J&K and Pakistan (

J&K and Pakistan

1.           Amidst a severe global pandemic, Kupwara incident in which we lost five of our brave soldiers is a grim reminder of what might be in store for us in the future. What will it take to instill some sense into Pakistani leaders especially its power brokers, the Pakistani Deep State to desist from undertaking such acts. Since Mar 1st there have been over 12 terror incidents in which seven Security Forces (SF) personnel made the supreme sacrifice.  7 civilians from the UT of J&K have also lost their lives in these incidents and 21 terrorists have been killed. If we were to add the number of cease fire violations which are in the past few days on the increase, the situation becomes even grave. Pakistani army violated the cease fire 646 time between 01 Jan to 23 Feb 20. The CFVs as we all know take place to facilitate infiltration across the Line of Control (LC). Cases of CFVs have sharply increased in the month of Apr 20 and as summers set in terrorist attacks are likely to mount further.

2.           The Economic Times reported on 08 Apr that terror infrastructure and launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) are active as Pakistan has upped efforts to push in terrorists into India. This coupled with the heating up of the valley are clearly a signal that country cannot at any cost let its guard down as far as its external / internal security situation is concerned. We cannot bank on the humanitarian consideration that in the time of a global health pandemic, Pakistan and to a certain extent China will cease fomenting trouble for India.China Factor

3.           China has the COVID-19 situation fully under control and started flexing its muscle economically and militarily. Purchase of 1.71 crore shares of HDFC in a falling Indian Stock Market by Peoples Bank of China appears outright hawkish. India has come out with a revised policy on FDI following this incident to prevent Indian economy from being taken over through backdoor. Some may question singling out China for seeking to buy shares in HDFC bank but not raise an eye brow when Facebook bought 10% shares in Jio. There are some salient differences. First, the Chinese action was eyeing the number one private banking corporation of India which would give direct leverage to control our economy in times to come. Second and this is more important, China is an adversary who has major security concerns with our country. Our borders are still unsettled. We have large tracts of disputed territories along our borders. Giving direct economic leverage would prove fatal in the long run for the national security. This is not a one of event. China has been eyeing investments in other country’s markets. Australia, Germany and Spain have also tighten their rules on FDI in fact singling out China.  Wining without fighting is an old adage of the ancient Chinese thinker Sun Tzu. This is exactly what China is trying in a situation where nations are still reeling under the pandemic induced economic crisis. India has done well to intervene in a timely manner by coming out with a revised policy on FDI.   

4.           Similarly, it continues to ramp up its defence production of high value naval platforms such as the Landing Ship Docks, and drones despite COVID-19. Voice of America News has also reported Chinese military activities of the coast of Taiwan. China has also increased its patrolling activities in South China Sea. The recent sinking of a Vietnamese fishing vessel indicates the bullying intent of China. Closer home as per Business Insider India quoting DW media report, China has included parts of Arunachal Pradesh within its international boundaries, an updated version issued by Sky Map has revealed.Mating of Threats

5.           Worsening economic situation due to over $106 billion debt, inefficiencies in handling the rising cases of COVID19 and deteriorating internal security situation are turning Pakistan into a failed state. Historically in such scenarios Pakistani Army has taken over the reins in the garb of stabilizing the situation. Should this happen then it would be in mutual interest of China as well Pakistan to up the ante against India. Pakistan to divert attention of its public from deteriorating all round internal situation and China to make India fall in line should India go along with the current world opinion against China over COVID -19.  China would most likely play the game through Pakistan and not get directly involved with India militarily.Suggested Approach

6.           We need to remain prepared against any eventualities. First our intelligence agencies must not be found off guard to either major instances of terrorism / bio-terrorism or a possible external misadventure into India especially in Kashmir. Second, while COVID19 will remain our priority, the Armed Forces resources must be deployed with great caution and care. The Armed Forces are capable of dealing with their primary responsibility of external aggression or the secondary responsibility of internal threats. However, it is the bureaucratic machinery that needs to be cognizant of such possibilities in a heightened COVID -19 situation. Third, military threats will now have dimensions hitherto fore unseen in warfare of the past such as hybrid, proxy, cyber, space, electronic warfare, information war, psychological operations and also bio war. This necessitates for all agencies to function in unison and synergy. Fourth, we need to keep our high impact defence procurements such as Rafael jets, S400 and Sea Guardian armed drones and P-8I anti-submarine warfare systems on course. Simultaneously go all out to encourage indigenous defence production through Make-2 program. Finally, we need to go beyond SAARC and isolate Pakistan diplomatically and economically. We must handle China with caution. The current approach of wait and watch without letting down our preparedness on northern borders must continue. Its forays into the maritime domain must be kept under check through international military exercises and alliances such as the QUAD (Japan, America, India and Australia) and JAI (Japan, America, India).

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