just like dogs.

    Democracy and Human Rights of the West
    written by BAM BAM , August 19, 2009
    USA called Saddam Hussein a barbarian. Yeah, for sure Saddam very likely tortured and killed a lot of Iraqis. But is USA any better. In the few years that USA attacked and occupied Iraq, the Americans have bombed, shot up, killed , and tortured many many fold more Iraqis than Saddam ever did in his time in power!!! And not only that, USA reduced the whole of Iraq back to the stone age. And how many Vietnamese did the Americans torture and kill? Let’s get this right: When the Americans talk about human rights, they only mean human rights for the Americans. It is OK with them if their bombs kill a few of the rest of you, and demolish your country to rubble. They will show that on CNN and Fox News as a blip on a monitor like when you play Star Wars on the video game. They won’t show you the “colateral damage” of human suffering from their bombs. These are the same Americans who accuse China of lack of human rights. Yes, China is not exactly innocent of abusing human rights. But that does not mean USA is any better. The bottom line I guess is that China abuse their own kind, whereas USA abuse the Asians and the Middle Easterns. The Chinese do it with a bullet or a truncheon. Americans do it with bombs and missiles.

    written by abd al-ghazali , August 18, 2009
    Isn’t that cute, “Frank”? China, the world’s biggest slave factory, preaching on about “servitude”.

    Yeah, sorry, we trust Americans a hundred times more than Chinese. I even trust Hindus more than Chinese, and I’m Muslim. Guess what that says about the Chinese? They are only in it for their self interests, their sense of virtue and morality only applies to themselves, anyone outside of China can be damned. That’s why they try to attribute everything anti-Chinese to “White people”, because they can’t stand to bear the truth that most of the world can clearly see their petty tyranny without the help of so-called American agenda. Maybe calling people “running dogs” (their favorite little phrase) is enough to intimidate insecure Chinese into “patriotism”, but know full well that people outside of China are not weak-minded enough to be guilted into turning on their allies.
    Nice try, but all you’ve done was embarrass yourselves in front of the whole world.

    written by To “Frank” , August 18, 2009
    The Chinese were so weak that a tiny Manchu minority could rule them like dogs for over 200 years and force them to wear pigtails.
    Where are the Manchus today? Most likely those living in Beijing (the former Qing capital) are descended from them but now calling themselves Chinese, since they are virtually indistinguishable.

    Indians are dogs
    written by Frank , August 18, 2009
    Indians always think they are better than others simply because they are closer to their white masters. They are always proud of speaking master’s language, having master’s political, financial, and jurdicial systems. India’s icon Taj was also build by their mongol master.
    Indians enjoy kiss up their master’s butts for living. That is why Indians like “service” related work. They like to serve their masters.
    They will bark and attack if you show of any weakness. If you stand up to them with a big stick, they will run with tails between their legs. Just like dogs.

    Maoist insurgents
    written by Dynas Tee , August 17, 2009
    Indian was badly burnt in their support for the LTTE insurgent to create troubles for Sri Lanka.
    Now India is causing problem to the Maoists who were swept in Nepal. If the Nepali Maoists unite with the Indian Maoists, Indian could have a major insurgency in hand.
    India has always play its Tibet card because of the Dalai Lama refuge there. It might be possible that China may play the Maoist card on India.

    Indian Pond
    written by Dynas Tee , August 17, 2009
    As far as we know, only the US has maintained a base in Diego Island. The Indians should be able to challenge the US in the so-called Indian pond with its latest nuclear submarine.

    China new “wealth”
    written by Msia , August 16, 2009
    China was rich , very rich then, until the collapse of Manchu which was invaded by the west and Japan and reduced to a very poor nation, poorer than India then.
    The sleeping dragon has awaken and recovered much loss recently. The loss recovered is termed the “newly acquired wealth” and have many nations envied again. Once beaten twice shy, China can not afford to lose the “newly acquired wealth” and necessary measurement must be taken to protect it from losing it again.

    China new “wealth”
    written by Msia , August 16, 2009
    China was rich , very rich then, until the collapse of Manchu which was invaded by the west and Japan and reduced to a very poor nation, poorer than India then.
    The sleeping dragon has awaken and recovered much loss recently. The loss recovered is termed the “newly acquired wealth” and have many nations envied again. Once beaten twice shy, China can not afford to lose the “newly acquired wealth” and necessary measurement must be taken to protect it from losing it again.

