China’s “Palm and Five-Fingers Strategy”

China’s military aggressions in India, Bhutan and Nepal is strategically designed by the Chinese communist leaders’ perception that Tibet is the palm and Himalayan regions are the five-fingers. China considered Tibet as the palm and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh as the five-finger.

In the early 20th century, British India adopted its forward policy towards Tibet for expanding her market and at the same time, British desired to establish Tibet a buffer against the Czarist Russia’s threat to India.

British successfully made Tibet a buffer state between Russia, China and British India after British India’s short invasion of Tibet in 1903. Subsequently, Chinese nationalists viewed British invasion of Tibet as a security threat to China from its backyard. British left India in 1947.

The Communist Party of China established the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on October 1, 1949. After that, China invaded Tibet in 1950. Subsequently, centuries old a zone of peace between India and China disappeared.

After China’s occupation of Tibet, the first ever Sino-Indian military face-off was seen in the world’s highest border – the Himalayas. Since then, more than thousands of Chinese military incursions took place across the Indian Himalayan borders.

By invading Tibet, China asserted Tibet as a treasure of its strategic asset to speed up China’s expansionist policy towards the Himalayan nations and beyond. And also, China’s militarization of the Tibetan plateau triggered the geopolitical tensions in South Asia.

China sees Tibet as a strategic passage to extend China’s geopolitical ambition in South Asia. Mao Zedong, the founding father of PRC and firm believer of Tsun Tzu’s strategic doctrine – “the Art of War”, strategized Tibet as the palm of China to expand its sphere of influence in South Asia.

China invaded and occupied Tibet in order to bring the “five-fingers” Himalayan regions under its supremacy.

The 2017 Doklam stand-off and recent China’s occupation of a Nepali village Rui Gaun of Gorkh district are just tip of the iceberg of China’s military aggressions in the five-fingers Himalayan regions.

Today, China is actively encroaching in the Himalayan borders of Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh for further encircling India to boost “China’s Strategy of Encirclement India”, which aim to an encircle India through different fronts.

Strategically, the Tibetans were the first line of  defence for India. Since the disappearance of Tibet as a traditional buffer state between India and China in 1950, the two Asian giants faced military escalations  along the Indo-Tibetan border. The shifting of Indo-Tibetan border into Sino-Indian border itself has created unprecedented geopolitical enigma in the Himalayas

The centrality of Tibet issue in the Sino-Indian geostrategic relations is an ultimate resolution for resolving the Sino-Indian dispute over the Indo-Tibetan border. Tibet lies at the heart of the Sino-Indian relations.

The present Chinese leadership has recognized the Tibet issue as a core issue of China’s national security and strategic engagement in South Asia. Thus, this is the right time for India to craft India’s new Tibet policy, because China strategizing Tibet as the China’s palm and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh as the five-fingers of Tibet is not a rhetoric. It is happening in the Himalayas.