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Force Magazine

Fooled Again

Yet another book that completely misreads China and its international stature

By Pravin Sawhney

Book review It is certain that China will attack India; when, is undecided. ‘The chances of a (Chinese) pre-emptive strike on India in the 2014-20 timeframe in case of an economic crisis (in China), and beyond the 2025-30 timeframe, in case the Chinese economy does well, therefore, cannot be ruled out,’ is the core of the recently released book, ‘China’s Military Power: A Net Assessment’ by Maj. Gen. (Dr) G.D. Bakshi.

Why will China fight a war with India? ‘India is one of the biggest countries in Asia and if it is humiliated militarily, the rest of South Asia will fall in line automatically,’ the author writes.

What should India do in terms of military modernisation and war strategy? The Indian Army should raise another strike corps (60,000 troops) for Ladakh in addition to the one already under raising (17 mountain corps) for Arunachal. The India Air Force should have a 60 combat squadron force (each squadron is 20 aircraft; the sought strength by the air force is 45 squadrons; at present the force has 35 squadrons against an authorised strength of 39-and-half squadrons). The IAF should acquire Russian long range bombers TU-22 or TU-94, which do not have to refuel over China.

Meanwhile, India should cobble together an Asian-NATO style alignment. ‘The core of this alliance structure would be India-Japan and Vietnam. The Philippines, South Korea and Malaysia may form the second tier.’ An Indian alliance with the United States should be made only if relations between the US and China deteriorate. This Asian-NATO alliance will ensure that a bulk of Chinese military will be tied down against India’s alliance partners.

Once this is done, India should pre-empt and attack China. The Chinese rapid reaction forces do not have ground holding capability and its defensive forces ‘are weak and second rate’.

In case of an attack by Pakistan-China combine in Ladakh, India should escalate the war by activating other sectors like ‘Aksai Chin, Sikkim, or Arunachal.’

The above military assessment is from the book sponsored by the ‘Centre for Land Warfare Studies’, Indian Army’s only think tank. The book’s foreword is by a former chief of Integrated Defence Staff (responsible for tri-services acquisitions) Lt Gen. H.S. Lidder; and was released by a former army chief, Gen. Shankar Roychowdhary. Given the names associated with the book, it is fair to presume that the Indian Army does not rubbish this military assessment of China. This is very worrisome.

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