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Gas & Oil Connections - Myanmar lost to China- India's encirclement complete“

Gas & Oil Connections - Myanmar lost to China- India's encirclement complete“

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Published by: Jutta Pflueg on Aug 21, 2009
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05/11/2014

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21.08.09 14:13Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections - Myanmar lost to China: India's encirclement completeSeite 1 von 3http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/nts93315.htm
 
volume 14, issue #11 - Thursday, August 20, 2009
sponsored by:
Myanmar lost to China: India's encirclement complete
by Vinod K. Sharma18-06-09 Forget the threat from the Taliban or Pakistan. The real threat upon India is not from the West. It is fromthe forgotten, far away East.The Chinese have just signed a deal that will complete the encirclement of India on land and sea from all sides. TheChinese Army will soon be within breathing distance from India's border with no Himalayas to stop its march intoIndia whenever China wants, to bag claimed Arunachal Pradesh.The latest development, facilitated by decades of neglect of Myanmar by India, may well prove to be an even morecolossal a blunder than was the "gifting" of Tibet to China by Nehru in the fifties. At that time, in one fatal stroke,Nehru blindly converted India's buffer against China into that nation's buffer against India, without securing India'sinterest in any manner whatsoever.That enabled China to move its troops forward by more than a couple of thousand kilometres to sit right on India'shead and inflict on it, in 1962, a humiliating defeat, a rout so complete that any self-respecting nation would havevowed never to forget and allow to happen to it again. Not India, which, instead of learning any lessons, chose tosimply bury its head in the sand and pretend as if China did not exist.The Chinese have just signed an agreement with Myanmar's military junta to build a 1,100 km long oil and gaspipeline from Kyaukryu on the West coast of Myanmar to Ruili in the Yunan province of China. Construction will startas early as September this year.The pipeline will transport 20 mm tons of crude coming from the Middle East and Africa annually to China. The gaspipeline, which will be further extended by another 1,700 km within China, will transport 12 bn cm of gas annually, tobe increased to 100 bn cm in a few years. Compare this with the 29.2 bn cm that will flow eventually from the KGbasin gas wells of Reliance Industries and you will get an idea of the enormity of the deal.There is also talk that later more oil, not just for China but for Korea and Japan too, could flow through this pipeline.This agreement comes on the heels of China beating India to win a 30 year concession from the military juntabesides launching construction of hydroelectric projects in that country.For long, as India has known too well, China has been eyeing a shorter trade route to Europe via Myanmar becausenot only will it reduce the transportation route by over 1200 km and cut shipping time to Europe by over a week, itwill also enable it to avoid the pirate infested and strategically significant Malacca Straits. The signing of this pipelineagreement is only going to accelerate development of this trade route.China's National Road 320 presently ends at the border town of Ruili. The construction of the pipeline to that townwill certainly be followed by a road from there to a sea port on the Myanmar coast. Once the railway line betweenKunming and Mangshi is also ready, Myanmar railway, which ends at Lashio, will be only 143 km away from China.It will then be only be a matter of time before the two networks are linked, enabling Chinese freight to be carriedright up to and from a Myanmar port to China without any transhipment.Myanmar has also proposed a tri-nation road network between China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, which China ismuch interested in setting up.The security andstrategic implications posed by these developments for India areso grave that it is a wonder thatthere has been virtually no national debate and no media interest. The focus of the nation has not been allowed tomove beyond the Taliban and Pakistan, both of which pose not even a fraction of thedanger thatthese developments will in the next few years.If things move at the speed Chinese have shown recently, within a decade or so, a large percentage of Chinesefreight traffic from other ports further east will get diverted to least two Myanmar ports that will then perhaps handlemore Chinese freight than any other port. This freight will move to China through the entire length of Myanmar byroad and rail. More oil and gas will also start flowing along the pipeline.With so much of its economic activity becoming dependent on Myanmar, China will get the perfect excuse to expandits military presence in and around that country. That will, first of all, lead to deployment of Chinese Navy inconsiderable strength in the Bay of Bengal, within handshaking distance of the Andaman Islands and a little morethan shout away from the West Bengal coast.
 
