Amid reports of the Pakistani Army allegedly moving troops to Gilgit-Baltistan and its side of Kashmir as well as a long border stand-off with China, an Indian parliamentary panel has alerted the government about a “two-front war” scenario and asked to be prepared for such an eventuality.
Indian intelligence sources on Wednesday claimed that Pakistan has moved 20,000 soldiers to Gilgit-Baltistan and its side of Kashmir. The development comes days after China reportedly landed a refuelling aircraft in Skardu in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. However, the claim was denied by the Pakistani Armed Forces on Thursday.
Some Indian media reports have quoted intelligence sources as saying that Chinese officials are holding talks with cadres of the terror outfit Al Badr to incite violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
On the other hand, mirroring the Chinese deployment across the Line of Actual Control, India has also engaged in amassing troops and armour along the border. The third round of Corps Commander-level talks on 30 June indicated disengagement, but satellite images continue to reflect otherwise.
Former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan and prominent figure in India’s foreign policy matters Gopalaswami Parthasarathy talks to Sputnik about the impact of Pakistan-China ties on the country amidst the heated border confrontation.
Sputnik: Over the course of a week, the State Bank of Pakistan received $1.3 billion in loan disbursements from Chinese banks and the two countries signed a $2.4 billion investment deal for the Kohala Hydel Power Project. All of this comes amid the border stand-off. How is this targeted at India?
G. Parthasarathy: China, for over the last 40 years, has helped Pakistan not only economically but also with the designs and equipment for producing nuclear weapons, missiles, and defence equipment ranging from rifles to fighter aircraft, to tanks to submarines, so China for 44 years has been following this policy to contain India by using Pakistan. This [Chinese investment in Pakistan] is nothing new.
Sputnik: With China's military movements opposite eastern Ladakh via the Pakistan territory of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, is there a possibility of a two-front war?
G. Parthasarathy: In 1971, we were worried they [China] may even deploy troops on the border, but they were deterred to do so due to the Indo-Soviet treaty. Now they are not only helping Pakistan, but also installing governments in our neighbourhood which are not friendly to India, whether it is Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Nepal. These Chinese attempts to contain India are part of their long term policy to remain the predominant power in Asia.
If China does that [goes for a two-front war], it will find that the gains it makes will be more offset by the loss of its international credibility. It will be regarded as a warmonger.
Sputnik: Despite the pandemic, France has assured the delivery of Rafale fighter jets by the end of July. Both the US and France have offered help amid the stand-off with China. Will India accept military offers from these countries?
G. Parthasarathy: There is no question of accepting or rejecting it [help from US and France]. It is taken for granted. It will certainly make China think carefully and pause.
Sputnik: With India at loggerheads with both China and Pakistan, and Beijing’s efforts to increase its presence in South Asian countries, for example Nepal, what should be India’s strategy?
G. Parthasarathy: India needs to have good relations with all its neighbours and encourage other countries which think like us and support us and to back those neighbours whom we back.
With regards to Nepal, I don’t know if we are going to cut the development aid or not. It’s a hard decision to take, because you may just be hurting people who are friendly to you so that has to be a carefully considered decision.
As long as that [Chinese presence in India’s neighbouring countries] does not hurt relations with India, either in terms of economic interest or national security, fine, they may have good relations with whomever they want. But if they take decisions which adversely affect our relations, then we have to be concerned.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.