There is spring in Pakistan’s steps since the current India-China standoff began in Ladakh two months back. The prospect of a ‘limited’ border war between the two Asian giants provides Pakistan with a window of opportunity to attempt its own misadventures in the Kashmir Valley. Whether Pakistan is doing China’s bidding, or is jumping of its own accord is difficult to say at this point. What can be discerned though are unmistakable signs that Pakistan is itching for some kind of a showdown with India. The Islamic Republic feels obliged to wage jihad after India’s decision to do away with the Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.
Unprovoked heavy shelling is being carried out from across the border since the beginning of May. By violating ceasefire a record 371 times in May and 310 times in June by resorting to indiscriminate shelling, Pakistan is busy pushing infiltrators from their side under its cover. Indian forces have neutralized 115 jihadis this year, out of which 70 have been eliminated in May-June itself.In the last week of May, Indian forces foiled a car -bombing plan in Pulwama when they intercepted a vehicle carrying 40 kg of explosives. If this terrorist attack had materialised like it did on February 14th last year, India would have been forced to take punitive action.
Pakistan seems to be trying to either provoke India into opening a second front, or to gather some kind of alibis to launch attack upon India should she refuse take the bait. The PM of Pakistan has blamed India for the terrorist attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange (Karachi) after his Foreign Minister accused India of activating her ‘sleeper cells’ to carry out the attack. Pakistan is in the habit of making lame accusations without any evidences, but this false flag operation seems to have been carried out only to put India in the dock. USA, Germany and several countries have taken objection to such low blow by the Pakistan government functionaries in close consultation with China. As a result even the UNSC resolution condemning the terrorist attack got delayed because of objections raised on the blatant politicization of the matter by China and Pakistan.
In the past few days, Indian media has reported the presence of Chinese at the Skardu Airbase in POK and laying of two airstrips by them across the LOC. Extraordinarily, the DGISPR has gone to the extent of denying this news which rather suits their usual narrative of boasting the all-weather master-servant relationship between ChinPak. It is almost as if Pakistan wants to hide something or is wary of such news leaking out. In case it is China that is pressuring Pakistan into opening the second front, this might even be a deliberate leak- a kind of SOS- to diffuse the situation. Indian media has also reported about meetings between Chinese operatives and Al Badr terrorists. News reports suggest Pakistan troop deployment across the LOC in Kashmir as well. There is a lot happening across the western border which does not add up into a coherent whole, and this seems highly disconcerting.
A War on two-fronts represents India’s worst nightmares. But it is no longer our call to make. ChinPak are moving in tandem on the chessboard, piece by piece, strategies allied, common interests in mind. China can do with Pakistan’s assurances on Xinjiang, Tibet, Aksai Chin and Sakshgam Valley, and continued support to OBOR. For now, India can only react to how the situation unfolds, and prepare for a war which seems likely.( I shall not throw in a ‘limited’ to lessen its gravity, because a war once started assumes a life of its own.)
Situation on the India-China Line of Actual Control is tense since early May. At least three incidents of violence have already taken place , the last of which was on June 15th in the Galwan Valley and resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. Extensive discussions at the military level have so far failed to bring about de-escalation and disengagement in Ladakh. There is news of heavy troop deployment in the Western and Eastern Sectors. Taken in isolation, Chinese aggression could have been interpreted as mere posturing or to warn India against getting too cosy with the Quad, or becoming vocal on Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet or Taiwan.
It is anyone’s guess what shall Pakistan attempt if India and China get locked in a border war. It is increasingly getting desperate with regards to J-K, and perhaps realizes that this might be the last opportunity it has to gain some territorial concessions at India’s cost. Neither is the prospect of a two-front war just figment of fertile imagination. Even as India and Pakistan locked horns on the western front, China issued two ultimatums in September 1965 asking the Indian Army to remove embankments/permanent structures from their side of the Sikkim-Tibetan border, and to vacate Jelep La and Nathu La passes. Pressured by the heavy Chinese build-up across the border and facing war on two fronts, India ended up ceding Jelep La, but Lt.Gen. Sagat Singh refused to follow the orders of top brass to vacate Nathu La. The Chinese ultimatums fizzled away with ceasefire on the Western Front, but the decision to not give up Nathu La is what has determined the subsequent history of the subcontinent. Sagat Singh and his 2nd Grenadiers later defeated the PLA in 1967 and successfully defended the Nathu La and Cho La passes.
During the highly tense period of 1965-71, India could defend the Siliguri Corridor only because the Chinese found it difficult to force their way down the mountains of Sikkim. If PLA had occupied Nathu La and through it the Siliguri Corridor, it could have easily joined forces with the Pakistan Army stationed in East Pakistan in 1971.China and Pakistan collaborated to give active help to Naxals, Nagas, Mizos and Manipuris between 1965 and 1971. It was the fear of Soviet action that kept China out of action in 1971, despite having being nudged (even encouraged) by the Nixon-Kissinger mafia to attack India. The Chinese did not even issue any ultimatums in 1971. In recent years, China has always come to the defence of Pakistan on the issue of cross-border terrorism, and has armed it with nuclear and missile technology. For all practical purposes, China and Pakistan are thick as thieves against their common enemy, India.
It remains to be seen if West can bring upon sufficient pressure upon Pakistan to keep out of the upcoming war of Asian supremacy. A cornered democracy against an alliance of a failed and a rogue commie state can surely do with some diplomatic help !
#Ladakh #GalwanValley #PangongLake #ChinPak #AllWeatherAllies
#TwoFrontWar #NathuLa #IndiaChina #IndiaPakistan
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Nice write up. Thanks for a great read!