Home Contact Us  

J&K - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4120, 16 September 2013
The China Rise and J&K
D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS
Email: subachandran@ipcs.org

Few weeks earlier, the Indian media and the rest of nation was obsessed with what was happening along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. What does China want in J&K? Is China interested in the territory in J&K? Or is it likely to use as a strategy for a larger political objective vis-a-vis India?

China’s interests in Ladakh should not be seen from a narrow perspecitve; it should be perceived and understood in terms of what Beijing wants all the way from Karakoram Pass, north of Gilgit to Arunachal Pradesh in Eastern India to Arunachal Pradesh, and even beyond. In fact, it should be seen in the larger context of China’s rise in Asia.

Why did Chinese military intruded along the DBO sector few months ago? In retrospect, it appears more than holding of territory; there are larger political calculations behind Beijing’s calculations. First and foremost, in the recent years, the growing India-China relations have been chequered now, especially after the Indo-US nuclear deal. Beijing is apprehensive that the US is attempting to rope India under its strategic umbrella with an objective to check China within Asia. The bigger worry for Beijing is whether India will also go along with this American plan and be a partner to counter China in Asia.

In the recent years, as a part of its renewed efforts relating to its Look east policy, India has been pursuing a larger partnership with not only Southeast Asia, but also has been attempting to build long term strategic partnership especially with Japan and South Korea. From the Indian perspective, it is extremely important to attract investments from the above two countries. Despite internal problems and bottlenecks within India, both Japan and South Korea is extremely interested in investing in India.
Besides the economic component, India is also equally interested in forging a partnership with Japan for strategic reasons. India has been attempting to build a partnership with select countries in East Asia. Japan is an important component of this partnership. Unfortunately, China sees the growing India-Japan relationship as a part of countering China’s rise in Asia. While India-China conflicts are well known to the audience in the region, the growing Sino-Japan differences are not well appreciated here. Especially after Abe taking over as the Prime Minister, there has been an increased hostility towards China. Japan under Abe is getting increasingly assertive vis-a-vis China; Abe in fact has even asked his business community to withdraw from China and invest in Southeast Asia and India.

India is also looking forward to build partnerships in Southeast Asia and East Asia, to counter China’s growing presence and political infiltration into South Asia. Today, China has a strong economic and political presence in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and now Maldives. As a result, India is also attempting to build partnerships all along China’s periphery – starting from Myanmar to Japan. The intrusion in Ladakh happened just before the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Japan was no coincidence. It was a warning against India for not to move closer to Japan.

So what does this mean for J&K vis-a-vis China’s objectives and strategies in the coming years? To start from the Karakoram Pass across the Highway linking Gilgit and Xinjiang, China is likely to continue with its presence in Gilgit-Baltistan. For China, Gilgit Baltistan is an important strategy of a larger game plan. For China, Pakistan is of extreme importance for political and economic reasons. Economically, Pakistan is important for China, as it plans to build gas pipelines and railway across the Karakoram Highway starting from Gwadar port. In fact the Gwadar port was built completely by the Chinese, to serve a larger strategic purpose. China has also substantially invested in the construction of Karakoram Highway linking Gwadar with Kashgar – all the way across the mainland Pakistan and Gilgit-Baltistan. China’s presence and the substantial investments in GB is also part of this larger objective.

Obviously, the above is partly India specific, and partly related to its own larger economic requirements, however over stated the case has been. As a result, one could easily conclude, China’s presence in Gilgit Baltistan is unlikely to reduce. On the eastern sector, especially on what has been occupied by China – especially Aksai Chin, Beijing is unlikely to even engage in a dialogue with India. For all practical purposes, China considers Aksai Chin as an essential part of its territory and non-negotiable.
Along the Ladakh sector, across the Line of Actual Control, China’s objectives will be guided by Beijing’s larger political calculations vis-a-vis India, and the larger India-China relationship. If India is perceived by China as growing closer into the American orbit, and/or building a partnership with China’s periphery especially in Myanmar, Vietnam, and Japan, Beijing is likely to pursue a hostile strategy along the LAC in Ladakh, and perhaps also in Arunachal Pradesh.

More than the larger political and strategic calculations, Tibet will play, as has been in the past, an important role in China’s perceptions and subsequent strategies across the LAC in the Ladakh region. Despite the increasing presence and investments – human and infrastructure, Tibet continues to be in turmoil. Sharing a rich history and a border with Tibet, Ladakh is important for China.

What does the above mean? First, the LAC in Ladakh sector will remain active; even if there is a relative calm, it will be an uneasy one. Depending on larger strategic equations elsewhere by India, China and the US, Beijing will always use the LAC – from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh as a part of short term strategy serving a larger objective. Second, it means, the attempts to open Kailash Mansarovar route from Leh will take more time to get implemented. Finally, the efforts to open up the border villages and throw open to regular traffic of people and goods within Ladakh will also have to go slow. This also means, the border communities living along the LAC in Ladakh will continue to remain under the larger India-China shadows, further complicating a complex living environment.

By arrangement with Rising Kashmir

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

Related Articles
Teshu Singh,
"China and Myanmar: The Great Game of the Gas Pipeline," 30 August 2013
Shresht Jain,
"China, Japan & South Korea: Emerging Security Architecture in East Asia," 12 August 2013
Iranga Kahangama,
"India, Sri Lanka and Maldives: The Tripartite Maritime Security Agreement and the Growing Chinese Influence," 30 July 2013

Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Will the Genie Want to Go Back?

The Fall of Rajapaksa: Why Democracies Fail Strongmen

Pakistan: The Military Courts

From Kashmir to Kabul

A Fractured Mandate: The Big Picture

And Now, They Are Coming For Our Children

Pak-Afghan Reset: Will the Taliban and al Qaeda follow?

Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues

Rise India, avoid regional pitfalls

Foreign Fighters of Pakistan: Why Pashtuns and Punjabis?

Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?

The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping: Strong Leaders, Hard Issues

Pakistan: The Coup that didn’t take

Pakistan: Crouching Democrats, Hidden Khakis

Processes at the cost of peace?

Cost of Peace

Rise of Democratic Anarchists

Don’t steal the election now

Mullah Fazlullah: Challenges to the “Eliminate or Extradite” Approach

The Tahirul Qadri Affair

Dhaka as the Gateway to India’s Look East Policy

Modi, Sharif and the Cross-LoC Interactions

Region by Sub-regions

Civil-Military Equations in Pakistan: Que Sera Sera

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.