    China new “wealth”
    written by Msia , August 16, 2009
    China was rich , very rich then, until the collapse of Manchu which was invaded by the west and Japan and reduced to a very poor nation, poorer than India then.
    The sleeping dragon has awaken and recovered much loss recently. The loss recovered is termed the “newly acquired wealth” and have many nations envied again. Once beaten twice shy, China can not afford to lose the “newly acquired wealth” and necessary measurement must be taken to protect it from losing it again.

    USA, Russia, Japan, Brits, Spain and Frencies are more dangerous than China
    written by BAM BAM , August 16, 2009
    Just check the history. USA, Russia, Japan, Britain, Spain and France are the real notorious bunch for stealing and colonising other peopls’s territories. China on the other hand has zero history of colonization. China only grew in size when they were conquered (by Mongolians and Manchurians), and the conquerors adopted Chinese custom and system to make a the combined area a bigger China. So the westerners and Japanese should stop the crap about a dangerous new China. China’s new found wealth finally gave the country to defend itself against aggression by the other foreign powers. Westerners would like to see China continue as a poor country capable of only doing cheap laundry and cheap but good cooking. But westerners should wake up and stop belittling the Chinese, specially when China is now their biggest creditor. Westerners make fun of Chinese when they can’t speak good English, but hey, how many Westerners can even speak a few words of Chinese? India should not fall into the trap of the USA to start having unfriendly ties with China. Both India and China can have a mutually beneficial relationship, and as a combined partnership, they can have a stronger negotiation power vs the west.

    The Real Prize~Auatralasia
    written by Anti White , August 16, 2009
    Stop fighting among ourselves, fellow Asians! The real enemy is the white men, who stole, robbed, raped, pillaged &, you name it, all sorts of brutal crimes against all humanity not of the Caucasian kind!
    People of the world unite to rid this 500 years of evil strangled hold of these whites on this precious Planet! The UN Security Council Permanent seats should be reformed into such: US, Russia,China, EU (kick out UK & France but give them one single European seat), India, Brazil, AU (African Union). Israel should be wiped off the map of this world but the Jews are entitled to statehood within US or Europe.
    Let us Asians not squabble about how little or more territories we can get here & there. Let us kick out the whites from Australia & New Zealand & redistribute them among ourselves. Europeans have no legitimate rights to be in Asia! Would the whites allow an Asian state to exist in the midst of Europe? Not a chance! Also, the western media should not be allowed more voices than their population ratio entitles them. They should not occupy more representations in all international posts on all world bodies than their fair share. It is time to seriously start creating a more balanced world, not that which skewed in the whiteman’s favour. Enough is enough for the last 500 years!

    written by Osaba , August 15, 2009
    India is too preoccupied with Pakistan (backed by China) to be engaged in rivalry with any other country.

    Two Suns in the Sky
    written by ali Shahanshah , August 15, 2009
    Undoubtedly the two Asian Suns.There is more sunshine in India than China.The chinese are an industrious nation,who believe in assimilation not annhilation.While the Indians believe in quick fix solutions! These are not lasting.We need to learn from the Chinese on their powerful negotiaiting skills.
    Not just be negotiators!

    What about Indian hegemonic designs?
    written by MBI Munshi , August 15, 2009
    I think the article misses a large part of this story by focusing on China while omitting Indian aggression in the South Asia region. Why is it that India is so unpopular amongst all its neighbors? Does it have to do with the fact that India employs its own Monroe Doctrine in the region and intervenes in the internal affairs of neighboring countries when it suits it? I have called this policy of interference the India Doctrine and there is sufficient basis for its recognition. Chinese comments have wide sympathy in the region simply because India practices its own covert aggression aimed at achieving regional hegemony and domination.

    written by Tai Chee , August 14, 2009
    Yes. Make the Chinese fight the Indians. Make trhe Paki & Bangla fight the Indians. Make the Tibetans & Uighurs fight the Han.
    The West infamous “divide & rule” game over the years. But remember, what goes round comes around. The divine law of cause and effect. In short Karma.
    We’re see the Brits in great numbers consuming drugs for the opium they forced upon a weak China then. We see the 5th column Moslem Brits scheming & planning to blow up the subways. Well, it’s payback time.

    written by Sen Chan , August 14, 2009
    If you wish to be secure on land, you should have supremacy on the sea”, said Jawaharlal Nehru
    Hambantota, Colombo, Chittagong, Yangoon, Coco Island and Kwardar
    China has 68 submarines to India’s 16, none of them being nuclear. China has 56 airforce squadrons to India’s 12. China has 4 million troops to India’s 1.5 million troops. China has 14000 Artillery guns to India’s 4000. These are only some examples to show that India is no match for China

