China’s dream our nightmare 19 Aug 2013
India’s strategic planners must recognize the nature of the Chinese State and make all interactions transactional
After his appointment in December 2012 to the country’s three top positions-general secretary of the CCP Central Committee (CC), chairman of the Central Military Commission (SMC) and President of China-Xi Jinping further concentrated greater authority in himself. Today he heads seven of the Central leading small groups, the most powerful bodies overseeing government and Party affairs. He now guides and supervises all affairs relating to the national economy, armed forces and military modernization, cyber security and domestic security. The important point is that this has concurrently further strengthened the CCP’s grip on the levers of State. Today, Xi Jinping is China’s most powerful leader since Mai Zedong.
Xi jinping’s concept of ‘China’s Dream’, articulated in December 2012, has already entered the Party’s lexicon. In addition to making the people wealthy and the nation strong, the concept envisages “rejuvenation” of the Chinese nation, which implies the “recovery” of all former territories and depicted by China’s maps. This concept and his speeches are central subjects in the ‘study sessions’ held regularly by the Party and PLA.
The anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by Politburo Standing Committee (PBSX) member and fellow ‘princeling’ Wang Qishan, as chairman of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC), has reinforced Xi Jinping’s authority. The campaign has targeted a number of vice ministers and cadres at the Party’s second highest rung of leadership, namely Politburo (PB).
Modernization of the PLA, facilitated by the consecutive double-digit hikes in defence budget since 1993, has accelerated since the 18th Party Congress. Reliable reports state that China;s seven Military Regions are being merged into five. The PLA is being downsized by 800,000 persons and elimination of the 3000,000 non-combatants is proposed within a decade. There has been a vast infusion of funds in defence research and development in a major effort to upgrade technology, with China expecting to operationalize its second aircraft carrier in six years. China’s military doctrine dictates heavy concentration of firepower in a localized area to overwhelm the ‘enemy’. This reorganization gives the PLA a definite “outward orientation”, implying that “recovery” of territories claimed by Beijing will be a central feature of China’s strategic agendra and reinforce diplomacy aimed at realising “China’s Dream”.
India’s strategic planners will be prudent to recognize the nature of the Chinese State and make interactions transactional. Areas open to economic engagement should have clearly defined limits. India’s defence preparedness must be given priority.
Extract of an article by Jayadeva Ranade, HT, 18 aug 2014