India is perfectly capable of Winning a Two-Front War against Pakistan-China

Army chief declares that India is perfectly capable of winning a two-front war against China and Pakistan. But consider this: the Chinese military has two million active personnel, Pakistan has 600,000, while India has 1.3 million. The math does does not seem to favor India.

After 26/11, India was sorely tempted to retaliate against Pakistan. As it was after the attack on Parliament in 2001. But after every major provocation, it dithers. For sure there is heavy American pressure. But Indian defence planners also seem unsure.

Pakistan will fight to the hilt any Indian attack, but after a few weeks it will wilt. It hopes that the Chinese open a second front against India, but that could be a forlorn hope. The Chinese, inscrutable as ever, may decide to do nothing. Or they may show solidarity with Pakistan and hit India.

India would then be forced to take on China, much to Pakistan’s delight. All along, there would be intense American pressure to bring a subcontinental war to a halt. But it may not succeed. In the absence of China, a sinking Pakistan would be tempted to resort to nukes.

The situation would be as complicated in case Pakistan initiates a war against India. In a couple of years, the Taliban should have taken Kabul. Thousands of foreign jihadis—Chechens, Uighurs, Arabs—would suddenly become unemployed then.

Pakistan will almost without fail redirect them, as well as its own jihadis, against Kashmir. It tried the same in 1989, had the Indian army on the ropes but the army recovered and the Pakistani putsch failed. But now presents another golden opportunity that Pakistan is sure not to miss.

The only difference is that the Indian army is battle-hardened now and well-versed in counter-insurgency. So Pakistan will find it hard to detach Kashmir from India. Frustrated, it may launch an attack elsewhere, once again hoping the Chinese would join in the party.

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But with India not the aggressor, China might be more reluctant to do so. Or they just might. With the Chinese one never knows. Indian defence planners must then necessarily plan for a two-front war. How prepared are they?

The vast majority of India’s men and munitions face Pakistan. Things look rather bleak on its eastern front. Each time a few Chinese soldiers show up on the border, an edgy army alerts the media, which raises a national alarm. The ghost of 1962 is still alive and kicking.

The Chinese have unveiled two types of stealth fighters. The stealth fighter is an amazing conventional weapon. Evading radar, and hence detection, it can hone in with exact precision on an enemy target, destroy it, and return home unscathed.

India is light years away from developing any reliable fighter jet, leave alone a stealth. India’s primary deterrent against China seems to be missiles, but long-range missiles can go awry. Aim for Shanghai but plonk yourself in the water. An Indian proposal to raise a mountain strike corps aimed against China was scrapped, apparently for lack of money.

Indian defence planners have been following a twin-track weaponization policy. They fund indigenous arms development, but even 70 years after Independence, Indian defence labs cannot produce a decent pistol.

The labs moan that the powers that be are really only interested in acquiring arms from abroad, perhaps because of all the cuts involved. That may well be the case, but the point is that India must arm itself effectively, whether indigenously or through foreign means.

The previous government was so haunted by the ghost of Bofors that it literally put a stop to any major weapons acquisition. The current government seems keen to undo past mistakes, but it has convolved foreign arms procurement with its Make in India campaign.

The Rafale was the winner in a tortuous tender process, but when the government arm-twisted the French to make the jet in India, they balked. The price would have to go up considerably, because the French would have to set up foreign supply chains in India, Indian manufacturers not seen as being up to the mark.

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The air force needs about 200 fighter jets. The Americans seem inclined to make the F-16 in India, but they do not not appear terribly convincing. Saab of Sweden has been an aggressive promisor, but then again. Conflating buying foreign jets with making them in India could take years before they take to the skies.

And then, what about the stealth? India needs at least a few stealth fighters of its own to counter China. Any company we get conventional jets from must have stealth capability as well as the willingness to supply it to us.

Finally, the military has to be made a more attractive career choice. The army suffers from a shortage of 10,000 officers. A senior army officer recounted that in a country like India, there is no shortage of people. But the army needs quality people.

After Independence, the army was a career of choice, which led to the stunning 1971.

In both Pakistan and China, military personnel are looked after from cradle to grave. We treat our veterans shabbily. Any army necessarily has to have brawn, but to prevail, it must have brains like Napoleon, Clausewitz, and Rommel. Do we?







Source:- TNN Blog

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