    Chinese Strategem
    written by Don , August 14, 2009
    So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak – Sun Tzu
    China’s playing dangerous game
    Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive – Sir Walter Scott
    Expected Indian responce. China has pressure points too.
    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. -Gospel of Luke

    Newly acquired wealth
    written by Sandraa , August 14, 2009
    Russ was right about Chinese newly acquired wealth.
    In the ended war in Sri Lanka, economic greed of China and tamil’s blood changed the colour of the Indian Ocean.
    China has now announced another $350 million-none of which is directed to long detained civilians.
    With idiotic Indian foreign policy, China’s help to human massacres is unstoppable.

    written by Gurka , August 14, 2009
    Thankless Nepali, lakhs of Nepalis earn a living out of generosity of India. If they had been denied this opportunity a lot of them would have starved to death. I agree that there are some negative points about India’s approach to Nepal but on the whole it has been preponderantly beneficial to Nepal. It is easy to find minor faults and forget about the overwhelming benefits derived from this relationship. It is only recently with the growth of China that Nepal has an alternative. 20 years back China was as poor and economically backward as India. Have derived all the benefits for so many years the ungrateful Nepalis now want to forget the Indian generosity for all these years which has put food in the belly of a large portion of Nepali population.

    China’s Wealth and Obama’s smile
    written by Russ , August 14, 2009
    China’s newly acquired wealth is very dangerous to humanity, especially with Obama’s friendly policies with undemocratic nations.

    Darfur and Sri Lanka were clear examples of China where the culture of mass carnage on civilians, annihilation of free media and opposition, demographic dilution of population are taking place.

    Why, China’s present rule is not good for her own people.
    That region will in a real danger with smiling Obama.

    CIA strategy to focus Asian vs Asian
    written by BAM BAM , August 14, 2009
    It’s probably just another crap from the CIA to get Asians fighting each other. The CIA is well known to go around instigating and funding separatist movements within the USA’s potential rivals. And it is also well known to get the rivals neighbours to fight each other, so that the USA can remain the sole superpower. Having two new super powers to contend with would be a nightmare for the USA whose hands are already full. Maybe the USA wants China and India to focus on each other. It could even sell more arms to India to help reduce its trade deficit, and at the same time it could muscle China by using India as a bargaining chip. Far fetched? Just look at the history: Iran vs Iraq. Georgia vs Russia. Ukraine vs Russia. India vs Pakistan. North Vietnam vs South Vietnam. Israel vs its neighbours. Just to name a few. Each and very case, the US hands are in there interfering.
    The USA is busy instigating unrest in Tibet, even while it is shaking hands with China. The USA wants to slow down China. Now maybe they can use India as a tool to slow down China, and also slow down India at the same time. While China is giving USA a headache in the manufacturing industry, India could give a big headche to the USA in services, software, and pharnaceutical industries.

    written by NEPAL , August 14, 2009
    Don’t be this myopic at least some one who moves from here and there in the net while analyzing one important issue do not ignore those facts that also provides some glimpse into what is happennign in South Asia.
    India has occupied thousands of hectares of Nepali lands, it interferes in Nepal’s internal matters, it supoprts seperatists groups in Nepal…India gromed Maoist. India is the most hypocratic country in the world. We hate India, I will suport the Chinese moev to break India if it pledges to break India into millions of pieces./

    written by GM Greenwood , August 14, 2009
    A western fascination for China’s great philosopher/strategists, notably Sun Tzu, is well established. China now seems to have returned the compliment with the deniable if unsettling suggestion from a remote echelon of its vast army of ‘experts’ that India be Balkanised. This play is lifted straight from the Bismarckian model for neutralising the post-1875 threat posed by revanchist France to the rise of German power, with perhaps a few twists lifted from the abortive post-1945 Morgenthau Plan intended to reduce Germany to a harmless peasant economy.

  4. This post was picked up on an Indian defence website – – where the following comments and discussion appeared in August 2009 – je

    What strikes me as most appalling in this article is the fact that China has used numerous avenues to strike at India and keep India down. However, it seems that the Indian govt. is either too inept or too blind to realize this fact and just keeps on preaching some nonsense about how China and India are best buddies…

    Indian govt, has taken some steps -naval exercises and diplomacy/defense pact with USA are some examples.

    Indian govt, has taken some steps -naval exercises and diplomacy/defense pact with USA are some examples.
    Bah..diplomacy doesn’t work with the Chinese…they say one thing but in reality they do something totally opposite.

    Dont forget …Recently China has been caught red handed in its effort to infame Indian Pharma Industry by flooding African countries with fake “Made in India” drugs. may be it’s also a tip of an iceburg….

