2012-07-05 (pakobserver.net and by M D Nalapat) — The warm response by the Chinese side to a recent Indian Navy ship visit highlights the potential for military cooperation between the two sides. Both sides have a strong historical basis for this.During the days in 1929 when it seemed as though the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) was waging a battle against the Kuomintang (KMT), Mao Zedong said that ‘the Party controls the Gun” ie that the armed forces must always function under political (civilian) leadership. In this,he differentiated the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from the Kuomintang,which had been taken over by military officers. Mao understood that a country,especially one as vast as China,ought to be administered by people with a broad overall vision for the present and future,rather than dominated by those who placed military viewpoints and priorities above other considerations.
This subordination to civilian control sets the PLA apart from other militaries in Asia,South America, Africa and in Europe,where those in uniform have sometimes taken power away from civilians and concentrated them within the military. Spain, Portugal, Greece, Nigeria, Indonesia, South Korea and Chile are examples,although all have now come under civilian control There are also countries where the military is a “state within astate”, which has special powers independent of the civilian authority. Turkey till recently was an example of such a system.However,Prime Minister R T Erdogan has – with the support of the European Union – ensured the taking back of executive authority to civilian hands, the same way as the armed forces of India and China are. Indeed, together with Communist China, the Republic of India has been among the very few countries in Asia where the military has always remained under civilian contro.
This common culture has the potential to forge a close partnership between the armed forces of China and India Another factor that can bind China and India together in the military sphere is the fact that both countries face the same twin threats: Terrorism and Splittism. Both China and India have been facing terrorist attacks aimed at disrupting the lives of citizens,and hence it is logical that both share their experience and expertise in counter-terror operations,as well as take part in joint Counter-Terrorism drills. Indeed,ideally the Pakistan military too ought to join hands with their Indian and Chinese counterparts in formulating defenses against acts of terror,given that Pakistan has become one of the biggest victims of terror attacks in recent years Another common threat facing both India and China is splittism.