The People’s Liberation Army of China’s only justification to exist in the modern world is that they emerged victors in the Chinese Civil War. Apart from that victory, there isn’t really much to the PLA’s credit, and that might explain Chinese unwillingness to escalate matters with any country, especially India, beyond a point, despite aggressive posturing by the dragon on all fronts.
Chinese superiority, militarily so, is a myth. China often worries about the lack of a battle-hardened army of soldiers that can put up a tough fight. And as per military discussions on the Chinese side itself, much of the PLA’s incapacity to indulge in heated armed conflicts, stems from the One-Child Policy of the Communist state which has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster for the country.
The One-Child policy was brought into force in 1979 by the CCP, to curb the menace of a growing population. Anyone with more than one child, post-1980, was made to face the wrath of the tyrannical Chinese state, not to mention that the second child was snatched away from parents and dispatched to anonymity.
As a direct result of the One-Child policy, defence think tanks within China are of the increasing opinion that the PLA is made up of “wimps”. “Soldiers from the one-child generations are wimps who have absolutely no fighting spirit,” warned the Study Times, a government publication in China.
Close to 70% of the Chinese military force is comprised of single-children, with no siblings. As such, they have been brought up as pampered “little emperors” by parents and grandparents. Having psychological impacts that growing up alone might have, there is a constant fear among strategic quarters in China that the softness of their force would spell a death-knell for the country’s expansionist and belligerent ambitions around all of its borders. In 2015, perhaps having smelled the coffee, China brought in the two-child policy.
However, for the said relaxations to reap benefits would take another 20 years, at least. Going by the aggressive posturing which the dragon is currently indulging in, with its inefficient and pampered military, it wouldn’t be long before they receive a drubbing of their lifetimes. Chinese families are very emotional about their child, since there’s only one. As such, millions of children grew up believing they were “little emperors”. Studies have shown stark differences between children having siblings in China before 1980, as opposed to those who grew up as the lone child in a family.
In order to deal with their own mess, the PLA has been forced to resort to special training, in order to straighten up “spoiled” soldiers. As a matter of fact, the Chinese military is a non-disciplined and non-calculative force, as a result of which skirmishes initiated by overenthusiastic Chinese commanders along the LAC often end up embarrassing the top leadership in Beijing.
This is not to discount their military superiority over India, over a wide range of parameters. Of course, China continues to remain a force to reckon with, not to mention a constant headache for India’s political and military leadership. However, history is replete with instances of China overestimating its wartime capabilities, and ending up with egg on its face. Essentially, the PLA is a non-combative, and if I may, a decorative force, which is paraded around every year on 1st October, the day when China was founded.
TFIPOST, in another article, had explained how the Chinese military is incapable of fighting. Even in the 1962 war that it waged on India, there isn’t much China can proudly proclaim as part of a supposedly rich military history. In 1967, India humiliated and defeated the wits out of the aggressor, PLA in the Nathu-La conflict, inflicting over 400 casualties on the enemy, while itself not losing more than 90 men. In 1979, China was thrashed by the Vietnamese military, which foiled the dragon’s plans of invading its country. Essentially, the PLA is not a battle-hardened force, as opposed to their Indian counterparts.
The Indian Army is a highly disciplined force, whose military history dates back to the Saragarhi battle. Our army is at a constant state of combat-readiness, particularly due to our notorious western neighbour. Whether it be internal security operations in the Kashmir valley or the Northeast, the Indian Army is never in a state of rest, as opposed to the PLA, who have to play games on the LAC in order to keep themselves occupied. Basically, China has a lot of odds stacked against them, if they choose to escalate matters with India, which it now turns out, they haven’t.
After intense posturing along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, and India matching up to their buildup every time, China has indeed blinked. This goes on to show that as opposed to the popular opinion, the Chinese are well aware of their limitations, and a conflict with India might end up embarrassing them big time, just like they were pulverized in 1967.