    Bah..diplomacy doesn’t work with the Chinese…they say one thing but in reality they do something totally opposite.
    I agree ,at the same time we have set up air bases, and AGNIS’s in AP, chinese only understand force; and until it is used against them they will not back down.

    I get a feeling that China is the [Nazi Germany] of 21st century, overconfident and over-aggressive. Will India prove to be Russia of 21st century? Will we give them their “Stalingrad”?

    Yet another opinion piece, lifted from a blog, referring to another opinion piece.
    Can we stem the hysteria please?

    I get a feeling that China is the [Nazi Germany] of 21st century, overconfident and over-aggressive. Will India prove to be Russia of 21st century? Will we give them their “Stalingrad”?
    1. I too feel the same and my views stem from history and trends and some necessary corollaries. I have to write long essays to keep the string of thoughts unbaised and well linked. If I dont do that I will end up like Pakis. All sensibilities no sense.
    Just droping a hint here. Pls dont take it otherwise.

    I think indian should stop frowning with the article written by chinese writer. It because india started it first . India TV media even had a show “Why China is the most hated country in the world” last year at the height of tibetan separatist protest before the olympic games.
    China should also host such show and let the indian taste their own medicine. I personally not a devil advocates but to remind our indian friend that equal and opposite reaction can be taken by others.

    India, China armies clash?
    The Indian and Chinese armies have reportedly been locked in sporadic exchanges of fire in Sikkim, where the two countries share a high-altitude border, since Tuesday night.
    A senior defence ministry official in Kolkata, where the Eastern Command is based, said the conflict had been on at Nathu-la pass — 54 km east of Sikkim’s capital Gangtok.
    In a statement issued on Thursday, the Ministry of Defence, however, denied any shooting on the border.
    The defence official, who refused to be identified, said, “The gunbattle intensified during the early hours of Wednesday. There are, however, no reports of any death or serious injuries.”
    He said although India had not deployed any additional forces in the area, all civilian traffic had been stopped. But the ministry statement said the roads had been closed in the area because of landslides.
    The official said, “The skirmish caused concern as at a special joint meeting on August 15 both sides reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen the existing friendship.”
    Situated at 14,140 feet, Nathu-la reopened for trade in 2006 after the 1962 Sino-Indian War.

  5. Ok! Lets put things Straight.
    China is not a kid nation like Pakistan. But It is fully capable of being dangerous like England (british) in past. Divid & Rule!
    It has thoughtfully placed its cards… growing military strength,
    Encouraging naxals, terrorists & unhappy groups within & outside India.

    Many years of playing pranks on Indo-China-Tibet border.
    Openly interfering in Indo-Pak fight. Helping Pakistan of course.

    Many many such things to take note of.

    ANSWER to Chinese dragon????

    “” Give China taste of its owns venom “”

    Brothers! do you think china is practicing Ram-rajya or what? hehehe. Smarter species know what I am saying. Tit for Tat. 🙂


  6. We are the world, stop being separatists!
    Whoever you are, wherever you are!
    All mankind should live in peace and harmony side by side, didn’t the WW1 and WW2 human history taught a lesson to those spreading or creating or implying something to get certain media coverage or whatever is the intension “China aims to block India’s place in the sun”, another western invasion of asia in a form of cunning separatists’ way? The global power is shifting to the east now, so China and India will rise together and the Eastern countries will replace the western countries! Nothing lasts forever! The law of nature, so pls just be natural about things happening by its nature!

  7. Same neighbourly post but there are some burden where I wish not agree. But blanket its completely good.

  8. The article that Elliott reports on has been making a lot of waves in India, and as pointed out, elsewhere as well. In context, the exciting story of this century appears to be India and China. Hopefully it will include many others as well, but these two are just so much bigger that they attract attention. Unfortunately, both countries have ambitions to be major powers. Haphazard analysis such as the article in China is the result.

    I am surprised at the reactions of Indians on this message board (except Animesh). As an Indian I am the least perturbed by it, and just shook my head thinking “Indians and Chinese seem to know so little about one another”. The Chinese, disciplined, and mostly united behind their ideology and way of life, are suitably appalled at what they see as a fractious India. And it is! It is also India’s strength that it does nothing to hide what it is. It is there for everyone to see, warts and all. So it appears disunited, ready to fall apart.

    Predictions about India breaking apart have been making the rounds for the last sixty years. It has yet to happen. What will cause it, how it can be made to happen, all of these have been discussed. And maybe it will. India has never claimed to be a “thousand year Reich”. The Indian experiment is still young. But if it does break apart then it will not happen because of China. It may happen for other reasons wholly internal.

