New Delhi, 24 December 2002
a recent seminar at the USI in mid December a team of five senior USI
members, including Lt Gen Nambiar the Director, Rear Admiral
Raja Menon and Ambassador Arundhiti Ghosh, were present and gave a
vivid impressions of their recent extended visit to China, as
invited guests. They were very well received and accorded high
attention and hospitality. A serving Chinese colonel accompanied
them all along and up to Hong Kong 末 and that speaks volumes of
the change in China and their desire to interact with India. Other
USI members who are China watchers also chipped in with their views
in the discussions.
team had discussed issues at all important strategic institutions in
China and saw Shenzen a business area where no old person lives.
They even called on the Chinese Deputy Minster for Defence. It was a
landmark learning experience for those who were present. In all
meetings the Chinese asked the team to forget the Mao Revolution and
the 1962 War as things past and buried, and to look to the future.
is a pity that we in India were not as knowledgeable about
China as they were about us. They displayed a clear strategy to see
that as far as possible the LAC became the final border, as India is
the only country that had not settled its border with China.
team conceded that China had made great strides in modernity under
strict Government control and they very impressed with all that they
saw of that autocratic society 末 which now dresses in mini
skirts and western suits 末 they saw just one Mao suit in their
long stay. They emphasised that China's top leadership were obsessed
with the Economy and had a target of $5000 per capita income by
2020. They openly claimed that they had already doubled India's $400
per capita and were focused on the economic target more than any
other. Defence modernisation had taken a back seat but space,
rocketry and nuclear issues were very high priority. They were
importing defence equipment from Russia just like we do too.
commentators in the Indian media and at seminars had expressed that
China may see some chaos because the population may demand more
freedom 末 we always look at our own openness and democracy.
However we feel that if China keeps rising economically it may
avoid the breakdown that the Indian media had been
predicting for the last few years and still allude to. Those
who spoke at the seminar were very knowledgeable on Military and
Foreign policy matters and widely exposed to the world, hence
their impressions need to be heeded and taken seriously.
their excellent exposition the team indicated that in all their
meetings the statement by India's Defence Minister George Fernandes in
May 1998, a day after the Pokran 11 explosions, that China was
a prime enemy or words to that effect, were taken very seriously.
The team explained that in China there is a TOP DOWN system, where
statements of policy made by the higher echelon must be taken
seriously. China viewed the Defence Minister's statement as
policy. In China they explained that the working level which
corresponds to our Joint Secretary level, was only obliged to
execute policy and they do it well and seriously. The team had
explained to their hosts at length that this was not the case
in India and that they should not attach such importance to the
Defence Minsiter's statement, but the Chinese did not seem
would like to add that the Chinese are very haughty and do not like
to lose face. If some wrong is done they expect an apology and they
extracted one even from USA when it bombed their Embassy in
Yugoslavia and crashed PAC Orion in Hanna. China watches India
closely as a competitor and values its ties with Pakistan,
which irks India.