Guest post: Speedbox – India, China and the Indo Pacific

China have a number of foreign policy issues confronting them not least of which is the emerging cold war between China and the United States. Meanwhile, on China’s southwest border in the Himalayas, the world’s two most-populous countries are keen to portray themselves as leading powers in the 21st century.

For sixty years the Chinese and Indian militaries have periodically clashed over the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Himalayas but in May 2020, Chinese and Indian troops engaged in aggressive skirmishes following Chinese incursions. The fighting was largely contained to fists, clubs and throwing rocks with injuries totalling about 100 across both sides.

Unsurprisingly, both India and China reinforced their positions and a vicious hand-to-hand confrontation occurred on 15/16 June 2020. India subsequently reporting 20 deaths of Officers and men. China has not confirmed their casualties but many reports suggest a number that broadly matches the Indian figure.

Sporadic engagements have followed since including the alleged firing of shots by India (which they deny) to the use of a ‘microwave’ weapon used by China that sends a high-frequency blast through Indian soldiers, forcing them back from two strategic hilltops.

To keep the pressure up, reports of Chinese cyber-attacks on Indian infrastructure increased from July 2020. The Indians suspect that a severe electricity blackout in Mumbai in October 2020 was caused by a malware attack and at least 12 Indian government organisations, mainly power utilities, were reported to have been attacked by February 2021.

For the time being however, things have settled with China and India having recently agreed to pull back troops along the disputed Himalayan border. A demilitarised zone will be created after the troops and artillery withdraw and the area will not be patrolled by either although soldiers from both sides will still be in rifle range of each other.

Many of the meetings to resolve the dispute between the Chinese and Indians occurred in Moscow as Russia, an ally to both nations, doesn’t want to be placed in an uncomfortable position if the fighting escalates. Despite this latest truce, the relationship between India and China is very fragile and further confrontations are a distinct possibility.

The confrontations prompted the resurgence of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) comprising the United States, India, Japan, and Australia due to mounting alarm about the rise of China and the security threat it poses to the international order and the Indo-Pacific in particular.

For clarity, the Quad is not a mutual assistance military treaty like NATO. Instead, it establishes a basis for regular defence co-operation through naval exercises and the sharing of intelligence and military logistics. But, the alliance also focuses on a rules-based order and an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific including trade, technology and global supply chains.

In time, membership of the Quad may see the inclusion of Canada, France, New Zealand and potentially the United Kingdom and Germany into a broader alliance that has an enhanced military raison d’etre in the Indo-Pacific region. Proponents of a more militaristic Quad sometimes refer to it as an ‘Asian NATO” and point to the inclusion of South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines who have expressed an interest. It is difficult to imagine all the SE Asian nations coming together to form a military alliance to buttress China but mutual fear and/or distrust of the CCP may make for strange bed-fellows.

For now, the Quad does not represent a containment of China’s actions but it is clear that many nations are sufficiently alarmed at China’s activities and bully-boy approach. With their border quarrel with India to the southwest, a simmering cold war with the US, Taiwan issues, containment of Hong Kong democracy, South and East China Sea disputes and a potentially enhanced Indo-Pacific military bloc under the Quad, China have a raft of foreign policy issues. If that wasn’t enough, their potential entanglement with the Taliban in Afghanistan also carries significant risks.

Wolf warrior diplomacy, trade hostility, cyber-attacks and other aggressions do not appear to be yielding the results President Xi anticipated.

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33 Responses to Guest post: Speedbox – India, China and the Indo Pacific

  1. rickw says:

    Wolf warrior diplomacy, trade hostility, cyber-attacks and other aggressions do not appear to be yielding the results President Xi anticipated.

    Lying in the supermarket aisle screaming and pulling things off the shelf definitely isn’t working for Asia’s petulant brat.

  2. Knuckle Dragger says:

    Sack-whacking a bully almost always has the desired effect.

  3. yarpos says:

    China’s actions have certainly made made me rethink my purchasing decisions, and I will not by Chinese if there is an option. We have not bought Chinese food for a couple of decades at least, simply due to concerns of a corrupt and polluted supply chain. Now I consider every purchase. The last dishwasher and cooktop came from the EU, fasteners from Bunnings came from Taiwan and Vietnam, filters for car services came from Taiwan and Indonesia, tyres for the car from Indonesia.

    Not perfect by any stretch but I dont select products from people who threaten my country.

