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Wednesday, 21 July 2021

#ऑपरेशन विजय’ आणि #कारगिल युध्दाची विरगाथा-#OP VIJAY#KARGIL WAR-22 JUL21

Effect of One Child Policy in China-Maj Gen Nitin Gadkari


In the second week of May 21, China released their census figures for the last decade. covering a period from 2010 to 2020. The census report was widely awaited by many due to a report earlier in Financial Times, that stated : China’s population is declining for the first time. While it had been growing at a negative growth rate for three years, but it’s sliding below its existing numbers was a shock. The census report however has negated that report and its numbers show only a negative growth rate. I have analysed very briefly the impact of the single child policy of china which is at the base of this controversy. Hope you will find the article informative.

Effect of One Child Policy in China

A few days back, China came out with its census report of the last decade. There was a noticeable delay in its announcement. The possible reason for the delay may be; the government was pondering, how much to reveal and how much to hide. At the bottom of all the anxiety is the 35 years of Single Child Policy, which has led to skewed demographics in China, and which has caught the attention of the world. In 1979 the Chinese communist party (CCP) brought out a rule that affected mostly the majority Han population in China such that its repercussions would reverberate for another 75 years for the Chinese nation. The one-child policy stemmed from the reality that China had become the most populous nation in the world around the late 70s when its population was a little under a billion. China had started a family planning program in the 60 s, but the famine followed by the cultural revolution stymied its implementation. As the Chinese economy shifted from agriculture to industrial bias, the fear of inadequate growth in light of a prospective population explosion led the CCP to implement the one-child policy. While the measure worked in controlling the population, it resulted in unexpected problems for the state. Decades later, in the interest of restoring the demographic balance, in 2016, the Chinese government abolished the order, and couples were allowed to have two children if they wanted, and now it has been increased to three children. The one-child policy has left many scars on the Chinese demographic and social spectrum. The effects of which have become a matter of great interest to the rest of the world. The question on everyone’s lips is, “Did China err in introducing such a draconian policy?” There are no easy answers to this question as research and data are insufficient to measure the balance sheet of the losses and gains. While examining some of the ill effects that China has to endure, this paper focuses on the perceived effects on the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) of the erstwhile one-child policy in China. 


The Chinese succeeded in their primary objective of halting the growth of their population. In better words, they could control the population explosion in their country. The growth rate measured by the fertility rate/birth rate came down from 2.7 in 1979 to 1.7 average until the policy was reversed. In reality, it had dropped below that number; today, it is at 1.3. As per statistics, this capped the population growth and robbed China of almost 400 million people over the full extent of the policy. Even today, China remains the most populated country in the world which is over 1.4 billion population. India follows close behind, touching 1.3 billion. Statistic wise China has been able to cap its population numbers. Capping the population was the biggest gain of the One-Child Policy. While the primary objectives were met, the Chinese government did not anticipate the concomitant effects.


The pitfalls were the result of the change in the demographic structure of Chinese society. For 35 years, due to the policy of repression, Chinese society is reeling with the after-effects of the one-child policy, resulting in adverse spin-offs. These spin-offs have the potential to affect the Chinese economy and the social fabric adversely. The major areas of negative impact are

·      The work force available,

·      The skewed male-female ratio,

·      Care of the old and retired community,

·      A pampered young population.

Structure of the Population in China 

The result of the one-child policy has directly impacted the quantity of the young population available as a workforce for the Chinese economy. The word economy is synonymous with varied sectors such as private industry: manufacturing, and services. Government jobs, business entrepreneurs and industry workers. All these constitute the man behind the machine in an economy. The two graphs below represent the population curve of China through present and future decades

Population of China in 2020

Population of China in 2050

The two graphs show how the working population (20 to 65 years) is going to reduce from 450 million to 350 million (approx.) and the retiree population (Over 65 years) increasing from 85 million to 250 million (approx.) from the year 2020 to 2050. The growth of veterans is the crux of the problem for the Chinese economy. While their working hands are reducing, the mouths to feed are increasing. Unfortunately, fewer working hands are to feed increasing retirees as the taxes would be paid by fewer for the government’s increasing health services. This skewed equation could play spoilsport for the Chinese economy. China is worried that the least of the working population will coincide with China’s 100th  anniversary , i.e. 2049. A landmark by which China has to translate itself to the most influential nation on the earth.

