The Chi-Pak Threat

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Parthy, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. Parthy

    Parthy Air Warrior Senior Member

    Aug 18, 2010
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    A detailed study carried out by the Indian Air Force was submitted to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) specifying two contingencies. The first, a full scale war against Pakistan while adopting a dissuasive posture against China. For this, a force of 44 squadrons is required. The second contingency sees a simultaneous conflict with China and Pakistan with the capability to hold Pakistan and defend China, requires a force of 55 combat squadrons."

    This stark assessment comes from the MoD's Eleventh Plan, 2007-2012. This secret document, a five-year acquisition roadmap for the defence forces now with india today illustrates the ultimate nightmare of Indian strategic planners: a simultaneous attack by China and Pakistan along the western, northern and North-eastern borders. A concerted multi-front air-land battle over 7,000-km that stretches the Indian armed forces thin and potentially threaten to sever Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the North-east. This is what the Eleventh Plan outlines for meeting this new threat:

    * One mountain strike corps headquarters with 4,000 support troops.

    * Two mountain divisions with 32,000 troops.

    * One armoured brigade with 3,000 troops and 135 tanks.

    * One amphibious brigade with 3,500 soldiers.

    * Raising a third artillery division with around 180 guns.

    * Prepare the Indian army for high intensity war against a Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) backdrop by developing capabilities to withstand NBC attacks and remain battleworthy to fight efficiently in a contaminated environment.

    * One nuclear-powered attack submarine or SSN (Akula-2 INS Chakra being leased from Russia in 2011. Second SSN in the Twelfth Plan).

    From the Karakoram ranges to the Himalayas, India is being slowly encircled in a new strategic partnership between Beijing and Islamabad that could well be called the 'ChiPak' axis. It is now an overtly nuclear alliance, boosted through clandestine transfers of cruise and ballistic missiles technology, nuclear warheads and the possibility of concerted military action. Completing India's strategic encirclement is the 'String of Pearls', a network of Chinese ports and facilities in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

    In his Raksha Mantri's directives of 2008, a classified set of orders issued to the armed forces every five years, Defence Minister A.K. Antony asked the forces to prepare for a two-front war. "Logically, a 'two-front' strategy comprises first knocking Pakistan down by a blow from a Cold Start and then transferring the main effort to the relatively slower paced, but more portentous conflict in the eastern Himalayas," says Ali Ahmed, an analyst with the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses. Terming Pakistan and China 'two irritants', Army Chief General V.K. Singh said the terror infrastructure across the western border and Beijing's rising military prowess were a worry for India.

    The scale of the ChiPak alliance could prove to be more than just an irritant. The apogee of their nuclear ties was revealed to the world in January 2004 in sartorial fashion: two plastic bags from Good Looks Fabrics and Tailors, Islamabad stuffed with Chinese uranium-based nuclear weapon blueprints. These designs sold to Libya by rogue scientist A.Q. Khan were evidence of the Han paternity of the world's first Islamic bomb. A nuclear capability that has allowed Pakistan to counterbalance India by using terror as an instrument of state policy.

    Adding to India's worries of strategic encirclement is the use of coordinated ChiPak diplomatic pressure on J&K.

    Satellite images obtained this month by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security show Pakistan has completed Khushab 2 & 3, three plutonium production reactors built with Chinese assistance, marking a generational leap from a uranium to a plutonium bomb line. A Bulletin of Atomic Scientists report estimates Pakistan could already have between 70-90 nuclear weapons compared to India's 60-80 and had produced enough fissile material to make another 90 nuclear weapons. (China is estimated to have 240 nuclear weapons).

    Each of these reactors could produce enough plutonium for between 40 and 50 bombs each year. The new plutonium bomb line could improve the quality and quantity of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal which will arm a new series of missiles under production. The Fateh Jang missile factory, 50 km west of Islamabad, produces the Shaheen 1 and 2 Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles, derived from the Chinese M-9 and M-18 missiles and the strategic 500-km range Babar cruise missile which are to be tipped with these new plutonium weapons.

    The Himalayas Aflame

    India's new battle precis factors in a two-front war with China-Pakistan. Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal, director of the Indian army's Centre for Land Warfare Studies, says there is a 70 to 80 per cent probability of the next war being in the mountains and a 60 per cent probability it will be confined there. Three probable scenarios:

    FORWARD DEPLOYMENT: In case of war with one, the side not in the conflict, either Pakistan or China, occupies forward positions along the border freezing the movement of India's dual-tasked divisions in the west and east. This imposes serious restrictions on the Indian military plan.

    AGGRESSIVE PATROLLING: A stage higher. Side not in conflict clashes with Indian patrols. Will again have the effect of tying down Indian reserves (the dual-tasked divisions).

    FULL SCALE WAR: Both China and Pakistan launch multiple attacks on India. The least likely scenario but one which cannot be ruled out by the Indian armed forces.
    "The ChiPak relationship is the first and oldest proliferation relationship, a reward for Pakistan supporting Mao at the UN at a time when the US demanded all nations support Chiang Kai-Shek. What followed was limitless aid, without strings, proffered especially in the military and nuclear arenas," says Adrian M. Levy, co-author of Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons.

    Adding to India's worries of strategic encirclement is the application of coordinated ChiPak diplomatic pressure on J&K. From calling it a matter to be settled between India and Pakistan, China now unequivocally maintains it is a disputed area. For the past year, it has been issuing only paper visas to Kashmiris (largely a symbolic snub given the minuscule numbers applying) and, last year, invited separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to Beijing.

