India and its Neighbourhood-Relations:-
Synopsis: The two-front challenge long ignored by India has become a reality, therefore there is an urgent need to develop both the doctrine and the capability to deal this threat.
Why India didn’t perceive the two-front challenge as a real possibility for long?
The collusive China-Pakistan military threat (i.e., China-Pakistan military are working in cooperation to contain India on the northern borders) on Indian borders is known as the two-front challenge.
- BeforeGalwan Issue too, Indian military was firmly believed that the two-front challenge as a real possibility, but the political class and the country’s strategic community called this threat as an issue, over-hyped by the military to justify the demand for additional resources and funds.
- As per them, China has never intervened militarily in any India-Pakistan conflict and the presence of strong economic, diplomatic, and political ties between India and China will prevent the rise of conflict between the two countries.
- As a result, Indian strategic thinking was overwhelmingly focused on Pakistan, as a real threat on the border.
Why, the two front challenge is seen as a reality now?
Present developments are enough evidences to perceive that the two front threat has become a real concern for India now.
- The most recent Chinese intrusions in Ladakh, the violent clashes between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army, and the deadlock in negotiations have now made the Chinese military threat more apparent and real.
- On the other hand, the situation along theLine of Control (LoC) with Pakistan has been steadily deteriorating. For example, between 2017 and 2019, there has been a four-fold increase in ceasefire violations.
- Also, according to Some media reports, Pakistan had moved 20,000 troops intoGilgit-Baltistan, matching the Chinese deployments in Eastern Ladakh which signifies that the China-Pakistan military are working in cooperation to contain India.
- Apart from this, the Military cooperation between the two countries have strengthened. For example,
- China accounting for 73% of the total arms import of Pakistan between 2015-2019.
- Shaheen IX Pakistan-China joint exercise to improve combat capacity of both air forces and to enhance interoperability between them.
What type of capabilities that India should built up to counter it?
- First, India needs to develop both the doctrine and the capability to deal with this contingency.
- For Doctrine development,a close interaction with the political leadership is required as any doctrine without a political aim and guidance cannot stand the test when executed.
- Moreover, a detailed assessment of China and Pakistan’s war-fighting strategies needs to be done to strike the right balance in our approach to contain the two-front situation.
- On the other hand, India needs to build its capability with more focus on future technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, cyber, electronic warfare, etc.
- A financial solution for allocation of quantum of resources required by air force and military should also be developed so that in the times of need India can engage both the states.
- Second, we need to improve relations with our neighbors through Diplomacy to contain the two-front challenge.
- On the eastern front, India’s new Maritime strategies such as the QUAD and the Indo-Pacific might not be helpful in easing the Sino-Pakistan pressure on the continental sphere. So, it’s crucial for India to focus on gaining the trust of our neighbors.
- On western front, India should strengthen its relationship with key powers in West Asia, including Iran to ensure energy security, increase maritime cooperation and enhance goodwill in the extended neighborhood.
- On the northern front, India must ensure that its relationship with Russia is not compromised for good India-United States relations as Russia could play a key role in defusing the severity of a regional gang up against India.
- Third, a well-planned empathetic political outreach to Kashmiraimed at addressing the issues facing the people of Kashmir would be helpful in easing the pressure from either front.
- It will be helpful in potential reconciliation with Pakistan’s to persuade it to put an end to terrorist infiltration into Kashmir.
- Politically, India should do well to reduce the effect of a collusive Sino-Pakistan containment strategy aimed at India.