Ok folks, so I came across this report a few weeks ago:-
Army Plans to Deploy Two Strike Corps in Mountains Facing China Amid Ladakh Crisis
This report talks about reorienting bulk of 1 Corps of the Indian Army towards the China border in Ladakh. Sharing some thoughts on the issue.
Here goes ..
In essence, what this means is that atleast two divisions of the Indian Army will reorient, and possibly physically locate, to Ladakh, along with the Headquarters of the 1 Corps. Frankly, this is a much needed exercise in order to plug own vulnerabilities in that region.
However, this movement / reorientation of two infantry divisions towards the LAC also means that there are going to be two divisions less in case of a contingency demanding their application on the Pakistan border. This is what I intend to talk about here in this blog post.
Now this is an interesting factor which I didn’t find many folks talking about!
Next month is the second anniversary of the Pulwama / Balakot / F-16 Shootdown incidents.
That we prevailed ultimately was due to some deft and aggressive diplomatic maneuvers backed with a solid military posture. Remember the ‘Knees were shaking’ disclosure in Pakistani Senate by a senior politician, when they decided to release Abhinandan? Or more accurately, they were forced to release him.
Here’s the video for those who missed it:
The most important takeaway from the video above is the fact that India was not only prepared militarily, but also willing to use force. Hence Abhinandan returned home in quick time. While on that topic, this thread might be good read as well:
(Here’s the above thread in this blog: Thoughts On the Balakot Strike: Part III – The Tri-Services Presser in New Delhi)
Now fast forward from Feb 2019 to Feb 2021 that is barely a day away. Here’s what the geostrategic scene looks like from Pakis’ perspective:
1. Indian Army already heavily engaged along the LAC.
2. Winters winding down in a month or so, and the LAC will heat up again.
3. A brand new administration in USA, which is willing to ‘re-engage’ with Pakistan.
4. Also, the USA having a rethink over withdrawal from Afghanistan (that much more leverage with Pakistan).
5. Indian polity and security apparatus focussing on internal issues for the time being.
6. The internal issues facing India include the border state of Punjab.
Now if I were a general saab sitting in Rawalpindi, I would most definitely be salivating at the prospects that await exploitation, if only I played my cards right!
A Pulwama type provocation at this point in time, especially once the winters are over and LAC once again active, may NOT draw a response similar to one in 2019, right?
Not when the Chinese are sitting pretty on the LAC!
Yes, there is already talk about de-escalation on the LAC, but then, no side can be really sure how it happens atleast till a couple of months well into the summer. And even thereafter, it might be fair to assume that a substantial number of Indian troops will continue in Ladakh.
Heck, that is exactly what is written in the report linked in the beginning of this blog!
As a Brown Panted General Saab sitting in Rawalpindi, one couldn’t have asked for a better set of circumstances. Their own country may be going down the drain and running out of money, but then, a military clash, or more specifically, the threat of one, will be a good diversion for the masses, no?!!
In all fairness, forces located elsewhere in the country can most definitely be moved from one border to another. In fact it was done during Operation Parakram as well, as chronicled in this report below:
Twice in 2002, India was on the verge of striking against Pakistan
But the big question is whether India will be able to move those forces under current circumstances, especially if a provocation from Pakistan pre-empts a de-escalation on the LAC?
THIS, folks, is the big question bugging me.
The answer seems quite obvious, no?
The window I personally will be watching out for is spread over two months or so, from mid-Feb onwards. In fact, with Khalistani links coming out wrt the ongoing ruckus in Delhi, part of that is already apparent because there is no Khalistan ‘Movement’ without a Pakistani link.
This possibility was already alluded to by me in a thread on twitter after the revocation of Article 370:
You may call it a conspiracy theory, but then, I have my own views as seen in this tweet below!
(Here’s the above thread in my blog: On Twitter Trends in Pakistan)
Bottomline: We may be pre-occupied with the ruckus over the Farm Bills, and pretty soon, with the upcoming tensions on the LAC, it might be worth our while to look west as well, esp with our military machine pre-occupied at the LAC.
Hope this rant makes some sense!