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Beijing Mind Behind Pak Terrorism
Dr. Rakesh Datta

According to a recent Pakistan publication named, From a Head, through a Head, to a Head authored by FS Aijazuddin, it was the late Chou-en-lai who suggested to the Pakistani military delegation which called upon him in 1966 that instead of short term wars, Pakistan must prepare for a prolonged conflict with India.

In order to do this, the late Premier advised the visiting Generals to raise a Pakistan Militia Force to act behind the enemy’s rear, to cut off its logistics and destroy strategic centres and prepare to take over operational control, once the first line of defence broke. On the eve of the 1965 War, General Ayub Khan who felt panicked was advised to resort to a long war with India, keeping in view the latter’s numerical superiority in Armed Forces. When the Pakistani President explained that the flat terrain of Punjab was not suitable for mounting guerrilla attacks on an advancing enemy, he was told to use all available natural obstacles like small rivers and high ground as a cover. Above all, the author says, the late Chou-en-lai reassured Ayub Khan that China would be maintaining pressure all the time. When asked categorically for how long, Chou-en-lai said, "As long as necessary, but Pakistan must keep fighting."

This concept of warfare involving the citizenry of Pakistan was in fact totally alien to the Pakistani Generals. It was contrary to the military doctrine they had learnt at Quetta. However, the use of unorthodox tactics, the late Premier explained, was considered better suited to nations lacking a military-industrial complex. The Chinese had learnt it from their own long drawn struggle for liberation, the author quoted. It thus became clear to Pakistan leaders that if they wanted Chinese support they had to prepare for a prolonged war with India.

In fact Pakistan needed Chinese support much more than that of the United States who did not prove to be a friend in deed in their wars against India. It was notwithstanding the fact that Pakistan was their military partner in CENTO, a frontrunner in the US war against communism besides acting later as a bridge between China and America. China on the other hand was believed to be a natural ally with a commonality of interests. While the friendly relations between the two varied initially depending on each country’s estimate of the utility of the other, their mutual marked hostility towards India had remained constant. The strategic linkage between China and Pakistan was forged in 1963.

For instance, the creation of tension on Sikkim-Tibet border in September 1965 was to immobilise the Indian forces in the eastern sector. During the Bangladesh War, Chinese support to Pakistan was equally vigorous. On the other hand, General Musharraf’s visit to Beijing, more recently, when Pakistan was building defences in Dras, Kargil and Batalik sectors was to take Chinese approval, something that was considered both essential and mandatory.

Further, as the events have unfolded, India is fighting a low intensity war with Pakistan for over two decades, proving the Chinese contention that it is only through prolonged conflict with India that Pakistan could overcome her military handicaps in the numbers game. This was proved by the expedition in Kargil which was another blow to Pakistan. In any direct war a country must possess 3:1 superiority in military but by undertaking irregular warfare against India, endorsing the Chinese strategy, Pakistan has not only surmounted the conventional superiority of India but has also circumvented the Indian nuclear deterrent.

According to General VP Malik, former Indian Army Chief, India has lost nearly 35,000 lives fighting the unending war-like situation. This is more than the casualty rate of all the wars put together, that the country has fought both with China and Pakistan. The Union Law Minister has remarked that India is fighting a high intensity war on its borders with Pakistan, in contrast to the operations being dubbed as being of low intensity nature.

The hidden strategic linkage between China and Pakistan amply proves that everything being done in India in terms of terrorism and cross border infiltration is not Pakistan’s doing alone. The players are different and Pakistan is being used only as a stooge. Imagine a country with a population of sixteen crores, a growth rate of less than 4.6 per cent and a debt of $35billion having let loose a rein of terror in India which is considerably bigger in size, population, resources and capabilities. However, where we draw a blank is on the political front. This factor has even put a question mark on the credibility of our over-a-million army by inanely deploying them on the borders and fatiguing them.

The recent statistics show that there are nearly 2,500 Madrassas in different parts of Pakistan producing nearly 3 lakh fighters annually; ready to kill and die for Islam. Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed included, over a dozen organisations supported by ISI are engaged in terrorist activities against India on a permanent basis.

