China and Pakistan: Plain Talk is the Key! by Lt Gen Prakash Katoch in IDR 8/3/13
Diplomacy does not imply ignoring the obvious where national security is involved.
When China warned India to cease oil exploration in Vietnamese waters, there were calls that India should raise the issue of Chinese presence in POK as a counter. The latter should not have been contingent upon Chinese objection to our assisting Vietnam in oil exploration in the first place, silence being tantamount to acquiescing. The issue should have been raised long back knowing China is undertaking development projects globally through companies owned or managed by PLA, employing both veteran and serving PLA personnel. Reports of tunnels being dug by Chinese in POK and Pakistani civilians denied entry in such areas puts a question mark on the purpose of such tunnels.
The issue is even more serious with Gilgit-Baltistan area reportedly being leased out by Pakistan to China for 50 years. Are these tunnels being dug to house missiles under facade of hydel projects? What is the legality of Pakistan leasing Gilgit-Baltistan to China and for that matter ceding Shaksgam to China in 1963?
During the 5th India-China Defence and Security Consultation held in Beijing on 14 January 2013, Qi Jianguo, Deputy CGS, PLA stressed on the importance of India-China relations, hoping to establish a strategic partnership with India featuring equality, mutual trust and new-type military relations including long-term stability and friendly cooperation. If China is serious about developing such a relationship with India, what is holding us back in doing some plain talking to ascertain the seriousness or otherwise of Chinese intentions with regard to future India-China relationship? We should have learnt from the 1967 happenings at Nathu La and the 1986 Sumdurong Chu incident that resoluteness pays and is respected.
A plain speaking dialogue with China is even more essential with respect to Chinese involvement in the unconventional war being waged in our hinterland. Consider the following open source reports:
The Chinese concept of unrestricted warfare was unveiled through a book sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, authored by two serving Senior Colonels and published in 1999 prior to the bombing of China’s embassy in Belgrade. Though aimed primarily at the United States, it advocated a multitude of means, both military and particularly non-military; hacking into websites, targeting financial institutions, terrorism, using the media, conducting urban warfare and the like, the first rule of unrestricted warfare being there are no rules, with nothing forbidden. It stated that if mankind has no choice but to engage in war, it can no longer be carried out in the ways with which we are familiar. Referring to the terrorist attack on the US embassy by Osama bin Laden, gas attack on Tokyo subway by Aum Shinrikyo and havoc wreaked by likes of Morris Jr. on the Internet, degree of destruction not being second to war, representing semi-warfare, quasi-warfare, sub-warfare – embryonic forms of another kind of warfare. Significantly, it emphasised that the most modern military force does not have the ability to control public clamour, and cannot deal with an opponent who does things in an unconventional manner. On the battlefields of the future, the digitised forces may very possibly be like a great cook who is good at cooking lobsters sprinkled with butter, when faced with guerrillas who resolutely gnaw corncobs, they can only sigh in despair. It also suggested developing weapons that ‘fit the fight’.
Is this what China is applying against India with the ‘Shashou Jian (Assassin’s Mace) incapacitating India from within through insurgencies and terrorism, ‘Assassin’s Mace’ being relevant to both conventional and unconventional warfare in Chinese military strategy. On the sidelines of a recent international conference, a PLA Colonel said that such activities emanating from Chinese soil would essentially be without knowledge of the PLA and Chinese intelligence agencies, which is hard to digest but even if for a moment this is believed, it implies there are anti-India non-state actors operating from Chinese soil. All the more reason, that India should discuss it directly with China. Additionally, Pakistan as the source of global terrorism must form an essential part of the India-China Defence and Security Consultations, besides political and diplomatic parleys.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Posted by Professional Matters at 8:41 PM