Delhi, 03 November 2002
the last two weeks Indian media evinced great interest in China's
future. We saw that Rediff did a series on China, Mohan Guruswamy
did pieces for us and we stated that China was zooming ahead just
when Chairman Jiang Zemin visited USA. Jiang made an impact in USA
and at the APEC conference at Mexico. Yet Ramesh Jairam whom we
regard as a balanced economist made little of China's progress in
the Financial Times. He did not explain how Hong Kong and Macau had
impacted increases in China’s coffers and now Taiwan is doing the
same with exchange of business and technology. We disagree with
Ramesh Jiaram that China’s progress is more hype than real.
20 years China is slated to be the super power of the East and in
USA all strategists are agreed on it. China’s totting up of
imports of cars, telephone density, infrastructure, GDP of $800
billion and imports and exports touching $300 billion cannot be
denied. Most of the shoes, apparel, light electronic goods and
necessities seen in mid level stores in Europe and USA are now
labeled ‘Made in China’ and Chinese diaspora is increasing.
wrote GE has exported over Rs 4000 crores of equipment from India
and we have not been able to get this confirmed from GE HQ in New
York at Schentady and they claim it is not even half. We also have
an E-mail from Singapore from the person who helped script the
article that China's Military can be Asia's No. 1.
are convinced, as are many all over the world, that India has all
the potential to move alongside China. Good governance and emulating
some of China’s policies may help us achieve that. The targets
should be to attract some 5 million tourists annually and an FDI of
approx.$12 billion a year for the next few years with attention
being paid to increasing and modernizing infrastructure. However it
may not be easy for the present Government split as it is into two
camps –– one progressive and liberal the other pulling it back
bureaucrats are still in control of the Armed Forces and they have
no impetus or ability to accelerate India’s growth, and like
Ramesh Jairam, are happy with India’s mediocre progress, which is
noticeable but not enough to emulate China’s progress. Ex Finance
Minister Chidambaram had written a piece in Financial Times that
foreign investors were losing interest in India because it changes
policies at the drop of a hat or as we say at the whim of a Naik or
a George. Hence we reproduce a piece from Strait’s Times of
has now ordered more Kilo class submarines, Su 30s from Russia
besides the Su 27, imported Sunburn missiles for its Sovermenny
destroyers and spares and radars and UAVs from Israel. Now they are
looking forward to import of defence equipment from USA and they are
happy to see Taiwan armed as they feel in the end that will help
China. In India we see George Fernandes has woken up to amend the
NEGATIVE LIST for exports of Defence Materials but will the
bureaucrats be able to do it.
has always supported openness and transparency and hopes that that
too will follow.
Military Can't Be Asia's No. 1
Times, Oct. 29, 2002
but more efficient, more flexible and more mobile.
military will be all these and more as it undergoes a radical
2005 and 2010, it will gain military superiority over Taiwan but, at
the end of the day, it will never be the predominant military power
in Asia. 'The United States will in the future remain as robustly
deployed in Asia as it is now,' said respected China expert
Professor David Shambaugh.
fact, American military deployment in Asia will increase, not
decrease,' he said, citing the stationing of US attack submarines on
Shambaugh, who is in Singapore to deliver three lectures and meet
senior government officials, is director of the China Policy
Programme at George Washington University and a Senior Fellow at the
new book, ‘Modernising China's Military: Progress, Problems and
Prospects’, will be out in the bookstores in January. In an
interview with The Straits Times yesterday, he gave four reasons why
China will not be the region's No. 1 military power:
US will maintain its pre-eminent military position in Asia;
is also modernising its military, which is not an insubstantial
force. In the next 10 years, it will play a more active military
role by, for instance, deploying its warships in the region to
protect the sea-lanes.
economies of South-East Asian countries will recover and their
military will purchase new defence equipment and increase joint
training with US forces;
will increase its defence capability while at the same time
deepen its military cooperation with the US.
Shambaugh detailed how China's military was modernising
comprehensively not just its hardware but, more importantly, its
software as well.
key feature of the modernisation is the downsizing of the People's
Liberation Army (PLA). Ten years ago, it was 3.6 million strong.
Today, it is 2.35 million - and still shrinking.
Chinese have come to the conclusion that smaller is cheaper and more
units have become smaller. The basic unit used to be the group army
or corp (50,000–70,000). Now, it is the brigade (15,000).
means the PLA is becoming more flexible, more mobile, cheaper, more
easily trained,' he added.
No stone is left unturned. The PLA is modernising professional
education, logistics, command and control systems and training
is the buzz word.
PLA understands that you must have a professional officer's corps
and a non-commissioned officer's corps, which they are forming for
the first time,' he said.
the hardware side, it is buying weapons from Russia - aircraft,
ships, submarines and missiles.
The Russians are driven by their thirst for cash. So, they are
merely transferring weapons but not the means of producing them as
they don't want China manufacturing arms on their southern
Will China be a benign power as it develops its military and
Prof Shambaugh: 'I don't see anything to suggest an aggressive world
view or expansionist ethos in Chinese strategic thinking. China does
believe its own propaganda of peaceful coexistence.'
exceptions to this policy are Taiwan and the South China Sea. They
are issues which can make China militarily 'more coercive'.
China wants is regional political pre-eminence and veto power so
that any issue in East Asia must take Chinese views into account,'
added Prof Shambaugh.
the Peoples Liberation Army
Chinese ground forces underwent a tumultuous two decades, marked
by significant personnel cuts and organisational restructuring.
army also suffered an important diminution in institutional
reputation, thanks to its disastrous performance in Vietnam in
it has established the parameters for the type of force it would
like to become: A smaller, more rapidly deployable, combined
arms force equipped with weapons that increase the range from
which it can strike the enemy.
achieve this goal, many of the organisational changes will need
to be continued and even expanded.
particular, the downsizing of the ground forces remains the
necessary pre-condition for modernisation, since a smaller force
frees up budget monies for the army's essential equipment and
the 15th Party Congress meeting in September 1997, President
Jiang Zemin announced an additional cut of 500,000 personnel
over three years.
July 1998 Defence White Paper revealed that ground forces will
be reduced by 19 per cent, naval forces by 11.6 per cent and air
force personnel by 11 per cent.
percentages amount to a reduction of about 418,000 ground
forces, 31,000 naval personnel, and 52,000 air force personnel.
the 500,000 personnel to be reduced, the ground forces will
account for nearly 84 per cent.