    A major difficulty with much of China’s assessments is that they are based on a narrow nationalistic view that takes little joy in the diversity that exists in the world, the possibility that “harmony” can come about even in a chaotic democracy. There is some insularity here.

    A major difficulty with India’s assessments is that it is overly sensitive to anything that the Chinese say or do. Seeing their neighbor as being more efficient and united, and more powerful, they have developed a thin skin. They bristle at reports like this. They wish they could be world-beaters like China, but they don’t have the will today to correct the deficiencies of the system. They hide behind their democracy and blame their inefficiency on it. What they don’t understand is that much of the world has democracy as well, and doesn’t seem to suffer from it.

    I suggest that Indians relax on their verandahs with a glass of fresh mango juice, sip it, read their daily newspapers which detail the wonderful, terrible, and rich chaos that India is, and admire its real strengths. Things will change, and they are changing even today. With some discipline and a greater concern for public good, they will make faster progress. They should realize that India is vulnerable, as is China. And yet Indians have a reasonably decent machinery in place, and one which is visible to the rest of the world, no matter how flawed. China, which is efficient and wonderful in itself, should take a good hard look at it.

    Both nations are old and wise. Both will survive. Let us all survive and find peace!

  9. Sorry for my bad english. Intresting title. It attracted me to read the complete post. Thanks

  10. Kanwal Sibal, a former Indian Foreign Secretary, has an article on this subject in today’s The Telegraph (Calcutta). In it, he writes

    “…………..In a country like China with a controlled press, the political connotation of such articles is difficult to ignore. Such writings have appeared in the Chinese media after many years, and at a time when China’s position on boundary differences has hardened, provoking speculation that China may well stage some border incident to deflect attention away from mounting internal economic and social problems caused by the global economic downturn. China’s leaders like Ziang Zemin had a certain degree of contempt for the Indian military’s fibre. A few suitably intimidatory articles, it might still be thought, would send a salutary message to India’s cautious political leadership.

    An unequal strategic equation is at the root of India-China problems. For India, China is the principal strategic adversary; for China it is the US. China is principally preoccupied with the situation in the Taiwan Straits, while India’s preoccupation, apart from Pakistan, is with its border with China. China already has deterrent capabilities against India, while India is still developing them. China has much greater capacity to intervene in India’s neighbourhood and can impose punishing costs on India by supporting internal insurgencies, especially in the North-east. China has expanded its military infrastructure in Tibet, while India has neglected it on its own side. India has irrevocably recognized China’s sovereignty over Tibet, that China exploits to make further territorial demands on “southern Tibet”( Arunachal Pradesh)…………..”

    For the full article, go to

  11. Judging from the responses from Indian posters, John has been very successful in instigating the so-called China-India rivalry.

    I’m amazed that an anonymous post in a Chinese website could create such a stir.

    Among all the responses, only Animesh shows any calm and coolheadedness at all.

    You guys should be so easily manipulated. Have some confidence in you and your country.

  12. For an expansionist and authoritarian nation like China that has faught border wars with Russia, Vietnam and India, and has ongoing border disputes with Japan, Phillipines, Vietnam and India, its mantra of “peaceful rise” is a big joke !

    China however has a clear vision of their future goal and functions in an organized and planned manner.
    In contrast a “functional anarchy” India, largely ruled by the Congress party, has lacked any vision for the nation. The nation under Congress rule has been turned into a soft state in the past six decades.
    The Chinese have a strong sense of nationalism, and Indians by contrast has been taught to feel apologetic about everything nationalistic.

    Chinese evil designs against India is nothing new. China has been stoking fire in the North-East particularly Nagaland since decades.
    It is Indian leadership, right from the days of Nehru, that are in a state of denial and never had a strategy to deal with this threat.

    India can not match China in any conventional war, but has the ability to inflict unacceptable damage on China in an unconventional war. This is the only viable option for India.

    China need to be told in no uncertain terms that in the event India is pushed too far, Beijing, Shanghai, Hongkong and a dozen industrial cities would be vapourized in a matter of hours. China’s new found prosperity and confidence would come to a naught. They need to factor this risk in their calculations against India.

  13. The article have substance which the Indian security strategist must not over looked. The way China have dump their military asset to GOSL during the Eelam War is a clear indication on China’s future strategy to clamp India. If there is no change of foreign policy from New Delhi administration then India will be in a mess situation in coming years.

