Xi Jinping’s Third Term: What it means for India — Chanakya Dialogues

The Chanakya Dialogues were conducted by the Chanakya Foundation on Nov 12, 2022. In this particular session the discussion ranged from Chinese perceptions of India, Xi’s 2-track India policy, ways to tackle the China threat, to the sort of half-cocked atmnirbharta programme now underway. At https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Lq_Id6WHBQ

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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15 Responses to Xi Jinping’s Third Term: What it means for India — Chanakya Dialogues

  1. Ayush says:

    Dr karnad,
    You brought out the usual topic of atmanirbhar
    bharat.I do not understand how Indian military chiefs talk about becoming “military superpower” when they are breathlessly heap praise on useless scrap of metal like those 36 odd rafales.IAF chiefs still seriously intend to beg for 4th gen aircraft(MRFA) from European countries which have ammo stocks for no more than a week of combat against an actual military superpower like Russia.Their militaries are built only for carrying out desert safari and colonial occupation of countries like Burkina Faso.

    Now there is no shortage of well paid imbeciles arguing that the SPECTRA EWS and meteor AAM will be helpful in taking out PAF AWACS and in SEAD ops.However, anybody with even basic knowledge of modern air combat knows this is a farce.PLAAF won’t even need its fighter to neutralize the IAF.Their S-400s in Hotan and nyingchi can easily take out our 36 Rafael’s and the entire IAF for that matter.The meteor is overhyped metal scrap.It lacks critical jam proof AESA seeker which Astra mk2 has.It relies on old active radar tech which is prone to jamming.DRDOs ASPJ should be much better than 1990’s EW suites fielded by rafales.In single combat super sukhoi will easily crush Rafael.It’s obvious the $10 Bn Rafael deal was an epochal scam.The IAF chiefs and MOD babus responsible for it deserve one way ticket to the firing squad.

  2. Amit says:

    Professor,

    As an avid India watcher, I completely relate to your emotions about how India operates, or does not operate. It is very frustrating to see basic implementation stall in ALL spheres of life leave alone military. Regress instead of progress in many areas and don’t give a damn about it. But at the same time, things are improving. Question is whether the pace is sufficient to handle the threat of China.

    I don’t believe that China will go to war with India. It will needle India at best, but I don’t agree with the General that China can use India to practice their military. Pin pricks are the most they will do with India and that is no sufficient practice to deal with the Taiwan situation, which is China’s top strategic priority.

    I also don’t agree with your assessment that no one in the GoI knows how to deal with China. They are dealing with it just fine so far. They are also trying their best to enhance Indian military capabilities. But having worked with the Indian workforce and mindset, I can assure you that this is no easy task! However, the effort is being made – there is no doubt about it.

    I also think that we should not hype the Indian private sector. While it performs better than the public sector, it is by no means world class. Basically, all this means is that the Indian military will reach world class standards and achieve more self reliance in decades, if at all – so totally agree with your comment there.

    Which leads to the only viable solution to the military conundrum India faces in handling China. Go nuclear! Can’t agree more with you on that one. However, with wars being fought under the nuclear umbrella, India also needs conventional military heft. I just hope the balance of momentum is more on the side of progress, than regression. Whether this happens remains to be seen.

  3. Amit says:

    Professor,

    One more thing – China made a strategic blunder by taking on the US and India together. Just like the US has made a blunder by taking on both China and Russia together. One can’t blame the Chinese for doing this as they saw the chaos that is India and presumed they can squat it like a fly. Their thinking is understandable as many Indians also have similar opinions of their country. However, India is improving and will be militarily more powerful in spite of the muck it waddles through. And China will regret one day the stance it has taken against India.

    • DEBANJAN BANERJEE says:

      Interesting viewpoint Amit. However do you think China took on the US and India together especially after the 2019 370 move ?? Could Modiji conquering Kashmir by removing 370 had something to do with China taking on both the US and India together ?

      Love your viewpoint on this one.

