After four decades the original silk route has been reopened. Seems to be a far sightedness plan for China government to open the link and short sightedness on Indian government side regarding the Security issue.China is more a threat and competitor to India rather then Pakistan, be it anywhere. In terms of Millitary capabilities, global presence and trade.
China still don’t care about our claims to Aksai Chin, the areas we lost to them in 1962. Neither it cares for Tibet . It still shows Arunachal Pradesh as its territory. A historic agreement was signed earlier, where China bargained to get India acceptance to Tibet as being a part of Tibet Autonomous Region and recognizing Sikkim in return. It was a clever deal on China’s part, we actually have to say yes to their claim for Tibet and beg for their approval for Sikkim, which already ours.
Article from India Times.
“Nathu La is a strategic opening. The Chinese have started by targeting trade. Later they will use this bid to reach the outline provinces for oil and other strategic items”, says Bharat Karnad, a security affairs specialist at the Centre for Policy Research, a think tank based in New Delhi. “This will also strengthen China’s military presence in the area.
“China is growing by leaps and bounds. This is indeed an ambitious growth. It is all well to say that trade will increase. But this may nurse problems in the future. This is just a beginning to a full blown trade corridor China needs to supply variety of items for its military requirements to the outflanked regions.”
“China has already laid defence networks in the region to gather information and intelligence, one key reason for deferring the reopening of Nathu La. Importantly it has deployed its DF-21 missiles, akin to our Agni-II, which have the capability to hit Indian cities within the range of 1500 km”, says Srikanth Kondapalli, a China expert who is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), India’s strategic think tank.
“The Indian Air Force (IAF) believes that there are 15 airfields in the Tibetan region including one in Khasgar in the Xinjiang region, which is 400 km from Leh as the crow flies. In Tibet, Chinese military have been laying fiber-optics and expanding their airfields. There are an estimated 50-60 missiles in Tibet.”
Bharat says Nathu La saves China a lot of expenditure. The cost of maintaining the outer areas of China will go down tremendously. This may be balanced by increase in the military expenditure and thus increasing military presence. The military grid will thus be managed in a far better manner.
“Along with businessmen and tourists, even Chinese spies will pass through Nathu La. Intelligence and counter intelligence will have to be stepped up. The 180 km Siliguri corridor otherwise called the chicken neck is at striking distance from the pass”, says a senior military intelligence official not wanting to be named.
He adds, “India already faces a daunting challenge in the face of an illegal migration from Bangladesh. How on heavens are we not supposed to expect anything close to this pattern from China after Nathu La reopens?” This fear is also expressed by people of Tibet after China designed railways to reach every hook and corner of ‘Roof of The World’ (Tibet)
China has strategic arrangements with all its neigbours says Brig. Arun Saghal of the United Services Institute (USI), a tri-services think tank in New Delhi. He adds, “The southern port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka is being built in assistance with Sri Lankan enterprise. The Chinese are using a strategy of ‘congagement’ (which sums up the policy of containment and engagement). Against the backdrop of the recent developments, the threat has shifted from territorial to oceanic.”
Though both sides decided to spruce up efforts, India’s bone of contention – the delineation of the 3500 km common border – remains till date as one”, says Srikanth . He adds, “Barring India and Bhutan, China has solved all border disputes with its neighbours, totalling fourteen land and eight maritime disputes.” And worse, a 2005 Chinese map still shows Arunachal Pradesh as part of its territory.
Indeed, and some proponents will vouch, Nathu La can be seen as India extending its trust further. But it all depends on what gathers over the high pass in the coming months.