China’s secret weapon in conflict with India exposed ‘Could really be a problem for them!’

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Asia Program deputy director Michael Kugelman warned China may have a secret weapon that would allow it to get a great edge over India if the two nuclear-armed nations became more volatile with one another. During an interview with, Mr Kugelman explained that while talks have begun between China and India to de-escalate the tensions at the border, none have yet been successful. He warned China’s ally Pakistan may prove to be the key player in the conflict between the two countries, putting China a step ahead.

Mr Kugelman added, if Pakistan takes this opportunity to put military pressure on India, combined the two nations could cause severe destabilisation in India.

He said: “It is quite notable how so much of the world has tried to stay out of this.

“It is only after you had the violent clash in recent days where you actually had statements from a number of Governments and also the UN.

“I think Pakistan is the key player here, Pakistan is a bitter rival of India and it is a close ally of China.

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“Pakistan has been firmly behind China in everything that has happened here.

“If you want to talk about the possibility of broader destabilisation emerging from this limited bilateral spat between India and China you would have to worry about certain situations.”

Mr Kugelman explained the potential crisis India could face if Pakistan becomes more involved in its clashes with China.

He said: “I think you have to worry about a situation where Pakistan tries to take advantage of India being bogged down by China.

“They could do this by engaging in provocative escalatory behaviour along its border with India.

“This border is always hotter than the India China border just because the Pakistanis and the Indians are using heavy weaponry.

“If Pakistan tries to intensify things with rocket fire or cross-border firing to provoke India that could be a problem.”

Mr Kugelman also explained another fear India has regarding Pakistan taking advantage of its focus being on China.

He added: “Another fear I know India has is that Pakistan could try and take advantage of India being bogged down on its northern border with China by encouraging militant assets.

“Pakistan could encourage them to cross the border into Kashmir and try and stir up trouble and stage attacks on Indian security forces in Kashmir.

“If that was to happen that is when you have to worry about broader destabilisation in India.”

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Mr Kugelman admitted he did not know of any other country that would so willingly get involved in a potential conflict between China and India.

He closed by saying: “I don’t know of any country, other than Pakistan, that would want to become involved operationally or n a crisis, much less a conflict between the two countries.

“You cannot overstate the significance of the fact that you have these very tense borders between India and Pakistan and India and China.

“These are three nuclear-armed states that all pose threats in their own way.”

“India doesn’t get along with either of them and I think that is something that we cannot rule out.”

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