Home Responding to Chinese Article on the-Six Wars China is Sure to Fight in the next 50 Years

Responding to Chinese Article on the-Six Wars China is Sure to Fight in the next 50 Years

 On 08 July 2013, a Hong Kong daily Wen Wei Po, published an article titled “the six wars to be fought by China in the next 50 years”. The daily has close links with the Chinese Communist Party of which the Central Military Council and the People’s Liberation Army is a part. As per this article, China will wage six wars to reclaim territories lost by China to the British in the Opium War of 1840-42. The period when these wars will occur is as stated-

  • First War, Unification of Taiwan (2020 to 2025).
  • Second War, Reconquest of Spratly Islands (2025 to 2030).
  • Third War, Reconquest of Southern Tibet (Arunachal) (2035 to 2040).
  • Fourth War, Reconquest of Senkaku and Ryuku Islands (2040 to 2045).
  • Fifth War, Unification of Outer Mongolia (2045 to 2050).
  • Sixth War, Taking back lands lost to Russia (2055 to 2060).

The article has been further published in a blog and has been possibly written in consultation with a defence analyst. Of interest to India is the mention made of the third war to be fought for the reconquest of Arunachal Pradesh from 2035 to 2040. Prior to this war China would have unified Taiwan and captured Spratly islands. At this time, China’s military power would have enhanced and would be almost comparable to the United States (US). The author candidly states that though India would be lagging behind China, it would be militarily strong and a direct war would result in some losses for China.

The article suggests that a direct conflict with India should be avoided. Instead, forces that could disintegrate India such as inciting Assam and Sikkim for independence should be encouraged. Alongside, advanced weapons could be given to Pakistan to enable it to conquer Kashmir by 2035. China could then use this opportunity to launch a blitzkrieg to capture Arunachal Pradesh. Only if this fails, should the final option of launching a full scale offensive to capture the state be made.

Unlike the Indian Armed Forces who are directly controlled by the Government, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its supreme authority the Central Military Council (CMC) comes directly under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The PLA has been making plans for a considerable period as to the modus operandi to deal with Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia and Russia. Viewing the three options against India, the first option deals with creating or exploiting insurgency in parts of India’s Northeast states. The situation in Sikkim is extremely peaceful and despite China’s persistent efforts, it would be extremely difficult to create insurgent activities in the state. Out of the remaining seven states, insurgency at a low scale continues in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur.  Out of these three states, Assam has a border with Bangladesh and Bhutan while Nagaland and Manipur have a border with Myanmar. In as much as Assam is concerned, operations conducted by the Bhutanese Armed Forces and the support given to India by the Awami League Government in Bangladesh have resulted in weakening of the insurgency movement. The slow transformation to democratic movements in Myanmar have resulted in greater interaction between the Myanmar Government and Indian Government leading to lesser support to Naga and Manipuri rebels from China through Myanmar. Overall, the law and order situation currently has improved and the Security Forces have been able to control the situation. However, a lot will depend on the result of elections in Bangladesh, which are likely to be held in January 2014. In case the Awami League does not return to power then the possibility of the insurgency gathering momentum post 2014 cannot be ruled out.

The second option deals with China providing advanced weaponry to Pakistan resulting in Pakistan waging a war with India and capturing Kashmir while China launches a blitzkrieg to capture Arunachal Pradesh. It is pertinent to note that as on date, China is supplying state of the art weaponry, which includes JF 17 jet fighter aircrafts, missiles and nuclear weapons to Pakistan, which enables it to be prepared for defensive operations against India. The capture of Kashmir by Pakistan is not practicable due to the overwhelming military superiority of India and the stable situation prevailing in the state. The politico economic measures being undertaken by India will further improve the position of India making the entire issue out of reach of Pakistan.

China may exercise the third option of launching operations against India resulting in possibly a full spectrum conventional war under a nuclear over hang or a combination of intrusions with cyber warfare, destruction of satellites and selective firepower. The Indian Armed Forces in the period of 2035 to 2040 would have undergone their modernisation and would have mountain strike capability. India would need to be prepared to counter Chinese capability and its forces would need to have the technological edge over the Tibetan Plateau.

The Chinese are experts in being sweet at the negotiating table and ferocious in the battlefield. Viewing all the three options, India must move quickly to resolve the low-level insurgencies still prevailing in some parts of the Northeast. This must also include improvement of infrastructure and integrating the region internally as well as with the economies of the surrounding countries. Further improvement of relations with Bangladesh would also assist in denying support to some of the insurgent groups. Positive signals could be sent in terms of signing the Land Border Agreement and the Teesta River Agreement with Bangladesh. These are possible provided a consensus can be built between the Centre and the Government of West Bengal. In as much as other options are concerned our Armed Forces need to modernise at the earliest to dissuade China from undertaking any misadventure.

The Chinese article has brought to the forefront the need for India to be prepared for a two front war against China and Pakistan. Actually, the Chinese have added another front, which would be the insurgents. Our current force levels particularly of the Army and the Air Force needs to be raised to meet this challenge. The new Mountain Strike Corps with the Light tank, M 777 Ultra Light Howitzers, Attack and Utility Helicopters and the BrahMos missile system needs to get off the ground and commence raising. Our Air Force is currently down to 32 Squadrons against a requirement of 44. In a few years we will be down to 29 if the MMRCA contract is not signed. This would put us in a difficult situation in a multiple front scenario. This vulnerability must be expeditiously addresses.

 

Maj Gen P K Chakravorty, (Retd), is a Gurgaon based defence analyst.

Views expressed are personal

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Maj Gen (Dr) P K Chakravorty
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