  14. The recent Chinese outbursts are the result of some regional and economic developments:
    1.) The rout of the Communist Party (Marxist) in the Indian elections. These arm-chair Marxists had deftly put road blocks to infrastructure and industrial projects to prevent India catching up/keeping pace with China. They tried hard, unsuccessfully, to sabotage the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. The once venerable’ Hindu’ newspaper, now turned in to Pravda-style fabricator by its Communist editors lead the charge. Mani Shankar Iyer, as Energy minister acted in Iran’s rather than India’s interests. He was also a casualty in the polls.
    2.) Obama Administration belied China’s hopes that he would abandon Bush’s pro-India policies.
    3.) As NY Times columnist, Tom Friedman reported, the Chinese were puzzled and worried at the resilience of the Indian economy in the wake of the Financial Melt Down and Bombay terrorist attacks.
    4.) The fall of the LTTE in Sri Lanka handed China a diplomatic-strategic coup. Despite Delhi’s overt and covert help to Colombo, the latter’s pathological anti-India hatred surfaced again. The Rajapackshe brothers embarked on a soft silent genocide of the Tamil minority and a closer partnership in China’s encirclement of India. China also hoped to harness the deep resentment in Tamil Nadu.
    India’s ponderous bureaucracy and smug Congress leadership are slowly waking up to the realities. Ironically, China’s clumsy attempts have the opposite effect – Indo – U.S. ties will strengthen in to a formal defense pact. The LTTE (which killed Rajiv Gandhi) out of the way, Mr. Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu State’s skillful Chief Minister, a reliable Congress ally would guide New Delhi towards reversing the Sri Lankan situation to India’s and Tamil’s advantage – to the chagrin of China! The exports dependant Chinese economy unraveling and with it the oppressive totalitarian State, the Communist Mandarins of the Middle Kingdom may be left in the cold – with their pants down!

  15. The moment you think of destabilizing some other country, this shows how much of a coward you are.

    Why cant we co-exist as nations without competing?? Are we all not human after all!!

    If China is a Buddhist country, it seems to have not got the point of Buddhism!!

    India as a country has always been invaded by outsiders for the simple reason that people were never in for a war. The whole nation’s search was always inward, like the Buddha!

  16. I love how the Chinese immediately blames anything on “Westerners” and “White people”.

    They should be glad this little opinion piece wasn’t published more widely – it would only serve to inflame Indian sentiments and unite the country even more.

  17. Aksai Chin was invaded by China and needs to be returned peacefully, or ELSE!!

  18. This title should have been rephrased as:West (principally US) aims to block Asia’s rightful place in the sun.

    Beware of the real enemy behind this farcade. Who stands to lose if Asia rises & conversely, gain if Asia flounders?

    If Chindia comes to blow, the winners will only be US & Russia~the armament merchants of death. It would have surely helped prolong the Caucasian Centuries to beyond 500 years which they have so far achieved.

    Better for Chindia to remain focussed on improving the living standard of our people instead of dancing to the war tunes of these whitemen. Perhaps Chindia can solve the overpopulation problem by buying out the whites & redistribute Australia & New Zealand between ourselves. It is win-win, isn’t it?

  19. It’s very insightful assessment of India-China relation in recent time. The border talks between both countries don’t look much productive and China’s assertive stand ( like using quasi-government bodies to claim over Arunachal Pradesh and officially engage in talks) is making things more difficult.

  20. X-posting this from another forum:

    The number of Chinese frothing at the mouth and wanking themselves silly over the internet over this desultory piece of “opinion” by some namesake retard passing himself off as a Chinese “analyst” astounds me. What is even more amusing is the number of Pakistanis getting a kick out of this chunk of drivel. Amusing indeed it is to see them squirm and wiggle as the only way they can dream of a ‘thousand cuts’ to India is by piggy-backing on the bantam shoulders of their everlasting ally (….NOT.)

    To be just as obtuse and un-strategic about this as the author of this brash and impetuous jabber, India could just as well “split China into twenty to thirty different nation-states” by “joining forces with different nationalities” such as the infinitely trialled Tibetans, the undone and repressed Uighurs, the colonized state of Inner Mongolia, the Government of Manchukuo in exile or the Hong Konger Front.

