China’s past history is laced with aggression and blatant disregard to world opinion. The PLA is well ahead of the Indian Army and this ever-widening gap, if not checked and bridged, will catapult Chinese adventurism. We should expect no respite from increasing Chinese pressure. China-Pakistan are hand in glove in waging asymmetric war against India and the situation is likely to get increasingly volatile inadvertently egged on by US-China and US-Pakistan equations and heightened Chinese aggressive posture. India needs to be prepared for a Chinese thrust into Arunachal Pradesh. We should have the capacity to thwart that and go for North Tibet employing not just the Mountain Strike Corps but all elements of national power.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has continued to follow Mao’s legacy of ‘Power Flows from the Barrel of the Gun’…
It is official. India’s first Mountain Strike Corps will be christened 17 Corps. Rhetoric in the Chinese media was on expected lines since they already went ballistic earlier on India raising two Mountain Divisions (56 and 71), which actually was a move only to fill age-old voids in the Corps deployed on India’s North-Eastern borders. A Corps normally has three Divisions. The newly raised 56 and 71 Mountain Divisions constitute the third Division in the respective Corps.
Although the Mountain Strike Corps was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in July 2013, the official announcement is just in time as China has gone aggressive in East China Sea by announcing an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) encompassing Senkaku Islands and has resumed her banter over Arunachal Pradesh being ‘South Tibet’ in wake of President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh. The latter reinforces doubts about China’s sincerity towards joint agreements including the recently concluded Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA).
The Mountain Strike Corps
The 17 Corps is estimated to cost around Rs. 64,000 crore and is slated to comprise two infantry divisions supported by three independent armoured brigades, three artillery brigades, an engineer brigade, an air defence brigade, an aviation brigade and logistics support units. Planned to be raised over the next five to seven years, 17 Corps will enhance the strength of the Indian Army by 90,000 personnel. This would include ancillary support and logistics units. In the interim, elements of the newly raised 56 and 71 Mountain Divisions deployed to plug gaps in the defences in Arunachal Pradesh, are likely to be made available as reserves to the Mountain Corps. Such an arrangement would also continue post-raising and during employment of the Mountain Strike Corps, as applicable to all Strike Corps. The defensive/reserve formations would not only be employed to secure launch pads for offensive operations of the Strike Corps, once the thrust lines have gone in, the defensive formations in wake of the thrust lines would generally come under the command of the Strike Corps to act as reserves and add weight along the axis of attack and exploit success.
The China-Pakistan nexus is the strongest that any country can possibly have with China…
Why the Mountain Strike Corps?
If India has come a long way from Nehruvian beliefs, no matter how naïve, that the country’s security can be looked after by police forces and the security of India’s North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) can be looked after by Chinese brethren, to raising of a Mountain Strike Corps, China’s obsessive territorial greed, deceit and asymmetric war on India are responsible for it. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has continued to follow Mao’s legacy of “Power flows from the barrel of the gun”.
Accelerating CNP, diminishing US stature and US withdrawal from Afghanistan have all fuelled Chinese super power ambitions. Her ‘Doctrine of Pre-emption and Surprise’ that encompasses surprise, deception and shock exposes the mockery of her peace façade. Modernisation of Chinese armed forces is ominous not only along the Tibet border but also in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). She has shown scant regard to neighbours by unilaterally extending her maritime boundaries, claiming the entire East China Sea and parts of South China Sea. She claims entire Arunachal Pradesh as “South Tibet”. China says she can wait for 100 years to take over Taiwan but Chinese defence officials are categorical that this objective will be achieved much earlier.
We should expect a similar Chinese approach to the so-called “South Tibet”. China has settled her borders with all her neighbours less India and Bhutan. Sitting smug on 38,000 sq.km. of Indian Territory of Aksai Chin and 5,180 sq.km. of the Shaksgam Valley in POK gifted by Pakistan, China’s claims to 90,000 sq.km. of Arunachal Pradesh are not mere deflection of the Tibet issue. It indicates her resolve to reach the warm waters of the Indian Ocean through as many land routes as possible. That is why the road and railway through the Karakoram to Pakistan, transportation corridors through Myanmar and repeated intrusions in Bhutan; claiming Doklam Plateau (last high ground overlooking the Siliguri Corridor) and renewed road construction between Zuri and Phuteogang Ridge that overlooks the disputed Charithang Valley. The threat is more serious when viewed in conjunction with the Maoists of Nepal (spawned with the blessings of Beijing) and their links with Maoists in India.
The 17 Corps is estimated to cost around Rs. 64,000 crore…
The China-Pakistan nexus is the strongest that any country can possibly have with China. Probably, Pakistan’s strategic location has a lot to do with this. Had POK and the Wakhan Corridor been under Indian control, China would have viewed India differently. Chinese design to use Pakistan as a front for waging asymmetric war on India dates back to the 1960s when Zhou-en-Lai suggested to Ayub Khan that Pakistan should prepare for a prolonged conflict with India instead of short-term wars. He advised Pakistan to raise a Militia force to act behind enemy lines. Pakistan raised this Militia in the form of Jihadis (LeT and JeM) and planting of armed modules in India began way back in 1992-1993.
That was the initiation of China-Pakistan asymmetric war against India and to keep us in check through terrorism, nuclear, biological and missile cooperation and arms/technology transfer. The Trans-Karakoram Highway, vital for commercial and strategic purposes connects the Northern areas of Pakistan to the Xinjiang province in China. Some 11,000 Chinese are presently undertaking so-called development projects in POK/Pakistan that ostensibly includes digging 22 tunnels in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) for the deployment of missiles, Pakistan has reportedly leased GB to China for 50 years. Simultaneously, China has been making deep intrusions into Eastern Ladakh, nibbling into Indian territory that has totaled up to 400 sq.km. as per some estimates. Similarly, there have been periodic intrusions in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Pakistan has reportedly leased GB reportedly to China for 50 years…
We may pray for a strong China and Pakistan but China-Pakistan will lose no opportunity to dismember India. Significantly, Zhan Loe’s article recommending China should splinter India into 20-30 parts, was published in the Journal of the Institute of Strategic Studies that has Chinese government backing. Chinese policy towards India has been no holds barred despite the facade; safeguarding Azhar Masood of JeM from being labeled a terrorist, objecting to the ADB loan to Arunachal, flooding fake currency into India, supplying arms to insurgent groups in India and permitting insurgent camps in Chinese territory. Asymmetric strategies have been crafted with great care. Pakistan is a willing ally with convergence of aims to downsize India. Despite the new Pakistani Army Chief, the military-ISI combine will likely continue to rule the roost.
There is significant Chinese presence in Nepal including PLA in Northern Nepal under the garb of development projects. China has also been known to be training Naga, Mizo and other North-East insurgents in the Paoshan area of Southern China in addition to ULFA bases and training camps in Chinese territory. China has armed the United Wa State Army (UWSA) controlling the ‘golden triangle in Myanmar with missile-fitted helicopters making it the most potent terrorist organisation in the region, far more powerful than the LTTE. This has the potential to create grave instability in India’s neighbourhood.’
China has been showing maps of Tibet’s 4,056-kilometre border with India reduced by 2,000 kilometres and Jammu & Kashmir as part of China. Peppered with questions on the map showing Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of its sovereign territory called Zhangnan or South Tibet, and Ladakh in China and Kashmir in Pakistan, Zhang Yan, the erstwhile Chinese Ambassador to India had the audacity to tell an Indian journalist to shut up.