China’s technological and military rise is not a fluke, but a meticulous strategy since 1980s, of usurping US leadership globally, while stifling India’s growth. Lack of long term vision in both, abetted its intent. The repeated western black swan events of dot com bust, 9/11 attacks and 2008 meltdown were all seized as opportunities by China.
To execute its game plan, China created two tiers of relationships. Tactical alliances with Russia, Israel and Iran to fuel its ambition and a strategic friendship with Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh to ring fence and keep India preoccupied.
China-Russia tactical alliance began in 1949 with USSR providing China defence equipment, technologies and scientists to help build communist capabilities. China began to reverse engineer all its purchases. After the Sino-Soviet relationship soured, US and Europeans sold it arms in early 80s, to keep Soviets at bay. To keep its arsenal updated, China bought Soviet aircrafts and other weapons from its former ally, Egypt. In return, Egypt got cloned Chinese military spares to maintain Soviet equipment.
Simultaneously, China’s began arming both Iran and Iraq for their 1980-88 war. A US Congress study estimates that China sold over $8billion(bn) of arms to both between 1980-87.