    This July, it denied a visa to India's northern army commander Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal because he controlled a 'disputed area'. India lodged a strong diplomatic protest and suspending nascent defence ties-port visits by warships and military exercises with China leading to a chill between the two nations not seen in years. This comes even as a booming bilateral trade between the two is set to cross $60 billion, India's largest trading partner is also swiftly moving into its strategic space.

    In a sense, this 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' version for South Asia has always been around. Since it's landmark border settlement with Pakistan in 1963 where Field Marshal Ayub Khan ceded over 2,000 sq km of the Shaksgam Valley to Mao's China just a year after it inflicted a humiliating defeat on India, China has been Pakistan's largest military benefactor. In 1971, Nixon used Pakistan to reach out to Mao's China. Today, from their serene offices behind the vermillion-walled Zhongnanhai compound, Beijing's Kremlin, the engineer-leaders of the Chinese juggernaut are using their southern ally as a springboard into west, south and central Asia and against India.

    "Pakistan is China's North Korea in South Asia, a strategic hedge designed to prevent the rise of Asian rival, India," says defence analyst K. Subrahmanyam. It is an unequal relationship Islamabad gleefully acknowledges. During his visit to Beijing this July, President Asif Ali Zardari said that Pakistan would continue to be China's "force multiplier". He didn't mention India but the allusion was evident.

    With American imports like F-16s making up the qualitative edge, cheaper Chinese arms imports provided the Pakistani military machine with the quantitative edge. Since the 1990s, nearly 80 per cent of Pakistan's arsenal including JF-17 fighters, Type 85 battle tanks and F-22 frigates have come from China.

    China is now working at neutralising Russia, the US and India to become the dominant Asian power. Deft Chinese moves in the past few months-an ongoing ChiPak nuclear deal-five nuclear reactors including a gigantic 1 gigawatt plant that far exceeds the Indo-US deal, generous economic assistance, $200 million flood aid and some 120 infrastructure projects, have pried Pakistan loose from the American orbit. As Af-Pak flounders, ChiPak is the more enduring reality. "The Chinese investments in Pakistan are now so heavy that they will do everything to guarantee the survival of Pakistan as a state," says Jayadeva Ranade, former R&AW official.

    How has India's establishment reacted to what analyst B. Raman calls the 'strategic strangulation' of India by a rising superpower that is learning to back its economic muscle with military might. The recent Commanders' Conference in Delhi underscored China as the long-term threat. The view in South Block is "trust and verify but keep the powder dry".

    "There is a new assertiveness among the Chinese. It is difficult to tell which way it will go. So it is important to be prepared," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a recent meeting of editors in the Capital. But the frequency of such assertions does not match ground realities. The prime minister's concerns and what a Cabinet minister calls China's 'blow hot, blow cold' policy echoes South Block's puzzlement.

    "When somebody arms a hostile neighbour with nuclear weapons and first strike delivery systems like cruise missiles, it is an act of war," says strategic analyst Rear Admiral (Retd) Raja Menon. India has, however, not even raised the topic of nuclear transfers to Pakistan with China particularly because South Block has been keen to try and play down the chill in ties with China. "There are areas we will compete in and there are areas we will cooperate in. It is important for us to keep all avenues of dialogue open and not try and solve the problem through confrontation," says Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.

    China's hardening stance comes in the backdrop of a major consolidation of its comprehensive national power and an explosive military modernisation, the largest by any country since the Cold War. China officially claims to spend a modest $40 billion on defence (the Pentagon, however, pegs it between $45-65 billion), compared to India's $31 billion spend. It is rapidly acquiring fourth generation fighter aircraft, aircraft carriers, conventional and nuclear-powered attack submarines and a highly rapidly deployable, networked army. It is also investing in what US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Robert F. Willard called "anti-access area denial weapon systems" like DF-21 ballistic missiles that can shred aircraft carriers.
    China is now working at neutralising Russia, the United States and India to become the dominant Asian power.
    This has, in recent months, led to an increasing assertiveness in its sphere of influence particularly along a 4,056-km disputed border with India. The border has been quiet since a 1993 pact between two nations for peaceful resolution but the massive infrastructure upgradation has ensured the Chinese army can be speedily rushed into Tibet. Influential new actors on the margins like energy companies, researchers and netizens are shaping China's foreign policy says the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). "The view that China should strongly defend its interests internationally is becoming prevalent, especially among these new foreign policy actors," says Linda Jakobson, director of SIPRI's China and Global Security Programme.

    For India, the new Chinese assertiveness comes when the South Block is poised for a troika of state visits-Presidents Barack Obama, Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy. The Obama visit, in particular, will be crucial. Analysts say that the mutuality of India's security interests with the US in the 21st century could irrevocably draw the two countries closer. Defence analyst Major General (Retd) G.D. Bakshi calls for India to strengthen ties with key Asian countries-Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea. "India must offer Vietnam a civil nuclear deal and provide more meaning conventional military assistance," Bakshi says.

    "India needs to enhance economic cooperation with neighbours, other than Pakistan, through better implementation of economic cooperation and aid programmes. Our present record of fulfiling promises to South Asian neighbours is sloppy," says former Indian envoy G. Parthasarathy.

    As Chinese analyst, Dai Bing predicts: "While a hot war between China and India is out of the question, a cold war between the two countries is increasingly likely." One that will be determined by the stickiness of the ChiPak doctrine.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010

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