21.08.09 14:13Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections - Myanmar lost to China: India's encirclement completeSeite 2 von 3http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/nts93315.htm
Let no one be in any doubt that it is only a question of time before China gets Myanmar to give it a permanent Navalbase on its soil. On land too, the Chinese will get proactively involved in protecting the pipeline and the rail and roadtraffic, necessitating the stationing of at least some military personnel in Myanmar.In any case, thanks to these excellent lines of communication, the Chinese Army, known as the People's LiberationArmy (PLA), will be in a position to roll straight into the Brahmaputra Valley through Myanmar, bypassing the harshand high Himalayas completely. Winter will cease to India's friend against China, forcing it to physically deploy alarge number of troops in Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram to meet this new threat.What the Chinese might do to inflame insurgency at that stage or get into some sort of a military pact withBangladesh is anybody's guess. One thing is sure: they will do whatever it takes to hem India militarily and make iteasy for China to simply lop the North East off.It is not an accident that China has supported the military junta since it came to power 21 years ago and vetoed allSecurity Council resolutions against it. It foresaw long back that it needed Myanmar in its national interest and stuckto the task of securing that without wavering.India, on the other hand, has remained completely confused, as always. It has been gripped and weakened evenmore by vague but "supreme" moral pangs that have caused it to place democracy and Aung San Suu Kyi above allelse. Thatis why, it has done nothing except resorting to a weak "engagement" with the junta that has got it nothingand has allowed Myanmar to fall right into the lap of a Dragon that is fully alive to its strategic interests that dictatethat it should build and display its military might in the region.The Chinese may have given up Mao's disastrous economic and social policies but they have not for a momentforgotten his immortal quote: power grows through the barrel of a gun. India, on the other hand, despite havingfoolishly placed itself at the business end of that barrel once, still hates power as being something "immoral". As aresult, over the last 47 years, as China has grown stronger, India has meekly allowed itself to grow comparativelyweaker.This had to happen and will continue to unless India completely overhauls, professionalises and contemporises itsnational security set up which has been hijacked by selfish and greedy generalist career bureaucrats who advisepoliticians who themselves have not even a clue of this complex subject. They have proved time and again over thelast 62 years that they are no more than ham-handed amateur middle-men who are more interested in assertingtheir "superiority" over the military -- usurped deviously after the British left, thanks to ignorant politicians -- thanletting accountable professionals and political leaders respond with alacrity to meet the nation's security needs.Myanmar never wanted to go into the arms of China; it was always wary of the dragon. It wanted India to be itspartner. But India, as one Myanmar leaders said, did nothing and just "sold" it to China. The same India that hasbeen embracing a series of military dictators in Pakistan because its national interest demanded it, found it verydifficult to apply the principle to Myanmar, ostensibly because of democracy.More disturbingly, however, it seems that it is the obsession of India's career diplomats with the West and itsglamour, coupled with their continuing strategic blindness, that has ensured that India's far away East has alwaysremained neglected. The mindset that led Nehru to quickly bid goodbye to the people of the region from India whenChinese troops reached the outskirts of Tezpur in 1962, remains essentially unaltered.That is why, while China is securing deal after deal in Myanmar and making the country increasingly dependent onit, India which had a large number of Indians living and working in Myanmar till the fifties, initially only helplesslywatched them being thrown out, and has since done the same as China has shown increasing interest in thatcountry.As a result, focused and result oriented Chinese government officials working with a clear strategic vision, havebeaten India comprehensively to acquire not just a foothold but what is going to turn out to be near complete controlover Myanmar.See the irony? China is going to start building pipelines, highways and railways through the length of Myanmar soon.India, on the other hand, has not yet been ableto finalise a contract for a gas pipeline from there either overlandthrough Bangladesh/Assam or across the Bay of Bengal. Now that the Chinese have beaten them to the contract,they will undoubtedly buy up any spare gas that Myanmar might think of selling to India, killing India's projectcompletely.While the Chinese have been making inroad after inroad into Myanmar, some Indians led by former PetroleumMinister Mani Shankar Aiyar, once a career diplomat, have been pushing for a gas pipeline from Iran throughPakistan to India, despite the fact that it will prove to be a huge security disaster. Criminal neglect of the East byIndia continues.The British had envisaged Tibet as India's buffer to the North. In the East, that role was to be played by Myanmar (then called Burma). In the fifties, India lost Tibet to China. Almost half a century later, the same script is beingwritten in Myanmar. India's obsession with a much smaller country, Pakistan, its puppy love for all things Westernand its inward looking mindset that has cost it heavily all through history have led it to lose Myanmar too to theChinese. India's encirclement is now complete.

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