Geopolitics

Target China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 23 Sep , 2016

Pakistan began by playing incendiary game in the Valley by contriving Burhan Wani as the spark. India responded by enlarging the geopolitical arena of conflict to PoK and Balochistan. If the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through PoK, do we treat it as fate-accompli? Any government which tacitly acquiesces as such is guilty of betrayal of the resolution of parliament, which in effect is a ‘national resolution’. Such a government will also be guilty of facilitating the transition of ‘two front’ situation in context of Pakistan and China to a new inimical reality of ‘territorial embrace’.

We ought to be clear that the CPEC is essentially a strategic project with military objectives intrinsic to it.

The CPEC yokes PoK and Balochistan to China. It was imperative therefore for the Indian Prime Minister to address our territorial rights with regard to PoK as well as Balochistan, given the illegal strategic link scripted by China and Pakistan. Moreover when such an illegal project plays havoc with human lives and environment in our territory, our inaction and silence would be criminal. We ought to be clear that the CPEC is essentially a strategic project with military objectives intrinsic to it.

Several trips by Raheel Sharif to China with the exclusive agenda of the CPEC under-scores the fact. The exaggerated economic advantages accruing from the project to the two countries is secondary. Nevertheless, it has fired frenzied hope amongst the impoverished people of Pakistan. Both, the people and the military see it as a panacea for accumulated economic woes and insecurities vis-à-vis India. The public hysteria over CPEC in Pakistan is palpable on every conceivable public platform. Any mishap with the project, it seems would drive Pakistan into incurable depression.

China’s rescue of Pakistan at the UN when Maulana Masood Azhar was about to be designated an international terrorist, indicates that it is willing to accommodate Pak jihadi organisations to assist Pakistan in keeping the Kashmir pot boiling, thus insulating CPEC from India physically and diplomatically. Such is the strategic criticality of the thrust to the Persian Gulf via PoK terminating at Gwadar on Balochistan, that China is willing to use every possible means to imbalance. Accordingly, it has become clandestine partner of Pak, in promoting jihadi proxy war in all its manifestations against India in J&K. Hence Pakistan’s latest violent machinations in Valley and military sponsored attack by Maulana Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Uri could not have been without China’s wink.

Pakistan-China strategic partnership against India overrides Islam.

So for India the current strategic co-lateral of the CPEC is that China and Pakistan have evolved as partners in jihadi proxy war in J&K. Various jihadi organisations in Pakistan are nothing but extensions of Pak military-intelligence establishment. They all have been gifted different catchment areas for recruitment and training of jihadis including suicide bombers. Jihadi organisations have never been averse in being leveraged by the Americans and the Chinese at the behest of the military-intelligence establishment.

Masood Azhar and Hafeez Saeed abandon all Islamic pretensions when it comes to choosing between Islam and China. Their religious fire and vitriolic is conspicuously amiss when China in Xinjiang bans government officials from observing Ramzan or forbids women from wearing burqas. Their theological agenda is restricted to making suicide machines out of muslim youth in the Indian subcontinent. So is the theological wont of the Kashmiri separatists in India. They too conserve radical Islam for use against India and not China. Pak-China strategic partnership against India overrides Islam. We in India should not therefore get carried away by occasional condemnation of Jihadi groups in Pakistan by a think tank or newspaper in China. The country is known for playing such subtle balancing games.

It is the mother of all ironies that jihad, which as instrument of war was developed to produce human bombs to destroy communism and win the Cold War in the battlefields of Afghanistan, should rejoin forces with China to bear on India, for illegal sanctity of the CPEC.

Pakistan has so far survived by renting its territory, till recently to the Americans, and now it wishes to get fresh lease of life by selling it to the Chinese.

Hence the ineluctable inference is that CPEC is the most sensitive component of China-Pakistan strategic partnership, and for Pakistan the project is critical for physical and economic survival of the country. Pakistan has so far survived by renting its territory, till recently to the Americans, and now it wishes to get fresh lease of life by selling it to the Chinese.

Any military option that India generates to mend Pakistan must consider the cost-benefit ratio. The elimination of Osama Bin Laden by US marines in Attobabad or droning of Mullah Mansoor in Balochistan could not mend Pakistan. Americans or NATO forces continue to be targeted in Afghanistan. Generating options against Pakistan is therefore a tricky proposition. What options can really be generated against a country that relies upon suicide bombers for survival, a country which has outsourced external security to jihadi organisations.

respected Pakistani journalist Khalid Ahmed, earlier in Pakistan foreign service observes: ‘Pakistan is falling, because it is a warrior state and is not supposed to last. It is wedded to the ideal of war in which ideological rulers accept the possibility of annihilation (shahadat) as a consequence of righteous war.’

