South Asian situation.
From my historical understanding of the two nations relations it is the Indian state which has maintained a passive stance against Chinese hegemony, and the Chinese desire to be recognized as number one in Asia, and later as number one in the world. This passive Indian position was badly repaid in 1962, through Indian weakness, when the Indian politicians stood down their air force against naked Chinese aggression! The Indian politicians lost that war.
To my mind India is not attempting to compete with China, which is to the detriment of China in the long term, because India can't. But this fact is not accepted in sections of the Chinese security establishment, and hence the covert/overt aggression against India's 'natural expansion'------India in many ways is a severely poor nation with perhaps 800+ millions Indians living on 20 rupees a day, attempting to pull itself out of backwardness-----there are no grand ambitions here. We are not looking at a historically aggressive nation, accept for the fringe utterings from the sections of the far right in the BJP, with linkages to Israel/Mossad. They have their own agendas, and it is not representative of mainstream India.
But we understand where the Israelis are coming from. We understand why they would want to entice the gullible in India into false illusions, of great power, of blue water navies, of the purchase of the wrong types of defense systems. Why? Is this not what the Israelis are doing with the Americans? Destroying that great country in the process. Is this not patently obvious? Isn't the PNAC 2000 a Zionist document, masked as an American doctrine of world domination?
So to all the naive Indians running off to Tel a Viv to sign on to the PNIC 2005 document, pause and just look at America, and what is happening inside and outside of that once great country.
India is being very diplomatic towards the current issue of Tibet, and China's problems there. The issue of Tibet is a Chinese problem, not an Indian problem. It arises out of the fact that there has been a Han ethnic invasion into the state, and the slow perception in the locals that Tibet will in the near future have a Han majority. The same with Sinkiang province. This has nothing to do with India. The Tibetans appreciate the infrastructure and development in Tibet, but don't appreciate being a minority, or being treated as a minority in their own country.
In the full spectrum of China/India relations, it is China which has violated the relationship repeatedly. These violations will not be listed here---they have been listed earlier. Thus India must be fully prepared militarily should China use this as an excuse to attack and annex parts of Arunchal Pradesh. The Chinese have learnt from the Pakistanis in Kargil, that a nuclear armed India can be attacked conventionally, without all hell breaking loose. This dangerous perception has been aided by sections of the Indian security establishment and national leaders.
Further added to this is the issue of cultivation, and scarce resources. China has run out of cultivable land, and is in a dangerous situation. Food and other essential items have been rationed. Thus areas such as Arunchal Pradesh, or even the whole of Assam would satisfy China's requirements. Desperate situations lead to desperate acts by governments used to using military options to solving essentially socio-economic problems. It is not inconceivable, except for India's security establishment, that China might annex the whole North East India for food/resource purposes. India must take this Han lebensraum drive Westwards seriously, as it is visibly taking place in Tibet and Sinkiang already.
So what must India do?
Stay calm and out of the fray, and avoid any Chinese baiting over Tibet. Create a separate command in the East consisting of Arunchal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam and the Hill tribal areas, with 300,000 troops up the mountains of Arunchal, and 400,000 in the plains in Assam. They are backed by a separate Eastern command in Calcutta, with troops mobilizable to 1,000,000. Then the rest of the 1,300,000 can be an active reserve or stationed against Pakistan. The size of the army needs to increase from the present 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 , and the expansion of mountain divisions to perhaps 30.
Allied to this is the ordinance capacity which needs to expand from the current 50 odd production and research facilities to over 200. The defense budget also needs to dramatically increase from its present pitiful level. Finally on this point, can a serious individual be appointed to the defense ministry portfolio, for once, and not another light weight political non-entity?
On a separate issue, can India handle both China and Pakistan simultaneously? Yes India can but it would be a stretch, and would require a thorough pre investment plan; much more than the present effort by the babu's in Delhi. Always surprises me how the Indians are always wrong footed by war at least initially, against little weak Pakistan.
In addition with the inauguration of a civilian government the oppertunity of bringing Pakistan to the South Asian fold provides many possibilities. The Raj inherited and Anglo trained Pakistani military elite were never too keen to get too close to India------because that would defeat the objective why Pakistan was created initially by the British, and explains why Musharaf attacked India in Kargil in 1999, just when Bhajpayee was about to sign a historic agreement with Sharif's Pakistan over Kashmir. India has been used as the perennial bogey justifying the huge unofficial Pakistani military of 800,000 men under arms. From a historic perspective calls against India had been a unifying factor in Pakistan.
India can remove this historic misconceptions from Pakistan if India is serious and level headed, and embarks on a comprehensive effort to bring Pakistan closer to India---the time is now. It requires a clear effort by the Congress government as it heads towards its last year in office, and would be a perfect way to finish this term, and boost the chances for the next term.
We have a new civilian regime which is feeling its way in Pakistan, desperate to reign in the military and stamp their authority. The civilian government in Delhi should aid them in this endevour, by launching a full diplomatic mission to Pakistan to invite them for a cross-border meeting between them (Punjab border)? Where India signs a full FTA agreement with Pakistan that comes into effect very soon. In addition the Indian delegation take with them the heads of Tata, Birla and the Ambanis, and all other leading Indian business houses with a promise to invest in Pakistan and set up industrial parks to the tune of $30-40 billion over the next 10 years, which is guaranteed by contract.
Investment of such an amount is an act of good faith, and is a symbolic act between the two nations and goes beyond regionalism and petty politics. It is a statement of belief in Pakistan by her much bigger and economically successful neighbor. "We are successful, but we want you to be successful with us". I read daily that Indian companies on their own are making such commitments in other nations not related to India's geo-strategic interests. This requires character, courage and vision, not petty mindedness from the leaders of South Asia.
Pieces of paper invoking peace between nations don't guarantee anything-----real agreements and inter-actions between nations and their people do. A proper trade agreement will generate greater interaction between the two nations. These things need to be done before any relations with China deteriorates, otherwise it looks like overt political opportunism on the part of Congress. Or the situation changes for the worse as they invariably do for the Pakistani civilian governments into their 2nd or 3rd year, as the military flex themselves yet again. 60 years of habit encouraged by outsiders doesn't change over night.
The touchy issue of Kashmir is avoided for now, and this FTA agreement with guaranteed investments boosts the civilian government in Pakistan viz the Pak military, which can then be built on towards a comprehensive peace settlement with India later.
The time to act is now.