Rudradev wrote:Going into Shiv-pisko mode for a moment, I think we tend to see China as the implacable demon of our nightmares because of the trauma they inflicted on us in 1962. It is like a child getting slapped by another child while the whole neighbourhood watches, and not being able to fight back effectively. From that moment on, the child who was slapped is likely to imbue the aggressor with all kinds of fantastical powers and attributes. If he could give me a jhapad and I was helpless, then he must be Superman.
Brilliant analysis. Spot on!
Rudradev wrote:Be that as it may. How will China actually expand into AfPak to fill the vacuum left by the US? Will it go in militarily? I hope it will... a PLA presence in Afghanistan is not going to be tolerated by either the Talibs or the NA, no matter how much the Pakis like it, and in fact that situation may expand the jihad much more aggressively into Xinjiang and points east. Indeed, it will maximize some major stresses within TSP, especially within the Pakistan army, between the pro-jihadi camp (who will be flush with triumphalism following the "defeat of America"), the pro-Western camp and the ones who are content to accept Chinese suzerainty for Pakistan. Not to mention, even if the whole TSPA unites behind Chinese presence in Afghanistan, they will have a much harder time making Afghanistan safe for China than they have had making it dangerous for America.
Additional thought on my post to Sanku and Shiv. Is the PLA's presence in the Northern Areas, (among other things) a training ground for a much bigger deployment in post-US-withdrawal Afghanistan?
Here is how I see this.
Reading about various things that China does and does not do I found that one of the reasons that China hesitated about going through Burma was the "security" aspect - i.e who is going to keep the route safe from being cut by various interested parties.
As regards the Thailand canal - one consideration was cost - the figure I recall offhand is 25 billion (US Dollahs of course)
With respect to Gwadar - security became the biggest issue and China pulled out because of that. The Chinese are looking both for value for money and security. Value for money and security are mostly mutually exclusive. Pakistan is a serious security problem. It is a huge country where everyone puts profit before country and the nation has survived on highway robbery and highway rent collection for decades - even centuries in some areas. Only the RAPE class like to talk as if Pakistan is safe and open for Chinese and I notice that the same snake-oil language that Pakis reserve for the US is used for China as well - as long as China puts in the money.
The only country in the world that throws money at a problem is the US - because the US prints that money. The Chinese are much more circumspect about money and are very cautious about an open ended commitment of troops in a foreign "security" campaign.
As I see it - as long as the US is sitting in Pakistan, China will not get a free route into Pakistan. But even if the US goes China will not be able to "move in" to Pakjab with troops and all without having to commit huge numbers with long logistics lines. If China does do that Pakistan will give the Chinese very good experience in building and maintaining a long land logistic line with the security nightmare that goes along with it. I have every reason to suspect that Pakis will want money for every kilometer of road or rail built by the Chinese or else "things will start going wrong". It won't be the Chinese providing security for 2000 km of rail/road in Pakistan - it will be Pakis. And that can be done only if Pakistan is stable, which it is not.
But supposing the US left, and China the decided to build a rail through Pakistan and reached agreements with Pakistan for security, I am not at all sure that India can do anything to stop it. India could hinder it by covert ops. The Chinese will have their asses kicked in Afghanistan. The terrain is unsuitable for easy and lasting military victories.The Chinese are already suppressing jihad in Xinjiang - adding Afghanistan to that is like a spark in a petrol tank. A severe headache, at least.
There are several "if"s here. If
the US leaves. If
China feels it is OK to start building such a line. If
construction can be given security. Karachi is out of control so its either "If
Karachi can be stabilised" or else it is "If
security can be guaranteed in Gwadar" If
all goes well I think this is a project that would take 15 years to bear fruit. What will India be like in 15 years? What will the US be like? What will Pakistan be like?
If every party - the US, India, China, Russia etc count what is likely to provide the greatest long term regional security I don't think I would be difficult to reach the conclusion that the US staying in Pakistan would provide the best near term outcome. As per my assessment - the US cannot sit in the region forever without allowing India a bigger role. India will take some sort of bigger role whether the US allows it or not - but as I see it it will be in the interest of the US to recognize India's bigger role. If the US pulls out - Indian ocean security itself for ships going to Western nations could be put at risk, with both Iran and the Taliban having a free hand - and with the US in Diego Garcia alone. India will take on a bigger role by itself in that event. But if the US sits in Pakistan and allows India space - the US can have its cake and eat it too.