Water, India Has No Choice But Avoid Confrontation with China


Last year, former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began to form a quad of India, Japan, Australia and the US to counter China with India at the forefront to confront China.

Tillerson’s quad was based on the “the structural factors in the relationship suggest that the rivalry will intensify in the long run” as described in Stratfor’s April-27 article “India and China’s Rapprochement Extends Only Skin Deep”.

Yes, China’s iron brotherhood with India’s most implacable enemy Pakistan is an insurmountable obstacle and China’s Belt-and-Road economic expansion in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives constitutes an even more painful headache. Compared with those two problems the border disputes between the two countries are negligible issues. The disputed areas, though big, are but poor barren land with little population.

That was why the Stratfor article believes that the leaders of the two countries Modi and Xi Jiping’s efforts to improve bilateral relations are doomed to failure in the long run.

However, Stratfor fails to see a vital issue that forces India to avoid confrontation with China – water: water from China’s Yarlung Zangpo River, major source of water for India’s Ganges. China is drawing plans for diverting water from Yarlung Zangpo to its desert in Xinjiang. The project may greatly reduce Ganges’ water if diverted through open water channels due to lost into soil and air in the way. The water reduction may be much smaller if the water is diverted through pipelines that will cost a lot more to build.

In military confrontation, India is still scared by China due to the memory of its sad defeat in the 1960s. Chinese military is much stronger now, but China need not use its military to subdue India. Cutting the water source is just enough.

Before the Hong Kong issue was solved by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, I discussed the issue with some British people in Hong Kong. I said that if China sent PLA to take Hong Kong, Britain simply could not defend Hong Kong. The British people said, “No need to send PLA. Switch off water tap, we surrender.” Most of the fresh water Hong Kong used came from China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Stratfor’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-navy-exercises/india-wont-include-australia-in-naval-drills-fears-china-backlash-idUSKBN18Q1VD.

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Pacom Nominee: China Military Islands Now Control South China Sea


Admiral urges rapid U.S. buildup of hypersonic and medium-range missiles to counter China threat

BY: Bill Gertz
April 20, 2018 5:00 am

China has deployed electronic attack systems and other military facilities on disputed islands in the South China Sea and is now capable of controlling the strategic waterway, according to the admiral slated to be the next Pacific Command chief.

Additionally, the command nominee Adm. Philip Davidson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a written statement this week that the military urgently needs hypersonic and other advanced weaponry to defeat China’s People’s Liberation Army in a future conflict.

“In the future, hypersonic and directed energy weapons, resilient space, cyber and network-capabilities, and well-trained soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguardsmen will be crucial to our ability to fight and win,” the four-star admiral said in written answers to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee.

On China’s militarization and take over of the South China Sea, Davidson said the buildup of forward military bases began in December 2013 at Johnson Reef in the Spratly islands. Since then, the Chinese have fortified that reef and six others with military facilities, Davidson said.

“In the South China Sea, the PLA has constructed a variety of radar, electronic attack, and defense capabilities on the disputed Spratly Islands, to include: Cuarteron Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Gaven Reef, Hughes Reef, Johnson Reef, Mischief Reef and Subi Reef,” Davidson said.

“These facilities significantly expand the real-time domain awareness, [intelligence, surveillance reconnaissance], and jamming capabilities of the PLA over a large portion of the South China Sea, presenting a substantial challenge to U.S. military operations in this region,” he added.

The bases on the seven islands include hangars, barracks, underground fuel and water storage facilities, and bunkers for “offense and defensive kinetic and non-kinetic systems,” he states.

The militarization contradicts a promise from Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping not to militarize the South China Sea that is used as a waterway transit for an estimated $5.3 trillion in goods annually.

“These actions stand in direct contrast to the assertion that President Xi made in 2015 in the Rose Garden when he commented that Beijing had no intent to militarize the South China Sea,” Davidson said.

“Today these forward operating bases appear complete. The only thing lacking are the deployed forces.”

The occupied islands will permit China to extend its influence thousands of miles southward and project power deep into the Oceania.

“The PLA will be able to use these bases to challenge U.S. presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants,” Davidson said. “In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

In the East China Sea, China continues to send aircraft and ships to waters near Japan’s Senkaku Islands, which China is claiming as its islands. The Chinese have continued a steady level of activity that reflects “China’s intent to coerce Japan without sparking a crisis or conflict,” Davidson said.

