Tuesday, February 7, 2012

China preaches non-violence ...to others

The Chinese are apparently unhappy with the selection of the  multipurpose combat plane Rafale for the Indian Air Force.
It is what appears from an article in the People's Daily (French edition only); my rough translation is posted below.
One of the arguments used by the People's Daily is that India and France are supposed to be non-violent countries. 
The article affirms: "During the twentieth century in France there was a great writer called Romain Roland (1866 - 1944), Nobel Laureate for Literature, which was strongly opposed to the war. In India, there has been an illustrious politician named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 - 1948) who was a pacifist leader, known worldwide for his fights against violence. At present, their homelands are engaged in a sinister and repulsive arm race, which shakes and profoundly changes the international scene. If by chance these two great and illustrious men were still alive, what would they feel about this selfish and pernicious transaction and what opinion would they give in this matter?" 
This reminds me of a funny anecdote told by A.P. Venkateshwaran, the former Foreign Secretary of India who was posted in the early 80’s as Indian Ambassador in Beijing. 
The story shows that the pacifist approach adopted by the Indian leaders at that time was never understood by the Chinese. 
The story goes like this: one day, Ambassador Venkateshwaran was requested by the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Party for a subtitled copy of the movie ‘Gandhi.’ It was loaned by the Embassy for a private screening for the Party leadership and when the Chinese official returned the copy to the Embassy, the Ambassador politely asked him how it was received by the Central leadership. The official thanked the Government of India for its generosity and “replied enigmatically that it was a splendid and moving account of Gandhi’s life. But no one had been able to understand what his non-violence is about!”
This incident occurred in the 80’s, when the Chinese leadership was led by Deng Xiaoping, already ‘soft’ leader compared to his old comrades of the Long March such as Mao or the dreadful Gang of Four. One can imagine the reaction of old revolutionary leaders in the 50’s when Nehru preached non-violence to them.

It is amusing that the mouthpiece of the Party today quotes Gandhi in connection with the Rafale deal.
The People's Daily article also says that that the sale of the Rafale "encourages, excites and spurs India’s appetite and ambition to become a great military power while intensifying its aggressive and expansionist tendencies, which poses a serious threat to peace and stability in Asia".
Well, does India has a choice, considering the frantic speed of development of the PLA, PLAF and PLAN?

