Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Views & Analysis

Is India preparing to clash with China and Pakistan simultaneously?

India on Wednesday, added five French fighter jets, among the world's most advanced fighter jets to its air force

Friday August 7, 2020 8:55 PM, Zeeshan Mustafa

India China Pakistan

India has now abandoned its traditional one-front policy, and is now preparing to acquire the capability to clash with two fronts simultaneously.

India on Wednesday, added five French fighter jets, among the world's most advanced fighter jets to its air force. The planes, flying from France, arrived at Ambala airport on Wednesday.

India has struck a deal with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale warplanes worth about Rs 60,000 crore, of which five are part of the deal. The remaining aircrafts will be delivered to India by the end of the next year.

India's military is also buying surface-to-air hammer missiles from France under special emergency powers amid border tensions with China. The Indian Air Force has also recently decided to buy 21 additional MiG-29s and 12 Sukhoi SU-30MKI fighter jets from Russia.

India's decades-old policy

Years ago, India's military plans and policies revolved around Pakistan. For the past 30 years, India-Pakistan border and Line of Control have been the most dynamic military region. Although there is no formal war, it is one of the most dangerous borders in the world.

Kashmir insurgency has turned the region into a war-torn area. Most of India's military energy and military planning revolves around Pakistan. India's clear policy was to focus on one front at a time.

India did not face much difficulty from China and it was not in a position to open two fronts at the same time. But this policy is now changing radically.

Despite the border dispute with China, there have been no serious clashes between the two countries in the past four decades, but in recent years China has constructed major highways along its nearly 3,800-kilometer border with India, and built airstrips and helipads, as well as shelters for large numbers of soldiers.

During this period, China's attitude has also changed and it began to assert its claim on the border more intensely. In recent years, Chinese troops have repeatedly entered Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Ladakh in areas that India considers its territory or was under its control. In many areas, the Chinese crossed the Line of Actual Control and occupied Indian territory.

Manmohan Singh's China policy

Fifteen years ago, under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India undertook the task of constructing large-scale roads, military bases and airstrips along the Indo-China border, realizing the growing sternness of China's attitude on the border and the intentions of Chinese troops. Most of the construction work started on the borders is now nearing completion.

China was taking a closer look at India's changing background. Meanwhile, on August 5 last year, India changed the status of Jammu and Kashmir under its administration. A constitutional amendment in Parliament declared Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as Centrally Administered Territories. Not only that, the government in a resolution also vowed to withdraw the Chinese-administered Aksai Chin territory from China.

China has been claiming a large part of eastern Ladakh. The parliamentary amendment on Kashmir and Ladakh created unrest in China and it now began to view India's every move with suspicion.

In the early months of the Corona Pandemic, when US President Donald Trump accused China of conspiring to suppress the World Health Organization (WHO), India backed him. Meanwhile, India has banned direct investment by Chinese companies through an ordinance after it bought a 1% stake in a leading Indian private bank through the Central Bank of China.

India, China bloody clashes

It was in this context that a bloody clash took place in the Galwan Valley in mid-June, in which twenty Indian soldiers were killed and at least seventy wounded. China says the clash was caused in April by Indian troops building roads and bridges in Gloucester and entering the LAC illegally.

Analysts in China believe that the Gloucester clash has severely damaged the positive relations between India and China. Qianfeng, head of research at the National Strategic Institute at Beijing's Shangwa University, says anti-China sentiment is growing in India.

After the large number of Indian soldiers killed in the June 15 clashes, Indian political leaders, intellectuals and people became acutely aware of this loss. When India clashes with other South Asian countries like Pakistan, India retaliates against them, but if the opponent is China, then India's behavior is different.

"India is aware of the differences between China's military might and the possible consequences of any retaliatory military action against China," he added. Therefore, it cannot afford to resolve the conflict in the Galwan Valley by military force. Due to this helplessness, anti-China sentiments are intensifying in India.

India, China tension

In an article, Qian added that the recent border tensions have greatly affected India's strategy towards China and have hampered the positive development of bilateral relations.

"The United States is fomenting differences between India and China as part of its strategy to thwart China's advance, which will further complicate the development of India-China relations and the settlement of border disputes", he said.

Leading Chinese intellectuals believe that India appears to be more confident in strengthening its military partnership with the United States and its allies, and this poses a "relatively significant threat to China's security and could lead to future threats such as Gulwan." It will be more difficult to deal with matters.

India is also pushing for a fundamental shift in strategic thinking towards China. Many analysts in the country believe that Chinese President Xi Jinping is more powerful and aggressive than his predecessors.

Former Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale has written in an article that President Xi is moving forward on the strength of his ability. "He (President Xi) is confident that he will turn the 21st century into the century of China," writes Vijay Gokhale. Just as Mao Zedong is considered a 'first hundred' leader, so Xi intends to become a 'second hundred' leader. That is why the world will face them for a long time and it is very important to deal with them.

The new generation of Indians does not know much about the Indo-China War of 1962, but the defeat from China in that war is deeply ingrained in India's national psyche.

Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi had said a few days ago, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has presented the image of a powerful leader to the people, but now he is busy in trying to save the image of his powerful leader instead of pushing back the Chinese from Indian soil."

US support to India

In case of China, India is now trying to get out of hesitation. After initial hesitation, PM Modi has decided to join the front against China, which is being led by the United States, which also includes Japan and Australia.

India's desire to defeat China militarily is very old. When five Rafale fighter jets arrived in India from France on Wednesday, there was frenzy in the Indian media. It seemed that India is now about to defeat China with the help of these planes. Not only the media but also the right-wing Hindu nationalist government is suffering from this madness.

In comparing its military equipment with China, Indian analysts forget that China is the world's second most economically powerful country. China is on the verge of overtaking the United States. China is at the forefront of technology and research. India buys all its military equipment from other countries. In contrast, China manufactures its own warplanes, aircraft carriers, submarines, guns, artillery and tanks.

India, China defense budget

According to Firepower, India's leading defense analyst, India's annual defense budget is 71 billion, while China's 261 billion. The Indian Army has 1444,000 troops while China has 2183,000 troops, and Pakistan has 620,000.

China has 3210 warplanes while India has 2123 aircrafts and Pakistan has 951. China has 911 military helicopters while India has 722.

India has 4292 tanks while China has 13050, China has 40,000 armored vehicles and India has 6686. India has one aircraft carrier while China has two. India has 16 submarines, while China has 74, and Pakistan has eight. India has 346 airports while China has 507.

According to Sapri's report, India has 150 nuclear bombs while Pakistan has 160. China is thought to have 320 atomic bombs.

Not long ago, Indian and Pakistani military policymakers thought that nuclear bombs would stop the war in the future, but this is changing after last year's operation in Balakot and now the bloody clashes in the Gulwan Valley in June.

India has abandoned its traditional one-front policy and is now preparing to acquire the ability to collide on two fronts simultaneously. This is a dangerous path.

The world's two most populous countries, armed with destructive nuclear bombs, are moving in a direction that is certainly not the path to peace.

[Zeeshan Mustafa, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He can be contacted at razazeeshan777@gmail.com. Views are personal.]

For all the latest News, Opinions and Views, download ummid.com App.

Select Language To Read in Urdu, Hindi, Marathi or Arabic.

Share this page

 Post Comments
Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.ummid.com