• 22 June, 2024
Foreign Affairs, Geopolitics & National Security

China’s Invisible War With India And The World

Cdr Sandeep Dhawan (Retd) Sun, 07 May 2023   |  Reading Time: 7 minutes

On 15 June 2020, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) backstabbed the Indian Army patrolling team during the Galwan Valley Clash. The whole nation was angry, but the flag-bearers of the India-China Friendship Association (ICFA) were unwavering in their support for China.

ICFA didn’t see any reason to sever ties with China or take any appropriate action. They are not the only ones. China has made deep inroads into India and other major nations of the world to control the narrative. It has unleashed an invisible war on the world and the world is still searching for the answers.

The Chinese Way of War

China’s strategy is to win the war without firing a shot. They became masters in keeping the threshold of disruption of any kind just below the level of full-scale war. The road map:

  • Build military and monetary muscle by all means.
  • Acquire advanced technologies by any means.
  • Control the domestic population using advanced technologies.
  • Snoop upon external population using advanced technologies.
  • Identify and control the critical supply chain.
  • Use free world institutions to own advantage.
  • Keep the neighbouring and uncooperative nations unsettled by:
    • Propaganda through print & electronic media.
    • Acquire educational institutions through donations and funding.
    • Influence politicians, celebrities, academia, and students.
    • Acquire sensitive and personal information on important persons.
    • Create internal trouble utilizing all the above.
    • Keep the borders active.

Military and Monetary Muscle Power

When China joined World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 its GDP was $1.34 trillion. US President Bill Clinton had hoped that China would move towards democracy. On the contrary, China violated every WTO rule, forced technology transfer, provided illegal state subsidies, discriminated against foreign goods, and controlled supply chains to its advantage. The result was that China took other member nations for a ride while enriching itself.

Today at $18.32 trillion GDP, China is very close to its target of world dominance. As per Global Fire Power, China has 3.14 million military personnel (active 2 million), 4950 tanks, 730 naval assets (including 2 aircraft carriers, and 76 submarines), and 3166 aircraft (1199 fighters). They rank at number three among the world military powers behind the United States and Russia.

Technological Prowess at Any Cost

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute undertook a year-long project on progress made by various countries in advanced technologies. China led the list in 37 of the 44 technologies tracked. The areas included — electric batteries, hypersonics, and advanced radio-frequency communications such as 5G and 6G, etc. China produced 48.49 percent of the world’s high-impact research papers. It hosts seven of the world’s top 10 research institutions in advanced aircraft engines, including hypersonics and many such topics.

Now hold your thought there. China didn’t reach there by sheer hard work but rather by utilizing evil genius. In 2020 FBI Director Christopher Wray disclosed — “We have now over 2,000 investigations that tie back to the Chinese government. We open a case on Chinese activities every 10 hours. It is a 1,300 percent increase over the last several years.”

China’s rampant Intellectual Property (IP) theft has damaged many nations’ economies but nothing like the damage done to the USA. The United States loses $600 billion annually due to Chinese IP thefts:

Source: YouTube Insightful Knowledge

 Stolen Technology and Overseas Chinese Citizens

Now China didn’t just create wealth with the stolen technology. It also used it to control the masses. Free-flowing information on the internet was the biggest threat to the existence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). They utilized stolen software from Silver Oak Software to create the infamous ‘Great Firewall’ of China.

China devised novel ways to snoop upon foreign nationals and one of them is Chinese Internet of Things (IoT) modules. IoT is widely used in smart devices in agriculture, manufacturing, transport, CCTV, etc. In January 2023, British government officials discovered a Chinese cellular IoT module, used as a tracking device in a car used by senior ministers. In 2017 fitness tracking app Strava set the alarm bells ringing among American intelligence agencies when exercising US soldiers gave away the location of their secret US army bases while using the fitness trackers like Fitbit. Port cranes with real-time data analysis capabilities, baggage-screening systems, electric transformers, the Chinese snooping list is endless.

Chinese surveillance camera manufacturer HikVision is ubiquitous in India. HikVision and all other Chinese companies are bound by China’s national security laws, which require them to comply with requests from the Chinese state. IoT modules embedded in supply chains and logistics systems could spill beans on Indian defence manufacturers’ supply chains. China could utilize data from companies like HikVision to build up a picture of how many spare parts and weapons systems have been delivered and to which Indian defence base. The data could also be used to identify individuals who might be susceptible to recruitment by Chinese intelligence agencies. A combination of data from various sources would eventually divulge the Indian military readiness and vulnerabilities.

In 2018 hackers infiltrated the Aadhaar database through the state-owned gas company Indane’s website. They stole data of 1.1 billion Indian citizens including names, addresses, photos, phone numbers, email IDs, biometric data (fingerprints and iris scans), and finally bank details. In all probability, Chinese government-backed hackers were behind this theft. Such sensitive personal data has the potential to blackmail high-value Indian individuals.