CPEC being Pakistan’s most profound hope, rather the only hope, its future existence has come to hinge on it. It is then only logical that amongst India’s options against Pakistan, the CPEC should be accorded top priority.

We Indians came to accept the present territorial arrangement of J&K as fate accompli. We had mentally ceded Gilgit-Baltistan and that is why Kargil happened. That was the reason that our opposition to CPEC till now and at best has been apologetic.

As and when CPEC becomes a reality Pakistan would become an extension of China’s territory with pernicious strategic portends for China. This could not have happened without self-imposition of mental territorial freeze in respect of PoK in Indian governments down the line with the exception of present one. We Indians came to accept the present territorial arrangement of J&K as fate accompli. We had mentally ceded Gilgit-Baltistan and that is why Kargil happened. That was the reason that our opposition to CPEC till now and at best has been apologetic. Pakistan on the other hand never stopped coveting J&K under our control.

The most pressing, workable and enduring option for India is to give orders to our Army that the PoK is our territory and the Line of Control (LoC) is incidental. As it is Pakistan has changed the rules of engagement in the LoC with this attack in the rear at Uri. Subordinate commanders may be delegated authority to constantly strive to amalgamate areas across the LoC, the depth of which should be predicated on opportunity and resources. In this special focus needs to be on Gilgit-Baltistan through which the CPEC traverses, and is our territory.

Pakistan Army which has become weak and unprofessional because of its reliance on jihadis would not be up to this Indian challenge. Moreover majority of population in the PoK would welcome such moves by India, I say this with experience.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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6 thoughts on “Target China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

  1. Hi RSN Sir, thanks for the wonderful article. Why is it that India has for a greater part been reactive and not proactive in predicting China’s nefarious designs in the guise of CPEC and taking appropriate actions to avoid this situation? Why do we Indians not openly claim POK (Gilgit Baltistan) as Indian Kashmir? What if we avoid calling it POK and term it more appropriately as Kashmir only?

  2. By supporting Pakistan at UN and international forum, China is indirectly supporting Terrorists.

    China is doing this to contain India and to extend their business in Pakistan.

    China’s dream of the economic corridor will go in vein owing to the terrorist/separatists activity inside Pakistan.

    India should raise voice against China in international forum regarding their indirect support to the terrorists in Pakistan.

    India needs to think about the China-Pakistan strategic relation seriously, which may have dangerous consequences for India. Superpowers like US and Russia may play a vital role in this regard.

  3. India fighting a diplomatic war to put economical sanction to Pakistan to cripple Pakistan economy that is good. Why India does not block or divert water by abrogating IWT (Indus Water Treaty) as we know treaty are honored b/w friends not enemy. Pakistan is India enemy since 1947.

    If IWT is abrogated then entire Pakistan economy will collapse and all hydro power generation will be destroyed and thousands of Pakistani will go jobless. Pakistani security is not superior then Indian security. Due to week economy Pakistan cannot handle Baluchistan freedome fighters/ guerrilla fighters as well

    Be like Israel and carry out surgical strike as well otherwise BJP will have no face.

  4. I have repeatedly said that the fight against Pakistan sponsored terrorism is India’s fight alone. Others will sympathise with us, commiserate with us, condemn the terror strike and forget about it. We should not. We must remember every wound Pakistan has inflicted on us, every hurt, every humiliation it has caused us and every martyr who has made the supreme sacrifice for the nation. Indira Gandhi showed this courage in 1971, we should show it now.
    The peaceniks have come out of hiding. They are warning us again and again of all the dire consequences which could follow a military response and are calling for restraint. Is 30 years of restraint not enough? Do we have to show it for the next 50 years?
    History is the most eloquent witness of the fact that appeasement, whether of individuals, communities or nations, does not pay. Weak nations are the biggest threat to peace and if we are on the verge of war with Pakistan today it is the result of our accumulated weaknesses and mistakes of the last 70 years. We, in the BJP, must remember that the people of India will judge us by our standards and our utterances on the strength of which we came to power, not by the standards of other political parties.
    This is also the time for us to work out a proper long-term policy on Pakistan. Just as the military response should not be knee-jerk, the diplomatic response to Pakistan today, and in future, should not be knee-jerk.
    India’s DGMO has said that the country will respond in a manner, and time, of its own choosing. But the country will be reassured if the prime minister said that India will respond strategically and the manner, place and timing of that response will be decided by India. We all want peace with Pakistan but we must remember that sometimes the road to peace passes through war.

  5. It is time for the Modi Govt to encourage dissent in GB, PoK , Sindh and Baloochistan to stop/derail CPEC and get those pseudo-liberals and peacniks at home to sign the EQUIVALENT of the PATRIOTIC ACT, witness what happened yesterday on TIMES NOW!

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