A buffer zone has now been created inside Indian Territory (by Indian perception) of Line of Actual Control; Indian Army will not be able to patrol areas they were paroling since 1992. Surely India has lost territory to China in the name of the buffer zone. China has military habitat inside Tibet Autonomous Region. So the Chinese army can come back to buffer zone anytime they want. Indian army having no habitat nearby does not have that privilege. So clearly has accepted the loss of territory in Galwan valley and Pangong Lake.
Why Indian Accepted Chinese Dictated Disengagement Terms
India is not at all in the position to counter China in any of the three battle spaces i.e. land space, air space, water space, cyberspace, electro-magnetic space and Space space. Not only India, other than Russia and USA no other country can think of a war with China. In any war with India, China can use electro-magnetic power to destroy Indian connectivity, destroy the Indian banking system by cyber-attacks and destroy Indian satellite system in Space war. No contact level war is needed at all.
Moreover, the Indian army lacks ammunition to continue the war for more than a month. Above all, Pakistan can open another frontier when India will be fighting China and India cannot fight the two-front war. In fact, Chinese and Pakistani armies are training jointly for many years now. So India cannot afford to go to war in the next 10 years with China even if Chinese military growth remains stagnant in this period. If we take into account Chinese military growth in the next 10 years, India can only think of reducing the gap by growing at a greater speed after 20 years. Winning war with China is a distant dream for India now. So India has to accept Chinese dictated terms of disengagement.
What has India Lost?
India has not only lost Galwan valley and Pangong Lake to China by accepting Chinese terms. More is at stake now. One, Modi’s image as a strong leader is now destroyed both nationally and internationally. Modi will now be perceived as a soft leader before China. He will now find it difficult to manage internal critics in the name of external power projection. This will create tensions within Indian corporate families, bureaucracy and intelligence. If Modi cannot fix India, who can? A part of the Indian ruling class can start to feel that no hope is left.
Two, Indian Army will now be in pressure on the Eastern front too. Fear of Chinese intrusion in Arunachal Pradesh (claimed as South Tibet by Chinese) and Sikkim will keep Indian army in pressure. This will force India to put more spending on the Eastern front. But the shortage of funds can make the Indian Ocean and western front vulnerable.
Three, all South Asian neighbours of India will now decisively move Chinese camp. They have little reason to be afraid of the wrath of India anymore. China is already investing big in Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. China is also giving market access to the same. India has nothing to offer other than threatening these countries using its political and media networks. After being defeated by China, these Indian networks will lose strength.
Four, ASEAN countries, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand will now understand China is too powerful for them. The Indian military is at least more powerful than that of these countries. Indian military budget is third largest in the world. And if such an army fails to give any resistance to Chinese, how can their much weaker military afford to take on China. These countries will be reluctant to join the anti-China alliance in future.
Five, internal contradictions within India will rise as Indian geopolitical weakness is exposed and will continue to grow. Kashmiris, Sikhs, North-Eastern people will feel more enthusiastic in demand for the separate nation-state. Maoists will find more space to uphold their revolutionary agenda. Demand for separation may now start rising from coastal non-Hindi nations too. India is becoming internally destabilized after being beaten by China in Ladakh.
Six, China can create geopolitical instability in India using its military might any day. Global investors will now think twice about investing in India. A country with internal conflicts and poverty if gets surrounded by enemy countries, can no longer remain a viable investment destination. Last, the USA has understood that India alone will fail to face the Chinese challenge even in its own backyard. So Indian alliance may be treated by the USA as a liability rather than an asset in the coming days. India’s incompetence as an ally already is proving to be very much taxing for the USA in Afghanistan.
Rising Tensions between China and India’s Ruling Corporate Families
India has banned 59 Chinese apps. So India has started to loss Chinese investment massively. Chinese are the main investments behind high tech start-ups in India. Surely, the Indian ruling class mainly Gujarati, Rajasthani, Haryani corporate families want to get rid of competition from Chinese financed start-ups and also global companies. Modi has taken anti-Amazon moves too. The recent spat between Chinese state-owned banks and Anil Ambani, Sajjan Jindal’s declaration to reduce import from China, Mahindra’s anti-China rhetoric and India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani’s shedding off of Chinese debt to become net-zero debt company clearly show the rising tensions between Indian ruling corporate families and China. It was believed for long that while Indian military is ready to ally with the USA, Indian corporate families are pro-China. But it seems now Indian ruling business families are afraid of Chinese investment as they are breeding future competition.
India Moving Towards Monopoly of Inefficient Family-Centric Crony Capitalism
Most of India’s corporate families come from three states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana. They get Indian central government help to usurp most of Indian business and assets. In the last 70 years, they have worked for reducing competition in the Indian market and maintain a monopoly. Open market reforms have been exploited by some of them while others found it tough to compete in the global market. With USA-China enmity growing and threatening to derail the global supply chain, Indian corporate families thought it to be the best time to eliminate global competition in the Indian market.
At the same time, they are forcing the Indian government to sell its important assets at cheap prices. So Indian corporate want no competition from global competitors but want fully-fledged privatization. So India is ending up doing the opposite of what China had done. China since the 1980s, kept state ownership in key sectors intact while allowed private in the consumer goods sector. But the most important part was that China allowed global competition to make it’s economically efficient. India is now going for rampant privatization while eliminating global competition. Thus a monopoly of inefficient family-centric crony capitalist economy is being created.
India is moving towards a bleak future of getting surrounded by China, the plunder of national assets by a few corporate families and an inefficient economy due to lack of global competition. This will further hamper Indian economic growth which will, in turn, destroy the Indian military’s prospect to compete for the Chinese army. India after a few years may become Sick Man of South Asia fighting for survival.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.