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China factor: Power projection between allies and enemies

Source: Kashmir Times

India, China and Pakistan are vying for supremacy in weapon technology as never seen before. The inventory attained by the three is formidable. Kashmir is embroiled in these equations because a sharp tilt in one direction will influence an outcome on politics here. China has a vested interest in Kashmir as demonstrated not only by its belligerency on LAC with India and Ladakh but by stapled visa on passports from Kashmir and provoking inclusion of Indian administered parts of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh in their official maps as Chinese territory. They arrogantly defy protests on infractions in Ladakh and demolition of surveillance cameras and bunkers in Chumar posts by their army (PLA). Indian defence minister Mr. A. K. Antony was given curt answers in Peking. China is getting more involved in Kashmir by its intrusion just 300 kms from capital city of Ladakh. A critical analysis will reveal a combination of factors responsible for Chinese interests in Kashmir.

Apart from security strategy and influx of freedom seeking Buddhist Lama Doctrine, there is a project underway for making for an artery of communication from Arabian Sea to Xinjiang province through Xizang Belt to transport oil. Roads, tunnels and passes impact on Kashmir territory. They claim territories of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh on which they are not relenting. China is building dams in PaK against which India registered protest, ignored by China. Pakistan and India have Kashmir conflict with zero sum adversarial environments and Chinese help in Defense buildup of Pakistan is construed provocative by India.

China’s increasingly assertive posture on Arunachal Pradesh is being carried out against the backdrop of its increased militarization in Tibet. According to a 2010 US Department of Defence report, China has replaced its old liquid fuelled, nuclear capable CSS-3 intermediate range ballistic missile with “more advanced CSS-5 MRBMs” and has vastly improved its border roads in the eastern sector bordering India. Intercontinental missiles such as the DF-31 and DF-31A have also been deployed at Delingha, north of Tibet. On the border with India, 13 Border Defense Regiments totaling around 300,000 troops have been deployed. Airfields have also been established at Hoping, Pangta and Kong Ka, in addition to the existing six airfields in Tibet. China is a nuclear power with a weapons inventory of about 240 devices. China is also making its titanic presence known in the Eastern waters encroaching the Indian Ocean and territories like Maldives and Myanmar.

India is on toes to boost defence along North East and Kashmir. It has upgraded its military deployment of the 290 km-range Brahmos supersonic cruise missile and 90,000 more troops with four more divisions in addition 120,000 troops supported by two Sukhoi 30 MKI squadrons from Tezpur in Assam. Recently deployment of a further 5000 troops has been an irritant to Chinese who have vehemently protested. Again India is a nuclear power with an inventory of 100 devices. The assumption is that nuclear deterrence will play a critical role in averting all out war in the region. India China argument on political historical issues seems to be simmering on.

The Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh was the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama in the 17th century and is the second largest Tibetan monastery after the one in Lhasa. It could well be that the 14th Dalai Lama may choose his successor from the Tawang monastery prompting further Chinese claims. Indian posture over Chinese presence in Tibet and sheltering Dalai Lama and his resistance movement is supportive of questioning China’s legitimacy over Tibet. The row goes on. India has to cope with China while dealing with challenges in Kashmir with Pakistan. It therefore follows normative logic that priority notice is taken on defence and resolution of all related conflicts.

The Indian ballistic missile defense (BMD) program is effective to deter use of nuclear weapons. A summary of Indian army of 980,000 active troops would be added to reserves of 300,000 first line troops and 500,000 second line troops. There are additional 40,000 first line troops of Territorial Army. Indian army has a command structure of a modern army with HQ in New Delhi and Northern operational command in Udhampur, Jammu. The Army Is equipped with 62 tank armored regiments, 5 with 62 tanks each and 1330 tanks being locally assembled. T-72M1: 35 regiments with 55 tanks each, T-55: 10 regiments with 55 tanks each, (550) with L7/105mm gun + the Vijayanta : 11 regiments with 72 tanks each, (800+) upgraded with FCS and night fighting equipment. The Artillery 200 regiments with 155mm M-46: 35 guns 155mm caliber Bofors FH-77B: 410 and 105mm Abbot: 80 self-Propelled artillery. Rocket launchers in readiness are 122mm BM-21/LRAR: 150+ 214mm Pinaka: ~30 and 300mm Smerch: 62. The mortars in stock are 81MM Indian E1 + L1A1: 5000+ 120mm AM-50: 1500 and 160mm Tampella: 200, Milan 2 and AT-3 Sagger, AT-4 Spigot, AT-5 Spandrel, SS-11-B1 and Harpon. They are used against tanks and bunkers.

India has a formidable air defense capability. There are 384 Air Defense Guns range from 23mm: ZSU-23-2-320 and ZSU-23-4 Shilka SP- 75, 30mm: Tunguska-M1 – 20 ; 40mm: L40/70 – 1920 to SIPRI and Tunguska M1 systems . A highly sophisticated missile program is in readiness with ‘Surface-To-Air’ Missiles SA-6 (launchers) 160, SA-8b 50, SA-10 24, SA-13 250,and SA-16 launchers: 2000 to cover ‘blind-areas’ including the later versions ‘ Akash and Trishul’ Surface-To-Surface Missiles include SRBM: Prithvi SS-150 – 15 launchers & 75 missiles in 333 Missiles. These are followed by Nag ATGM and Astra. Army Aviation Comprises of 14 Helicopter Units. Surveillance is conducted by unmanned Aerial Vehicles like Searcher, Nishant and Radar: BSR Mk.2 and AN/TPQ-37,Firefinder WLS MUFAR – Rajendra, Green Archer and Cymbelline (Mortar location). The Arjun Mark-I has been added to T-90. Mark-II version enhanced night fighting capabilities with advanced equipment for the gunner, driver and commander. On June 11, 2013 India achieved another milestone in production of Hawk AJT with successful first test flight of first Navy Hawk AJT. The Indian politicians have this background information that underpins foreign policy. The prudence however remains with epistemic thinkers who advocate peace.

China on board demilitarization of the entire Karakoram-Western Himalayan-Shaksgam watershed though negotiations could be achieved. A dream for peace is conceived by using the northern China border as a baseline and a huge triangle would come into being and become the object of a Pakistan-India joint proposal to the United Nations to designate that area as an International Peace Park with access measures similar to those of the Antarctic Treaty. A Siachen International Treaty would prohibit any form of military intrusion on the glacier. The confronting armies would disengage and vacate the designated site and have access to international monitoring data to assure that their territories are not being encroached. As a byproduct people of Jammu & Kashmir could breathe an air of peace and tranquility and what a reward?

 

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