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“CHINA – Dealing with,”


Book-3: War, Conflicts, Security, and The Military -1.0


Territorial claims – border disputes / conflicts and incursions – and pragmatic ways to resolve all such issues

Quotations for consideration:

  • “Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.” – Max Lucale .
  • “Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan.
  • “He who does not engage in battle is likely to defeat the enemy” – Sun Tzu .
  •  “When goods cross borders, armies do not.” – Fredric Bastiat .
  • “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend” – Abraham Lincoln .
  •  “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” – General Moshe Dayan.
  • “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” – Nelson Mandela .
  • “Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower .
  • “We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us” – Francis John Mc Connell.
  • “Attacks must be answered. An assertion unanswered is an assertion agreed to.” – Geoff Gavin .

Key Concepts:

  • Small nibbles of our Territories, or Rights, by China are to be perceived as part of a “Fait Accompli” Strategy and need to be countered immediately and strongly. (See – “War in the 21st Century”). However, what about the Chinese claims about our forward policy actions also being part of a “Fait Accompli” Strategy?
  • Perhaps negotiation for settlement of the entire issue is then the only answer. Our approach should be in the same spirit as that of President J. F. Kennedy during the erstwhile USA – USSR Cold war, when he said –

“We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our Arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed….. So let us begin anew – remembering on both sides, that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate”.

  • Where Direct action is not possible or feasible then Indirect Action / ‘Effects Diplomacy’ is called for, if time & circumstances permit

“We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. (Only) our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow” – Henry John Temple


Every Indian considers China as an aggressor, a Country that has never accepted the validity of the boundary as designated by India either in the North West (Aksai Chin area) or in the North East (Arunachal Pradesh area).

As Neville Maxwell writes in his book ‘India’s China War’ – a boundary comes into existence through natural human interaction, a process of historic consolidation and it needs for its validation, recognition by both the States concerned.

Pre-modern States could exist within frontiers; modern States must have boundaries. Frontiers were zonal rather than lineal and were thus indeterminate.

A boundary is a line agreed in diplomatic negotiation (de-limitation), then marked out on the ground (demarcation) thereafter actually represented cartographically and described verbally in a treaty between the two States which thus recognize the precise limits of their own and their neighbour’s territory. Demarcation can only follow delimitation and this is invariably a joint process to be conducted by both the Governments concerned.

Any change in the alignment of such a boundary at any later date would thus require the mutual acceptance by both the affected States. Unilateral declarations by any one Country can only lead to confusion and conflict.

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