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Indo-China nuke war cannot be ruled out

November 21, 2008

'Military think tank should shift focus from Pakistan to China'
Rising Kashmir (India)
November 18, 2008

Mumbai, Nov 18 -- A nuclear confrontation between India and China
cannot be ruled out resulting from the clash of interests and
competition for global natural resources, predicts author and former
National Security Advisory Board member Bharat Karnad.

Speaking on the contents of his newly launched book, 'India's Nuclear
Policy' here, Karnad said the India's military think tanks need to
shift their focus away from Pakistan towards China.

"With a GDP which is one-fourth the capitalization of the Bombay
Stock Exchange (BSE), Pakistan will never be a real threat whereas a
fight for natural resources was already ensuing all over the world
between India and China,'' he observed.

He said China had already taken steps to strenghten its military and
economic position against India. Its diversion of the Yarlung-Tsango
River, which enters India as the Bhramaputra, in Tibet could deny
eastern states like Assam and West Bengal and countries like
Bangladesh the much-needed access to fresh water.

Other than that, its 'incessant' and 'consistent' support to
insurgent groups in the North East, are reasons enough for India to
take a hawkish stand.

He said India must have the political will to support the new
generation of Tibetans, who may not follow the pacifist path preached
by their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

"The existence of Tibet as a buffer is important for India. It was
only after China invaded Tibet that frictions arose between the two
countries,'' he noted.

Criticising the political establishment, he said it was the weakest
link in the country's strategic system.

"I doubt, if India suffers a first strike, it will have the political
will to order a retaliatory strike. Unless we treat the nuclear issue
with a sense of realism, they will end up as show pieces and mere
symbols of power. We must understand the paradox of being prepared to
use nuclear weapons as a means to ensure that they are not actually
used. This was the strategy followed during the Cold War.''
Highlighting the need for manned nuclear bombers, he said with the
induction of the indegenious ship submersible ballistic nuclear
(SSBN) missile, 5,000-km Agni IRBM (Intermediate-Range Ballistic
missile) and leased T-160 'Blackjack' bombers from Russia -- a system
providing strategic umbrella should be operationalized by 2012.
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