Skewed Gender Ratio

Even as per the latest census 2020, there is a 37 million difference in males and females. When reduced to hundreds, this ratio reads as 106:100 that is for every 100 females; there are 106 males in China. This figure is bad but better than India, where the gender difference is 54 million: 108 males to 100 females. But this ratio is worse in the marriageable age between 15 to 24 in China. In this group, the ratio is as skewed to 116: 100; that is, for every 116 boys, there are only 100 girls available. It means a substantial population of the male population would not find a life partner. It has disturbed the marriage equilibrium in China. Such a skewed ratio also has associated problems. Excessive drinking amongst frustrated young males, increase in suicides amongst the younger generation. The practice of reverse dowry has further disturbed the equilibrium. Marriage has become an expensive business for boys as fewer girls mean more dowry to secure her hand. All these fallouts have created dissensions in society. And these are more prominent in the countryside and villages from where the majority of the PLA troops come.

Health Care for the Old

China’s healthcare system is still primitive by western standards. The growth of old/veteran population puts burden on the government coffers. The dilemma is: there are less productive hands and more healthcare needs. In an economy where growth rates are not rising astronomically due to many external factors, availability of funds remains a big concern.  The alternative that stares at the face is: money be diverted from either development or national security portfolios to healthcare. China’s rising ambitions does not allow alignment to this thought process.  This is a huge future challenge for China.

The next effect of spoiled young population is covered under effect on PLA.

Effect of One-Child Policy On PLA

The premise that the PLA is affected negatively due to China’s one-child policy is neither a myth nor a reality. Some arguments exist on both sides of the divide. The western countries have taken the writings of some Chinese authors to prove their point that the PLA is suffering on account of the ‘Little Emperors’ syndrome. The term denotes spoiled grown-ups who have been pampered by their parents and grandparents during their growing up age on account of being a single child. There is no comprehensive research carried out to study the effects, and if at all there are, the results are not available in the public domain. Yet, we can use some writings and some findings to deduce some conclusions. 

Reduced Manpower:  This is more of a myth. It is argued that in times to come when the working population drops to its minimum levels, the PLA would still have the ability to pick and choose, and they would be the first in the line. Given the reliance of the CCP on the PLA, it is unlikely that the shortfall of the able manpower would fall upon the PLA. What is, however, more likely; is the effect of migration that has been a phenomenon of the economic difficulty resulting from the single child policy in more impoverished regions. The 2020 census brings to notice large scale migration from poorer to more prosperous regions in search of better economic prosperity. Such migrations reduce the pool from which the PLA can draw its recruits. The urban youth tend not to renew their contract with the PLA after the mandatory two-year period. Easy and prosperous jobs lure the youth away from the rigours of army life. 

