China- Pakistan military nexus emerged in sharper contours in the wake of China’s military aggression against India in 1962, when Chinese Army in treacherous betrayal of Indian implicit trust in China’s good neighborliness, swept deep into Indian territories in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. The China-India War 1962 was the turning point in China-India relations. China-India military nexus was thereafter factored in Indian contingency strategic planning by the Indian Army but never formally or publicly articulated. Indian Army’s ‘New War Doctrine’ in bare outline, that emerged in the public domain in end-December 2009, for the first time publicly asserts that the Indian Army is prepared to face simultaneous military threats to India from China and Pakistan. In other words, India has militarily factored in its strategic planning that in any future conflict with either China or Pakistan, strong possibilities exist that the China-Pakistan military nexus would be jointly militarily operative against India.
This is a commendable assertion as for far too long successive Indian Governments have been under-emphasizing or de-emphasizing “The China Military Threat” to India and also the possibilities of China-Pakistan jointly posing a combined military threat to India. This was based on faulty political perceptions that China may eventually see reason and reorient her political and strategic approaches towards India based on current strategic realities. China should be aware that India is no longer a military push-over as it was in the years leading to 1962 and 1962 itself.
It was pitiable then to see in the wake of this assertion that noted Indian strategic analysts and media notables rather than welcoming this pubic assertion, criticizing the Indian Army Chief for having made it. In terms of strategic grasp, propriety and accountability, Indian Army Chiefs have always been more distinguished as compared to India’s arm-chair strategists and media notables.
The military debacle imposed by China in the 1962 War was not because the Indian Army was cowardly or militarily incompetent. The Indian Army stood betrayed by Prime Minister Nehru’s lack of strategic culture and political myopia in not anticipating China’s underlying intentions in China’s forcible military occupation of Tibet and resting its Southern borders on the India-Tibet borders. Nehru’s romanticism with China led him to neglect the military build-up of the Indian Army into a ‘credible military force’ strong enough to deter China’s military aggression which was soon to follow.
India today is engulfed in an embattled security environment which has jointly been brought about by the China-Pakistan military nexus’s strategy of keeping India destabilized. The United States which could preempt the materialization of such diabolical moves is reluctant to do so as it has differing strategic priorities with China and Pakistan.
One hopes that by such a public assertion of simultaneous military threats from China and Pakistan, India as a whole gets sensitized psychologically to the adversarial forces ranged against India. Further, that Indian Governments of all political dispensations remain alive to ‘The China Threat’ and unlike Nehru provide the Indian Army and the Air Force and Navy with their complete requirements of advanced military weaponry to deter any joint military misadventures by China and Pakistan. Attendant on this is the vital requirement of a fast-track development of strategic road networks, airbases, communication networks and logistic means in the forward areas.
While all these take place, in the ultimate analysis, where the Indian political leadership has traditionally been “deficit” is the lack of political will to use power and the propensity to succumb to external pressures in crisis situations.
While the Indian Army has the grit and determination to face any joint military threats from China and Pakistan, and the Indian public opinion is now dead-set against any political appeasement of China and Pakistan, the political leaders of India need to steel themselves to meet this “double military threat” and not shirk from hard decisions.