continued from The Slipshod Elephant Part-2
Science and Technology in China
When modern day China was born in 1945, they were dependent on the Soviet Union for almost about everything. Food grains, cotton, medicines, motor vehicles, arms and ammunitions, war planes, consumer goods – the list goes on and on. However, the Sino-Soviet split had resulted in a complete embargo by the Soviet Union on China. The steady supply of Soviet products came to an abrupt end and the ideological difference had restricted China into a trade pact with the West. This forced the Chinese to nurture an in-house technology base. Millions had then been pumped into various technical institutions. Many research and design bureaus were set up. Most of the first generation and second generation products were copies of Soviet equipment which had been reverse engineered and rebuilt. Using the knowhow from these reverse engineering practices, they started to optimize the technology further to increase its accuracy and efficiency. A large diaspora of Chinese expatriates working in various research institutions had provided valuable information on technology bases of various technically advanced countries. There were considerable amounts of research on material science, particle physics, nuclear physics, chemistry, medicine, telemetry, cryogenics, electronics and communication. Universities and government institutions worked together wherein the former contributed to the actual research and development while the latter provided the necessary funds, manpower and infrastructure. They had very impressive and marked contributions in robotics, rocketry, particle physics, nuclear physics, molecular chemistry, electronics, computer science and Nano technology. In short, they were quite close to technologically advanced countries like Israel or South Korea.
Why China holds a grudge towards our country and what are our back off factors
Throughout history, we had coexisted peacefully with the Chinese. These periods were also marked by huge cross border cultural, scientific and spiritual transactions. The Indian form of martial arts was the genesis of Shaolin kung fu. Buddhism had spread across mainland China and even to the Far East up to the Islands of Japan and the Korean peninsula. Those were the days of history. Today each country’s teeming with nationalist sentiments, an urge for development and for its own unique identity on the international stage. The following could be some of the reasons why China tops India in a number of areas.
1) An unmarked border.
Since aerial surveying wasn’t used during the time of demarcation, we lack a properly marked border with China. Each country claims its territory as the line of control had become the de facto border. At the end of the Shimla accord, there was a proposition for a mutually agreeable border demarcation between British India, Tibet and China. However China withdrew from the accord claiming Tibet was their own territory and not a separate country. The dispute for Aksai Chin and the North West Frontier province further deteriorated relations between India and China which eventually culminated in an Indo-China war. India was totally crushed and humiliated badly. To add insult to injury, India lost Aksai Chin and finally Tibet was annexed by the Chinese, forcing the majority of Tibetans and their spiritual leader to seek asylum in India. We have the most liberal and porous border with Pakistan and Bangladesh. Bribe a BSF outpost constable in Tripura or Assam and anybody can easily sneak in to India. There are thrift shops near the Bangladeshi border where one can do a currency exchange and get 500 or 1000 rupee notes. They can even buy liquor, cheap Chinese made electronics etc. as potential bribing articles. There is even an ironical rumour going around that it’s easier to get an Indian passport in Bangladesh than in India. You can pay around 10,000 taka (Bangla money) to these thrift shops and collect your Indian passport within a week. Compared to these thrift shops, verification and collection of a legitimate passport for the average Indian is a painful and tedious process.
2) A weak and impotent foreign policy and an inept external intelligence agency
The most unfortunate aspect of India is its unbelievably corrupt, incompetent, inefficient and power mongering bureaucracy and government system. On the international stage our foreign policy is also rather weak and inept. Throughout our history we made the mistake of relying too much on the mercy of super powers. The Foreign Department didn't nurture the art of persuasion. When the blueprints for India's new external intelligence agency, The Research and Analysis wing was submitted by the great spymaster R.N. Kao, he had a vision to make it as efficient as the Mossad and to anchor India's reach on to the upper echelons of various governments, institutions and defense establishments. However what happened and what continues to happen remains a mystery. The inefficiency is almost apparent from the covert operations conducted by foreign elements within our country. We had almost lost our outreach in the Maldives. We are no longer capable of influencing the prime political figures in Sri Lanka. We are no longer capable of influencing a single religious leader in Bangladesh. We are no longer capable of driving overseas media propaganda. We are no longer capable of influencing the upper echelons of any of the Arab countries. We are no longer capable of countering a mass smear activity against us in foreign media. We are unable to influence the mainstream dinosaur media in the world. We have lobbying powers neither in the UN nor in other world organizations. These are just a handful of reasons why we tag alongside third world nations like Pakistan.
India has a number of intelligence agencies under the Central Government and each state has its own internal intelligence agencies. But the ruling side often uses them as their own personal instruments to monitor and intercept their political opponents. The intelligence agencies of Pakistan and China are successful in infiltrating and indoctrinating the most vulnerable sections and our internal intelligence agencies are totally inept at identifying sleeper cells and countering the indoctrination. The Maoist insurgency or the religious fundamentalists or the metropolitan crime syndicates or even the political turbulence and caste based conflicts are real world examples of such shortcomings. The Baluchistan separatists groups had been totally abandoned by our intelligence agencies and they are on the verge of a collapse. Rather than resisting through a regular army, the ISI had been successfully countering the insurgency through proxy insurgent groups like Jundallah. The actual status quo with Nepal is frightening. The anti-India sentiments in Nepal are now increasing at an alarming rate. The command and control centre for future covert operations against India could be Nepal. During Nepal’s earthquake disaster the Indian masala media were absolutely petrifying and this had the detrimental effect of adding fuel to the fire.