Chocolate Cream Soldiers

The term is used for soft soldiers who are not happy with the tough army life or the terrain they function in and, least of all, fighting wars. Today, the PLA has 70 % of its soldiers who have been born under China’s one-child policy. The term ‘little emperors’ was coined by an Australian Monash University in 2014 while studying the traits of the PLA soldiers. The International Business Times dated 02 May 2014 quotes an interview from South China Morning Post where it describes the difficulty of a single child soldier of the PLA, who confesses to crying every night after training due to his inability to cope up and miss his home and his girlfriend. There have been reports in the PLA daily paper quoting PLA officials admitting to the possibility of young recruits feigning illness to miss the tough training sessions. The Quartz, a US-based online paper in its edition of 06 Feb 2014, states that PLA reportedly runs programs to toughen up spoiled soldiers. Dean Cheng, an analyst with the Heritage Foundation in Washington, attributed China’s focus on psychological warfare to the fact that many of its soldiers are only children. While scientific studies have inherent limitations, commanders and isolated newspaper reports have also been general observations indicating a more significant problem. A CLAWs article dated 27 Dec 2017 by Pragya Surana states that “Scientific studies show that single children born after the implementation of the forced planning policy were less altruistic and trusting, timider, less competitive, more pessimistic and less conscientious than the Chinese who were born before the policy. A Chinese military study carried in Guizhou in 2004 was published in Chinese: ‘Liu X, Huang X. Survey study on the psychology health conditions of the only-child soldiers. Health Psychol J. 2004;10:65–66.’. The results are cryptically given, it states: “Conclusion; The mental stress of the only-child recruits was stronger than that of the non-only-child recruits, the reason was related to its wrong coping style and obtaining less out-home social support.” The Rand Corporation report of 2015: ‘China’s Incomplete Military Transformation; Assessing the weakness if the PLA’ also brings out the weaknesses which have crept into the PLA on account of the Little Emperor syndrome. While the report is full of shortcomings of the PLAs, compared to the US army, it points out that the standards for recruitment have been lowered to accommodate more recruitment from the single child era. Also, special training programs are run to align the weaklings to the harsh life of the Armed forces. The report also comments, the tendency to not take decisions at lower levels and pass on the onus to senior hierarchy has crept in the PLA, which does not augur well for operational initiatives taken at lower NCO levels, which is critical for winning tactical battles. 

How do these Characteristics and Traits Translate to affect the PLA?

The points mentioned above have severe ramifications for the PLA. They impinge upon its operational capability. Since 70 % of the population of the PLA belongs to this category, thus, it cannot escape its effects. The plus point about this generation is that PLA gets adequate tech-savvy manpower to man its modern weapon systems, which is in line with its transformation and modernisation.

On the flip side, many drawbacks confront the combat arms of the PLA. First and foremost is the possibility reduced pool it has to choose from for its recruitment primarily on account of the migration to urban and developed areas .

The training curriculum of the single-child generation needs specific tailoring as the Psychology part of the trainees require as much molding as their physical or tactical skills. Attrition rates are not known as they are not in the public domain, but they are high per the Rand report. Attrition is not a linear phenomenon; it has unintended repercussions. They affect the compatriots’ morale and lead to either depression or more attrition amongst the trainee population. It is hard to know its overall effect on the PLA cadres, yet it would be fair to assume that an average PLA recruit’s general state of mind would be subjected to more stress and strain as has been borne by the study conducted in Guangzhou. PLA has not fought a major war since 1979, it is hard to measure its ability to fight intense battles. Galwan type skirmishes only reiterate what is loosely spoken; the lack of PLA’s fighting skills. The recent stress on realistic training emphasised by none other than Xi Jinping also adds weight to the argument about PLA’s weaknesses. It is not surprising that recent news reports by state media and PLA Daily have gone overboard in reporting the nature of the realistic training the PLA is undertaking. Such training has been part and parcel of the Indian Armed Forces yearly training calendars for decades. 

One of the most noted ramifications of the new generation recruits and their traits has been the lack of initiative. The lack of desire to take initiatives at junior levels translates into looking over your shoulder for orders. In tactical battlefields, this tendency can be disastrous. Initiatives at their levels carried out by junior leadership have resulted in major victories that have been proved in the Kargil conflict for the Indian Army. The race to the Kailash range heights and beating the PLA soldiers to the top resulted in a major strategic victory for the Indian Army in the Pangong Tso Lake standoff. While the initiative was taken at the Brigade Commanders level, it was executed by Junior leaders. The PLA would be mulling over these issues while looking at what went wrong in Eastern Ladakh last summer. 

