The neutral role played by China’sÂ Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army (PLA) in previous wars between India and Pakistan can no longer be taken for granted since theÂ China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has meant an investment of more than $50 billion and the “Indian Army must prepare for a â€˜two-frontâ€™ Â in the eventuality of hostilities breaking out between the two neighbours in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Deliberating on the Army’s threat assessment in the wake of the CPEC, Lt Gen Deependra Singh Hooda, who retired on as the Northern Army commander November 30, 2016, told TOI that India’s stand on Balochisthan insurgency also has “to be carefully thought through as China can perceive this as a threat to their corridor, which feeds into the Gwadhar port. China can respond militarily to a perceived threat to their corridor in Balochisthan with a push back in Ladakh”.
Delivering an address to a gathering of distinguished academicians and army veterans at Panjab University’s ICSSR Hall on Friday as part of a TOI initiative to get top minds and experienced leaders thinking on a way forward on the vexed Jammu and Kashmir problem, Lt Gen Hooda said: “The CPEC is a new and major factor in our assessment of military threats on our norther n borders.” Given reports of the presence of Chinese military personnel in POJK and the inter-operability of Pakistan Army and PLA, Lt Gen Hooda said, “You have to be prepared for China. For India, the prospect of a two-front war is a real one. The question is: will China resort to armed hostilties if a conflict breaks out between India and Pakistan? We are looking at it carefully and preparing.”
Lt Gen Hooda had also commanded the 16 Corps, head quartered at Nagrota, and his area of responsibility extended south of the Pir Panjal mountain range.