  4. Roger says:

    “If that wasn’t enough, their potential entanglement with the Taliban in Afghanistan also carries significant risks.”

    The Donald’s parting gift to Xi.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Tony Abbott has a piece today:

    Former Australian Prime Minister Hails World Democracies’ Pivot from China to India (9 Aug)

    Abbott visited New Delhi last week as Australia’s special trade envoy for India as the Australian government gives priority to sealing a bilateral trade deal.

    In an opinion piece likely to anger Beijing that that was published in The Australian newspaper on Monday, Abbott said the “answer to almost every question about China is India.”

    “With the world’s other emerging superpower becoming more belligerent almost by the day, it’s in everyone’s interests that India take its rightful place among the nations as quickly as possible,” Abbott wrote.

    Was that a head explosion I just heard from the direction of Beijing?

  6. lotocoti says:

    If that wasn’t enough, their potential entanglement with the Taliban in Afghanistan also carries significant risks.

    Hopefully some sweaty palms in Pakistan.
    If it ever came to nut cutting time, I can’t imagine PLA Inc faffing about
    with any of that Low Collateral Damage Bomb poncery.

  7. Zipster says:

    china threatened to nuke Japan and according to our media stockpiling nukes.

    The only thing the CCP is concerned about is survival, expect an increase in recklessness.

    The window for taking back Taiwan isn’t going to be open for ever.

    The west has taken no action on Beijing taking over Hong Kong or running concentration camps where the furnaces seem to run around the clock.

    Will our glorious leaders take a stand on the invasion of Taiwan.

  8. Roger says:

    In an opinion piece likely to anger Beijing that that was published in The Australian newspaper on Monday, Abbott said the “answer to almost every question about China is India.”

    “With the world’s other emerging superpower becoming more belligerent almost by the day, it’s in everyone’s interests that India take its rightful place among the nations as quickly as possible,” Abbott wrote.

    ————————————————-

    Proving our elites are incapable of learning anything even from recent history.

    We cultivated China to balance the Soviet Union and got where we are today.

    Like China, India has its own historical grievances against former Western colonial powers and a rising nationalism and territorial ambitions. It also has a prevailing culture which is not readily adaptable to a rules based international order, that is to say that like China they will pursue their interests by hook or by crook.

  9. egg_ says:

    Like China, India has its own historical grievances against former Western colonial powers and a rising nationalism and territorial ambitions. It also has a prevailing culture which is not readily adaptable to a rules based international order, that is to say that like China they will pursue their interests by hook or by crook.

    —————————————————

    India has historically had sharp elbows on the International scene – just ask Intelsat – more troublesome than China in the main; no one had any real issues with China till Trump’s dumping issues of late.

    AFAIK almost all of our windfarms’ steel towers are made of inferior Chinese steel corroding from the minute it hits the holding yards.

    Enabling one bully in the place of another – only recently agricultural Cats cited India bullying us in the pulses market.

    China has been quite successful in space, with India managing to crash their probes repeatedly, Prince Philip’s “made by Indians” quip being apt.

  10. Rorschach says:

    To keep the pressure up, reports of Chinese cyber-attacks on Indian infrastructure increased from July 2020.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/28/us/politics/china-india-hacking-electricity.html

    This is one of the major weapons of the next conflict… Forget bombing and such mundane tactics (which cost millions per bomb and billions per delivery system). Simply shit down the electricity (or water etc) for a a week or two in major cities or such and the war is won.

    Integrating malware into control systems is easy if you are designing it or running it!. See Huawei … it provides components to both industrial scale and domestic solar [and other power]. So if someone says that they can survive longterm power blackouts coz they’re on solar… BZZZT I would bet that these can be shut down too.

    https://www. huawei.com/au/sustainability/environment-protect/renewable-energy

    https:// solar.huawei.com/au/residential

  11. stackja says:

    Xi using bioweapon as last resort?

  12. Rorschach says:

    AFAIK almost all of our windfarms’ steel towers are made of inferior Chinese steel corroding from the minute it hits the holding yards.

    There are known issues with china steel. Rebar and even tools like wrenches etc will break if dropped. Very brittle.

    https://www.cdmg.com/building-faqs/why-using-cheap-steel-is-unsafe

  13. Kneel says:

    “Will our glorious leaders take a stand on the invasion of Taiwan.”

