Wen Leaves India Worried- Kashmir Crisis

With just one line Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has transfixed India on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and rendered irrelevant the boundary question, stapled visas and a lot more. By stating that the boundary dispute covers just 2000 kms he has excised nearly 1600 km in Jammu and Kashmir from the purview of the border talks and rendered the whole State open to bite-sized morsels and wholesale gobbling. The first signs of a major shift in Chinese negotiating position on the boundary question was made available to the National Democratic Alliance Government when China refused to exchange maps showing claim lines in the Western sector encompassing North-east Jammu and Kashmir segments of Aksai Chin. It was followed up more recently with Chinese claims to the whole of Arunachal Pradesh. The raising of two new Mountain Divisions by India could prove to be too little too late.Ten thousand Chinese troops are already in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir broadening the Karakoram Highway and laying the foundations of a rail link and pipelines to Gwadar on the Balochistan coastline. In hindsight it could well be that Pakistan’s former Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf was instigated by Beijing into launching of the intrusion into the Kargil sector in 1999 to test India’s reactions. Musharraf, after all, was in Beijing when it happened and was directing operations from there. Pakistan’s “all-weather friend” was taken aback by India’s ferocious defence of Kargil. Jammu and Kashmir has become a fait accompli and if India does not read the signs correctly Arunachal too will follow suit. The potential for trouble for India through Nepal has not yet dawned on the Indian consciousness.

One is already seeing the fringes of future Chinese foreign policy in the manner it has reacted to joint military operations in areas off the Chinese coastline.Its instigation of its proxy North Korea has brought the two Koreas to the brink of war. By comparison India’s riposte on Tibet and the breakaway Chinese province of Taiwan are mere pinpricks that will not halt the tide of Beijing’s aggressive designs all around its periphery. The joint communique issued at the end of Wen Jiabao’s visit tells its own story in the absence of a condemnation of the terrorist attack on Mumbai where the Pakistan hand is redolent in blood. Talking about containing terrorism without concrete steps to curb it in realpolitik means tacit abetment. If Chinese leaders find it difficult to pinpoint the cause of the malaise, the reasons are obvious that Beijing sees in these tactics by its friends a fulfillment of its options on what it calls “core issues”.China says that it is not stoking insurgencies in the north-east of India but it is still host to ULFA cadres and intelligence from captured appear to point to the possibility that China is also the banker where UL:FA is stashing away the money extorted from the people of Asom and adjoining States of the North-east. In contrast India’s response to continuing Chinese intrusions across the Line of Actual Control is tepid and it is obvious that huge tracts are left unattended or anyone to talk in and take possession as happened in Kargil.

New Delhi allowed itself to be talked into “downsizing” its military manpower to the point that it now finds itself scrambling to raise new Divisions to take care of a threat that is larger than is perceived. The trade links are being held out as an improvement of bilateral relations.International commerce is usually seen as a harmonizer and mutual inter-dependence leading to peace and stability. However, an uncontrollable trade imbalance carries with it its own dangers of undercutting one’s own economy in the long run as the American overdependence on Chinese financial instruments is showing itself. Trade could well be a lollypop to suck on and become complacent and Taiwan appears to be reacting to Chinese investment. The Taiwan card in India’s hand could well be suborned by other considerations in Taipeh. India needs also to remember that creating a linkage between the Tibet issue and the J and K stapled visas does not quite have an equal weightage. Only if it is willing to do in Tibet what China is doing through Pakistan will there be something concrete to go by. China is in no hurry to resolve the border issue. Wen made it clear that there is no solution on the horizon when he said that it will take a long time to resolve the border dispute.