Chinese intrusion in Eastern Ladakh is a pre-meditated plan with close relevance to the ominous situation developing in South Asia. China’s threatening postures and dubious moves are a threat to peace in the region. China’s ambition is to dominate the Asian Continent militarily and economically. Nibbling at the borders of her neighbours is China’s history. India is facing this menace along 7,000 km Himalayan border with China just because of Nehru putting an end to the strategic buffer of Tibet.
Pressure from the international community is growing in China for an investigation into the leakage and global spread of Coronavirus. World leaders have begun to concede that President Trump did not guffaw against the WHO. The US is not alone in demanding a balance of trade with China. Japan, Australia and India are equally serious. But the withdrawal of production units from China has to be undertaken under technical advice.
Indo-Pacific region is again in focus. Sporadic movement of Chinese naval ships in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea and Beijing’s recent warnings to Australia against supporting an inquiry into the origins and spread out of the pandemic, demand that the Far Eastern strategy of the American policy planners and also of the major democracies of the world might necessitate upgrading of respective strategies.
China understands that stable democracies will ultimately insist on and work towards just and equitable economic order. Intermittent show of Chinese warships in the Chinese Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean and the sinking of a Vietnamese vessel is a loud message.
China seems to have slowed down the pace of its Belt and Road narrative. It will impact the overall strategy of China regarding the Gilgit-Baltistan region where Beijing wants to have a strong military base in Skardu. Islamabad is reported to have agreed to facilitate it. Kargil is not too far away from Skardu and the road link did exist during the days of the Maharajas of J&K.
Knowledgeable sources reported that China has been eyeing a foothold in the Wakhan corridor also close to the Afghan mainland. At the same time, Beijing has been impressing upon Pakistan to formalize the legal status of Gilgit-Baltistan region because the area is disputed. That is what made Pakistan Supreme Court recommend annexation of the region to the Pakistan mainland. The Supreme Court took no cognizance of the anti-Pakistan struggle undertaken by the nationalist elements in Gilgit and Baltistan.
After India scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir State on August 5, 2019 owing to increase in sedition activities of separatists in Kashmir and their blatant camaraderie with Pakistani agencies, Pakistan embarked on a virulent anti-Hindu and anti-India propaganda on a large scale. It tried to influence even the UN subsidiaries like the UNHRC. The Chairman of UNHRC Session 42 and the Chairman of the UNHRC both issued statements criticizing India. They did not say a word about the vast terrorist network spread out by such Pakistan-based terrorist groups as have been designated by the UN itself and are active in Kashmir. India rejected the report as biased and based on false reports. It is to be noted that the US has already withdrawn from the membership of the UN Human Rights Council alleging that it has been politicized and has lost its sanctity.
With Pakistan ganging up with some of the non-Semitic Islamic states like Turkey, Malaysia and Iran, the group began criticizing liberal and pragmatic Arab states friendly towards India for not making OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) an effective tool to take some strong anti-India position on Kashmir. They are struggling to remove Saudi Arabia from its pivotal position among the Islamic countries and bring in a new structure that would work against democracy and liberalism in Islam.
In the background of these developments in which China and Pakistan have been working in tandem, India demanded Pakistan to vacate its illegal occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan areas. Indian media gave a big hype to India’s intention of retrieving the part of the original State of Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947.
Pakistani media played up the threat and the opposition parties in Pakistan questioned the rationality of Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies abetting insurgency in Kashmir but negligent about the impending threat of India planning to recover the lost territory in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. Rawalpindi felt rattled and the Prime Minister Imran Khan, to save his skin, went about crying wolf. “We will give India a befitting reply if she makes any adventure of attacking Pakistan” became the refrain of Imran Khan’s lifeless vitriolic. China and Pakistan both had a reason to feel frustrated on being informed by respective intelligence sources that Indian military brass was working on some plan.
Raising and legitimizing the jihadist legions as the frontline of its defence strategy against India, relentlessly facilitating infiltration into Kashmir of armed jihadists, massively brainwashing ordinary Kashmiris and propagating through electronic media, barrages of anti-India hatred among them on the religious count and the Kashmir separatists and ambivalent Kashmiri Muslim leadership not missing any opportunity of subversion, and the tailpiece of Gupkar Memorandum, forced the NDA government to meet the situation according to its merits. The roots of the State Reorganization Act of 2019 have to be searched in this emerging scenario.
China thrice vetoed Security Council’s attempt of designating Masood Azhar, the Chief of the Pakistani terrorist organization Jaish-e-Muhammad. China was lending outright support to Pakistani terrorists carrying out subversion in Kashmir.
For India, the time has come to act and liberate the part of the original State of Jammu and Kashmir from the illegal occupation of Pakistan since 1947. Pakistan had turned down the Security Council’s two important resolutions on J&K which left India free to follow a course of its choice. Hence is born the idea of exploiting the strategic importance of Gilgit and Baltistan in the new scheme of Inner Asian strategy.
Alarmed by India’s plan of retaking the territory illegally occupied by Pakistan and also nearly 5,000 sq km of Shaksgam region in Chilas ceded by Pakistan to China, the two adversaries jointly planned the double-pronged strategy of PLA making an incursion into the Eastern Ladakh and Pakistani Rangers intensifying firing and shelling on Indian posts along the LoC including civilian habitats. As the situation in Ladakh became grim, Pakistan called a crucial meeting of her Corps Commanders presided over by the army chief and attended, among others, by the three services chiefs and the ISI chief. Dawn of 17th June reported, “Services chiefs on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the preparedness of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to counter India’s sinister designs after receiving a rarely combined briefing on occupied Kashmir and other regional issues at the headquarters of the premier intelligence agency.” PM Imran Khan twice visited the ISI headquarters for intelligence briefings on the security threats. The paper disclosed that the Pakistani foreign minister was scheduled to visit Beijing in a couple of days obviously to brief the Chinese about the ground situation. Tension along the LoC in J&K has escalated with Pakistani Rangers opening more fronts for pounding Indian posts.
Now we find that Ladakh standoff has implications far beyond the shadow of the Himalayas. We need to change the discourse of resolving issues with two arch-rivals through only dialogue. It is not a bilateral issue that India is confronted with. What is in the throes of danger is not just the Indian nation but the very concept of democracy, freedom and human dignity. Therefore, for India, it is of utmost importance to depart from the traditional policy of running after an elusive peace. Our security narrative must change and we must accept the eternal truth that power flows through the barrel of the gun.