    There may be no choice – Taiwan has one of the few (if not only) semiconductor foundry that is not in the Chinese mainland. If that falls to China, the US Military will be in deep doo-doo, supply wise. With car plants already shutting in the USA due to lack of chips, and computer supplies drying up as well, pulling the military supply chain will be the straw that breaks the camels back.

  14. egg_ says:

    “Will our glorious leaders take a stand on the invasion of Taiwan.”

    There may be no choice – Taiwan has one of the few (if not only) semiconductor foundry that is not in the Chinese mainland. If that falls to China, the US Military will be in deep doo-doo, supply wise.

    ———————————————

    IIRC one Taiwanese factory is the world’s sole supplier of the Broadcom chip; if the military needs spares, they’re it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TSMC

  15. VI Ulyanov . says:

    The Chinese are taking advantage of the weakness of the illegal corrupt biden putsch , the fact they virtually gave his drug addict son $1.5 billion to play with would not of course influnce the corrupt bribe taking democrims .
    A boycott of Chinese goods woud push the reds hard as the last thing they need is a huge number of disaffected unemployed ,aspirants whose aspirations are shattered .
    Being lefties they would not think of this happening ,they are so clever they dontconsider failurs till bites hard ,

  16. Rorschach says:

    Vladimir Ilyich: A boycott of Chinese goods would push the reds hard as the last thing they need is a huge number of disaffected unemployed ,aspirants whose aspirations are shattered .

    I am of the opinion that Trump was considered an existential threat to the CCP leadership. I think that the Democrats gave up on the 2020 election [and why the field was so poor] and that China as a consequence took matters into their hands. By proxy and (it may turn out yet) by direct interference, they ensured that their puppet got in…

    That is the crime to which mass media, the big tech, the judiciary etc and not just the Democrats are complicit of. And it is not just these will be found guilty … If China is found guilty – the consequence may be major escalation in the conflict… That is what is at stake and what is being protected / hidden. By all the China bought puppets.

  17. Lotocoti:
    “Hopefully some sweaty palms in Pakistan.
    If it ever came to nut cutting time, I can’t imagine PLA Inc faffing about
    with any of that Low Collateral Damage Bomb poncery.”
    **************************************************
    Hopefully so, Lotocoti. The idiots who have repeatedly kicked the hibernation bear of Christendom may well assume the Panda is a similar pushover.
    Were the Panda to decide to do something about the Pakistanis, there will be no ROE – just chemical weapons on every town, village, and city.
    Pakistans stockpile of nukes – 160+? – will not deter the panda – they have probably infiltrated the entire program.

  18. Rorscharch:
    “Low-quality steel is not structurally sound and has an increased potential to collapse or break.
    For example, in 2015 Chinese steel companies added the element Boron to their steel.
    This allowed companies to receive a tax rebate, which is great for profit. However, the element Boron causes welds to crack. This is a terrifyingly huge safety hazard.”
    *****************************************************
    Seeing as I’m a skeptic from way back, this sounds like a thing that the US steel industry would say.
    Nevertheless, why would the Chinese add something that is detrimental to their product?
    Hang about – why would they add melamine to milk to increase the appearance of protein?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chinese_milk_scandal
    As you were…

  19. Boambee John says:

    With luck, Chynerr is going to have sufficient problems spilling over from Afghanistan into Xinjiang to keep them occupied for the next couple of decades.

  20. Rockdoctor says:

    Boambee, more from an aging demographic. They don’t have long left to assert otherwise they won’t till the pendulum swings back again. That could be another thousand years. Mao left a massive landmine that even he only realised too late.

  21. Tintarella di Luna says:

    Not perfect by any stretch but I dont select products from people who threaten my country.

    Our household also went into a kitchenware shop at local shopping centre some months ago looked around and everything appeared to be Made in CCP – so I asked the assistant to point me to any product in the store not made in China – said everything in this store is made in China and I said well thanks for the honesty please let the owners know some customer feedback – I won’t spend my hard earned on products made in a country which threatens Australia.

  22. Mick Gold Coast QLD says:

    VI Ulyanov . says at 2:25 pm:

    “… to play with would not of course influnce the corrupt bribe taking democrims .
    A boycott of Chinese goods woud push the reds hard as the last thing they need is a huge number of disaffected unemployed ,aspirants whose aspirations are shattered .
    … dontconsider failurs till bites hard ,”

    If you want your comments to be seriously considered try learning to express yourself clearly, in English. Check your work before posting.