China’s relations with the democratic ruled island of Taiwan remain tense and any improvement in relations was described by Davidson as dim.

The statements revealed new details about China’s military buildup and regional expansion the prepared answers to policy questions.

The admiral described the Chinese military buildup as “the most ambitious military modernization in the world,” and warned “the threat to U.S. forces and bases is substantial and growing.”

China’s submarine forces still lag behind those of the United States but China is making progress in developing quieter submarines. Its air forces are also growing in sophistication with advanced stealth fighters, long-range bombers and advanced unmanned aircraft.

Beijing’s cyber warfare capabilities are significant and go well beyond intelligence-gathering with plans for attacks on military command and control networks, he said.

China also is weaponizing space with missiles, jammers, and lasers capable of killing satellites, key American military power projection tools.

The four-star admiral said if confirmed to lead the Pacific Command, he will carry out a buildup of Navy, Army, and Air Force forces in the region to confront the growing threat posed by China, in addition to continuing dangers from North Korea.

Current naval forces are insufficient in backing Pacific Command’s needs, he said.

To deal with China, “the United States should expand the competitive space by investing in next-generation capabilities (e.g., hypersonic technology) while simultaneously recognizing that China is already weaponizing space and cyber,” Davidson stated.

Outgoing Pacific Command commander, Adm. Harry Harris, has requested priority Pentagon development of a U.S. hypersonic weapon, part of the military conventional prompt strike program.

Davidson said he would continue to support a U.S. hypersonic missile to deal with China.

“I view the long-range, hypersonic weapon capability that Conventional Prompt Strike would provide as essential to our ability to compete, deter, and win against a strategic competitor such as China,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Air Force announced the award of a $928 million contract to Lockheed Martin for a hypersonic strike weapon.

China has conducted seven tests of a hypersonic glide vehicle fired atop a ballistic missile that travels and maneuvers at speeds of 7,000 miles per hour or greater. The high speeds and maneuverability make the missiles very difficult to target and counter with missile defenses.

Russia also is developing hypersonic missiles.

Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the admiral’s comments provide a great service in helping Americans recognize that China is working to shape the world according to its authoritarian model.

“Effective leadership can only emerge from such essential recognition of the facts,” Fisher said. “On this basis, the Admiral deserves rapid confirmation as he is very much needed in PACOM.”

In response to China’s two new medium- and intermediate-range anti-ship missiles, the United States needs to build similar missiles currently banned under the U.S.-Russian Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, Davidson stated.

“China continues to improve its ballistic missile capabilities, with the DF-21 and DF-26 missiles offering improved range, accuracy, lethality, and reliability over legacy Chinese systems,” he said.

“Simultaneously, China is pursuing advanced capabilities (e.g., hypersonic missiles) which the United States has no current defense against,” he said.

The advanced weapons place U.S. forces across the Indo-Pacific increasingly at risk.

Davidson said he favors building missiles banned under INF, a treaty violated by Moscow through the deployment of a new ground-launched cruise missile.

Additional missiles are needed beyond the plan for Conventional Prompt Strike weapons.

“In the Indo-Pacific, the absence of the INF Treaty would provide additional options to counter China’s existing missile capabilities, complicate adversary decision making, and impose costs by forcing adversaries to spend money on expensive missile defense systems,” the admiral said.

“I believe the INF treaty today unfairly puts the United States at a disadvantage and places our forces at risk because China is not a signatory.”

The comments by Davidson urging the United States to jettison the INF treaty likely will be opposed by arms control advocates who want the United States to remain limited by the treaty in the hope Moscow could return to compliance.

On China’s nuclear buildup, Davidson said the expansion of nuclear forces does not appear to indicate Beijing is abandoning its policy of not being the first to use nuclear arms in a conflict.

“China has developed or is developing advanced/precision [intermediate-range ballistic missiles] and [medium-range ballistic missile] systems,” he said. “These systems could support a variety of nuclear strike options, tactical-to-strategic and preemptive-to-retaliatory. However, they are not-themselves-indicative of any shift in China’s no first use policy.”

In response to a recent Rand Corp. study that warned the United States risks losing a war with China, Davidson said he has “increasing concerns” about a future conflict.