      • Amit says:

        China has been trying to subdue India much before Galwan. They miscalculated India’s strength and potential to defend. Now it’s difficult to roll back against India without looking weak. But, making nice with India would still be the right approach for them as the US is their primary competitor. They are not powerful enough to take on both.

  4. Kunal Singh says:

    So what happened to TSD, good programs are disrupted by rouge within organizations,

    We need more like tsd

    • Gaurav Tyagi says:

      @Kunal Singh- I watched this whole Podcast and have the following questions;

      1. The timing of this Podcast. Why after such a long time of the whole issue, is the establishment planning to revive the TSD again?

      2. Agencies and the operators there have been known to go rogue in the past. It has happened everywhere in the world. Why should we consider Colonel Bakshi’s words as the gospel truth?

      3. I dug out the following about ANI and Smitha Prakash, the news agency and the woman behind this show;

      https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof/ani-srivastava-group-used-disinformation-to-aid-government-study#read-more

      I would love to hear the opinion of Professor Karnad and the fellow readers about TSD and related players.

  5. DEBANJAN BANERJEE says:

    As usual wonderfully written article Dr Karnad. However I have one question to you. Do you think the longer the US is involved resupplying Ukraine , the lesser will be the US ability to support allies in Asia like India, Japan and most importantly Taiwan.

    • All countries, including the great powers face limitations, resources-wise, and as I have argued will have to carefully choose whom they seek to engage and how, and the US will be compelled to favour the ‘Atlantic-European’ region over India-Pacific.

      • Amit says:

        Professor,

        While the US has been compelled to allocate resources to managing Russia, neither its strategic assessment, nor its force posture indicate that the US will cede hegemony to China in East Asia without a fight. It’s foolish of the US to think that it can manage these two fronts and win. However, I do not think the US will leave without a fight in East Asia, like your argument seems to make it sound. That would be an ominous victory for China, and the biggest blow to US superpower status.

        I also think the war in Ukraine will end at some point as saner heads prevail in the US, who have prioritised China over Russia. But if not, India should play an active role in ensuring the US maintains the right focus. Of the leading powers, it is only India that has maintained the right strategic direction, by focusing only on China and trying to encircle them through alliances.

      • Good point of the US ceding hegemony to China in Asia. It is a conclusion I came to after studying the trends in my last book ‘Staggering Forward’ and buttressed my theme that relying on the US would be a mistake. It is a viewpoint that seems to have been accepted in its essentials by the Modi govt.

      • Amit says:

        I don’t know Professor. You seem to have concluded that the US will lose without a fight or just withdraw from East China and cede hegemony to China. I very much doubt that and that is not my point at all above. In fact all indications show that the US and China are on a collision course. The US banning semiconductor equipment sales to China is being likened to the US embargo of oil on Japan before World War 2. Economic decoupling is in full swing.

        And in terms of the military – the US is rethinking its concept of war fighting to take on China apart from investing in new military assets and having a different force posture (e.g., B-21 bomber, B52 Stratofortresses in Australia medium and long range missiles, hypersonics etc.). They still lead the Chinese on many key military technologies, logistics capabilities, organizational structures within the military and experience of its military force.

        And there is significant talk of a negotiated settlement in Ukraine. Many Republicans are openly talking about stopping funding for the war. But what that looks like no one knows right now.

        There is definitely a scenario where the US loses in East Asia and China becomes the dominant power. But that would be a lost cause for India as well. So where is the question of reliability? US and Indian fortunes are intertwined on China.

      • US, China, on a collision course – yes. But they’ll avoid collision by reconciling their interests.

      • Amit says:

        Definitely a scenario that is possible, and one to plan for (and what the likes of Fareed Zakaria are proposing!). But then India and China could also reconcile – not entirely unthinkable. I just don’t think these are likely scenarios.

      • whatsinitanyway says:

        I dunno but any rational gov will go where money is…. with regards to US most trade happens with Asia… and energy from middle east. Moreover Mearsheimer suggested Europe shouldnt be considered that important.

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