  23. Jannie says:

    still not posting, Testing again

  24. Boambee John says:

    Rockdoctor says:
    August 10, 2021 at 7:18 pm
    Boambee, more from an aging demographic. They don’t have long left to assert otherwise they won’t till the pendulum swings back again. That could be another thousand years. Mao left a massive landmine that even he only realised too late.

    Indeed. When the “Little Emperors” start dying in large numbers in battle, Xi will have a new revolution to occupy his time.

  25. Rockdoctor says:
    August 10, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Boambee, more from an aging demographic. They don’t have long left to assert otherwise they won’t till the pendulum swings back again. That could be another thousand years. Mao left a massive landmine that even he only realised too late.

    I’m still of the mindset that China has feed of clay (i.e.: brittle, despite obvious strengths in other respects), but am wondering which way things shall go, with demographics, international pressure and playing the wrong hand. Anyone up to expanding on this topic?

  26. win says:

    Tintarella at 7.32pm Re China revolt I also have had to replace a dishwasher a De Longhie as a side I cant blame the Italians ,Husband the master stacker put cock croach baits around it having found the ideal living conditions destroyed the electrics .
    This time its a Miele not made in Germany (there was a waiting list) but the check republic.
    Next on the list garden forks.

  27. Rockdoctor says:

    N K-P

    My dealings with Chinese Nationals have been polite & cordial but every now & again you will see the nationalistic zeal.

    As to your question, one of the known unknowns IMO. Easy to see how Xi and the new cadre’s impatience could spiral out of even their control. Nearly happened in 1999 when the Embassy got bombed in Belgrade and then a few years later with the anti-Japanese riots. Both times the party fomented the Nationalism behind the protests and nearly lost control of it. As one China watcher at the time said what happens when the people full of nationalistic fervor demand action from a Government less interested in kinetic entanglements? There in lies the danger, if the genie ever get out of the bottle again and if Taiwan is involved.

  28. Roger says:

    I’m still of the mindset that China has feed of clay (i.e.: brittle, despite obvious strengths in other respects)

    ————————-

    The bluster we now routinely get from Chinese state media outlets suggests insecurity rather than confidence.

    Mind you, that too can be dangerous.

  29. Boambee John says:

    Roger

    The bluster we now routinely get from Chinese state media outlets suggests insecurity rather than confidence

    Geoffrey Blainey, The Causes of War, many many years ago, words like “wars start when the two sides differ about their relative capabilities, they end when the two agree.”

  30. RobK says:

    Thanks Speedbox,
    Interesting discussion. It seems to me that the UN structure also plays a part, especially to promote globalisation and centralised control.

  31. Rorschach says:

    As one China watcher at the time said what happens when the people full of nationalistic fervor demand action from a Government less interested in kinetic entanglements?

    Good observation…

    The Governments of oppressed populations (like we have here in NSW 🙂 ) intentionally distract the population preventing them from rationally discussing and arguing root cause issues. Like here in NSW, where the government is spinning the cause of the societal and economic upheaval caused by lockdowns on the population not being vaxxed enough, the Chinese are spinning US and the western world as being the cause for the billion or so in China living in abject poverty and institutional slavery (and violence in HK! etc)…

    Hence in both cases we have strict control of the media supressing any information that may drive questioning of the narratives spun. You can’t question paper cloths as being super effective or ask why treatments – that have been deemed safe for decades and seem to have worked as a COIVD therapeutic elsewhere – are not available, and in some cases criminalised.

    What happens when it all falls apart is a great question! And what risks will the totalitarian governments accept to prevent that! (i.e. In China’s case: is war more acceptable than the population waking up?)

  32. John A says:

    egg_ says: August 10, 2021, at 9:56 am

    China has been quite successful in space, with India managing to crash their probes repeatedly, Prince Philip’s “made by Indians” quip being apt.

    How many Cats are of an age (and hopefully wisdom) to recall when it was “Made in Japan” then “Made in Taiwan” then “Made in Hong Kong” then “Made in …” etc.?

  33. Old School Conservative says:

    How many Cats are of an age (and hopefully wisdom) to recall when it was “Made in Japan”

    Me.
    I also remember the attempt to gain prestige by calling a manufacturing town in Japan Usa. That way they could stamp “made in USA” on their products.
    (probably an urban myth but funny nevertheless)
    This was before W. Edwards Deming fixed quality problems of Japanese products.

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