“China has undergone a rapid military modernization over the last three decades and is approaching parity in a number of critical areas; there is no guarantee that the United States would win a future conflict with China,” he said, noting U.S. advantages in personnel, training, and joint warfighting.

To bolster U.S. warfighting capabilities in Asia, the U.S. military should rapidly develop “high-end” weapons, preserve regional alliances, and continue to recruit high-quality people.

Davidson said critical investments are needed in several areas, including undersea warfare, added munitions stockpiles, standoff missiles, including air-to-air, air-to-surface, surface-to-surface, and anti-ship missile.

Also needed are intermediate-range cruise missiles, low cost/high capacity cruise missile defenses, hypersonic weapons, air and surface transport systems, cyber capabilities, air-air refueling capacity, and resilient communication and navigation systems.

Priorities for the Asia-Pacific weapons buildup are increasing stockpiles of precision guided munitions, submarine warfare systems, counter-missile systems, and more intelligence and surveillance systems.

Reflecting the Trump administration’s strategic policies that identify China as a threat, Davidson said China is using its development initiative called Belt and Road to advance anti-democratic expansion.

“It is increasingly clear that China wants to shape a world aligned with its own authoritarian model,” he said.

“The predatory nature of many of the loans and initiatives associated with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) lead me to believe that Beijing is using BRI as a mechanism to coerce states into greater access and influence for China.”

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Pacom Nominee: China Military Islands Now Control South China Sea”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s Xi, India’s Modi seek new relationship after summit


Chinese President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk along the East Lake in Wuhan, China, April 28, 2018. India’s Press Information Bureau/Handout via REUTERS

Sue-Lin Wong April 28, 2018

WUHAN, China (Reuters) – The leaders of China and India agreed to open a new chapter in their relationship on Saturday after an informal summit, just months after a dispute over a stretch of their high-altitude Himalayan border rekindled fears of war.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent around 24 hours in the central Chinese city of Wuhan for meetings with President Xi Jinping, an ice-breaking trip both hoped would allow candour and nurture trust.

Billed as an informal get-together rather than a summit, the two men held talks on Friday that lasted far longer than expected, and on Saturday chatted over tea on a boat trip round a scenic lake.

“President Xi stressed that the issues between China and India are of a limited, temporary nature but the relationship between the two countries is extensive and ongoing,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou told reporters in Wuhan.
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Their differences are significant: as well as disputes over stretches of a 3,500 km (2,200 miles) border – the two fought a brief border war in 1962 – the Asian giants have squabbled over Xi’s signature Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

India signalled as recently as Tuesday its opposition to the grand trade and transport plan because one of its branches runs through Pakistani-administered Kashmir, which India claims.

Xi and Modi agreed their problems would be resolved with time.

China’s Foreign Ministry, in a separate statement, cited Xi as telling Modi their nations were major drivers of world economic growth and a good relationship would be positive for global stability.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said both leaders had agreed they could handle their differences peacefully.

“On the issue of the India-China boundary question, the two leaders endorsed the work of the special representatives in their efforts to find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement,” he said.

“And the two leaders also underscored that in the meantime it is important to maintain peace and tranquility in all areas of the India-China border region,” Gokhale said.

Kong said Modi and Xi did not discuss last summer’s border flare-up, although they agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement to the boundary problem.

“The biggest takeaway was that we have to increase mutual trust,” he said. “The reason that we had this dispute was because we were both mistrustful of each other.”

SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES

Chinese state media praised the tone of the trip.

The overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said in a front page commentary on Saturday “two great countries ought to have great co-operation”. It published a large photo of the two leaders shaking hands.

The official China Daily said in an editorial there was no denying mutual suspicion was keeping the two countries from working together.

“Yet neither Beijing nor New Delhi calls the other an enemy, which means both expect bilateral ties to improve. Indeed, China and India are natural partners,” it said.

Despite the upbeat statements, which on Friday included Modi inviting Xi to India for a similar informal summit next year, there were no concrete agreements reached.

Still, Kong said there are a number of projects China and India can cooperate on in the spirit of Belt and Road.

“We won’t force them to do something they don’t want to do,” he said.

India has long been apprehensive about China’s traditionally close ties with Pakistan.

For its part, China has been concerned about U.S. efforts to draw India into a maritime “quad” of democracies, including Japan and Australia.
China is also suspicious of India’s hosting of the Dalai Lama and other exiled Tibetans.

