The Chinese vision of Sino-Pak strategic partnership : II
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Issue Vol 25.3 Jul-Sep2010 | Date : 18 Nov , 2010

Sino–Pak strategic cooperation and India

In a website text9 titled “Analyzing how Sino-Pak strategic cooperation pins down India”, dated 29 November 2007, the Chinese analyst expressed the view that Sino-Pak friendship is a thorn in India’s flesh. It is a saga of unfolding disputes between India and Pakistan over the issue of Kashmir. In fact, for India the problems are far from being simple because strategically the further strengthening of Sino-Pak ties goes so far as China building up railways encircling Asia through Pakistan, and Pakistan becoming an important outlet as well as a pivotal corridor for energy resources of China to the Indian Ocean. All these would contain India with some perception of danger and would have a chain of reaction on it.

The anonymous author states that the greatest crises in India in fact lie within itself. These crises viewed in recent times seem not to have manifested due to the thinking of the “docile Hindu subjects”””the principal ethnic group in India.

Finally, in a scenario where even no war would take place between the Sino-Pak league and India, or in the absence of any armed clash, India internally would face serious domestic turmoil and secession. India is terribly apprehensive of all these but as of now it has hardly been able to check such a situation. Despite India’s reluctance and even more being unconvinced, it had to soften down its position in regards to its relations with China. India’s objective is to try its best in mitigating the contradictions with China, and concentrate its power in resolving its internal crises.

The anonymous author states that the greatest crises in India in fact lie within itself. These crises viewed in recent times seem not to have manifested due to the thinking of the “docile Hindu subjects”—the principal ethnic group in India. Viewed since more than a decade, it would rather gradually accumulate into an irreparable situation. Moreover, it would manifest like an avalanche, pushing India to face the danger similar to the disintegration of former Soviet Union at the end of the cold war.

The author traces back the colonial history of India, and also the policies of post-independence India till the very recent times. The write-up says that facts amply reveal that the unchecked growth of population and the worsening environment for survival of ethnic minorities, and also the intensification of secessionist trends internally induce deep crisis within India. Once such internal crises are triggered by external factors, India would have no way to curb them. India’s position is indecisive. So it is extremely anxious about the intimacy between China and Pakistan, and feels more tensed about the Sino-Pak economic ties getting stronger. For India this is a Cold War-type situation where the opponent does not even fire a salvo but saps the morale of the Indian troops, and disintegrates its lethal weapon of national integrity.

The concrete worries of India in regards to the Sino-Pak cooperation include its frustration in direct relation to Kashmir militarily. India is also worried about a considerable magnitude of armed forces being permanently pressed along the Sino-Indian border. Such a huge force, almost occupying 62.5 percent of India’s total military strength, pressed permanently along such a vast stretch of the Sino-Indian frontier and not being able to move the troops elsewhere, is in itself an unwise tactics. At the time of India’s clashes with Pakistan or while tackling problems in Kashmir, it would not be able to transfer personnel or weaponry from this border area. At the time of critical secessionist movements within India, it would fail to deploy forces fast enough. Once the problem in Kashmir erupts and the domestic unrest occurs simultaneously, then the situation would indeed be grave.

In such a kind of warfare, India cannot explain Chinas action nor would it dare to strike the Chinese installations at the Pakistani seaports. Otherwise India would face a pincer attack from both sides. “” A Chinese Analyst

Pakistan, being an Islamic country, similarly does not follow family planning. About 80 percent of Kashmiris are Muslims, and are intimate with Pakistan. The sharp rise of population in India and the worsening of environment for livelihood can be equally faced by Pakistan. No matter how the Pakistani government would exert to live with India peacefully, the Indo-Pak border areas are mostly cattle-grazing stretches along the high mountains. The government is far from exercising control over its population and tribes, and hence Pakistan cannot ensure its people a good livelihood in the Kashmir region. Thus the local conditions can get complicated and worsened, easily triggering Pakistan’s military confrontation with India.

India’s greatest worry behind the Sino-Pak ties becoming stronger, is Pakistan becoming a point of attraction for Muslims in “India-controlled Kashmir”. The Kashmir situation will then be uncontrollable, leading to large scale armed conflict and even India’s war with Pakistan. Though China will not be drawn into the war as far as possible, and will not directly dispatch troops, but India would never dare to move out its troops from the Sino-Indian border to Kashmir or use them to tackle Pakistan. This is India’s greatest frustration.

When the Sino-Pak economic exchanges are getting enhanced to the extent that Pakistan has become a thoroughfare for China’s energy resources through seaports, then in the case of Pakistan’s military confrontation with India, Pakistan can get the better of its ties with China in terms of transit duty for petroleum and natural gas and the export of its commercial products. China can reduce giving free military aid but through purchase of foreign trade income could facilitate Pakistan in replenishing arms supply non-stop. As long as China witnesses a stable development of its economy, Pakistan’s external aid would never be curtailed. Perhaps it could get increased. But India can only mobilize its foreign exchange earnings to buy armaments from the Western countries or from Russia. In such a kind of warfare, India cannot explain China’s action nor would it dare to strike the Chinese installations at the Pakistani seaports. Otherwise India would face a pincer attack from both sides.

The nuclear threat has not proven effective. But with the help of sophisticated long-range missiles with heavy workload, multi-warheads, rocket technology, and also equivalents of sub-nuclear weaponries like the powerful cloudburst warhead, thermo-pressure warhead, and with conventional missiles and rockets the Chinese army will be fighting a battle of quick decision by destroying the major portion and larger number of Indian troops. This also is India’s frustration and a cause for worry. When the main body of the Indian army is destroyed, the turmoil within India would start in the real sense. Historically speaking, China and other countries of the world maintained big empires relying upon their military might despite their instability internally. There have been precedents where disintegration set in after a substantive loss in military supremacy following crucial defeat in war. Although not an empire of this kind, India is being hogged by this sort of a danger.

Continued : The Chinese Vision of Sino-Pak strategic partnership : III

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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

Prof. Priyadarshi Mukherji

Prof. Priyadarsi Mukherji, Chairman, Centre for Chinese & South-East Asian Studies, JNU

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