Updated: May 26
International Law and Policy Analyst.
The whole of Africa is reeling under Chinese Debt trap because China holds about 1/3 of African sovereign debt. Now Mr Jinping need his military muscle either to extract his money back or get consideration in another form. However, Jinping knows he can grab African land but can't get back his money because Africa has no money. So here comes the precarious situation for China: on one hand, it needs to flaunt its African relationship to show that it is not isolated in the post-Covid-19 world just like it did after Tiananmen square massacre, at the same time it needs consideration for the loan it extended to African countries. However this time African are interested in a hard bargain. Therefore China needs to show them it's military might to keep things under check.
Next situation aroused in the South China Sea, where the USA is getting more and more assertive (US elections are in November too, remember that) and Taiwan with US backing has shown grit and determination to take on PLA bully tactics. Also, further tensions are simmering with neighbouring countries like Japan, Indonesia, Australia et al.
The next theatre of conflict for China is developing on the Western side of India i.e., in POK which is very important for China as CPEC route of its dream project Belt and Road initiative passes through POK all up to the port of Gwadar, now more than Africa the other place was China invested in huge amount is B&R project. So when India abrogated Article 370 and showed it's intentions to take over POK Xi Jinping lost his night sleep, India taking back POK is a death knell for CPEC and would be a disaster for B&R project, the interesting thing is other world power like USA and Russia won't mind the doom of CPEC, the reason being the USA already wishes to contain China and as far as Russia is concerned a successful B&R project would make China too powerful to handle, today the only dependency of China on Russia is for Oil and a successful B&R would reduce that dependency. So India taking over POK is win-win for all except China. Xi Jinping facing this situation and also facing internal disconnected Chinese public found it advisable to bully India at Galwan valley, the idea had many folds
Once he got successful in arm twisting India he would gain a moral victory in front of the Chinese public.
He further wished to restrain India from carrying out the development work along the Indo-China border
And, thirdly the most important he wished to threaten India in order to restrain her from interfering in POK.
The event that happened on 15-16 June along the Galwan valley actually boomerangs for Jinping. First, it exposed the combat inexperience of PLA and gave a morale boost to Southeastern neighbour of China that they too can take on this bully. Secondly, it exposed the Achilles heel of PLA i.e., that its combat is inexperienced. But the biggest problem for China was how to get out of this fix without embarrassment. India shows no sign of relenting and backing is a huge embarrassment.
What China didn't anticipate was that the loss of 20 soldiers would galvanize the Indian public into boycotting Chinese product and would start a trade war with India. Xi Jinping and CPC were truly under impression that Chinese product are indispensible for Indian's and we can't do without it. The banning of 59 Chinese App actually rattled Beijing, more that the economic loss of the ban the concern is how far it will go, Taiwan public already taking a cue from Indian government is demanding it's government to ban Chinese app, the Africa is sulking because of the mistreatment of African in China at the time of Covid-19 crisis, as a result railway projects not only got cancelled in India but also in the Nigeria.
As of now, China is not under economic threat but after post-Covid-19 isolation is inevitable if suddenly the boycott tactics initiated and furthered by India spiralled across the globe and south-east Asian as well as in African countries. If they follow suit, it would be a huge trouble for China, and in such situation loss of prestige for PLA would be a disaster. The Galvan valley cameo seems to be the biggest blunder Xi Jinping did in his political carrier.
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