India’s role in fostering national interests and enmity between China, Japan and Taiwan

(Retd) Brigadier Hemant Mahajan

1. From amongst the 11 missiles aimed at Taiwan by China, 5 fell close to Japan – the actual reason and analysis

After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, China has started to show its anger. China has launched several actions against Taiwan. It surrounded Taiwan from all sides. Attempts were made to intercept merchant ships entering Taiwan from outside.

On the night of 4th August 2022, China fired 11 ballistic missiles at Taiwan. Five of these missiles fell into the Sea of Japan – the real target was Taiwan. One thing to be noted here is that Nancy Pelosi went to South Korea after her visit to Taiwan and from there she reached Japan. Therefore, it is possible that China has done this to warn Japan.

Two things can happen because of this. Either the missiles were fired by mistake or they were deliberately fired near Japan. Accuracy of Chinese weapons cannot be guaranteed. The infrastructure they create is also weak. It has been proved many times that China produces low quality products. It is said that many times even the Chinese do not use ‘Made in China’ products. They prefer imported products.

2. Since Japan is China’s enemy, China might have launched missiles to warn it

Missiles were fired when Pelosi arrived in Japan. Therefore, it cannot be denied that China might have done this deliberately. Japan is also China’s enemy and there is a dispute between the two countries over the Senkaku Islands. For many years, Japan was not prepared to spend money on defense; but now, the fear of China has led Japan to increase its own defense budget. This is happening for the first time since World War 2. Due to this incident, the question arises whether China will now follow a similar path of conflict with Japan like it has with Taiwan.

3. If China starts a conventional war against Taiwan, it will have to shed a lot of blood

China has been taking revenge on Taiwan for a long time. It has launched the world’s largest cyber (information-technology) attack on Taiwan Government’s infrastructure and networks. But since Taiwan’s security system is strong, it has not affected it much. China is also trying to cut off trade ties with Taiwan. China will suffer due to this, because semi-conductors are largely imported from Taiwan. Currently, Chinese planes are trying to enter Taiwan’s air-space. Taiwan has promptly reacted to them. Taiwan has also activated its air defense and missiles.

All the three Taiwanese armed forces are very capable. They have sophisticated weapons. Therefore, if a war breaks out, Taiwan can retaliate against China just as Ukraine is retaliating against Russia. Taiwan has kept its coastal security strong, realising that China may attack Taiwan from the sea side at some point. Hence, if China tries to launch a conventional attack, it will have to spill a lot of blood.

4. Since the Chinese military lacks the courage to engage in a conventional warfare, China is likely to pursue only hybrid warfare

A question arises about the US helping Taiwan. The US military did not directly participate in the war in Ukraine, but helped Ukraine with weapons. The situation today is that a US aircraft carrier has arrived in the South China Sea. Therefore, if the need arises, the US may provide air force and naval assistance to Taiwan. The real question is – Will US leadership show the willpower to help ?

China was trying to intimidate the US by demonstrating its strength. In the meantime, China threatened America not to send Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. If she is sent, China would shoot down the US plane carrying her, said China. Later, China said if Pelosi comes to Taiwan, she would not be allowed to leave. Pelosi’s tour is actually over. However, China could not do anything to the US. China seems unlikely to engage in conventional warfare; but its unconventional warfare – hybrid warfare (propaganda warfare, cyber warfare, economic warfare, etc.) will continue. China will try to enhance this greatly. China may even start a trade war against the US. At present, the Chinese army does not have the courage to engage in conventional warfare.

5. India needs to maintain economic relations with Taiwan and nurture national interests

Taiwan does not have any political relationship with India. Hence, India does not have an embassy in Taiwan. However, India’s trade with Taiwan is growing rapidly. Taiwan and India have a good relationship in terms of technology. Taiwan is also investing heavily in India. If India wants to progress rapidly, it needs cutting-edge technology. The technology that the US is providing to India is expensive. Israel too supplies technology to India on a commercial scale. In comparison, Taiwan provides technology to India at a slightly lower cost.

Against this backdrop, India should covertly enhance economic ties with Taiwan; but there is no need for conventional warfare. There is no need to yell and insult China on TV. India should continue to do what it wants to do and pursue its national interests peacefully.

– (Retd) Brigadier Hemant Mahajan, Pune.