i5o5 SEP2 SPECIAL NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
PROSPECTS OF CHINESE COMMUNIST INVOLVEMENT IN THE LNDO-PAKISTAN WAR
Thii ri the eilimo'e. No further vcrfions will be published.
Submitled by ihe DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE
Concurred in by ihc UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD as indico'ed overleof
APFOT) FOR RELEASE 16
Submitted by the
director of central intelligence
The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, and NSA.
united states intelligence board
ononcurring were the Director of Intelligence and Research. Department of State; the Director, Defense Intelligence Agency; and the Director of the National Security Agency. The Atomic Energy Commissionto the USIB and the Assistant to the Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, abstained, the subject being outside of their jurisdiction.
CLASSIFICATION OF TITLE IS OfriClrtl uCfi QlllY
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CENTRAL IWTELLIGEHCE ageucy
SOBJECT: PHOSFECTS OFMJS1ST TNVOLVEME-TT
We bell err- tbat China will avoid direct,llltary Involvement ln the Indo-Pailstaa var. An Impending Pakistani defeat would, however, substantially increase the pressures for Chinese entry,in thla circumstance we believe the chances are better than even that the logistic probleas involved and the primacy of Viet naa in China'a Interests would keep China fronajor military venture against India. In addition to propaganda, political support, and military gestures, rhirt* vlll probably offer aaterlal aid, tut It probablyeliver nore than token aaounta. It will aakc threats and there is an ven chance it will Bake saaU-Bcale military probes acrosa the Indian frontier; the odds that it nightalted-objective attack similar to thatre somewhat lower. In either case it would xpect to produce political and psychological effects far greater than the military Importance vould Justify.
communist ckdcw. iirmi^rs
China's priaary external concern at the presentthe war In Vietnam and the possibilitylno-USthere. To Peking, the Indo-Pakistan wax providesexploitation to advance Chinese interests but does not Justifyrisks. Peking la, therefore, likely to be cautious in its effort* benefit froa the fighting in the sub-continent.
this context, China will strive to gain credit forto deaonstratc the value of China's friendship. all] do what it can, without undue risk, to waken and Peking will alno endeavor to use the Indo-Pakistan conflictboth tbe US and the USSRthe longer it endures, theprolongation of the conflict between two countries friendly to theclearly put the US In an awkward spot and threaten to lessenwith both belligerents. This would be seen by Peking as aadvancing its nejor policy aim of reducing CS influence and power
II. C7TIST CHEW'S MfiUTS OF nrnERVDiTICfl
3. Peking has already condemned India's actions as aggression and has given Its moral and political support to Pakistan. It has given more substantial belp to Pakistan by increasing tension along the Slno-Indlan border through making increasingly threatening statements. It probably vill exploit Its dip]Pontic assets in the underdeveloped world In on effort to vln support for Pakistan and condemnation of India.
k. The Chinese probably will offer military materiel to Pakistan, but they have little capability to provide weapons and material of tbe kind Pakistan needs most, such as modem aircraft and armored equipment. Even if they were to part with such weapons, the difficulties ofmajor items of equipment from China to Pakistan ore formidable. Furthermore, because the Pakistani armed forces are trained for and almost completely outfitted with OS and other Western arms, they would encounter serious short-run difficulties in adapting to the operation and maintenance of Soviet and Chinese types of weapons. In the longer run, Pakistani personnel could be trained to operate and maintain such weapons and the necessary supplies of spare parts and maintenancecould be brought into Pakistan, but It would take cany months before the Pakistanis could make effective use of these weaponsignificant scale. The deployment of Chinese aircraft and personnel to Pakistani airfields would face many, but not all, of these problems.
5. The only material way In which China could provide aaj or and timely tffective help to Pakistan lc through the use or threatened use of Chinese allltary forces. Peking knows that the Indians are nervous and fearful of another Chinese attack. It almost certainly cnlculateo that even very small military probes would cause the Indians greatand divert Indian effort and supplies away froo the fighting with the Pakistanis. Indeed, the Chinese threat already tiesignificant portion of India's military forces: in the northeast, India has some six divisions and aboutombat aircraft positioned to defend against the possibility of Chinese attack.