Kong said China did not believe India had changed its official position that Tibet is part of China.

Modi and Xi are set to meet again soon, when Modi visits China in June for a summit of the China and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation security bloc.

Additional reporting by Neha Dasgupta in NEW DELHI; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait and Neil Fullick

Source: Reuters “China’s Xi, India’s Modi seek new relationship after summit”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


India’s Modi invites China’s Xi for an informal summit in 2019


Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their visit at East Lake Guest House, in Wuhan, China, April 27, 2018. India’s Press Information Bureau/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE

Sue-Lin Wong April 27, 2018

WUHAN, China (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to an informal summit next year as he began an ice-breaking visit to China on Friday in which the giant neighbors are seeking to re-set troubled ties.

Modi is spending only about 24 hours in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, just months after a dispute over a stretch of their high-altitude Himalayan border rekindled fears of war between the Asian nations.

“I hope such informal summits becomes a tradition between both the countries. I’ll be happy, if in 2019 we can have such an informal summit in India,” Modi said, in comments broadcast in a media center for reporters in Wuhan.

Xi told Modi that their two countries’ influence in world and region was steadily on the rise.

“Looking ahead, we see a fast pace and bright future for China-India cooperation,” Xi said.

“China and India are both important engines for global growth and we are central pillars for promoting a multi-polar and globalized world. A good China-India relationship is an important and positive factor for maintaining peace and stability in the world,” he added.

Modi said that as India and China represented 40 percent of the world’s population, they needed to try to work together to tackle global problems.

Stressing the importance of world peace, Modi said both nations have to “make all possible contributions”.

An Indian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters in Wuhan that Modi’s meeting with Xi was supposed to be half an hour but lasted for more than two hours. The museum visit had also lasted longer than planned.

“The fact he (Xi) showed him around the museum was a special gesture on his part,” the official added.

But despite the rhetoric on Friday, the nations’ differences are significant.

As well as disputes over stretches of a 3,500 km (2,200 miles) border, they are bumping up against each other in the Indian Ocean and squabbling over Xi’s signature Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

India signaled as recently as Tuesday its opposition to the grand trade and transport plan because one of its branches runs through Pakistani-administered Kashmir, which India claims.

India has long been suspicious of China’s traditionally close ties with Pakistan.

For its part, China has been concerned about U.S. efforts to draw India into a maritime “quad” of democracies, including Japan and Australia.

China is also suspicious of India’s hosting of the Dalai Lama and other exiled Tibetans.

INFORMAL SETTINGS

But there was no public mention of any differences on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Modi and Xi viewed antique Chinese artifacts at the Hubei Provincial Museum, where they also exchanged views on boosting dialogue between their two ancient civilizations and how to live peacefully together, China’s state news agency Xinhua said.

The two were due to have dinner together later, according to India’s foreign ministry.

On Saturday, they will take a walk together and then an hour-long boat-trip, informal settings mostly without aides that both sides are hoping will lead to frank discussions.

In a commentary on Friday, the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said the cultures of both China and India set great store on the concept of harmony, and pointed out the Hubei Provincial Museum had in 2014 held a special exhibition on India.

“The friendly exchanges between China and India have again and again seen composed moving stories, creating a model for inter-cultural dialogue in the world,” it said.

The museum in Wuhan, an industrial and university provincial capital with no obvious connection to India, was closed ahead of the leaders’ visit. A plain clothes police office told a Reuters reporter to stop taking pictures.

A sign at the entrance said it was closed for four days due to “equipment maintenance”.

Additional reporting by Malani Menon, Sanjeev Miglani in NEW DELHI and Gao Liangping and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Robert Birsel and Richard Balmforth

Source: Reuters “India’s Modi invites China’s Xi for an informal summit in 2019”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Chinese Underwater Glider Sets World Depth Record of 8,213 Meter


Haiyan 10,000-meter grade underwater glider. Photo from CCTV footage

Underwater gliders carried by the Xiangyanghong 18. Photo from CCTV footage

CCTV publishes footage in its primetime news on April 21 that China’s scientific survey ship Xiangyanghong 18 conducted 30 days of underwater survey at Mariana Trench with 31 sets of Haiyan 4,000-meter grade and Haiyan 10,000-meter grade underwater gliders with entire Chinese intellectual property. It conducted underwater observation at 18 sections with 3 sections deeper than 4,000 meters and reached the working depth of 8,213 meters, a new world record of underwater glider diving depth.

