Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Changing dynamics in China-Pakistan collusion against India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- China-Pakistan collusion in Jammu and Kashmir

India has always been aware of the China-Pak collusion and their mutual support to each others’ actions. But the underlying basis has been changing now. It is no longer Pakistan seeking Chinese support in J&K as much as it is the other way around.

Preparedness for a two-front war

  • The debate regarding India’s capability to fight a war in which there is full collusion between China and Pakistan has generally remained inconclusive.
  • Most detractors of the belief regarding China’s military-operational support to Pakistan, have leaned on the argument that China will adopt a policy to suit its interests.
  • Both in 1965 and 1971, China made some promises to Pakistan but chose to stay away.
  • Of course, that was during the Cold War — a completely different international strategic environment.

China-Pakistan collection action in Kashmir

  • Pakistan increased its proxy campaign in J&K almost in sync with two China-related trends.
  • First, enhanced PLA assertiveness in Eastern Ladakh.
  • Second, the announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • A progressively altering Chinese attitude towards the Kashmir issue started to take shape as early as 2008-09, with issuing stapled visas to Indians residing in J&K and denial of a visa to the Northern Army Commander were signs of it.
  • This support was also witnessed on issues like the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Pakistan’s involvement in global terrorism and the abrogation of Article 370.

Pincer approach in Ladakh

  • It is no longer Pakistan seeking Chinese support for its adventurism as much as it is the other way around.
  • The mutuality of interests has increased and military coordination has become a larger part of the overall strategy.
  • China may force further escalation this season depending upon how the world responds to its expansionism.
  • China could also adopt a posture which prepares it, along with Pakistan, towards a future “pincer approach” in Ladakh.
  • Along with Ladakh — Arunachal, Sikkim and the Central Sector are very part of the expanded collusive strategy.
  • But it is Ladakh where the effect is intended most and it is there that the pincer approach may prove more challenging for India.

Suggestions for India

  • Assuming that confrontation with the Sino-Pak combine is inevitable now or later, one of the ways for India to offset this is to project sufficient capability.
  • The diplomatic and military domains have to play this out effectively.
  • India cannot be seen to be alone or militarily weak.
  • It has tremendous support internationally which must translate into a higher level of strategic support.
  • Militarily, Pakistan should never be able to perceive that it will be allowed to fight as per choice and conceived strategy.
  • China’s success or failure in such adventurism will set the course of its future strategy against its multiple adversaries.
  • That is the psyche which India must exploit to prevent escalation and win this and impending standoffs without fighting.
  • This needs a rapid and all-out national effort with the highest priority accorded to it, including budgeting.


India cannot afford to focus only on the northern borders. A firm and full strategy to deal with Pakistan in all contingencies has now become imperative.

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Pranav Choudhary
Pranav Choudhary
2 years ago

pretty cool article