India Wary Of Sino-Pak Link-up In Occupied Kashmir
11 July 2009
The Indian Express
: India is wary of Chinese designs to establish strategic link-up with Pakistan in parts of Jammu and Kashmir under occupation by both the countries, saying this could have direct military implications. The Defence Ministry's Annual Report for 2008-09 tabled in Rajya Sabha recently noted with concern the possibility of China 'enhancing connectivity with Pakistan through the territory in Jammu and Kashmir, illegally occupied' by both these nations. While China seized 38,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir during the 1962 war with India, Pakistan unilaterally ceded another 5,120 sq km territory it had occupied in 1947-48 to China under a pact in 1963. However, the Annual Report has failed to mention Chinese military posturing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, of which Beijing claims about 90,000 sq km territory as its own, and has positioned 30 military divisions that indulged in frequent incursions across the LAC. The report also expressed concern over the military assistance China was extending to Pakistan and other countries in the neighbourhood. Seeking 'greater transparency and openness' in China's defence policy and posture in the backdrop of its fast growing military prowess, India also said it will 'engage China, while taking all necessary measures to protect its national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty.' Noting that Chinese defence expenditure (that stood at seven per cent of its GDP) had grown by double digits over the last two decades, the report referred to China's 2008 White Paper on Defence that outlined its policy on developing strategic missiles, space-based assets and blue-water naval capabilities. 'China's stated objectives, in their White Paper, of developing strategic missile and space-based assets and of rapidly enhancing its blue-water navy to conduct operations in distant waters, as well as the systematic upgrading of infrastructure, reconnaissance and surveillance, quick response and operational capabilities in the border areas, will have an effect on the overall military environment in the neighbourhood of India,' the report said. Stating that China's armed forces' modernisation need to be 'monitored carefully' for implications on India's defence and security, the Defence Ministry, however, struck a conciliatory note, saying it enjoyed a strategic and cooperative partnership with China, which had further progressed during high-level visits in 2008-09. It observed with satisfaction Beijing's stated policy in its White Paper 'never to seek hegemony or engage in military expansion in the future, no matter how developed it became.' The report said the two neighbours were engaged in negotiations on the 4,500-km boundary dispute and have agreed to maintain peace through mutually agreed confidence building measures, pending final settlement.