IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 9th Jan

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” —Albert Einstein

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #307 :“Coercive Diplomacy and China | UPSC

Coercive Diplomacy and China | UPSC

Arjun Subramaniam
Coercive Diplomacy and China | UPSC

Arjun Subramaniam is a military historian and strategic commentator

      HEADLINES:

Grading India’s counter-coercive strategy

      CENTRAL THEME:

It can only be fair to argue that the country has done well in countering Chinese moves in eastern Ladakh

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      MAINS QUESTION:

War is never the option . Sometime counter-coercive strategy plays a vital role in contemporary geopolitics like in Galwan valley. Substantiate -(GS 2)

      LEARNING: 

  • Dilemma and approaches in geopolitics
  • Chances for Middle powers
  • The escalatory ladder
  • Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

  • MISTRUSTFUL APPROACH : In the murky and chameleon-like world of contemporary geopolitics, adopting a sceptical approach to analyses and evaluation is often the best way forward.

That the world was caught napping and brought to its knees by the COVID-19 pandemic is an undisputable proposition.

  • IN THE GREY ZONE :  The global level is the absence of a definitive prognosis on the decline and rise of American and Chinese power, respectively.

      BODY: 

CHANCE FOR MIDDLE POWERS

  • THE TWO HEAVYWEIGHTS : The contest promises to be a long-drawn one that could last decades and result in several bouts across domains ranging from the traditional military and diplomatic spaces to new frontiers such as space, cyber and the cognitive domain.

As the two powers engage in a strategy of exhaustion, middle powers such as India must see an opportunity to redefine their place in the world order.

  • COERCIVE DIPLOMACY : It is instructive to benchmark the happenings in eastern Ladakh against four of his variants of coercive diplomacy —It is a gradual turning of the screw, a try-and-see, a tacit ultimatum, or a full-fledged ultimatum.
  • AGGRESSION AT GALWAN VALLEY : PLA engaged in altering the existing status quo in eastern Ladakh, then waited and wanted to see India’s response.
  • WAITING FOR A REPLICATE : This was critical for the Chinese to decide whether it could replicate similar transgressions elsewhere along the Line of Actual Control.Ex: Arunachal Pradesh
  • INDIAN MILITARY QUICK RESPONSE : An immediate Indian military response in the form of a quid-pro-quo  shrilled the voices across constituencies of strategic watchers.
  • TRY-AND-SEE APPROACH : Though the borders are not perfectly demarcated by India’s strategic establishment, which decided instead to adopt the try-and-see approach.
  • BORDER TACTICS : In this phase of the crisis, India sought to engage in mild forms of coercion that involved the building up of forces to achieve parity on the ground.

EXAMPLE
It was also the first time ever that the Indian Air Force could display its capabilities in Ladakh in all its roles, giving an indication that a serious demand for restoring status quo.

THE ESCALATORY LADDER

  • STRENGTHENING INDIA’S DEFENCE : India’s defensive posture was strengthened militarily, so did the coercive content in its diplomacy and economic posturing vis-à-vis China.
  • TACIT ULTIMATUM : It could issue an indirect or tacit ultimatum (attempt to get a target, a state, a group in hope of not seeing a response ) thereby demonstrating resolve and intent.

India could issue a full-fledged ultimatum followed by multi-dimensional military action that could lead to a limited conflict.

  • FAMOUS STATECRAFT : Avoidance a war and winning without fighting lies at the heart of both Kautilya and Sun Tzu’s approach towards statecraft.

The People’s Liberation Army’s initial moves and the deliberate Indian response conformed to a predictable journey up the escalation ladder that stopped at a tacit ultimatum. 

  • LEADERSHIP ROLES : Ringing true is also his emphasis on the ‘importance of political leaders having a good understanding of adversary leaders, their mind-sets and domestic constraints’.

SYNERGY IN HANDLING CHINA

  • STEALTH OPERATIONS : In eastern Ladakh, the People’s Liberation Army unrolled its tactical plans with speed and transgressed with the requisite stealth.
  • THE OPERATIONAL AND STRATEGIC LEVEL : The Chinese engaged in significant overreach and did not expect the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force to mobilise in strength and slip into their operational roles at high altitude with ease.
  • POLITICO-DIPLOMATIC-MILITARY APPROACH : At the strategic level, the refusal of India’s political establishment to push the panic button in May, and the synergised politico-diplomatic-military approach by the Indians during negotiations have been a welcome departure from the past.

      IASbhai Windup: 

  • DETERRENCE CAPABILITIES : India is a status quo power and this is ingrained in its strategic DNA and associated strategies of deterrence and coercion.

India has militarily recovered well, diplomatically played hard-ball and strategically postured deftly despite the constraints of the ongoing pandemic .

  • INDIAN REMEDY : While it is too early to predict the trajectory of events when the snows melt, the Chinese have bitten off more than they can chew and could be looking for a face-saving solution.
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Coercive Diplomacy and China | UPSC

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