Source: CCTV “China’s deep-sea underwater glider dived to 8,213 meter depth for the first time” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chines)


China’s tech war with the U.S. heats up as Xi urges self-reliance


Lucas Niewenhuis April 27, 2018

If it’s imported from the U.S. and has electric wires in it, China wants no more of it.

While largely agricultural tariffs and fees have featured prominently in the U.S.-China trade tiff so far, the overall arc of what may yet become a full-scale trade war will likely be highlighted by a years-long cutthroat competition in technology.

“In the past we tightened our belts, gritted our teeth, and built the two [atomic and hydrogen] bombs and a satellite… In the next step of tackling technology, we must cast aside illusions and rely on ourselves,” urged Xi Jinping (in Chinese), which New York Times reporter Chris Buckley called “telling comments.” Xi’s words mirror the Made in China 2025 policy, released in 2015, which aims to rocket the country to the top of global supply chains for high-tech goods ranging from smartphones and electric vehicles to airplanes and artificially intelligent robots. China is setting out to do so by a combination of government funding and incentives for the private sector, and dramatic re-resourcing for a huge array of technology. Here are some of the latest trends:
•Domestic smartphones are gaining market share, CNBC reports, as Apple’s iPhone lost its #4 position to Xiaomi. Consumers are increasingly opting for local brands such as Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, even — or especially — as the overall demand for phones falls.
•“Tesla has over 300 Chinese startups hot on its tail,” Nikkei reports, illustrating how high domestic investor enthusiasm for electric vehicles has become. Also in the news, per Caixin: Electric vehicle-maker Singulato set to raise $476 million.
•A state-backed semiconductor fund is filling up, Reuters says, as a second round of funding for 120 billion yuan ($19 billion) was “near to closing,” on top of $22 billion from the previous round.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is shooting itself in the foot, James Andrew Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies argues, as the seven-year ban on selling American equipment to Chinese telecom giant ZTE “will only encourage foreign suppliers to rush into the space vacated by U.S. companies,” and “reinforce the Chinese government’s desire to replace U.S. suppliers with Chinese companies.”

Source: SubChina “China’s tech war with the U.S. heats up as Xi urges self-reliance”

Note: This is SubChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi plan quality time together in Wuhan


Jeremy Goldkorn April 26, 2018

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “will have an ‘informal and heart-to-heart’ two-day summit with the ever-powerful Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mao Zedong’s favorite holiday spot on Friday,” reports India Today’s Ananth Krishnan from Wuhan, Hubei Province.

•“Xi leaving Beijing to meet a foreign leader is being seen as an unprecedented gesture,” according to Krishnan.
•The two leaders will probably tour Mao’s holiday villa, which is now a museum, and there will probably be photo sprays of the two strolling together next to the city’s East Lake or on the shores of the Yangtze River — China chose Wuhan “to give an informal, relaxed touch to the summit.”
•Not too much relaxing, though: Modi and Xi are scheduled to have at least “five rounds of extensive talks over Friday and Saturday.”
•Why now? The BBC gives three reasons: ◦India believes that last year’s Himalayan dispute “marked a dangerous phase in the relationship and that tensions need to be kept in check.”
◦India wants China’s cooperation in pressuring “Pakistan-based terrorist groups and securing India’s admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a body that controls nuclear trade.”
◦India is hedging its bets against “an uncertain period in world politics,” as China grows closer to Russia while the North Korean crisis may help Beijing “improve ties” with Washington.

•Another factor noted by the New York Times (paywall): “Analysts say Mr. Modi is fixated on winning next year’s election in India,” and because of “the fraught relationship between China and India right now,” the Indian PM needs Xi’s help.
•Chinese investments in India “added up to more than $8 billion” by the end of 2017, according to an official quoted in another India Today story by Ananth Krishnan, which looks at bilateral trade and investment.

For more on the complicated history of Sino-Indian ties, read Dancing with the dragon? Deciphering India’s ‘China reset,’ by Tanvi Madan. You can follow the Modi visit to Wuhan in real time on Ananth Krishnan’s Twitter feed.

Source: SubChina “Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi plan quality time together in Wuhan”

Note: This is SubChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.