By TJS George, 05/09/2010
Options we have; have we the will?
Another war with India is unlikely to be on China's agenda. But menacing military build-up and other needling tactics to divert India's energies and attention is central to its agenda. It’s an old ploy. But the level of aggressiveness is new.
India's politicians, the TV channels in particular, have a way of reacting to such unfriendly actions in an emotional, high-decibel style. Which is reminiscent of the Nehru-era cries like "we won't let them get one inch of Indian territory". If anything, such declamatory posturings only reduce our own ability to work out counter-strategies in a cool and calculating manner.
Actually, we should learn from the Chinese how to be calculating. With a hundred-year perspective, they planned the strategic encirclement of India, with bases in Burma, Sri Lanka and Pakistan - even as we steadily lost our influence in neighbouring countries.
With the same long-term view of history, they built up their road and rail networks in the Tibetan territory previously considered inhospitable to such transportation facilities. Recently they successfully tested their strategic airlift capability, an area where they have advanced very far with 450 high-capacity military cargo planes.
India is famous for dithering when it comes to military acquisition. Unseen middlemen still controlling the bulk of the transactions is only half the problem. The other half is our insistence of all kinds of special provisions, from incorporating systems still on the drawing board to establishing joint venture facilities. The result is that in all three wings of the defence forces, our strike capacity is well below the required level.
Options we have; have we the will? click here to read more
The writer is a former Director General, Defence Planning Staff
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