Tibet’s geo-strategic relevence in the Indo-Pacific theatre: Military analyses

Tibet and Xinjiang will become China’s new manufacturing hub from where CPEC will connect with Gwadar to enable military projection in the Arabian Sea/IOR or western part of Indo-Pacific theatre.

1. The Tibetan Freedom Initiative (TFI) should become the Centre of the US Foreign Policy. This alone will ensure continued US Primacy in the global order. Therefore America’s Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA), which became law recently, is a step in the right direction. It highlights Tibet’s geostrategic importance. In consonance with above, the recent enunciation of the US foreign policy by Joe Biden has broadly indicated the same thrust line. However, the US has to ensure that they do not get distracted from other parts of the world disproportionately, like Trump frittered away his energy in engaging with North Korea or the Middle East. Whereas, he should have concentrated more around the immediate periphery of China and should have engaged with Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar or even with Pakistan, who all are today under Chinese firm control. China had made decisive moves during the transition period (Change of US Presidency) to tie these countries to serve Chinese geopolitical and geostrategic interest. US needs to untie them from China as Phase one of their assertive drive.

2. The military application of new muscular posturing is the need of the hour to stymie China in the Tibet- the Himalayas, which has emerged as the key geopolitical-geostrategic-geo-economic and a ‘Game-Changing Geographical Height'(GCGH) for military force projection in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Because China’s navy is not sufficiently lethal to penetrate the South China Sea (SCS) towards the ‘Indian Ocean Region’ (IOR) after addressing the newly named Indo- Pacific fleet and the QUAD. The sea route from ‘SCS’ gets blocked at the Malacca Straits. Because the fact is that once SCS is blocked, then China’s trade routes get denied, thus forcing the Chinese to adopt a more nuanced strategic defensive posture. They are trying to create two Passage Corridors astride the Parcels and Sprately islands and shaping the ‘SCS’ to become a Chinese strait, rather than an open component of the global maritime commons. This needs to be contested.

3. China had shown a long term strategic vision by seizing Tibet way back in 1950. They have now opened the land route through the Himalayas to bypass the allied nations strangulation strategy in the ‘SCS’. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) concept and the creation of the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor’ (CPEC) is the compulsion for offsetting China’s vulnerable Sea route. Therefore, it has carved a maintenance link through the safer Himalayan land routes where no international powers can intervene other than an accommodative and vulnerable India. Thus, the PLA’S recent aggression on India along the ‘Line of Actual Control’ (LAC) has been a controlled operation to occupy disputed-unheld areas for widening their logistics corridor all across the LAC from North to the East. The PLA aims to ensure the security of this land link from Western China-Xinjiang -Tibet-along the CPEC to Gwadar in the Arabian Sea. The natural resources in Tibet are in abundance and will make it the new Chinese manufacturing hub to exploit this route and double China’s existing trillion-dollar economy.

4. India’s present deployment in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh enables India to challenge these axes and, if necessary, interfere to block this land route too. The choking of this route would become like cutting the juggler’s vein of China. This will then stifle China and checkmates its belligerence in any part of the world. This critical factor has to be understood by the western nations and especially the US. Thus the relevance of freeing Tibet from an unjustified and illegal occupation by China. The US should accordingly help India to hold China along this line, failing which will enable China to dominate the military domain in its entirety in the Indo-Pacific theatre. China is already dominating the Economic domain by fooling and abusing the WTO rules. Instead of checkmating China, US allowed them to enter the WTO only to be ruthlessly exploited to create the present economy of about $14.7 trillion (based on an average exchange rate of 6.9 Yuan per U.S. dollar, according to Wind Information data). Therefore, Identifying and focusing on China (not even Russia) and China alone and that too in the Himalayas is the way forward. China’s continental power projection needs to be urgently checked in the new battleground of the Himalayas in conjunction with the ‘SCS’. The US should therefore orchestrate a politico-military strategy for proportionate force projection in the Himalayas, if the contingency demands so.This manoeuvre would ensure global security as then the menace of China would get bottled in the Indo-Pacific theatre.

5. India has already played its part by holding the PLA along the LAC for the entire period of 2020-2021. The Chinese are building logistics for the induction of two to three more Group Armies in the coming summers of 2021. They want to build projection capabilities across the LAC and through the CPEC till Gwadar. Thereafter, they would link with the naval resources operating in the Arabian Sea in conjunction with Pakistan. The time is now; otherwise, it will be too late. A lot of time has already been wasted during the Trump administration in rhetoric’s and nothing else. The US needs to make a coherent plan now and make a Himalayan coalition of nations, may be even involving NATO air and missiles support. PLA should not be allowed any more ingress in the Himalayas and be contested. The Coordination with the Russian front will also become important so as to draw the Chinese Group Army’s towards them as well as at the SCS by Japanese and the other nations, who need to be tied together in military coalition. Therefore there is a new need to recalibrate the US-Russian relationship realistically to cater for today’s problem rather than carrying animosity of the past. Similarly,in the Arabian sea the Chabahar port should be militarily strengthened with mirror deployments akin to heavy PLA/Pakistan Army militarisation of the Gwadar complex. Thus needs recalibration of policy with Iran. How can one fail to analyses such earth-moving indications of the gravity of the Chinese intentions?

6. Finally, as a counter initiative, it becomes imperative for the US alliance to plan a counter-push. The PLA needs to go back to their Mainland in China. Thus liberation of Tibet has become a necessity for world peace. This requires a comprehensive, multipronged approach covering all aspects of a politico-military strategy. Yes, the legality of a Free Tibet needs to be reviewed again at the UN, rather than accept China’s assertive grab on a realpolitik basis. This alone will ensure global security and peace post Pandemic.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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