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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Not So Outdated Fears

China still has a job to do

K. Subrahmanyam, one of our premier national security analyst, is not sure why China, along with Indian-born Chinese, is so worried about the quad-informal- alliance of India, US, Australia, and Japan, especially Malabar 07 in which Singapore is to join also.

This has drawn a lot of attention, especially from China and its admirers in India. They consider this a follow-up of the quadrilateral ministerial meeting held in May in Manila on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum among the foreign ministers of the US, India, Japan and Australia. Prior to this meeting, there was a demarche from Beijing expressing concern. India and Australia gave reassurances that the quadrilateral did not have any anti-Chinese connotation, and that it wasn’t directed against any country.

However, it is very difficult for people conditioned by the Cold War to see the realities of a new balance of power in which a war among the major powers armed with nuclear weapons is considered virtually impossible. [New world, if only China could sea - IE]

Sri Subrahmanyam goes on to explain why India, actually, has to be weary of China, not the other way round. This may explain India's position to local communists (those Indian-born Chinese), who for reason seem oblivious to the fact China now is more like Chile under Augusto Pinochet - dictatorship with a free market, may be because they are still getting the money bags (it's good to keep your friends, especially in an potential adversary nation), I doubt the Chinese want to hear it. Not because it's not news to them - it's one of the most effect strategic game Chinese played since the middle of cold-war - but because they have something else in mind.

China still has a job to do. They're concentrating their entire military moderation with US in mind, mainly to keep US at bay in what would be an tangentially asymmetric war, when it goes after Taiwan. Japan, being an ally of US, has already declared that it would assist Taiwan and US, in case of war. Australia being close ally of US, will surely be involved. Imagine the Chinese consternation if India joins in that group on the eastern flank - may be not directly, but by providing all the support needed, overtly or covertly, for opposing alliance. Surely the Russian are not going to come to Chinese aid, despite their own massive joint exercise in Central Asia under Shanghai Corporation Organization.

Clearly the quad-alliance is not an exercise to fight the mighty navy of Islamic terrorists holed up in Pakistan region or East Asia. China has every reason to fear the alliance and the massive Malabar 07.