The talk will attempt to prove the hypothesis that China’s aggressive action on the Northern Borders is connected to its global confrontation with the US and its allies. The methodology adopted would be based on interrogation of China’s use of the military instrument in the Northern Borders with a view to establish a connection with its political objectives. Identifying the politico-strategic context within a regional and global framework, is expected to facilitate the identification of vectors that could indicate the contours of its political objectives. It is therefore being argued that China is using the Northern Border to create ‘pinch points’ that can exert pressure on India’s military capabilities so as to draw India’s military and political energy, keep India confined to the Sub-continent and slow down its growth as a maritime power. This becomes clear in the context of China’s vulnerabilities, the criticality of securing of its trade routes in the Indo-Pacific and especially in the Indian Ocean, that is a strategic concern in the context of a growing confrontation with the US and its Allies. Keeping India from shifting its strategic weight towards the US in the larger global geopolitical confrontation could be the prime objective. China therefore would have no intention to either restore the status quo on the Northern Border nor respect the earlier agreements. It would continue to negotiate sporadically and could intermittently activate ‘pinch points’ at any place along the Northern Border as a provocative response to what it sees as the growing proximity between India, the US and its allies.
About the Speaker
Lt. Gen. Prakash Menon, Ph.D., is an infantryman with 40 years of service. He has had extensive operational experience and has served as a company commander on the Siachen glacier and the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and Kargil. He has commanded a Battalion, Brigade and a Counter Insurgency Force in Central, North and South Kashmir. He was the Commandant of the National Defence College and Military Adviser and Secretary to Government of India in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). He has been awarded a PhD from the Madras University and has several published works to his credit and is the author of The Strategy Trap: India and Pakistan Under the Nuclear Shadow, 2018 and also one of the co-authors of NonAlignment 2.0. and a recent document India’s Path to Power: Strategy in a World Adrift. He writes a column for ThePrint. Presently, he is the Director, Strategic Studies Programme, and Professorial Fellow, Takshashila Institution; Professor Emeritus, Trans Disciplinary University (TDU); and, an Adjunct Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru.
About the Chair
Amb. Vijay K. Nambiar joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1967. He studied Chinese in Hong Kong, and served in China from 1970-72 and returned to South Block and Udyog Bhavan where he remained until 1976. He then served as First Secretary in Tito's Yugoslavia. He was posted from 1979 to 1982 in the Indian Mission at the United Nations (UN) in New York and served in Delhi during the 1983 NAM Summit and after. From 1985 to 1987, he was India's Ambassador in Algeria. He returned to Delhi as Joint Secretary East Asia in the MEA in 1987 and helped prepare for Rajiv Gandhi's historic visit to China in 1988. Subsequently, he served as India's Ambassador/ High Commissioner in Afghanistan (1990-1992), Malaysia (1993-1996), China (1996-2000), Pakistan (2000-2001) and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York (2002-2004). Post-retirement, he served as Deputy National Security Adviser of India (2004-2006). He was then deputed by the Government of India to serve in the United Nations Secretariat as Under Secretary-General, Special Adviser to Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2006-2007), then as Chef de Cabinet to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2007-2012) and later as Adviser on Myanmar (2012-2016).
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