Own View Point

The findings of behavioural experiments or opinions are like exit polls, which can go wrong, as happened to one leading TV news channel in the Bengal elections. Hence, there is a need for caution in looking at their results. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that the behaviour pattern of the single-child generation is worse than their predecessors or from a product of a two-child family. Also, the single child generation is still at the junior NCO or officers’ level. It is hard to estimate the effect on command and leadership traits from their behaviour. It would be safe to assume that PLA has drawbacks that are hereditary. To underestimate your enemy is unwise, as stated by Chanakya and SunTzu. It is widely believed that the political hierarchy of the CCP is well aware of the weaknesses of the PLA ranks, and they are taking remedial actions to offset this disadvantage. The trimming of the PLA numbers and replacing men with machines is a step in that direction. It is quite possible that in future conflicts with India, PLA may not look for a fight that involves physical assault by troops or hand to hand combat, where PLA’s weaknesses could come to the fore. They would fight a non-contact battle to destroy by use of firepower in an informationised manner. Thus, the PLAA would not be leading in battle; firepower through every means available would do the needful. Hence caution should be the keyword while looking into PLA’s weaknesses regarding the single child policy. 


The single child policy has been an unmitigated disaster for the Chinese planners. Unintended consequences overtook the good intended. While the measure taken met the primary objective, the resultant effects were far worse than the original sins. The Chinese must be repenting the policy enforced 35 years back, which is why it is now reversed. Most demography scientists think that while damage is done and its effects would last till 2050 if not more. The government could still put policy rectification to bring China back to demographic normalcy. But opening up the door to bear more children is not an answer. Given the current set of policies, China’ population would never correct the downward spiral graph. Would technology be a substitute? It’s a difficult question to answer. The PLA would continue to bear a part of this cost either directly or indirectly. Yet amongst all other instruments of the state, PLA would recover the fastest as it has already encapsulated policies that look at overcoming the disadvantages.

Afghanistan Imbroglio: A Bundle of Uncertainties-Gen Nitin Gadkari

 Dear Readers,

There have been so many articles on Afghanistan lately that one more in the pack might be difficult to digest for avid Afghanistan watchers. Yet, there may be few who would wonder what is happening in Afghanistan? This article looks at the uncertainties that bound Afghanistan in the face of the US withdrawal. This is a more simple attempt to explain the problem at hand. I hope you find it informative.

Afghanistan Imbroglio: A Bundle of Uncertainties

No one is certain what is happening in Afghanistan. Recently a spate of articles has appeared in electronic press, print media and social media. Each article outlines the point of view of the writer or the group that the author represents. There is no certainty to the finality of the Afghan future in any of the articles mentioned. There are good reasons. There are too many imponderables. The burden of history is the biggest of them all. There are claims and counterclaims. The Afghan government is the least trusted source, followed by the Taliban. The US has decided not to give away too much less; it spoils its chances of getting out. Pakistan's real broker in the game is also lost, not knowing if the Taliban are playing them. This article looks at Afghanistan through a prism of certainties and uncertainties.

What is certain?

As I have stated above, nothing is certain. But let us looks at what is relatively certain?

  • The US has announced that come 11 September '21, its forces will leave Afghanistan. It seems a certainty as the time is closing up on the US, and they have vacated assets and bases in Afghanistan as per their stated time plan. It would now be suicidal for them to go back on their word. They would lose both credibility and men. It would be difficult for them to establish a status quo ante in Afghanistan.

  •   The next certainty is Taliban will stake a claim to rule Afghanistan. I have deliberately stated the word 'claim' because once the US forces vacate, the tussle for power between the Government forces and the Taliban would ensue. The talks in Doha, which are in progress between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership for reaching a power-sharing agreement, seem to be getting nowhere. Increasingly it appears that no deal is likely to be reached before 11 September 21. Thus, a power struggle is a near certainty.

  • China is the new player in the game. ·      Irrespective of what would be the nature of the role played. The China Afghanistan dynamics would shape many geopolitical realities for the region, especially the Uyghur province, and that would be part of the uncertainty that I will cover later.

  • Is Pakistan losing its hold over the Taliban? ·Pakistan would continue to promote its role as the broker in Afghanistan irrespective of its effectiveness. A mute question which we will try and answer in the uncertainties part.

  • Irrespective of who controls Afghanistan, the ordinary people of Afghanistan would continue to suffer the maximum.

