China’s gross miscalculation at Doklam

Exclusive to Vedic Management Centre by Dr David Frawley and U. Mahesh Prabhu

When a nation displays military aggression, there are usually two types of reasons for it – internal and external. The internal reasons are usually more compelling. For centuries, power-hungry and land-grabbing empires have been unsatisfied with what their possessions and properties, and have constantly sought to expand their borders and resources.

China, which under Deng Xiaoping accepted globalization over Mao’s edition of Communism or Maoism, seems to be confused about how to present itself as a superpower. Having annexed a great part of neighbouring nations – especially those that are militarily weak and present an economic route to establish its supremacy over others like Tibet, India, Bhutan, North Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia and Nepal – its strategy seems confused and uncertain.

After the economic down turn of 2008, many Chinese industries suffered a significant blow after the American and European economies began to slow down. During the early 2000s, China imported a great amount of iron ore to make steel to build its infrastructure. Post the 2008 economic recession, this steel was dumped at various ports that have now been penalised with massive dumping duties by their host countries. According to several industry estimates, China accounts for over 50% of the world’s steel production.

After the economic down turn of 2008, many Chinese industries suffered a significant blow after the American and European economies began to slow down. During the early 2000s, China imported a great amount of iron ore to make steel to build its infrastructure. Post the 2008 economic recession, this steel was dumped at various ports that have now been penalised with massive dumping duties by their host countries. According to several industry estimates, China accounts for over 50% of the world’s steel production.

It was important for the Chinese to put this steel to good use. China has the world’s highest Forex reserves; experts estimate it to be at least 3 trillion USD. Economists in China were trying to chart a plan to rekindle their economy through a tactical utilization of their Forex and steel. This is an important reason behind the One Belt One Road, or OBOR, project taking shape.

Also known as The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, OBOR was a development strategy proposed by expert Chinese economists to make the best of their reserves to increase employment and rekindle its economy.

OBOR was geographically structured along six corridors:

  1. New Eurasian Land Bridge, running from West China to Western Russia
  2. China-Mongolia-Russia Corridor, running from Northern China to Eastern Russia
  3. China-Central Asia-West Asia Corridor, running from Western China to Turkey
  4. China- Indo-China Peninsula Corridor, running from Southern China to Myanmar
  5. China-Pakistan Corridor, running from South-Western China to Pakistan
  6. Maritime Silk Road, running from the Chinese Coast through Singapore to the Mediterranean

 

Therefore, it is important for China to get the approval of the 60 countries through whose territory this connectivity has to be established. This includes Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia, Turkey, and many more. Unfortunately for China, India declined to participate in the Chinese grand design for the simple reason that it violates sovereignty and territorial integrity, particularly in Chinese and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

It was important for the Chinese to put this steel to good use. China has the world’s highest Forex reserves; experts estimate it to be at least 3 trillion USD. Economists in China were trying to chart a plan to rekindle their economy through a tactical utilization of their Forex and steel. This is an important reason behind the One Belt One Road, or OBOR, project taking shape.

India’s opposition meant that those who had concerns about the Chinese communist party’s expansion plans could follow India’s lead and strongly oppose the project. Interestingly, it worked. Primarily because of the South China Sea conflict – China has been building artificial islands to claim its “territorial sovereignty”, thereby bullying smaller nations like Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia into submission. These nations sought India’s leadership to diplomatically outmanoeuvre Chinese incursions.

When the talks were on between India and the nations around the South China Sea, China decided to show India its place by bullying Bhutan at Doklam border. The idea was simple – to cripple the effect of India’s leadership. Although the Bhutan-Chinese border dispute is old, the timing of the escalation could not be more precise. Interestingly, Bhutan sought India’s intervention to defend its territorial integrity; India agreed because it could provide a tactical advantage in the future.

According to many geopolitical pundits, the situation on the ground in Bhutan has reached a stalemate. That may very well be, but they failed to realise the intent behind the Chinese intimidation. China miserably failed to downplay India’s position as a possible force to counter China.

Doklam was a border issue over a road which they wanted to build by trespassing on land belonging to the sovereign nation of Bhutan. This Chinese intimidation has made many nations rethink business plans with China, in relation to OBOR. No country wants to risk its territorial integrity. OBOR may already be on its deathbed – for every nation is sceptical about China’s long term territorial designs.

Even if the Chinese withdraw from Doklam, it would lead to disastrous consequences. It would appear that India has won and will be seen as a powerful counterweight to the great dragon’s future plans. If they wage war, the already declining Chinese economy might collapse and internal revolts would lead to a nation in distress.

Even if the Chinese withdraw from Doklam, it would lead to disastrous consequences. It would appear that India has won and will be seen as a powerful counterweight to the great dragon’s future plans. If they wage war, the already declining Chinese economy might collapse and internal revolts would lead to a nation in distress.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves accolades for the manner in which he is handling this issue. He sought dialogue while displaying the resolve to fight if pushed against the wall. Whether the Chinese withdraw or not, Modi is already rising in stature as a formidable global leader who seeks peace, but won’t hesitate to throw an iron fist if his patience is tested. China may have shot itself in the foot at Doklam.

It must be noted that the heads of all ten ASEAN nations will be invited for the January 2018 Republic Day Parade in India. Most of the ASEAN nations, while having strong economic ties with China, have been vocal in raising concerns about its tactics. In India, they see a responsible, persistent, rational, respectful as well as enduring friend and leader.

3 responses on "China’s gross miscalculation at Doklam"

  1. Superb analysis. This however slightly downplays the underlying imperial urge. Mao’s policy of Tibet as the palm whose five fingers – Arunachalam, Sikkim, Bhutan, Ladakh and Nepal are also to be annexed forms bedrock of China’s Hegemonistic policy . Doklam is a well deliberated episode being acted out by the Dragon. Answer lies in being firm but not shrill as Chinese are. Dragon wouldn’t go in for war in spite of boasting that ‘ we invented gun powder and its always kept dry and we invented rockets .So our rockets are better than India’s.’ This worst patent rights violator of modern times has copied Russian arms and aircraft designs. These we have been using for 60 years and thrashed its better armed stooge Pakistan by using them. Chinese economy will collapse if BRI doesn’t take off. And looking at the experience of Laos, Sri Lanka and African countries which are being fleeced by this Shylock , others will back off and BRI would be a damp squib. We have to be on alert to repulse POSSIBLE INTENSE MASSED ARTILLERY ASSAULT IN OCTOBER before onset of winter as they would try to wage violent skirmishes and capture territory ,wait out the winter and try to subjugate us diplomatically by offering economic inducements to our steadfast friends like Russia. We have to be combat ready.We shouldn’t listen to our Communists. They were traitors in 1962 and continue to be so.

  2. Ashutosh Kumar BuddhirajuAugust 18, 2017 at 7:18 amReply

    I believe one of the other reasons why China is pushing forward with One Belt One Road is because of the high indebtedness this Chinese economy is in. With debt reaching to more than 250% of GDP, and the unchecked borrowing showing no signs of stopping, One Belt One Road offers China a very good opportunity to transfer the debt to fellow nations, rather wash its hands off part of the debt. This way, it’ll be pushing other nations into a debt trap. This way too, China is demonstrating its hegemony, where it’ll later usurp the land for equity in case of default. Re-colonization schemes are just about 25-30 years away. That’ll be the fall of the dragon.

  3. China is a huge Ponzi scheme. All those empty Cities they’ve built are just ways to generate capital which they invest abroad. They build illusory assets to buy real ones, disrupting and unbalancing markets while they do it. If you can’t conquer it, buy it.

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