Where technology doesn’t help Chinese citizens abroad are recruited to produce results:

Source: YouTube Insightful Knowledge

A large number of Chinese spies cross over from the Nepal border into India to undertake nefarious activities. The arrest of the fake Buddhist monk Cai Ruo, a Chinese spy, from Majnu Ka Tila, Delhi, in October 2022 was an eye-opener. Thousands of such spies could be staying in India, incognito. 

The Critical Supply Chain

The US Director of National Intelligence in its latest ‘Annual Threat Assessment’ report stated — “The government of China is capable of leveraging its dominant positions in key global supply chains in an attempt to accomplish its goals.” The report adumbrated China’s unique dominance in technology sectors including semiconductors, critical minerals, batteries, solar panels, and pharmaceuticals.

The Chinese Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and Rare Earth Elements (RERs) dominance:

Chinese Supply Chain Dominance: Source YouTube Insightful Knowledge  

Takeover of Global Institutions

China has systematically infiltrated the United Nations and various global institutions for exploitation. All the Chinese officials who are manning crucial positions in global institutions are members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and provide a façade for the Chinese espionage network and push Chinese propaganda.

Effectively, China has infiltrated and continues to influence 70 global institutions. It heads four out of 15 United Nations bodies. The situation is akin to living in a CCP-ruled world where you know the ruler is there to exploit you, but the vested interests keep you quiet.

Spread The Chinese Narrative

Mao Zedong once said — “On a blank sheet of paper free from any mark, the freshest and most beautiful characters can be written.” For China, innocent students are that blank sheet on which they want to write their fake narrative.

In 2013, China backed Singapore-based Raffles Education in a joint venture with an NGO, the Jai Radha Raman Education Society, tried getting into the Indian education system. They were caught. This is not an isolated case;[1] China has made deep inroads into various universities and academia the world over with funding and outright purchase.

The Institutes in India to be scrutinized for funding are[2]:

Source: YouTube Insightful Knowledge

China is also influencing the Indian and Western media by all means. From 2016 onwards China has aggressively pursued Indian journalists. Journalists from The Indian Express, Jansatta, and the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) were invited to China for indoctrination[3]. In November 2019, Hindustan Times published an article by then-Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, warning India not to meddle in Tibetan affairs. Again, in December 2019, it carried sponsored anti-India editorials by the CCP mouthpiece ‘China Watch Daily’.

Even the Press Trust of India (PTI) has been toeing the Chinese line. At the height of the ‘Galwan Standoff’, PTI carried out the Chinese ambassador’s interview and published his fake narrative as real. But, above them all is, ‘The Hindu,’ which publishes Chinese inserts regularly. If this is the state of the mainstream media then one may wonder what is happening in the hinterland[4].

Payment To Western Media By The CCP. Source: YouTube Insightful Knowledge 

‘Indian Films Industry’ too with its reach far and wide has become a tool to spread the CCP narrative. For that purpose, the CCP has created a lobby group headed by an Indian lobbyist. This group invites influential film stars to China, regulates anti-China content in Indian cinema, and promotes movies of film stars who toe the Chinese line.

The Invisible War Has Begun

Whenever any major disruption happens in the world, most nations run helter-skelter, but China is seen conserving its energy. Be it the Covid-19 outbreak or the Russia-Ukraine war. It is an old trick of the CCP. During World War II when the Nationalists were getting slaughtered by the Japanese forces the former Communist Party leader Mao Zedong was conserving his energies. At the opportune time in 1949, Mao decimated the weakened nationalists. Chinese President Xi Jinping is attempting to follow Mao’s strategy on a global scale.

China is using compromised media in India to write against the West and sold-out media in the West to write against India. Idea is to pit both against each other. China will blackmail and punish uncooperative nations at will by disrupting the supply chain, just like it stopped the supply of RERs to Japan over the Senkaku island dispute in 2010.

China will keep the borders with its neighbours active to keep those countries on the edge. A weak neighbour like Russia engaged in war with Ukraine is most suitable. China voted on a resolution in the UN General Assembly on 26 April 2023 describing the Ukraine conflict as “aggression by the Russian Federation” and later denied it. A day before this, on 25 April, China’s ambassador to France Lu Shaye had questioned the legitimacy of former Soviet countries. Both the issues are connected and a well-thought-out strategy.

The 27 April 2023 statement of Chinese Gen. Li Shangfu at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting to de-link the standoff at LAC with bilateral relations was not a request but a warning to India to tow the Chinese line or face the consequences. Unrest in Manipur could be a follow-up on the same warning.

Now, it is up to the world to realize that China’s wars will not be fought by PLA soldiers. Their soldiers are already existing in our nations, towns, and societies, fighting for China at a minuscule cost of a real war. It is an invisible war that the world ignores as inconsequential.

Watch the fires burning across the river” – Chinese Stratagem



[1] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/voices/chinese-infiltration-into-indian-education-system-govt-must-tighten-its-noose-around-the-dragon/

[2] https://scroll.in/latest/969390/china-asks-india-to-treat-confucius-institutes-teaching-mandarin-in-fair-manner-amid-review

[3] https://theprint.in/opinion/china-is-paying-foreign-journalists-including-from-india-to-report-from-beijing/154013/

[4] https://theprint.in/india/misinformation-propaganda-tool-pti-gets-slammed-for-interview-with-chinas-sun-weidong/449063/

A veteran of the Indian Navy, Cdr Dhawan served in the Navy from 1988 to 2009. He was a Maritime Reconnaissance Pilot and a Flying Instructor. He is a geopolitical analyst and writes for various online websites and organizations.