Even without listing the uncertainties, it would be evident to any reader that it's a struggle to think of certainties in Afghanistan. It would be 20 years since the US got into Afghanistan to fight the battle for 9/11. After 20 years, the US returns with no promises fulfilled and none of its missions accomplished. Neither it has been able to rid Afghanistan of its militant elements, neither has it left Afghanistan in a capable government's hands. It leaves with a bundle of uncertainties. Let's look at the uncertainties which stranglehold Afghanistan.

What are the Uncertainties?

·      Who will rule Afghanistan in the future? The most significant uncertainty of all. The US negotiated with the Taliban without either the participation of the current government or their concurrence, which have made their choice very clear. Yet, the US hopes for an amicable solution between the two parties. If this question is not solved, it will lead to an inevitable civil war in Afghanistan between government forces and others. The others include the Taliban and many groups such as the ISKP (Islamic State Khosran Province), Al Queda, vying for the power pie. The government forces are almost 70,000 strong with tanks, artillery and Air Force. The air assets are limited, but they do add to the fighting capability of the government forces. In comparison, the Talibs and allied forces could muster around 30,000 fighters. But the uncertainty is the will of the government to confront the Taliban. It has shown a weak resolve till now. How would its writ run if the Taliban controls the entry and exit into Afghanistan and the immense countryside? Given their current stance, the government seems content defending its bastion in and around Kabul, major cities and provincial centres. Taliban has claimed it holds 85% of the districts in Afghanistan. While these claims may be exaggerated yet no one can deny they have made substantial gains. It would be safe to assume that out of 421 districts (including 34 provincial centres), it controls one-third of the districts. The government controls around 80 districts in the central part of Afghanistan, and in the balance, fighting continues for supremacy. Bounded by this reality, the rule of the government would seem short-lived. Some speculations suggest that the government would not last six months after the withdrawal. The imponderables are too many to put any timetable.

·      Given a situation that the Taliban do come to power, would it be the same old Taliban1.0 that ruled in the 1990s with its draconian laws, or would they have learned from their mistakes? It is an immense uncertainty. Even the US-led mediators led by Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan, cannot put their finger on it. While they have promised to rule like a responsible government, yet no one trusts them. Taliban is not a homogenous entity; it is a group of people who belong to varying war tribes of Afghanistan who came under the banner of the Taliban to get rid of the then corrupt dispensation of Afghanistan. Since then, they have aligned themselves to many sides and many causes. Nothing unites the Taliban like fighting a war, and nothing divides them into being in power. There are two distinct groups, one who believes in changing the old ways and follow a modern approach to their rule. Yet there is the second group backed by most of their rank and file who believe that they have achieved victory after so much jihad and struggle; thus, they must impose the strict sharia rule existing in the time of Taliban 1.0.

·      What would be the role of the US hereafter? To what extent would they get involved in the fighting that broke out in Kabul? If the battle comes at the doorsteps of Kabul. Would the US be willing to help the cause of the Afghan government? Or will they allow destiny and might decide the future of the country. It appears so, going by the statements given by President Biden in a recent press conference; he has stated that he is not inclined to sacrifice any more US lives or shed blood on Afghan soil. But the most significant US concern is the use of Afghan soil by other terrorist groups for targeting US interest at home and abroad. The Doha agreement provides a written guarantee by the Taliban, but could they be trusted once they are in power? If a situation arises which fulfil these criteria, how will the US act? How? is a question mark. Come 11Sep 2021, the last of the US troops would be leaving Afghanistan, leaving a token presence for the security of the US Embassy. The NATO contingents who are currently in Afghanistan would also go in a similar timeframe.

·      The role of Pakistan: How far will Pakistan dictate the happenings in Afghanistan? The uncertainty stems from the shaky ground ISI finds itself in the current days. Pakistan has become a hated entity amongst the Afghani people. Some trickle effect has found its way in the Taliban rank file too. Pakistan has given sanctuary to Talib leaders, provided medical facilities, and kept them safe from drone attacks by the US. But there is a growing crop of Talib fighters joining from the north of the country who hate Pakistan. This new crop reduces its hold on the Taliban cadre. Taliban is not the best disciplined and united force. Such dissensions would eat into the leadership's ability to further Pakistan's interests and role. Pakistan is also struggling to rein in the Tehrike Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the bad Taliban as they call them. Reports believe the TTP is in no mood to reconcile its differences with the Pakistani Army and Government. In the absence of any agreement with TTP, Pakistan loses its freedom to act within Afghanistan, at least in the southern provinces. Pakistan is heading for the worst times on its western border in the coming days. The famous statement by a previous US Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton: You can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbour, has come to haunt them.