    China has tried time and again to “bring into its fold” countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan. It’s policy in Nepal has fallen flat on its face, with the Maoist regime out in a flash; Pakistan remains more astringed by its chain-and-ball alliance with the US than ever before with its virtual existence impinged upon by 11.8 billion dollars in foreign aid by US-domineered aid agencies, its leaders groveling at the feet of the US at every available opportunity, and the mushrooming of miniature US-bases in the form of 1000 marine-garrisoned fortress-like ‘US embassies’ in Islamabad – in addition to the bases already established at Shamshi and what not; Bhutan remains an Indian satellite-state, its economy and military virtually circumscribed within an unyielding sphere of influence. Burma and Sri Lanka remain an interesting tussle, even as India steadily encroaches into China’s traditional ‘backyard’: ASEAN and Central Asia, in small, yet significant steps.

    Let me not even begin on the ‘caste system’. Anyone with even a limited knowledge of Chinese history will know that the Chinese have had a more than rudimentary acquaintance with the “caste system”. Several dynasties in northern, but particularly southern China, had social stratification based on class, segregated along cultural and political lines. In the Song and Qi dynasties for instance, the dominant class: the ‘She zu” controlled govt. offices and functions of the court, while the “Han men” were selectively excluded from participation in all aspects of social and cultural life. In the Mongol-controlled Yuan dynasty, subjects were divided into four castes, with northern and southern Han chinese occupying the second-most and most subordinate classes respectively. In the Yunan region, Yi society was divided into four castes, with the scum: the Ajia and the Xiaxi, being slave castes. Infact, the Aristocrats were famous for their slave raids on Han chinese communities.

    More on that here:
    Intimate exclusion: race and caste turned inside out – By Martin Schoenhals
    ‘Four-Class System’ of Yuan Dynasty – at The China Travel Guide
    And: Power and privilege: a theory of social stratification – By Gerhard Emmanuel Lenski (from page 285 on)

    The extent of the polarization and the gulf ensuing due to the social stratification between Northern and Southern dynasties was so vast, that they regularly referred to each other as ‘barbarians’. Laughable then for a nation that has had such a deeply ingrained system of caste- until as late as the 20th century- to be deriding another nation that is struggling, but striving to change the minds and hearts of its citizens.

    Any misadventure by the Chinese state will not only exhort a similar response from India, who is by no means similarly underequipped or unwilling to defend its territory (as when it failed to do in 1962 after encroaching upon chinese forward-bases and disputed territory that they eventually took back), but it will also evoke consternation from the international community- upon which China is so eager to impress its ‘peaceful rise’ as a safeguard to its economic dependence.

    The last line of the article by Dr. S Rajan that summarily dealt with and dispatched the Chinese article says it all:

    “In any case, an approach of panic towards such outbursts will be a mistake, but also ignoring them will prove to be costly for India.”

  21. As for the ‘Chinese government’s advice on beating the Tamil Tigers’, make no mistake about it: the defeat would not have been possible without India being desirous of the same. It is worth keeping in mind for instance, that the Tamil Tigers assasinated the husband of the most powerful woman in the country, and the father of the nation’s next political scion. Were it not for India supplying the Srilankans with radar and other equipment, and more importantly, sealing off its borders to exiled and escaping Tamil Tiger commanders and patrolling maritime straits to thwart them, the war might neither have been successful nor decisive.

    China’s encirclement of India in Nepal and Bangladesh have come to a head in recent developments: in particular the ouster of the Sino-backed Maoist regime in Nepal, and the establishment in Bangladesh of an overtly India-friendly government. As well, Pakistan remains effectively locked in the unwithering control of the United States, and that control has and looks only to be consolidated. Moreover, India is doing its own encirclement of China vis-a-vis Afghanistan, Central Asia and strategic military relationships with countries in the Far East.

    The “strategic relationship” between India and the US has certainly not “culminated” with the nuclear deal. Behind the scenes, there exists extensive cooperation on regional security issues and on the nature of US foreign investment. To bolster and strengthen the growing Indian economy, there have been a flurry of initiatives recently to outsource manufacturing to India to a greater extent- and that trend will become apparent in coming days. It is also becoming increasingly apparent that India is set to procure the US F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet under what is known to be the world’s largest defense acquisition – the MMRCA project. The transfer of advanced civilian nuclear technology is simply the tip of the iceberg.

    To Nick’s question of ‘India’s options’, it is fair to say that India’s RAW- its external service agency- is actively involved in fomenting trouble in Xinjiang in China and Tibet via ’embassies’ in Afghanistan and contacts in the Tibetan exile community in Dharamsela. I expect the Indian establishment will seek to ramp those up if the unwritten agreement on Chinese silence on Kashmir and Arun’achal Pradesh in exchange for India’s silence on Tibet is broken.

