Moun­tain Strike Corps

China-Pak­istan col­lu­sion to cre­ate the third front within In­dia (al­ready ac­counted as half front by In­dian Army) will con­tinue, plus bor­der trans­gres­sions and dol­ing money to vil­lagers in the bor­der belt to ma­nip­u­late per­cep­tions

SP's MAI - - MILITARY - The views ex­pressed herein are the per­sonal views of the au­thor.

The New Year gift to the armed forces by the Fi­nance Min­is­ter P. Chi­dambaram was slash­ing their mod­erni­sa­tion bud­get by ` 10,000 crore. Bar­ring an odd year, con­sid­er­able por­tion of the de­fence bud­get gets sur­ren­dered through bu­reau­cratic ma­noeu­vrings in any case. The sur­prise was more this time be­cause De­fence Min­is­ter A.K. An­thony ap­peared to have taken note of the in­creased China-Pak­istan nexus and an­nounced in Par­lia­ment last year he would bid for ad­di­tional de­fence bud­get al­lo­ca­tions. The 2012-13 de­fence bud­get al­lo­ca­tion was ac­tu­ally ` 45,715 crore less than the Ser­vices pro­jec­tions, to which an­other ` 10,000 crore short­fall is now added.

Last year, me­dia had also re­ported Fi­nance Min­istry turn­ing down Army’s pro­posal to raise a Moun­tain Strike Corps though the pro­posal re­mained alive. No amount of per­cep­tion man­age­ment can ob­fus­cate the grow­ing Chi­naPak­istan col­lu­sive threat. Dur­ing an in­ter­na­tional sem­i­nar held in South Korea last De­cem­ber, Chi­nese par­tic­i­pants were ve­he­ment that China will go to any length to pro­tect her ‘claimed’ ter­ri­to­ries.

Chi­nese claims to en­tire Arunachal Pradesh need to be viewed in this con­text and it would be se­ri­ous mis­take to view this in iso­la­tion. Chi­nese claim to Arunachal Pradesh must be viewed in con­junc­tion with her il­le­gal oc­cu­pa­tion of Ak­sai Chin and Shaks­gam Val­ley, dom­i­na­tion of Karako­ram Pass, Chi­nese strate­gic in­vest­ment of PoK and north­ern Nepal in guise devel­op­ment projects, Pak­istan leas­ing her Gil­git-Baltistan for 50 years, crafty calls for In­dia to va­cate Si­achen and Chi­nese claims to Bhutan’s Dok­lam Plateau. Chi­nese maps show­ing Arunachal Pradesh and South China Sea as Chi­nese ter­ri­tory and whole of Jammu and Kash­mir as Pak­istani ter­ri­tory are de­lib­er­ate.

The new ‘Princelings’ regime of China is al­ready show­ing signs of in­creased ag­gres­sion. Not only are the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA) Gen­er­als part of the all pow­er­ful polit­bu­reau, more sig­nif­i­cantly, the PLA Chief does not report to the Chi­nese Government but to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party (CCP). The Catch-22 is akin to Pak­istan. You can keep talk- ing at gov­ern­men­tal level but PLA and Pak­istani mil­i­tary will do what they want. By ig­nor­ing Chi­nese di­rect med­dling in In­dia’s in­ter­nal af­fairs, the threat will only mag­nify. Ig­nor­ing Chi­nese prepa­ra­tions for fu­ture large-scale con­ven­tional wars on mul­ti­ple fronts in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tionised and mech­a­nised for po­ten­tial Asia-Pa­cific and In­dian war sce­nar­ios would only be at our peril. In­dia never al­lowed any po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity by Ti­betans on In­dian soil yet China gave sanc­tu­ary to the United Lib­er­a­tion Front of As­sam (ULFA) cadres af­ter they were routed from Bhutan. Chi­nese na­tion­als with fake doc­u­ments on mis­sion to con­tact Naga in­sur­gents were ap­pre­hended last year and now as­sault ri­fles are be­ing sup­plied by China through Kachen rebels in North Myan­mar to the PLA in Ma­nipur and In­dian Maoists.

Con­tin­ued em­pha­sis on ‘peace­ful’ rise by China is be­lied by her ac­tions; provo­ca­tions both in South China Sea and against In­dia while also hurt­ing In­dia eco­nom­i­cally through a grossly un­bal­anced bi­lat­eral trade. We should have no il­lu­sions that PoK is al­ready a strate­gic ob­jec­tive of China and can no longer be treated as an Indo-Pak is­sue. PoK en­sures Chi­nese ac­cess to the warm wa­ters of the In­dian Ocean, to Afghanistan and CARs. This in turn re­stricts any power pro­jec­tion by In­dia to the west. China-Pak­istan col­lu­sion to cre­ate the third front within In­dia (al­ready ac­counted as half front by In­dian Army) will con­tinue, plus bor­der trans­gres­sions and dol­ing money to vil­lagers in the bor­der belt to ma­nip­u­late per­cep­tions. The fact is that we have been weak in East­ern Ladakh for past sev­eral years in ar­eas con­tigu­ous to Ak­sai Chin. At the same time, a pusil­lan­i­mous ap­proach would be fool­ish. We ac­tu­ally, need two Moun­tain Strike Corps—one in Ladakh and the other prevent­ing Chi­nese claims to Arunachal, in ad­di­tion to lev­el­ling asym­me­tries in space, cy­ber and elec­tro­mag­netic do­mains. If China makes a move into what she claims as “South Ti­bet”, we must go for “North Ti­bet”.


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