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HVK Archives: China was the ace up Zia's Topac sleeve

China was the ace up Zia's Topac sleeve - The Telegraph

Chandan Nandy ()
May 25, 1998

Title: China was the ace up Zia's Topac sleeve
Author: Chandan Nandy
Publication: The Telegraph
Date: May 25, 1998

Operation Topac - which Union home minister L.K. Advani referred
to last week while attacking Pakistan - was a three-phase plan
put together by Gen. Zia ul Haq to iberate Kashmir, and he
banked on China to bail him out if he fell into erious trouble
while executing it.

The former Pakistan President spelt out project details at a
meeting of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in April 1988, a
few months before he was killed in an aircrash over Bahawalpur.

Gen. Zia admitted that Pakistan's re-occupation with
Afghanistan, had deterred him from placing his plans before the
ISI earlier. "Let there be no mistake that our aim remains quite
clear and firm: the liberation of Kashmir Valley," he said.

What appeared to concern Advani was that Gen. Zia had been
confident of getting Chinese help. "They (our Chinese friends)
can do no more than ensure that Indian forces deployed against
them are not moved out, but this may be required only at the last
or the third stage of our operations. Of course, if we are in
serious trouble, the Chinese and our other powerful friends shall
come to our rescue one way or the other. They win ensure that if
we do not win, we do not lose."

Gen. Zia said Islamabad had so far "opted for hamhanded military
options and, therefore, f". He said "shrewdness and
Intelligence, power to persevere under pressure and political
intrigue were some Kashmiri qualities that could be "exploited".

For the Initial phases, Gen. Zia planned a "coordinated use of
moral and physical means other than military operations which
will destroy the will of the enemy, damage his political capacity
and expose him to the world as an oppressor". He favoured
recruiting select politicians who would "collaborate with us in
subverting all effective organs of the state".

Gen. Zia warned that use of foreign mercenaries would require
detailed and ingenious planning since the 1965 Indo-Pak war, code
named Operation Gibraltar, held "many lessons for us".

On arming Kashmiri insurgents, he said: "We have managed to
accumulate large stocks of modern arms and ammunition from the US
consignments intended for the Afghan mujahideens."

Gen. Zia warned: "It will be disastrous to believe we can take on
India in a straight contest. We must be careful and maintain a
low military profile so that the Indians do not find an excuse to
pre-empt us by attacking at a time and point of their choice."

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