HI. CHINESE OKMTiriST MILITARY CAPAEOJTIES IH THE AREA
6. Chinese COcgunlst forces In the Himalayan area now consist0 men In Tibet0 in western Sinklang. Not all of these troops could be used in combat against India becuase some of then are support troops and others are required to control Tibetan diasldencc* The Chinese have several principal alternatives forirect military attack against India.
a. Aa attack lr. Ladakh. This vould threaten Leh, an Important cosmainlcatlcn center and air base, and the Indian rear ln Kashmir. The
s We estlsate that because of logistic and geographic factors the Chinese could attack with acombat forceroops along tbe entire Sino-Indlan frontier. The buildup for auch an operation could be accomplishedonth. Wo believe it would be detected ln Its early stages.
Chinese Comcamlats would hope that the Indians would divert forces away from the Pakistani-Indian fighting. We believe that if the Chinese decided to intervene with military force, they would see advantages in this alternativeeans of directly assisting the Pakistani forces in Kashmir.
attack in the border area between Ladakh andChineseedge of territory north of Joshimath. Wethis alternative, although militarilymall scale, wouldpsychological impact of appearing to threaten New Delhi.
through the Chucbl Valley in Slkkim and in HEFA.
A combined Chinese attack in these two areas would provide an opportunity to bring relatively large forces to bear against the Indians. This wouldar more serious undertaking, both militarily and politically, than an attack in Ladakh. It is the route by which the Chinese wouldaajor advance if they had determinedajor war against India; it could also, of coarse, be the areaesser probe or evenimited-objective attack designed primarily for political and psychological effect andilitary diversion. Chinese protests against Indian "aggression" have focused most frequently and in greatest detail on the Slkkim border, and Peking basoundation of charges which might be used to Justify military attacks against forward Indian positions in this area, nevertheless, for actions shortajor invasion of India, the disputed HEFA territory would probably be more attractive to China than the clearly-established frontier of Slkkim.
air attacks could be mounted across Banna fronin southwest China and across Nepal from air fields inChinese could also launch ground attacks against India throughSurma, but for political reasons, if for no others, thesuch an attack lo slight.
Chinese air force would face very formidablelogistic support over extended lines of communicationoperating from inadequate bases in the Himalayan area. It couldmoreircraft including aboutet light bombersairor use against India. Ground support of Chinesefighter aircraft would be extremely limited in time and area in3ino-Indian conflict areas. ack of adequateon both sides, air-to-air combat would bo sporadic. BombingDumber of Chinese Communist medium bombers, whilecarry no great military weight. This force would have almostto support Pakistani ground forces in the west.
q. The Chine ae forces presently stationed near the Indian border are adequate to conduct snail-scale probes and harassing movements without augmentation from China proper. With Hone reinforcement, these forces couldimited-objective attack similar to that. Activities
* There haveaever been any substantial numbers of combat aircraft
stationed In Tibet. Rone are known to be there at present. However, we believe that POL and supplies have been preposltioned In the area and that combat aircraft could be moved in on very short notice.
on either erf these limited scalers would bring reactions ln India and In the world at large far out of proportion to the Chinese effort. Hev Delhi would feel obliged to strengthen Indian defenses ln anyrea, and It vould be particularly sensitirehinese probe against its outposts in Ladakh.
10. ajor Chinese military effort against India,urther buildup in Tibet and Slnkiang could be accomplished without much strain on China's military manpower, but It would heavily tax China's not or transport capabilities and would resulteavy drain on POL supplies. Supplies for Chinese Communist military forces in the Sino-Indian border area are transported by road from rail-served base depots In Chengtn in Szechwan, ln Laaehoa and Hsiatung ln Sansu, and In the vicinity of TJrumcM in Slnkiang. Prom these railheads supplies are
moved into the frontier area by truck over0iles)
and difficult routes.
IT." FACTORS XEFHTENC'IHG PSEUiG'S POLICT
11. There are various political considerations which encourage ot least limited Chlneae participation in the Indo-Pakistan war. In addition to complicating Hew Delhi's immediate defense problem, action by Peking would re-emphasize to the snb-Himttlayaa states of Nepal, Bhutan, and SUrJtlm the limitations of Indian power compared with that of China.
It vould also show Karachi and others that Peking could be relied upon even at some risk to Chinese security. Peking vould calculate that it probably- could manipulate its actions so as to avoid any successful Indian counteraction or eacalatory response, thereby shewing Indian military relations vith Peking's political foeshe DS and USSRto be unprofitable. On the other hand, Peking could not be completely certain that once engaged it could avoid deeper involvement, especially If its limited participation failed to gain the desired results.
