Misinformation spreads like wildfire, uncontrollable, belligerent and irreversibly devastating. Although a full-fledged war between two nations with nuclear warheads hasn’t ever happened yet, there is no guarantee that the nuclear deterrent can actually defer a war for ever. But sadly, respondents this scribe spoke to in the state of Sikkim are already sure of Chinese waging a war against India to annex the beautiful north eastern state. What is surprising is that they almost have no faith that India will be able to defend its border. It is possible that the demons of the past still haunt the dreams of their present.
Economists have however predicted that times have changed (since imperialism) and there is hardly any reason for a nation like China to wage a war against India. They contend that the whole world economy rests on peaceful proliferation of trade and revenue, albeit possibly missing the point that the same proliferation of trade has become the new point of friction within nations. If peaceful trade is all that China wants, why would it assert its authority over vast swathes of land that fall under the sovereignty of almost all its neighbors? As I see, it is a cultural thing. The pride of being Chinese and to again reach the splendor of the ancient Chinese civilizations is what drives the government in China. It is almost what Trump in America means by wanting to make America great again. If we see clearly, Indians have no desire to make India great again like any of the past periods of prosperity enjoyed under any of the rules- British, Mughals, or ancient. If at all a section of the population talks about Ram Rajya or Shivaji Maharaj, rest assured that the rhetoric is lost within a few miles or a few days of the centre of all excitement. There are many reasons for it- diversity, multiplicity of philosophies, large area which ultimately got called as India, etc. But this frivolity is exactly what makes us believe that another war with China is almost impossible. It is because of our own inward looking that we believe a war with Chinese is a distant dream. We do not really understand China, yet.
Chinese have already made their place as the manufacturing hub of the whole world. If China has to face sanctions, the world economy will face the brunt of it. Thus, if India thinks that Chinese would think twice before declaring an offensive towards India, maybe India needs to think thrice. We need China more than they need us because the trade deficit is highly skewed in favour of China. We are just a small part of their international trade. Whereas Indian economy will face double jeopardy of inflation and expenditure if the Chinese wage a war against us and also suspend the trade. India will be wanting of imports from China to sustain its own domestic industry and markets from collapsing even more in the time of a war.
Since India may also be counting on a lot of relationships it has been building with nations all around the world, India should never forget that all these friends mean just trade, and nothing else. To expect our international relations come to our aid in the times of need will be like expecting another Nehru to trust UN, and another Shashtri ji losing his life in Tashkent.
Chinese are a proud country. Sadly, we have lost that kind of a passion in our culture, past, and our own identities have been washed with the seemingly liberal philosophies of the west. We have become more of a passive imitation of someone whom we were told to be the inferiors of, in all aspects. The whole world also knows us to well and has faith in our political insecurities and fallacies. To be honest, no one takes us too seriously. The soft power, if at all we see, is transient and only momentary, if at all we see it building up due to a political party which is asserting its prominence more than citizens hailing its predominance.
Chinese can very well attack us, and that too very soon. It is a common belief that a growing power would first test its waters by attacking smaller forces than by straightaway waging a war against a bigger nation. However, the complex network of trade, relationships and military associations make it harder to tread the usual road today. It is much wiser for China to declare a war against a growing power like India to be taken seriously and feared as a marquee in establishing its hegemony in this part of the world. Rather than tormenting smaller nations, Chinese could win them with fear if they succeed in making India tread the path it dictates. Trade is secured for China. It can very well assert its ownership of the lands it claims to be its own. A Chinese offensive could come about very soon, and as unexpectedly as it happened before. If India takes it seriously, we can save our face and our people. But the Executive should never ignore that even the people of India are not sure if India could honourably defend itself in a situation like this.