We have always missed opportune moments to resolve the Kashmir dispute. In the 1962 India/China war, we should have attacked or at least moved our troops on LOC to force India into a solution. Many such opportunities came our way to solve the Kashmir issue but we failed to avail them.
Now, skirmishes are going on between China and India. China has amassed its troops in Ladakh. This is the time we should also move our forces along the LOC to send a message to India, and internationally, that now China and Pakistan are one.
Three Indian soldiers killed in clash with Chinese forces in Ladakh in disputed Kashmir region amid rising tensions https://t.co/SGGlsKeVvt
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 16, 2020
This should be our new foreign regional strategy. India can be given a choice to join this military and economic grouping or face a collective adversary. Once an economic and military grouping is made among India, Pakistan, China, Iran and Afghanistan, an era of regional peace will usher. We can then cut our military expenses for better domestic economic development.
Indian options on current Ladakh situation
The Indians have created the present Ladakh crisis by their belligerent behaviour. India has tried to treat China as if it is one of the SAARC countries.
The open threats to CPEC (China’s jewel in its OBOR vision) because it is running through Pakistan and the abolishment of article 370/35A for IOJ&K with the bifurcation of Kashmir & Ladakh into Union territories (with ramifications for Aksai Chin area) has been seen very seriously by China.
Read more: Three Indians killed in Ladakh clash with China
The Chinese are prudently extending their perimeter of security for CPEC (by moving onto Shyok river & India’s Subsector North through Galwan valley) & also ensuring that no envelopment move can germinate from the western side of Aksai Chin which can threaten the Western Highway from Tibet to China.
Firstly, negotiations to save face like done by China at Doklam & return of Chinese troops to LAC is an option. Some curtailment of road making (by India) to placate China & claiming it as a peaceful resolution is part of this.
Secondly, saving face by limited escalatory response like flights by helicopters, show of force through troop build-up and firing, without causing Chinese casualties, along LAC incursion points. Then using Russia, to convince China, to deescalate the situation and stabilise LAC.
Read more: Will the Chinese Dragon and the Indian Tiger go to War?
Lastly, a military response to restore the status quo or push Chinese back at one or two points of incursion (Galwan valley being a priority). This is based on the assumption that Trump will openly come out in India’s diplomatic and logistic support. However, this will only be done if the build-up is of about two-division strong in Galwan valley & finger areas 3 to 8 in Pangong lake.
How India will react with Pakistan
- India will not go to the UN as it means internationalising the J & K dispute by India itself
- Pakistan will be pressurised by the U.S. & its money lenders like IMF/WB etc to remain out of the fray( like in 1962). Whether it is possible in the present environment is another issue.
Whatever additional Indian troops move into the area, they are now there to stay – whichever way the situation plays out.
Both China & Pakistan will now have to factor in this aspect for the future.
Kanwar Dilshad, former Secretary to the Election Commission of Pakistan, worked in the constitutional institution for over 30 years. He is currently the chairperson for the National Democratic Foundation; the foundation’s work is to grow and strengthen democracy in Pakistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.