China orders its troops to prepare for a China-India war, as its rival threatens Beijing’s national interests.
A major nuclear catastrophe looms over Asia, but not in the eastern direction – where North Korea is threatening to nuke U.S. territory. Bhutan, a landlocked country in South Asia, becomes the epicenter of imminent China-India war.
While an armed conflict between the two nuclear-armed nations would destabilize Asia, sources close to the Chinese military reveal disturbing plans of China’s top brass.
According to a source close to the People’s Liberation Army cited by the South China Morning Post, Chinese officers and troops from the Western Theatre Command, whose jurisdiction includes Doklam in the “tri-junction” of Tibet, have been ordered to prepare for a military confrontation with Indian troops.
The news comes as India went after China’s national interests by threatening to blockade Beijing’s maritime lifeline in the Indian Ocean in case of a full-scale war between the two Asian giants.
As the Doklam crisis, which broke out in mid-June over China’s construction of a road, shows no signs of going away, the two historic rivals are inching closer to war.
India’s 50,000 Troops On Notice to Fight China
As India continues to show stubbornness to withdraw troops it sent into Doklam to halt China’s road construction in the 34-square-mile piece of land the two nuclear-armed nations share with the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan, China is reportedly considering a military response.
Experts have previously warned that once the first shot is fired, the border stand-off may escalate into an all-out China-India war. Reports indicate that the Indian military has recently placed around 50,000 soldiers on notice amid the eight-week-long stand-off with its historic enemy.
China has demanded India to withdraw troops from the territory claimed by Beijing. New Delhi, which argues the land belongs to Bhutan, its long-time ally and strategic partner, has shown reluctance to comply with China’s demands in the most serious military confrontation between China and India since 1962, when the two rivals fought a deadly border war that left more than 2,000 troops dead, most of them Indian.
China-India War: How Two Asian Giants Are Preparing For It
A China-India war looms over Asia, as the world’s two most populous nations – with over 2.6 billion people combined – are readying themselves for a possible military resolution of the Doklam crisis.
Last Friday, India’s defense minister Arun Jaitley told parliament that the Indian military was “prepared to take on any eventuality” of the border stand-off with China. India officials echoed the sentiment of their Chinese counterparts, who keep reiterating their determination to resolve the conflict “by all means” if Indians do not back down.
Speaking on condition of anonymity with the South China Morning Post this week, a source close to the PLA said Beijing would deploy aircraft and strategic missiles to “paralyze Indian mountain divisions stationed in the Himalayas” instead of seeking to fight a ground war with its historic enemy.
The unnamed source added that Indian troops would not be able to hold out for “more than a week.” But the Chinese military is not the only one pessimistic about India’s success in a possible China-India war. Earlier this month, a new report by India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) revealed major weaknesses of the Indian army, which would most likely prevent it from defeating China’s advanced military.
The CAG report concluded that the Indian military is suffering from a dramatic shortfall of ammunition, unpreparedness for intense fighting, a shortage of essential resources as well as inadequate training.
Looming Trade War Between Beijing and New Delhi
As Beijing and New Delhi battle for supremacy in Asia – with the Doklam crisis bringing them closer to wrestling for leadership with force – a trade war is looming between the two Asian giants.
Last week, India imposed anti-dumping duties on 93 Chinese products, as revealed by The Indian Express citing China’s state-run media. The move prompted a furious response from the Chinese media, which warned India to be prepared to face the consequences for its trade war-inciting actions. China-India bilateral trade stood at over $70 billion last year.
As ties to its trade partners is vital for Beijing’s economic success, India is putting pressure on China’s other, no less vital, sore spot — its maritime interests in the Indian Ocean. Dr. Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a research associate at the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, told the South China Morning Post that China’s “military adventurism” will get “a fitting reply from the Indian military,” which includes a blockade of China’s maritime lifeline in the ocean.
China heavily relies on imported fuel, of which over 80% of oil imports pass through Strait of Malacca from the Indian Ocean, according to a 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Defense.
India Gets US Help to Be War-Ready for China
Both China and India would suffer dramatic losses and setbacks from a military confrontation, no matter how it ends. However, the Doklam plateau remains a hotspot because neither Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor Chinese President Xi Jinping is willing to give up his ground.
Modi backing down in the Doklam crisis could make him look weak, which could play a cruel joke on his re-election chances in 2019. Xi, meanwhile, is preparing for the Communist Party congress this fall, which takes place every five years. The two nuclear-armed neighbors remain locked in a heated stand-off along the 2,000km border, with many experts worried that the conflict could spill into their other four disputed areas.
India has built up its military capabilities since its two most recent border stand-offs with China in the plains of Ladakh in 2013 and 2014. Last month, India took part in the Malabar 2017 naval drills in the Bay of Bengal along with the U.S. and Japan. Also last month, the U.S. approved the sale of military transport aircraft to India worth $365 million as well as a $2 billion deal for surveillance drones.
The deals with its major ally resulted in the Indian military having in possession eight Boeing P-8A Poseidon submarine hunters in the Indian Ocean. While this creates certain difficulties for Beijing in case of a China-India war, China still has the world’s largest army of more than 2 million troops. Not to mention that Beijing owns five times as many submarines and tanks compared to the Indian military.