Does Chinese military build-up along Indian border is actually is targeted against Taiwan?

by D.K. Das

It was seen in last couple of decades that Chinese troops are intruding in India over thousands of times. In the year 2016 it was 273, 426 in 2017 and 326 in 2018. There were instances like Doklam and Galwan valley stand off when there is a war like situation. The Galwan episode has seen deployment of heavy weapons from both the sides. But Chinese termed it as a routine exercise to see how quickly they can deploy their man and machine from one sector to another.

It is strange to see that Chinese soldiers entered in Indian territory on the pretext of undefined border but return when situation become volatile. It would be a mistake to think that Chinese have retreat because an equivalent number of forces have been deployed by Indian side. Actually the Chinese does not want a permanent border solution with India. If there is a will they could settle the border issue by sitting with India and discussing on every point of the border or settle it by point to point basis.

But what is the advantage of a disputed border for China with India? Why China is using the tactics of sudden build-up and then retreat along the border?

If we see in a larger prospective from North China to Arabian Sea, we will see that China have one ally in the east North Korea and in the South Western sector Pakistan. If any attack from enemies take place it have to counter both the nations before reaching Chinese mainland. In the north and north-west it is safe for having bad relation between United States and Russia. Besides it has built up extensive network of rail-road to deploy its troops and war machine from east to west or south in shortest possible time.

China has build up its forces along entire Indian border and this time had taken political gains in Nepal thus, threatening Central Indian plains. But the aim may be not India. It cannot destroy its biggest market or divulge its sophisticated and secret weapons to the world or destroy some of its own military might by attacking India. From Doklam episode to Galwan it has been seen that Chinese military is increasing its pressure by bringing more war fighting equipment.

By doing this does China wants US to come for help of India and bring its war machines to India. If US deploys its forces in the region, China can quickly relocated its man and machines near Taiwan. While it will be difficult for US and its allies to re-transfer its man and assets to Taiwan because Chinese base at South China Sea will pose a challenge.

North Korea and Pakistan being Chinese allies can engage US in the Pacific and Indian Ocean Region. However, it cannot rely on Pakistan. Only the things it can do is to use Pakistani ports for sending supplies. So it will try to find a new ally in the middle-east, that is Iran. This allies will deter the US and its allies to reach Chinese mainland , but through India it can reach up to Tibet or Xinjiang

The only weakness for China is at Taiwan Strait. Because Taiwan can become a dagger under its belly. In case of a full-fledged war with US, China will not deter by the loss suffered at Tibet or Xinjian but in the east and south of China. So China wants to occupy Taiwan when there are less US forces around Taiwan. This can be done by dragging US forces to India thousands of miles away from Taiwan, and then quickly re-locate its forces to attack Taiwan. Because, of its superior rail-road connectivity China can do it easily but no such advantages exists for US and its allies and their Sea route will be blocked in the Arabian Sea/ Gulf of Oman and South China Sea.

The only advantage for US and its allies is to pressurize China is in the South China region. If US can built bases in Vietnam or Laos and Taiwan. when the eastern and south China can be threatened. Besides, in a war with the help of India the CPEC can be disturbed.

DK Das is a Defence analyst who tracks military and aerospace issues closely