3) A strike force which is fragile and morally weak
It is a well-known fact across the world that we still use second and third generation Soviet hardware. The tanks, howitzers, small arms, artillery pieces, anti-tank weapons, SAMs, anti-ship missiles, submarines, frigates, radars, multi barrel rocket systems etc. had been purchased during mid-70s when we were completely dependent upon the Soviet Union. The multi-billion dollar purchase of a vintage decommissioned aircraft carrier from the Russian federation is a good example of our obsession with antiques. There are no Soviets to provide us with field supports or 'upgrades'. Our innovative military engineering division is responsible for its upgradation but none of the hardware has been battle proven. We don't have a single 5th generation fighter aircraft and only a squadron of 29 odd SU 30 MKIs as a primary airborne strike force. As we are still obsessed with antiques, our workhorses are the 1950’s made MIG 21’s and Soviet era MIG 27’s and Jaguars. The only 'modern' aircrafts are a bunch of Mirage 2000’s and MIG 29s which were built during the early 1980s. All our frigates and corvettes are from the Soviet era with minimum upgrades of navigation and radar facilities.
Even though our soldiers are striving towards a secure homeland, their morale is at an all-time low. This may be attributed to the policies of past and present governments which have systematically side lined their pleas for better remuneration, health care, pension schemes etc. The present and past governments have converted these fighting machines into sobbing and frustrated entities who are simply performing their duties to get their monthly remuneration and waiting to retire. It is their loyalty and dedication towards this nation that is forcing them to abstain from a military coup.
4) A huge volume of untapped diaspora.
For countries like Israel, China or Russia, the greatest foreign asset is their impressive amount of loyal expatriates. These countries had pioneered in vouching these loyal diaspora to be, if not a case officer, a field agent or even an entity who had penetrative power in the upper echelons of the establishment where they resided. Even a good number of Pakistanis from Birmingham or Leeds have been vouched for by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and have proven successful in psychological warfare and smear campaigns against India. The ISI has an unbelievable stature with in the Saudi, Qatari and Emirati kingdoms and can effectively influence their decision making and foreign policies. There are high ranking officials from the Pakistani army and other defense establishments who are on deputation as liaison officers to these countries. Our expatriates are loyal to their homeland and there is an appreciable amount of contribution as remittance towards our economy. They are the ambassadors of our culture and literature to the outside world. They are the ones who shell out dollars and pounds to watch an international cricket match when India participates or for an overseas tour performance by Bollywood showmen. But what our country truly needs is far more than these. Our diaspora is spread across almost all the countries of the world. Ironically a considerable number of upper middle class and upper class citizens of these countries are Indians who run their family businesses or conglomerates. We can't find a single country without a wealthy Gujarati or Marathi. We can't find a single heavily charged university without Indian students. But still we are absolutely inept at tapping these huge reservoirs of potential. Israel is a pioneer in this area. The Mossad has successfully inflicted the oneness of Judaism within the Jewish diaspora and have enjoyed relentless support from them towards the cause of the Jewish State. Most are active sayanims (a field officer or agent) for the Jewish state. There are NGOs like the notorious AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) which is the most influential lobbying group in the world spearheaded by the greatest Israeli spymasters. It is even rumored that they can influence the entire voting system in the United States. Another pioneer in this field is the Chinese. Almost the entirety of South East Asia is teeming with Chinese citizens which includes Australia as well as New Zealand. The Chinese lobbying group in the US is second only to Israel's AIPAC. We are not even capable of lobbying a group of coral atolls like the Maldives. The GMR saga is a perfect example.
5) A potential defeat in resource competition
China couldn’t care less about India's ascent on the world stage. They are absolutely well informed and have the minutest information about the total topography of this country, its politics, the level of corruption, the bureaucratic structure, its economy, its defense establishments, its universities and even the internal intelligence establishments. The ISI has also been able to successfully tap a brain washed population and to their credit also have a working relation with Chinese intelligence agencies. They have field agents and loyalists who belong to all of the religious groups. In light of their intelligence supremacy China really doesn’t have to consider India an immediate or a future threat. Their medium range ballistic missiles are capable enough of neutralizing our immediate response units. A possible retaliation by ground attack squadrons of the Indian air force into Chinese territories is virtually impossible without mid-air refueling and this is suicidal. Their high altitude interceptor missiles which are strategically placed in Tibetan altitudes are capable enough of shooting down any airborne threats from the Indian side. The Qinghai-Tibet railway can rapidly mobilize their ground troops near our borders and a simultaneous ground attack with air support can guarantee a possible retreat of Indian troops from Leh or Aksain Chin area or even Arunachal Pradesh. To make things worse, Pakistan can facilitate the Chinese troop and artillery deployment in Gilgit Baltistan area of Kashmir through the Karakoram highway which connects China with Pakistan. An attack on Jammu & Kashmir from all three sides will guarantee an obvious Chinese victory within days. The Chinese lobbying groups can easily influence the US and Russia during a UN resolution and India will be at the receiving end. But what China wants is far more than an inaccessible and uninhabitable land mass.
To be continued.....
Sreejith A R