New Delhi: Indian authorities’ lackadaisical approach in taking up frequent incursion incidents by Chinese troops with counterparts in Beijing has often been attributed to the south Asian giant being militarily and economically much weaker than the ‘Dragon’.
None in the Indian top leadership have been vocal in defending India’s territorial integrity, often breached by People Liberation Army’s(PLA) troops on numerous instances, with Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) and Chumar incidents being the latest cases.
So, is India afraid that forcefully taking up the matter with Beijing could escalate a minor border difference into full-scale war, like the one that took place in 1962?
Many would say so, but introspection of many of Chinese incursions tell a different story altogether. That fear spawns aggression is amply demonstrated by fact that Chinese don’t want any developmental activity to take place on Indian side of LAC, in contrast to India’s stand which allowed border infrastructure on Chinese side to be upgraded without an iota of protest. Most of development activity on Chinese side, notably, happened in wake of 1999 Kargil conflict.
That India didn't protest, neither against China’s activities on its side nor against PLA's troops vandalising its border posts now, because it is intimidated by Chinese might may somewhat be right, but doesn’t reflect the whole truth either.
Studying Karakoram Highway, an epitome of Pakistan-China cooperation on north of undivided Jammu and Kashmir, throws light on why China feels threatened by India, and how its aggressive posture vis-à-vis India in Ladakh is symptom of insecurity rather than strength.
Wondrous infrastructure building activity, aimed at attaining strategic advantage, has been on for almost a decade now on the Chinese side of undemarcated Line of Actual Control near Ladakh border in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Karakarom Highway, the highest paved road in the world which is steadily being transformed into an all-weather, four-lane asphalt highway along with many of arterial highways linking it to southern regions of China, is among several such projects. The Dragon’s dedication and unflinching support to complete the ambitious project at any cost, however, betrays suspicion.
Though still dusty tracts of land at many spots, the 1,600-km mountainous highway, when completed by end of 2014, will make it possible for Chinese goods from Xinjiang province to reach Islamabad in Pakistan in less than a day. Reports by foreign journalists, who are granted access to the region(unlike Indian media), have highlighted that large chunk of funds, civil engineers, workers and security personnel engaged in the facelift are from China. It is being said that over $400 MILLION have already been sanctioned by state-run Chinese banks to complete works on Pakistani side, a major area of which lies in PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir).
During just concluded visit of recently sworn Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif to China last week, a total of eight pacts were signed, including one for the construction of an ‘economic corridor’, a 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile)transport project parallel to Karakoram Highway connecting the city of Kashgar northwestern China to the Pakistani port of Gwadar, likely by road in the beginning and possibly by rail later.
Secrecy surrounding Karakoram Highway, and how India's attempt to know more about the project invited incursions in Ladakh....