CHINA’S DEADLY PROXY : A VIEW­POINT

While more in­tru­sions aimed at nib­bling away more ter­ri­tory can be ex­pected from the Chi­nese python, what we should not gloss over is the asym­met­ric war that China is wag­ing in In­dia’s heart­land ty­ing down our econ­omy, de­vel­op­ment work and se­cu­rity forces

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

Like all vis­it­ing Chi­nese vis­i­tors, Chi­nese Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang smiled through his visit to In­dia and men­tioned Panch Sheel por­tray­ing peace and har­mony. But China’s pro­cliv­ity to wage sub-con­ven­tional has never re­ally been hid­den. Spawn­ing ex­trem­ist move­ments like the New Peo­ple’s Army of Philip­pines, the Kh­mer Rouge in Cam­bo­dia, Ja­panese Red Army, Shin­ing Path in Peru and Maoist move­ments in Burma and Nepal as part of ide­ol­ogy spread was just one early form.

China was al­ready pro­vid­ing train­ing to Tal­iban while the Amer­i­can in­va­sion was still on in Afghanistan. Sub­se­quently, China has been pro­vid­ing train­ing, mil­i­tary ad­vi­sors and arms in­clud­ing shoul­der-fired air de­fence mis­siles (QW-1 manpads) to the Tal­iban for fight­ing US/NATO forces. China had also sup­plied the QW-1 manpads to the Iraqi Shia mil­i­tants.

As for In­dia, China not only is sup­ply­ing weapons to In­dian Maoists but has also pro­vided them with arms man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The Chi­nese have deep re­la­tions with ULFA, hav­ing pro­vided them sanc­tu­ary on Chi­nese soil, train­ing and arms. China did not hes­i­tate to show her sup­port to Pak­istan’s anti-In­dia ji­had by ve­to­ing at the United Na­tions ac­tions against Pak­istani ter­ror acts.

Over the years, what China has been us­ing against In­dia are its mul­ti­ple prox­ies pos­ing ir­reg­u­lar threats: Pak­istan; Pak­istani prox­ies that in­clude AlQaeda-Tal­iban-LeT-JuD-HuM and the like; Nepalese Maoists; and Kachen rebels of Myan­mar, to whom also China has pro­vided arms and arms man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and through whom so­phis­ti­cated arms and com­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment are be­ing pumped into In­dia, par­tic­u­larly to Maoists and PLA of Ma­nipur.

The next China-Pak­istan col­lu­sive ir­reg­u­lar threat is un­der or­ches­tra­tion in Mal­dives which the Al-Qaeda and LeT have al­ready in­fil­trated. But what is emerg­ing now is that China has been sur­rep­ti­tiously cre­at­ing her dead­li­est proxy in the USWA (United State Wa Army) in Myan­mar. The Wa Tribe is the brain and heart that con­trols the drug trade in the famed ‘Golden Tri­an­gle’, much like the Tal­iban did dur­ing their 10-year rule in Afghanistan. The Wa Tribe was the mus­cle of the orig­i­nal Burmese Com­mu­nist Party. De­spite the close po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and mil­i­tary re­la­tions be­tween China and Myan­mar, China had been steadily arm­ing the USWA who have large tracts of Myan­mar ter­ri­tory un­der their con­trol as ‘lib­er­ated’ zones in north and east Myan­mar, par­tic­u­larly in Shan State. The ob­vi­ous Chi­nese aim was to en­sure that the USWA re­main its proxy, Myan­mar Mil­i­tary is un­able to re­gain this ter­ri­tory and China can use the USWA as the trump card to keep Myan­mar sub­servient to China in China ac­cess­ing the In­dian Ocean, per­mit en­ergy sup­plies through Myan­mar and es­tab­lish the Chi­nese navy in ports of Myan­mar of Chi­nese choos­ing.

In re­cent years Chi­nese sup­port to USWA from as­sault ri­fles and ma­chine guns was up­graded to sup­ply of rocket launch­ers, anti-tank weapons, shoul­der­fired QW-1 manpads and even ar­moured troop car­ry­ing ve­hi­cles. How­ever, in the months of Fe­bru­ary and March this year, China has sup­plied two Mi-17 ‘Hip’ medium trans­port helicopters armed with TY-90 air-to-air mis­siles to the USWA (three more are to fol­low), cre­at­ing a proxy that will be even dead­lier than the LTTE. In a bid to de­ceive, China flew in th­ese helicopters via a third coun­try.

The in­tru­sion made by China 19-30 kilo­me­tres deep into In­dian ter­ri­tory in April this year point­edly vi­o­lated the prin­ci­ple of ‘mu­tual and equal se­cu­rity’ clearly enun­ci­ated and es­tab­lished by the 1993 Agree­ment on “con­fi­dence build­ing mea­sures in the mil­i­tary field”. While more in­tru­sions aimed at nib­bling away more ter­ri­tory can be ex­pected from the Chi­nese python, what we should not gloss over is the asym­met­ric war that China is wag­ing in In­dia’s heart­land ty­ing down our econ­omy, de­vel­op­ment work and se­cu­rity forces in the process. There is ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity that China will raise the stakes un­der cover of de­ni­a­bil­ity.

LT GEN­ERAL (RETD) P.C. KA­TOCH

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