Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that though the China-India standoff has led to active clashes but there is no risk of a wider war, for the time being, because of India’s cautious and muted response due to its forces’ decisive routing at the hands of the People Liberation Army (PLA).
President Masood Khan made these remarks at a virtual conference on “China & India Standoff – what next: Implications for Pakistan, Kashmir Movement & Movement” organised by the Corporate Pakistan Group.
President Masood, who has served in China as a diplomat for eight years, has said that India has underestimated the steely resolve, nationalism and professionalism of the PLA.
The two US-based think tanks – the Belfer Centre at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in their recent studies – have opined that India in a future confrontation would have an upper hand over China. Radically disagreeing with this assessment, Masood Khan said that China and India’s capabilities might match in certain areas but in many dimensions, China outstrips India and can easily outcompete it. China has, he said, an estimated 320 nuclear warheads compared to India’s 150.
The number of PLA forces is 1.6 million compared to India’s 1.2 million (this is without counting the reserves). Last year, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), China’s defence expenditure was $261 billion while India’s $71 billion, making them the second and the third largest defense spenders after the US. “The contrast is stark”, he said.
“But machines do not fight wars, nations do”, President Khan said adding that other factors like command and control, soldier morale, discipline, the justness of the cause, internal situations and the state of the economy play a pivotal part in determining the outcome of wars. He said that India would not fight even a limited war because it doesn’t want a repeat of the 1962 war for which the violent extremist BJP-RSS regime excoriates Nehru till this day. “Modi does not want to go down as a new Nehru in history”, he said.
Besides, India’s economy has plummeted drastically and is incapable of sustaining any prolonged conflict. Despite their bluster, President Masood Khan said Indian armed forces have no history of fighting equals and winning. Their hallmark is they killing and maiming their own people or of occupied territories after disarming them.
“They have deployed 900,000 troops in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir to fight, according to their own claims, 230 militants. That’s their power; that’s their strength”, he said.
President Masood said that India is clutching at two (proverbial) straws: the United States would bail it out of the present mess; and, second, that it would use economic and commercial disincentives and sanctions against China.