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.