Predictions about international affairs is a mug’s game, particularly in today’s rapidly changing situations. Over the past quarter century, we have predictions about the rise of Russia, the decline of the United States, the rise of China and the rise of India.
Over the next decade, I suspect China will increasingly start asserting itself in the region, pushing the envelope against the US. We in India are likely to see more incursions across the line of control, and increasing pressure over Arunachal and the Dalai Lama.
Here’s what we need to, not one after the other, but in parallel:
1) Invest intelligence, resources, and thought on understanding the Chinese culture, its way of thinking, the influences behind its strategic philosophy.
2) Clearly define and announce our own non-negotiable, core interests. Over which we are willing to go to war.
3) Push for a water treaty with China.
4) Invest resources and forces to ramp up our ability along all our borders.
5) Avoid being promoted as a western 'counterweight' to China
6) Keep stressing on the Pakistani links to terror in Xinjiang, and the advantages of good economic relations with India.
Because in today’s world, speaking softly while carrying a big stick is not enough. It is important to be able - and seen as being able - to wield that stick when needed.
Image: Indian army soldiers present arms at a war memorial during "Vijay Diwas" (or victory day celebration) at a military garrison in Srinagar on July 26, 2012.