Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Is China "Signaling" India via such intrusions.
In his article, Col. Ajai Shukla points to the suggestion the DBO venture was merely a "political signal" from the Chinese government to the GoI prior to Prime Minister Keqiang's visit.
This in an interesting premise that I feel can afford greater public scrutiny.
It is true this is a very complicated signalling mechanism, one wonders why such a mechanism would be needed as there are so many fora on which the PRC can convey its intentions towards peaceful resolution of the disputes and a military adventure seems way more expensive than any of those.
The only circumstance (apart from lack of coordination between the PLA and the Chinese PM's office) where this kind of "signaling" would become necessary is if the PRC was negotiating from a position of weakness. That is, what the Chinese wanted to achieve through bargaining was far is excess of what they were capable of achieving by other means.
It is definitely in PRC's interests to get an agreement in place which slows down the pace of India's infrastructure development in the region until the PLA has resources in place to maintain its present defensive posture. As things stand maintaining the Chinese claims in the region is reliant on lines of communication which are quite exposed to interdiction by air. While the Chinese can drive up to the border, an IAF fighter from AFS Koel can be over the area in far less time than it takes to lug a tank from some place on the G219 to the Depsang plain. This capability lag in the PLAAF to go toe-to-toe with the IAF in the region is a source of immense weakness that the Chinese have to strategise around.
It would possible for the Chinese to deploy air defence assets in the region. There is little India can do to prevent it. Given the terrain, it is difficult to say how effective these would be and if Chinese SAM systems have the reliability needed at these high altitudes and low temperatures.