    In addition to fighter jets, India has also deployed 60,000 troops along the border with China in Arun’achal Pradesh, as well as T-72 tanks and heavy-lift choppers. India is also actively countering China’s hegemonic designs in the region by constructing the Chabehar port in Iran for instance – in response to the (plagued) construction of the Chinese Gawadar port in Pakistan, and signing strategic, security and military cooperation agreements with countries in the Middle East: Egypt, Qatar, Oman and Algeria come to mind.

    India is also investing heavily in its relations with Africa to counter China’s ‘cash for diplomacy’ policy in the region, in addition to competing for oil contracts against Sinopec and PetroChina (although the Chinese are far ahead in this respect) – most recently in the announcement of a 4.6 Billion dollar investment in Ethiopia.

  22. Obviously, you read Chinese? I tried to go t the website, but cannot read a word (sign)…

    Nor can I read it Francois but, as you’ll see in my answer to Texan below, it has been extensively reported in English. je

  23. I think this is something the Indian government understands very well. George Fernandes ,when he was the Defence minister , created a stir, by declaring China as Indias main threat.
    The Chinese will not allow settlement of the border disputes as it gives them a “legitimate” reason for neutralising Indias growing stature, whenever it needs, as it did in 1962.
    Does India have any deterrent? At present no. Its an asymmetric relationship and we can only hope China will implode like Soviets, and Pakistan which all tried to detablise other countries .
    As they say it is dangerous to ride on a tiger. You can neither stay as you are nor can you get off it.

  24. How can a renegade group ULFA running around Assam and planting bombs can disintegrate India and get support from China to split India 20 to 30 pieces.ULFA is in run and their camps are in Burma.

  25. John,
    The only reason you wrote this article by picking up something from a bogus site, that have no credibility is to drive traffic to your website and get more comments.
    This is not journalism.
    This is desperation on your side.

    Ouch! I suggest you search – India China website – in Google News and you will find the story reported in most Indian newspapers and many outlets around the world including the Financial Times, BBC, and international newswires. je

  26. By publishing such stupid articles the Chinese media and their stupid politicians are only giving the pro-nuclear and missile lobby in India more reason to continue developing more nuclear forces/weapons.
    I will not be surprised if the next conflict between India and China quickly becomes a nuclear conflict costing tens of millions of lives on both sides.
    Time for stupid Chinese politians, military planners and media to wake up and think realistically.

  27. […] Elliot’s latest article “China aims to block India’s place in the sun” can be found in his blog “Riding the Elephant.” Go check it […]

    this refers to a blog (left) which suggests that I’m American AND “some say….CIA” – I’ve told him I’m not American but British, nor CIA! – je

  28. Thanks John. Could not agree with you more.

  29. I don’t think such frivolous ‘think tank plans’ should warrant any serious thought.
    China like India is far more complex to be slotted as a bad or good guy.
    I think the ‘idea of India’ runs deep within most of this inhabitants and the state is powerful enough to stop it from breaking up, albeit at cost of internal bloody Armageddon (in extreme cases).
    So, Chinese strategist will be better of planning how to capture Indian market and increase mutual trade manifold from current $57 billion.
    I don’t entertain this perception in democratic world (including India) that sees China as one huge efficient monolithic machine. It sure is greatly efficient but rational human reasoning prevails in ostensibly ‘autocratic’ societies. India should develop a more nuanced view of this surging dragon based on long history of mutual co-existence. Chinese should do the same.

  30. What a nice way of dreaming, I’m pretty sure their dream ends up in nightmare only if it is their true intention.

  31. 1. “Never” is a hard word and assumes that the political structure of China will remain to be dominated by an authoritarian and militarist Communist Party.

    2. Perhaps the Chinese Communist-Imperialists had assumed that they were already in the saddle in India courtesy of their stooges in India. The UPA’s break with the CPM & Co. may have come as a surprise, as also the elections that followed. Part of the reason for the bluster is surely the result of the frustration — so close, yet so far.

  32. Very interesting article John.

    What options do India have? As a democracy with ties to Europe and the US, they surely can’t use the same sabotage tactics as China?

    However, is concentrating on development, as they are, enough to thwart China’s intrusions?

    I guess the worry is that China is turning up to a boxing match with their gloves off and India’s gloves tied tightly on.


    thanks Nick. In a comment (above) Abhyaan helpfully mentions that India is active in countries that can worry China – though, I think, less successfully. India is also often accused of meddling in Pakistan – its suspected activities in its Baluchistan province have been in the headlines recently because the Indian prime minister allowed reference to unrest there to creep into an India-Pakistan communique.
    On your development point, China is already outstripping India as a world economic power. India’s democratic model moves more slowly, but of course is more sustainable. – je

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