There has been a flurry of visits to the LAC by members of the top military hierarchy, including Ladakh and Arunachal. Such forays amidst the ongoing border crisis, besides raising the morale of troops on the ground, enable review of preparedness. The latter assumes greater relevance as there is considerable apprehension about the possible Chinese strategy after winter.
It is rather risky to forecast the Dragon’s moves, especially when it has embarked on a very unpredictable course. Chinese misadventures would have made the great statesman and wise Deng Xiaoping turn in his grave.
Why should China have adopted the aggressive and ‘bull in China’ shop stance, when by all accounts, two more decades of peaceful rise, prescribed by Deng, would have put her in a commanding pole position? In the process, it has destroyed its limited soft power capital and disconnected with a generation of Millennials.
For others, it has indeed been a rude wake-up call for introspective analysis of the degree of dependencies on China, triggering de-coupling of manufacturing chains and economies. China is also being seen as a knowledge pirate and shunned from collaborative research. Ambitious projects like BRI and Digital Silk road (Huawei lead 5G) are stalled and need to be reworked.
The world is turning towards ‘gated-globalism’ with fading trust and enhanced verification protocols. In this new normal, China is the Dragon and has been forced to explore its own version of ‘Atmanirbhar’, dubbed as ‘Dual-circulation’ with increased focus on domestic demand.
The new jargon notwithstanding, the writing on the wall is clear, demand is drying up. The only saving grace for Beijing has been the Health Silk road with supply of equipment to developing countries, especially Africa.