·      The role of China is uncertain. There is a level of quiet smoothness which exist between the Taliban and China in the intervening period. It is suggestive of a tacit understanding the Chinese have reached with the Talib leaders. China has shown no inclination to replace the US in Afghanistan. For China guarding its interests in the CPEC and the Uyghur region is of paramount importance. It is believed that the Taliban has given assurance to China not to meddle in the Uyghur problem. In exchange, it might have solicited China s help for financial and political support. This quid pro quo is a very likely scenario. The uncertainty lies in how the Talib fighters will respect not helping their brethren in Xinxiang. There are reports that the Uyghurs are fighting alongside the Taliban. The lack of discipline in the cadres and their heterogeneous composition of the Taliban is a self-defeating factor in the deal. The CPEC corridor does come close to the Afghan border in the Baluchistan Province, where both the TTP and the Baloch separatist groups are active. China's most significant concern is the safety of the project in these sensitive areas. The TTP is aligned to the Taliban in Afghanistan, but ever since the US troops have started their withdrawal, the TTP have increased their attacks inside Pakistan. The Chinese feel threatened, and that is the quid pro quo they are hoping for. China has enormous interests in Afghanistan. Primary: extending the BRI to central Asian Republics through Afghanistan, tap the abundant mineral resources in Afghanistan and fill the power vacuum created by the absence of the US. China has already signed to deal for mining rights and exploration rights in Mes Aynak for 30 years for 4.4 billion US dollars.  China would be hoping that the Taliban holds its part of the bargain if and when they come in power.

·      Most uncertain are India's interests in Afghanistan. Having invested more than 3 billion US dollars in infrastructure and developmental projects, the Taliban threatens all of it if they come to power. The Taliban are ideological opposites of the Indians. The 1.0 version of the Taliban rule had seen the Bamiyan buddha statues being blown off with artillery guns because they were statues and against the Islamic culture. To add to it is the Pakistani pressure of opposing all Indian interests in Afghanistan. The ray of hope for the Indian government seems the Taliban promise of allowing countries to do business under the new dispensation. Neither is India in the same economic state as it was in the 90s, nor is Pakistan able to call the shots. Taliban may understand this reality and allow a fair share in Afghan commerce.

·      Last and not least is the name of Afghanistan. The government and the Taliban are stuck on which name Afghanistan should retain: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan or the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The first being the current official name of Afghanistan maintained by the Ashraf Ghani government. But the Taliban are adamant about replacing the word Republic by Emirate in line with Sharia thought process.

The uncertainties are more significant, and they would be instrumental in defining the horoscope of Afghanistan post the American withdrawal. As has happened many times before, the cycle of violence, change and uncertainty continue. The Afghans, it appears, have been cursed, as history seems to repeat itself. They hardly have known periods of prosperity and peace. The tribal culture and their leaders are the main reason for their fluctuating fortunes. This time it will be no different. The outside powers will not allow the Afghan people to resolve their differences by interfering in their matters for selfish reasons. Few of their leaders would sell out the interests of their country, leaving the ordinary person wondering if Afghanistan is the worst place to live under the sun. There has been large scale migration ever since the Taliban has started asserting itself. Those who have any means of getting out are taking the first bus or flight out. In an uncertain future where Sharia and mullah will be the last word, very few are willing to stay with their families. Women may once again be desecrated to remain in homes serving the men, and girls would lose all hopes of education. It is a scenario that looms large on the horizon for Afghanistan. But before that, there may be a bitter fight for supremacy. Among the many uncertainties in Afghanistan, if there is one certainty going into the future, it is: No matter who comes to power, Afghanistan will slip back in time