PLUS Second Joint Tactical Exercise held by Indian and Chinese Armies in Ladakh
Hand-in-Hand is good, but what about the stab in the back?
Lt General P.C. Katoch (Retd)
THE INDIAN AND CHINESE Army troops carried out a joint exercise in Eastern Ladakh on October 19, led by Brigadier R.S. Raman and Senior Colonel Fan Jun respectively. The day-long exercise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) was based on simulating an earthquake striking an Indian border village, followed by joint rescue operations, evacuation and rendering of medical assistance by the Indian and Chinese Army troops. An Indian Army statement said that the exercise was a great success and has not only refined the drills to provide succour to the border population in case of natural calamity but has also increased the level of trust and cooperation between the two border guarding forces along the line of actual control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. The exercise was actually a sequel to a similar joint exercise held on February 6 on the Chinese side of the LAC in the area of Border Personnel Meeting Hut at Chushul Garrison of Eastern Ladakh, along with Chinese troops of Moldo Garrison. Both these exercises compliment the Hand-in-Hand series of the India-China joint exercises and the effort of both the nations to enhance cooperation and maintain peace and tranquillity along the border areas of India and China.
This year’s edition of ‘ Hand-in-Hand’ will be held at Aundh, near Pune in Maharashtra, from November 15 to 27. Sure these HADR and Hand-in-Hand exercises are good to imbue confidence at the tactical level but when China abets Pakistani terrorism, it signals ‘stab in the back’ policy at the Chinese Government level. China stonewalling India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) despite herself being a nuclear proliferator indicates she wants India constrained. The timing of establishment of United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFN) by Chinese intelligence in Myanmar last year combining nine north-eastern militant groups including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and the United Liberation Front of Asom can hardly be construed mere signal to Prime Minister Modi since Chinese have reportedly promised to provide weapons and logistics to the new grouping as they want to keep things boiling in the North East in view of their claim on the state of Arunachal Pradesh. With all the talk about peace and economic development, and strong leadership of President Xi Jinping, it was hoped that China will shun the path of subterfuge. But it appears that Xi has decided to continue with the age-old Communist Party of China (CCP) path of hedging through asymmetric means. It is an open secret that militants in J&K are being financed by China and Chinese have established huge control over Kashmiri separatist leaders.
The recent discovery of Chinese flags from terrorist hideouts in Baramula provides further evidence of Chinese nefarious designs. the China-Pakistan subconventional nexus dates back to the 1960s when Zhou Enlai advised Ayub Khan that Pakistan should prepare for prolonged conflict with India instead of short-term wars. He advised Pakistan to raise a militia force to act behind enemy (Indian) lines. In 1966, when a Pakistani delegation went to Beijing and was met by Zhou Enlai latter while discussing India raised his clenched fist and said, “This is capable of delivering a forceful blow, but if you cut off one finger, the fist loses its power, not by one-fifth, but by 50 per cent. If you wipe out a couple of hundred thousand of the enemy spread over a long front, its impact is not as great as wiping out an entire battalion or a brigade – the enemy’s morale is dealt a devastating blow. We know this from practical experience.”
Witness the shamelessness with which China is protecting JeM chief Azhar Masood at the UN despite his role in numerous terrorist attacks in India. Besides, the United Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report released in July 2016 has specifically highlighted both JeM and LeT involved in terrorist acts in Afghanistan. Now the question is will China stop stabbing India in the back, with her peace homilies laced with ambiguity and deceit? Another question is if major disaster strikes Taiwan, will China be amenable to India providing HADR to Taiwan?
Joint Tactical Exercise between India and China on ‘humanitarian assistance and disaster relief’ in Ladakh on October 19, 2016