The intrigues behind the sale of ‘Rafale’ by France to India
The People's Daily (French Edition)
February 3, 2012
These days, the French media is loaded of enthusiasm and joy; it announced with pride and excitement that India has decided to acquire 126 fighter planes ‘Rafale’ from the French company Dassault. The technical negotiations for the finalization of this huge bidding, for nearly 10 billion Euros, will immediately start so that difficulties be lifted and removed and that the final contract is signed at the earliest.
As for Dassault, he promptly published a statement in which it is stated: "The aircraft manufacturer Dassault and its trading partners are grateful to the Government and people of India for the opportunity they provide them the opportunity to further strengthen their relations of mutual partnership.".
As for French President Nicolas Sarkozy, he said that the choice of India's fighter ‘Rafale’ to equip the Indian Air Force is ‘a sign of confidence in the French economy”. On his part, French Prime Minister Fran├žois Fillon went further when he declared: “It is very good news for Dassault, for France and for French industry.”
Later in the afternoon, after the announcement, Dassault Aviation’s shares in the stock exchange surged over 20%. In short, it's really like a beautiful and delicious cake which has fallen from the sky for the exclusive use of Dassault and the French government!
The delirious and bustling feeling of excitement from the French side resembles the behavior of Fanjin, which had a fit of madness upon learning that he was successful in the three-year provincial tests (under the Ming and Qing dynasties) and that he had become a jurist acknowledged by the authorities. Is quite understandable, because since its official commissioning in 2000, the ‘Rafale’ has always been considered “the fighter plane the more difficult to sale in the world” and till 2011, that is to say last year, France never managed to sell one plane: the export result was a zero.
Then, Dassault wanted to sell the plane to South Korea and Singapore. But in deference and not to hurt the United States, these two countries did not agree to select the French plane and preferred to buy American fighter planes of more advanced type. Faced with this desperate situation, the French remembered their old client, India and began making eyes at her.
In 1953, it is with India only, that the French group Dassault signed its first export contract. Subsequently, India has successively acquired almost all types of fighter aircrafts manufactured by the French aircraft manufacturer of the ‘Mystery IV’ [it was not produced by Dassault, but by Breguet Aviation] to ‘Mirage 2000’. The staff of the Indian Air Force knows well the characteristics of French combat aircrafts. Thus the preference given by the Indian side and the efforts of the French part in advertising the ‘Rafale’ finally contributed to the success of this transaction.
Another reason for satisfaction and happiness shown by the French government is that the Presidential campaign has just started in an thrilling atmosphere, with feverish excitement throughout France. Nicolas Sarkozy wants to be reelected in order to continue his brilliant career. But there is an obstacle which stands before him, overshadows the success of his governance and the success of his exercise of power: it is precisely the country's economic slump.
Now this obstacle disappears with the lucrative contract offered by the Indian side. It should under no circumstances let this unique opportunity to help redress the French industry, because there will be five hundred companies in France and some six thousand employees which will participate in the manufacture of fighter aircrafts in order to complete the big contract.
As for India, it has also its own calculations and designs. By the time she will possess these fighters, its Air Force will be strengthened, she will feel stronger and bolder and will then have the audacity and the temerity to confront, to compete and to measure with her potential traditional rivals and adversaries: Pakistan and China. On the other hand, it will allow a transfer of French technology, under which the 126 ‘Rafales’ sold, only 18 will be built in France, while the remaining 108 will be assembled and produced on the Indian soil.
It's really a fat contract and the Indian side would be silly if it would not do everything to definitively conclude it at the earliest! Apart from that, from the geopolitical point of view, India is keen and wants to diversify her arm imports, so that its equipment is no longer under the control of certain countries [read the US and Russia].
In recent years, India has made tremendous efforts to expand its army and increase the size of its arms procurement. This turn of the tide should be taken seriously. Just look: India struggles, strives and goes to great lengths to acquire aircraft carriers from Russia, air-air missiles from the MBDA (world leader in the development and manufacture of missiles and missile systems) and patrol planes from the US. These actions bring a great instability in the region of South Asia as well as throughout the Asian region where the situation becomes increasingly tense.
According to international media reports, India is currently spending tens of billions of dollars to optimize the weaponization of its Defense forces: she pretends that it is necessary to address the ‘ongoing challenge’ launched by the Pakistani and Chinese sides, when in reality it provokes an arm-race which gains in intensity. And it is precisely at that time that France sells to India 126 fighter planes ‘Rafale’. This action encourages, excites and spurs India’s appetite and ambition to become a great military power while intensifying its aggressive and expansionist tendencies, which poses a serious threat to peace and stability in Asia!
Now, France is just after the United States, Russia, Britain and Germany, the fifth world countries exporting weapons and most of its customers are the countries of Europe and Gulf and Russia and India. In today's world, when the international situation is constantly changing and when regional conflicts occur continuously and at any time, these unbridled, uninhibited and outrageous weapon sales by France can only cause concern to the international community who seriously and earnestly worries.
During the twentieth century in France there was a great writer called Romain Roland (1866 - 1944), Nobel Laureate for Literature, which was strongly opposed to the war. In India, there has been an illustrious politician named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 - 1948) who was a pacifist leader, known worldwide for his fights against violence. At present, their homelands are engaged in a sinister and repulsive arm race, which shakes and profoundly changes the international scene. If by chance these two great and illustrious men were still alive, what would they feel about this selfish and pernicious transaction and what opinion would they give in this matter? It is up to you to decide what they would feel.

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