by Brig Arun Bajpai

After claiming 80% of South China sea as its back yard, which is disputed by all littoral nations like Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan etc, now latest is that China has given orders to its Coast Guard that if they find any ship of outside powers in South China sea, they do not have to take anybody’s permission to shoot. This is a very dangerous move because China can dominate smaller countries like Philippines, even Philippines is not listening to China, but it is in direct confrontation to US which does not recognise Chinese hegemony on South China sea, that also on some stupid historical back ground. If China does not back track this order of theirs then a slight mistake can start a war.

Just a few months back, US had made its biggest aircraft carrier NIMITZ along with ships protecting it and submarines to sail through South China sea.US does not believe in Chinse hegemony in South China sea and feels that international law of right to sail through must prevail. Yes, a country can pass such an order in its exclusive economic zone which is basically 300 km from its shore or say coast line. But like China you can not first claim 80% of South China sea on some stupid History and then say that the entire sea that is 80% of it is yours. fault also lies with US and the littoral countries of South China that they allowed Chinese to build nine artificial islands in South China sea and allowed it to place aircrafts and missiles on these islands with only token protests. China is doing the same in East China sea against Japan. It must be remembered that US has taken the responsibility of protecting Japan from Chinese onslaught.

However, US during Nixon and Obama time had gone soft on China. Most of Chinese technology is copy paste of US. Despite US knowing it, it did nothing to thwart the rise of China. China used this interim period to enhance its technology and military build-up. Now China is on verge of even surpassing US economy and US has no option but to twiddle its thumbs. Credit must go to US ex-President Donald Trump that he did try to stop China in its track but then that was too little too late. Now let us see that what new American President Joe Biden has to say about this new order of China.

In all likely hood while new US President Joe Biden will be tough on China but will he take a direct confrontation with China like Donald Trump, is something which has to be seen. We must not forget that Even India had sent one warship to sail through in South China sea because US warships were nearby in Taiwan Strait. After Chinese passing this order, India sending its warships to South Chia sea will be debatable. We should also remember that Vietnam, a South China sea country has collaboration with India to explore oil in South China sea.

Whether after China passing this order it will be possible or not will have to be seen. It is very unfortunate that 10 years of UPA Govt and then almost 7 yrs. of Modi Govt have been neglecting Indian Armed Forces. To meet collusive threat of China and Pakistan we should be having 200 warship and 24 modern submarines at all times. Truth is that we have just 130 warships and 13 old and rickety Submarines to confront these countries. It is also known to all that to build up a strong Navy it takes a long time. At least now our Neta’s should wake up and all our efforts should be to build a strong-Armed Forces to defend our country and its assets. After establishing its dominance over South China sea, the next target of China will be Indian ocean which is currently ruled by India. Already Chinese warships have bee noticed roaming about in Andaman Nicobar Islands of ours and Malacca Strait. So writing is on the wall for us. We should take help of QUAD and US but in final analysis no country will come to our rescue when chips are down. We will have to defend ourselves by our own means.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same