In this context, military operations conducted by ISI have taken over the control of secessionist movements in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. Earlier, insurgency elements in all these states drew help from China. In Assam too, the problem with ULFA and BODO tribals, which rose in arms through support by China are now ISI active. In Punjab, the crisis generated by the demand for greater decentralisaton of power, culminated in an armed uprising helped by ISI. Once again the country is faced with a fairly high intensity of terrorism with no sign of it abating.

Operations of such magnitude, that too on a sustained basis, naturally cost extra money and resources. Keeping in view Pakistan’s socio-economic perspective, the country is hard-pressed in terms of economic growth, high inflation, rising debt, increasing poverty, growing unemployment and low literacy. It is, therefore, hard to accept that Pakistan is managing the confrontationist posture against India exclusively, without getting help from outside.

On the other hand, the thrust of Chinese policy continues to rest on Mao’s dictum that "Power grows from the barrel of a gun." However, in its bid to prove to the world that China has matured politically, it has refrained from entering into a direct clash with other nations, unlike in the past. But given the geostrategic location of India, China has continued to nibble at India, in order to try and contain it at the level of a sub continental power.

In this context, going by their policy of indirect approach of using Pakistan to maintain constant pressure on India, China has been giving huge military aid to Karachi. Since September 1965 China has supplied Pakistan complete equipment for two infantry divisions. The ordnance included battle tanks, fighter aircrafts, naval ships and submarines. Later during General Tikka Khan’s visit to Beijing in January 1978, talks were initiated for supply of missiles to Pakistan. According to New York Times, China’s rivalry with India was behind its arming of Pakistan with missiles. The report added, that, if China helped Pakistan secure medium-range missiles they would balance missiles that India, a large and more advanced country, has already developed for itself. Chinese technicians have been seen in Pakistan for the production of missiles including M-11, rocket motors, propellants and guidance system. Pakistan has also been seen testing Shaheen missile which has increased its ability to strike India.

Again, as a matter of high strategy, the Chinese resolve to further dig into the subcontinent, has helped Pakistan in the construction of Karakoram highway by providing most of the funds and manpower. In the event of Sino-Pak combined thrust on India, this highway will pose a military and political threat to India’s security by making Srinagar-Leh road extremely vulnerable. In this regard Chinese clandestine help in providing logistics to Pakistan Army during latter’s adventures in Kargil could not be ruled out, due to proximity factor.

Of late Chinese covert assistance to Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programme has completely aborted India’s plan of taking a lead in acquiring effective nuclear deterrence in the region after China; instead it has put India more in a state of quandary vis-à-vis Pakistan. According to US military sources, Chinese nuclear scientists are not only working in Pakistan’s nuclear facilities but have also enabled Islamabad to produce a bomb. China has set up 300 mw Chashma nuclear plant besides helping establish 40 mw Khushab Plutonium producing reactor and facility for extracting weapon grade Plutonium from spent fuel. It was intended to accord Pakistan taking a leap jump over India in nuclear technology and this became quite apparent when Pakistan carried out series of nuclear tests including thermonuclear as a sequel to India’s Shakti-II at Pokhran.

Both the countries have travelled a long way since 1962. Though there has not been a repeat of any direct conflict between the two, Beijing has persistently maintained the posture of a strategic adversary to India. After all, China continues to occupy 14,600 sq miles of Indian territory annexed during the Sino-Indian War and is certainly in no mood to return it. She is a formidable neighbour and a security risk. Of late, China has started hitting at our domestic industry by flooding Indian markets with Chinese goods. We may dismiss this but cannot ignore it completely.

So when George Fernandes, the Defence Minister of India speaks out on China being a potential enemy of India - echoing the voice of late Sardar Patel, that India has to reckon with a communist China that has definite ambitions and aims not very friendly disposed towards us - it carries substance, however awkward it may appear in diplomatic jargon.

At the same time, the present long battle over Kashmir which Pakistan is fighting with India through fomenting terrorist activities by cross border infiltration is the last straw in the series of its devious game plan as suggested by China.





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