12. There are strategic considerations militatingajor use of Peking's capabilities against India. The most important is the war in Vietnam. Peking feels itreat deal riding on the outcome of that struggle and is concerned that it might become directly Involved ln fighting vith the OS in that area. The Chinese are therefore anxious to keep their naterlal resources available for the assistance of Iforth Vietnam and the defense of China against Any peripheral adventure that vould divert elements of Chinese strength vould be unwelcome. The Chinese nay believe that they could quickly demoralize Indian troops and cause panic in Nev Delhi. However, Indian forces, especially in Sikklm and HEFA, are considerably stronger and better prepared than they were If those forces remain In place and make the Chinese come over the crest of the mountains to dislodge them, it woulduch
greater Chinese effort than it did2 to achieve similar results. Finally, the Chinese would almost certainly be concernedarge-scale involvement of their forces In the Indo-Pakistan war might bring them* into direct conflict with the US.
13. There are also some political inhibit ions on Chinese military irrrolvement In the Indo-Pakistan conflict. When China moved against India, one result was increased OS military aid to India. This strengthened India's armed forces and Increased US influence and presence in tbe area, both undesirable from Peking's point of view. Peking probably estimateshinese attack against India now would bring further such undesirable results. To be sure, the Chinese might reason that any OS military aid to India at this time would de story the remaining OS equity ia Pakistan and increase Pakistan's dependence on China. Peking might considerufficient gain to offset tbe increased OS military involvement In India. For these same reasons, however, the Pakistanis, in any coalitions short of desperation, would be likely to discourage any such Chinese involvement.
Ik. The course of the Indo-Pakistan war Itself will be an Important factor in influencing Peking's policy.
(a) rolonged and inconclusive conflict, bleeding both India and Pakistan and intensifying the embarrassment of Washington and Moscow, would be in accord with Peking's interests.
If Pakistani military efforts vere meeting vlth success, Peking vould try to assume some of the credit and to this end, night eren harass Indian forces along the frontier.
If, on the other hand, Indian efforts were moderately successful, there vould be about an even chance that the Chinese would engage in limited probes across the frontier to alarm the Indians, hoping to relieve pressure on the Pakistanis and retain the Chinese position in Karachi;
the chance they nicheimited-objective attack similar to tbat2 is somewhat leas.
series of Indian successes sufficient to threaten themilitary Integrity of Pakistan wouldilemma to thewould seen forced to chooseerious loss of facetheir new-found friends go down In defeat or the graveir. drastic action to attempt to reverse the course of thelatter course wouldajor Chinese commitment far fronVietnam theater and tbe possibility of becoming involved with
the US. The Chinese might still undertake some limited military probes, but in the circumstances, ve believe they vould prefer some loss of face to becoming engagedajor war vith India. He believe that any commitment the Chinese may hove ondo to the Pakistanis leaves Peking considerable freedom of maneuver.
(e) An Indian invasion of East Pakistan would somewhat increase the likelihood of Chinese Involvement. But the Chinese could not prevent the Indians from seizing their main objectives In this weakly-defended area, and we doubt that the Indian Invasion would in Itself be the causeajor Chinese intervention. However, even limited ailltary probes on the nearby Slno-Indlan border would probably divert some Indian forces away from East Pakistan and at tho sane time demonstrate to Rawalpindi the sincerity of Chinese support.
V. ETXOrnSIA'S PART
15. With Chinese encouragement and support, the Indonesians, already vociferously on Pakistan's side, might be persuaded to send some of their core advanced military equipment to assist Pakistan. Indonesia could conceivably send scoe of its military aircraft or use its destroyers and submarines to harass and distract the Indian Navy. The modern cceabat aircraft, all of Soviet make, would need Indonesian crews and maintenance forces. It would also be difficult to get the aircraft to Pakistan; and Indonesia may be too worried about its mm defeaseossible confrontation with Britain to want to spare any of its modem weapons. The capabilities of Indonesia's cavy are extremely low, especially in waters removed from the main Sumboja base. However, Indonesia, even without Chinese encouragement, will probably attempt to support Pakistan with modest shipments of war materiel.
TI.' POSSTTTTT.-PT OT ROTAKAT 2SCALATI0H
16. There Is still the possibility that Communist China might unintentionally get deeply involvedrocess of escalation. Chinese moves along the frontier such as seizure of Indian reconnaissance patrols and advance outposts designed to worry the Indians, encourage the Pakistanis, and improve local Chinese defense positions, might drav an Indian response that required an increased Chinese response in return, and so on. It is more likely, however, that India would be too preoccupied by its war with Pakistan to engage in provocative responses on the Chinese frontier, and China, for its part, would avoid being provokedourse of action it was anxious not to take.
CHINA-INDIA FRONTIER AREAOriginal document.