xi and modi

How Xi jinping thinks?

The recent sino-indian border scuffle has left many families bereaving on both sides of “line of actual control” and a lot has been written about it but experts have left the gate open which leads to xi jinping’s mind. To understand principals of Chinese strategy one has to analyze the political and cultural dynamics of imperial china.
In the last century, we witnessed the unprecedented rise of America and the now decaying concept of “American exceptionalism” -the notion that American history is unique with its universal values of liberal democracy and human rights- which in its nature is missionary but on the other hand “Chinese exceptionalism” has been there for 5000 years and it is cultural in its nature. China does not proselytize and never thought that its contemporary institutions are applicable outside china. Historically, Chinese emperor claimed the throne of “middle kingdom”-the interlocutor between heavens and masses- and graded all other states as tributaries based on their proximity with the “middle kingdom”.
In October 1962, Mao gathered his military and political commanders in Beijing whereas Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a military standoff in the remote Himalayas. India claimed the region demarcated during British rule whereas china claimed the frontier envisaged during imperial china. Mao decided to draw lessons from rich Chinese classical traditions and told his commanders that china and India has fought “one and a half war” and that we can draw operational guidelines from these conflicts.
1300 years ago, during the tang dynasty (618-907) Chinese troops moved into India to protect an ally Indian kingdom from a ruthless adversary which resulted in centuries of relative peace between countries and “the half war” had taken place approximately 700 years later when Mongol ruler “Timur lane” sacked Delhi and killed over 100,000 prisoners. Although he was Mongolian but he belonged to same political entity hence Mao considered this clash as a ‘half war’. Mao reasoned from these incidents that to achieve lasting peace, china has to ‘knock’ India ‘back to the negotiating table’ and so it happened. China landed a swift and
brutal blow on the Indian positions but then returned back to the previous line of control and went as far as to return the captured Indian heavy weaponry.
No leader or country in the contemporary world can go back as far to invoke millennium old strategy principals let alone apply them in a major international undertaking but then again china is remarkably “singular” in that no one claim such an intimate link to its ancient past and classical principles of strategy as china does.
Xi jinping has probably utilized the same principals in dealing with India as Mao did and it would not be an exaggeration to say that Chinese thinking has been shaped by its imperial past.