Brig Narender Kumar Writes: Xi is making concerted efforts to send a message to the nation that “achieving total unity is the collective hope of all Chinese people”. Such assertions from Xi are aimed to quell opposition of his appointment as President for life and also to suppress any uprising if triggered by his opponents within the country. However, instead of directly targeting his nemesis within his party he is trying to deflect the blame on separatist of Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Former Chinese state newspaper editor Li Datong wrote to lawmakers that, “scrapping term limits for the president and vice-president would sow the seeds of chaos.” He further said in an interview to BBC that “This is against the tide of civilisation and won’t stand the test of time. It will be considered a farce in Chinese history in the future.”
There is likelihood that internal dissensions may get deflected externally. Xi may use nationalistic emotive expressions to suggest that China’s long term adversaries are working with few disgruntled Chinese politicians to destabilise China with the help of external forces. Strong worded speech must also be taken as a warning against any attempt of political uprising against his nomination as lifelong leader. He has also given a subtle threat to law makers that, rumbling within the Communist Party will be construed as an attempt to derail economic growth of China.
Rise of an autocratic leader will not only create instability in China and its fractured non Han states, but has the potential of military confrontation if internal situation deteriorate to a great extent. The manifestation of external deflection of internal instability could be targeted against Taiwan, Hong Kong, South China Sea, East China Sea (Senkaku Islands) and multiple outflanking moves to create border tension or Doklam like standoff with India.
Xi’s assertion that “Chinese people have the spirit of fighting the bloody battle against our enemies to the bitter end,” is an indication that if he feels threatened he may take China on a path that would be detrimental to regional and global stability. Another danger is that longer he stays as President more assertive he will grow internally and externally. He will drive his BRI with vigour and ensure its successive by coercion, manipulation and through alliances.
There is a need for India to build military capabilities to deal with eventualities that may be imposed by an autocratic leader of a neighbouring country with whom India has unresolved border dispute. Instead of political squabbling India needs to focus on bridging internal fault-lines and develop credible military deterrence.