By Dr Subhash Kapila
China and Pakistan in one stroke of China’s veto in United Nations blocking designation of JeM Chief Masood Azhar in February 2019 have forced into global consciousness the stark reality that Pakistan and China are complicit in Pakistan Army’s adopting State-sponsored terrorism, particularly against India.
Pakistan and China with convergent aims of containing India’s rise in global geopolitical calculus and with conflictual history of past aggressive wars against India emerge in February 2019 as jointly complicit in perpetuation of Pakistan Army’s strategy of using Jihadi terrorist outfits to launch terrorist strikes and suicide bombings targeting India.
Pakistan Army’s using weapons of state-sponsored terrorism against India, Afghanistan and Iran is well documented and visibly recently too. Well known too is the use of same strategy against United States Forces in Afghanistan and the Afghanistan Government by terrorist affiliates of Pakistan Army operating from safe havens provided by Pakistan Army.
Not well known is that lurking behind such Pakistan Army terrorism misadventures is China’s earlier tacit support and now in February 2019 starkly visible China’s determined effort to block naming of Pakistan Army supported Je M Chief as Global Terrorist.
China this time around has advanced the lame excuse that it needs to revaluate all evidence pointing towards JeM Chief Masood Azhar’s involvement in launching terrorist and suicide bombings strikes against India. Two serious doubts are raised regarding China’s intentions on this score.
Firstly, does China have doubts about Pakistan Army’s protégé Masood Azhar being involved in terrorist strikes against India ranging from the JeM attacks on Indian Parliament in 2001 to recent strikes against Pathankot Air Base, the Uri Base attacks in 2016 and the latest suicide bombing at Pulwama on February 14 2019? How is that Great Britain, France and the United States were convinced by India’s evidence and the evidence that they may have collected from their own agency sources that indeed all these terrorist attacks were indeed masterminded by Masood Azhar and his JeM terrorist outfit based at Bahawalpur next to Pakistan Army Corps Headquarters? Is it China’s case that these three UN security Council Permanent Members are behaving irresponsibly in supporting India charging Pakistan Army’s complicity?
Secondly, what cogent reasons does China have in shielding Masood Azhar at the UN Security Council from being branded as Global Terrorist when the United Nations has already designated JeM as a global terrorist organisation? China’s glaring attempts to disconnect JeM Chief Masood Azhar from the terrorist organisation that he heads and claims it to be so raises alarming deductions on China’s underlying motives.
China cannot be said to be so naïve as to believe that the entire body of international scholars, think-tanks, Major Powers’ official assessments are all based against China and Pakistan Army to allege that Pakistan-based Jihadi terrorist groups like JeM and Lashkar-e-Toiba are operating against India, Afghanistan and Iran from safe havens provided by Pakistan Army.
China is deliberately blind to all this evidence and persists in being so blinded obviously to shield the Pakistan Army which patronises Jihad terrorist groups to further its foreign policy objectives. China dose so brazenly because China’s colonial embedment in Pakistan is ensured by a “Collusive” Pakistan Army. Gwadur Port on the Makran Coast in Balochistan is crucially strategic for Chinese Navy as a naval base and so are Baluchistan’s rich mineral reserves.
Pakistan Army’s decisive shift away from United States strategic orbit to as I mentioned in my Book ‘China-India Military Confrontation:21st Century Perspectives” to emerge now as ‘China’s Frontline State’ leaves no space for China to do anything otherwise—–China will persist in underwriting Pakistan Army’s State-sponsored terrorism’
Three major implications arise from this policy stance of China which perceptively makes China complicit as the prime supporter of Pakistan’s State-sponsored terrorism. The three security implications are global, regional and the third pointedly India-specific in terms of China’s overall strategic approaches to India and whether India can repose strategic trust in China.
Globally, the international security implications basically emerge in questions whether China can be treated as a responsible stakeholder in management of global security and stability and whether China’s persistent brazen contempt for global institutions like United Nations and the majority views of Major Powers call for a global reappraisal of China’s membership of such institutions. Persistent brazen contempt of China of global opinion and conventions has been markedly visible under China’s current President Xi Jinping. With him being made President for life, there are no indicators available that China will cease this brazen disrespect for global opinion. This brings to the fore past historical precedents of Hitlerian Germany.
Regionally and in terms of Asian and Indo pacific security China has already discredited itself with its brazen brinkmanship and aggression in South China Sea with the usurpation of islands of its ASEAN neighbours. The implication of China’s present course will result in greater Asian polarisation against China and Asian countries gravitating towards the United States for counter-balancing China.
Moving to India-specific implications of China emerging as unapologetic supporter of Pakistan State-sponsored terrorism the security implications are wide-ranging. Overall, the major deduction that India’s policy establishment must face is that India cannot repose ‘Strategic Trust’ in China, even in long-term perspectives.
China cannot give up on Pakistan strategically despite its many militarily misadventure delinquencies. Reflected in my Book was the stark reality that China has invested so heavily in Pakistan Army that should in the future Pakistan gets tempted to shake-off China’s stranglehold, Pakistan would be subjected to full force of Chinese power to desist it from an independent course.
The second major deduction that Indian policy establishment must face is that China will never ever restrain Pakistan Army from ceasing its State-sponsored terrorism against India and more so in the Kashmir Valley where China’s and Pakistan’s strategic convergences now stand openly asserted by China.
China has recently asserted that China is interested in the economic development of ‘Kashmir’ to uplift its poverty-stricken masses. Rather a presumptuous assertion by China as it presupposes that it is speaking for the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir which is well developed and does not need Chinese mercy.
China’s assertions in this direction are now more centred on gaining depth and security of its much vaunted China Pakistan Economic Corridor or the CPEC as commonly referred to. The Pakistan Army has a vested ‘corporate interest’ in the CPEC and its successful completion as forcefully asserted by successive Pakistan Army Chiefs.
Contextually, therefore, India would be indulging in futile diplomacy by extending ‘political space’ to China to delay branding of Masood Azhar as Global Terrorist by the United Nations and by extension and deductive reasoning condemning Pakistan Army for financing, training and facilitating Jihadi terrorist groups under its wings to launch terrorist strikes and suicide bombings against India.
India and the Indian people have to gird themselves for the long haul of a dual China-Pakistan Axis jointly operating towards containment of India, if not by a Hot War but by asymmetric strategies of Pakistan-based and facilitated State-sponsored terrorism and maintaining tense borders with military standoffs and border clashes. India’s war preparedness has consequently to be put on a fast-track basis.
Concluding, irrespective of what Indian Opposition political leaders or Indian China-apologists obliviously rationalise about China’s sincere intentions for friendly relations with India a strategic reality-check indicates otherwise. China is India’s’ long-term and potent security threat to India— a threat which is ‘force-multiplied’ by its colonial hold on the Pakistan Army and Pakistan Army’s collusive propensities with China to contain India’s geopolitical and economic rise.