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May 28, 2023
The Chinese have been able to infiltrate many institutions including but not limited to educational, research, social media platforms like LinkedIn, etc with a view to subvert and influence public opinion. The efforts must be to purge Chinese/PLA influence from these institutions and platforms. Beijing apart from IP theft, have been taking over high-tech companies in Europe enabling them to have access to sensitive technology. Germany realised it a bit too late! Unless we make a sea-change approach to tackling China, Beijing may win the invisible war

GP Singh

May 15, 2023

KS Uppal

May 12, 2023
Yet another masterpiece full of information on nefarious activities of our prime adversary. Role of ICFA was a surprise item. Request him to cover ICFA in details in next article. Happy writing. -Kuldeep

Atul Dewan

May 08, 2023
An article that opens our eyes to the systemic deep inroads that China has made into all countries of consequense. India needs to quickly work on her response strategies to deal with the new warfare unleashed by China. Great reading as always!

Cdr Deepak Singh Retd

May 07, 2023
An article by you long back discussed the Chinese propaganda and the solution was India to do the same. All facts are known to USA too, but no action. Probably the scantily available minerals stops them. Indian surveillance hunting for Chinese spys needs more effort.

Dhirender Gaur

May 07, 2023
Once again good article. I do not know Government of India approach to address China But I do know if it will not be addressed as China as one then we can't defeat it. Indiaust being world together to address this, QUAD is a miniscule in this journey. EAM is good in speeches bu I have yet to see the we effect on the ground.

Capt Arvind Pande

May 07, 2023
Love reading ur articles. There is always new dimention n in depth analysis. Thanks


May 07, 2023
Insightful paper. Good reading.


May 07, 2023
Nice article, well analysed as always.

Rammohan Oka

May 07, 2023
Well researched article

C M Thakur

May 07, 2023
Excellent analysis 👍👍

Rajeev Dalal

May 07, 2023
A simple explanation of how things around us are being orchestrated by the Chinese.

Udai Rana

May 07, 2023
The invisible war is here and now! Sandeep has once again highlighted a highly relevant topic which covers the continuing sinister design and nature of the enemy. One only hopes that the Dragon self destructs by way of it’s own internal ill givings, thus saving the world.


May 07, 2023
Well Written no doubts... Today after 60 years of the Congress party in power , there is light at the end of the tunnel. The present govt is well aware of the ground realities of the day and are doing what needs to be done .. of course a lot more can and should be done. Today a major plus is that our citizens are aware of the threats faced by our country. The Chinese have also realised that this is a New India they are facing , they have an expansionist agenda , this includes a sizeable part of our territory. To achieve their aims they will make every effort. It is for India to ensure their aims are defeated. Knowing their agenda ... India has NO Reason to Slip Up . Forewarned is Forewarned . Schemes like Agnipath are absolutely ILL CONCEIVED , should be dispensed with asap. A country is Only as Good as its Armed Forces, in particular our Army . Boots 👢 on the ground Hold ground, Take ground . This is the ground reality. Jai Hind 🙏

Wendell Bruges

May 07, 2023
You always leave me mesmerized with your informative and easy-to-understand articles. Thank you for educating us.

Sanjay Gokhale

May 07, 2023
That’s horribly dangerous for India and the world . Here the world is fearing the ISIS and here China is operating silently across the globe. We need to fine a solution to stop this


May 07, 2023
The last para says it all.....we are infiltrated through technology since most gadgets are Chinese! Quote last para " Now, it is up to the world to realize that China’s wars will not be fought by PLA soldiers. Their soldiers are already existing in our nations, towns, and societies, fighting for China at a minuscule cost of a real war. It is an invisible war that the world ignores as inconsequential." Unquote. How do you fight someone who's sneaked in to your bedroom and enslaved us with devices. Only way is to make equally good devices as them! We need to think like spies! All of us! Well written!

Aninda Mukherjee

May 07, 2023
Outstanding analysis of a very relevant issue. Managing the global media to leverage a nation's territorial goals cannot be over emphasised. Cdr Dhawan aces the subject.

Gaurav Chaturvedi

May 07, 2023
If u study North east affairs,the Chinese foot prints are too obvious.Whenever any Govt initiative takes place be it economic infrastructural or political disturbances take place.China will never allow NE to prosper.As of now they feel insecure due to present Delhi regime's focus on NE. Another brilliant masterpeice by Cdr Sandeep.Grt article, a must read for China watchers.

Ashish Popli

May 07, 2023
One of the better articles written by the author. One only hopes his articulation is proven wrong though in all probability it won't. Scary...tonthe point....all too plausible. One hopes such articles and deeper analysis by the concerned guys in India do their net assessments correctly and adopt focused strategies to deal with this clown neighbour.

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