Army chief Gen M.M. Naravane at the Army Day Parade | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
FIle photo of Army chief Gen M.M. Naravane at the Army Day Parade | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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Army chief Gen M.M. Naravane recently said that the force is in the process of re-balancing its deployment against Pakistan and China to cater to any threat that emerges in the future.

And the Indian Army is absolutely right to do so. Gen Naravane has brought national attention to China, which remains India’s invisible but a formidable foe. There is no denying that China, with its huge military and economy, is a bigger threat than Pakistan, though the latter may hog all the headlines.

So, it is a welcome sign to hear a top military commander openly talk about China – that too twice within days of his taking over – and the challenges it poses to India, which has for long kept its focus on Pakistan, both political and military.


Also read: China’s attempt to raise Kashmir at UN seen as distraction: Envoy Syed Akbaruddin


All about Pakistan

While Pakistan gets immediate media attention and binds India into a frenzy every time there is some action at the Line of Control (LoC), China remains the silent dragon that could wake up and catch the country by surprise anytime.

This Pakistan-centric focus is evident from India’s reaction to two separate incidents of similar nature involving the Army – the 2015 strikes against Naga terror groups in Myanmar and the 2016 surgical strike in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

While the latter received widespread coverage in the media and became part of the national discourse – even inspiring Bollywood into making a film on it – the Myanmar operations have largely been forgotten by the public, despite being the first cross-border surgical strike under the Narendra Modi government.


Also read: Discovery of Pakistan – How Modi & Shah have dramatically re-hyphenated India with Pakistan


China, the No. 1 threat

In 1998, when India joined the list of nuclear-powered nations by conducting its first nuclear test, then-Defence Minister George Fernandes had called China the “potential threat number one”.

The defence minister publicly acknowledged the reality, and yet nothing ever really moved on that front.

Attempts have been made in the last two decades to improve the infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the north and the northeast. But plans are not even half-complete.

Such is the state of affairs that if you travel close to the LAC, your cell phone will catch Chinese signal because Indian networks are still largely non-active in these areas.


Also read: US and China finally end acrimony, sign phase one of trade deal


Changing outlook

It took a while for the Indian military planners to change their outlook. While China focussed on building infrastructure along the LAC – with special attention on laying concrete roads – the Indian side viewed the existence of rocky terrain as the best form of defence.

Their curious logic was that if there were paved roads, the Chinese could use those anytime to enter deep inside India.

Even though Indian governments and the armed forces started focusing on the Chinese threat over the years, they always made sure not to ruffle the Chinese feathers. So, even as India bought strategic lift aircraft like C-17 Globemaster and C-130J Super Hercules, it took care to ensure that these purchases were not seen as build-ups against China.

Such has been the fear of China that ever since Beijing’s objection to the 2007 Malabar naval exercise involving India, Australia, Japan, and the US, New Delhi has continued to exclude Australia from the tri-lateral grouping despite extensive lobby from the other players, including Washington, to participate in the annual drill.

Of late, Indian military strategists have spoken about the ‘two-front scenario’ (Pakistan-China), and the service chiefs have publicly claimed that they can fight in such a scenario. But the fact is that India cannot. It has neither the military resource nor the economic power to do that.


Also read: Modi-Shah’s hyper-nationalism is making India insecure when it is actually most secure


A new chapter

But things changed after ‘Operation Juniper‘ – when Indian troops moved into Doklam, a small territory in Bhutan, to stop the Chinese army from constructing a road that threatens India’s strategic interests.

As India stood up to the “bully”, it brought itself closer to the reality that China cannot be ignored at any cost and that the defence preparedness has to be sped up.

The fact is that India cannot afford to let its guard down against China like it did in the 1950s, which eventually led to the 1962 debacle. Then-Defence Minister V.K. Krishna Menon became so focussed on the Pakistani threat that he and others completely lost track of China, which eventually stabbed India. India cannot make that same mistake again.

While the 1962 War should have made New Delhi wake up to the Chinese threat, all the political attention and rhetoric quickly shifted back to Pakistan and it has remained like that ever since.


Also read: India, China to sweeten chocolate sales in Asia as global production falters


A foe always on its toes

China has always flexed its muscle and specialises in ‘salami slicing’ – taking over territory in a gradual manner, testing the limits of the opponents’ threshold.

A top military officer once told me that China always takes two steps, and when confronted, takes one step back. This gives the opponent the impression that things have gone back to normal when, in reality, China has taken its first forward step.

China has maintained a frenzied focus on its military, with fresh expansion plans for its Navy and the Air Force, besides bringing in new technology. Such is the pace that China has added 80 ships in the last five years to bolster its naval fleet. No navy has grown so rapidly in the last 200 years as the Chinese Navy.

While China sees India as just one of the chess pieces as it goes about playing its larger global game, Beijing is acutely aware of the fact that India is the only power in Asia that can actually stand up to it without help from another country.

While I am in no way seeking a confrontational and aggressive approach against China – not that we are capable of taking one – there is definitely a requirement to take a firmer stand.

India needs to ensure that its plans against China are acted upon in a focussed manner as against the Indian way of dealing with things – ‘chalta hai, ho jayega’.

Army chief Gen Naravane was correct in saying that one has to stay prepared for any eventuality to ensure peace. A stronger Indian military is paramount for achieving peace in the region and the world at large.

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11 Comments Share Your Views

11 COMMENTS

  1. Before Communist China, was Tibet a vassal of the Chinese state, or a part of the Chinese state? How are relations between Beijing and the Tibetans? What are the steps that Beijing has taken to improve this? If the Dalai Lama had not left Tibet, would this have helped matters for Beijing, or made them irreconcilable?

  2. India created its “China problem” back in Nehru time thanks to its shortsighted, silly & greedy politicians.

    If India so badly continues to want an enemy that is China it will get one. Just don’t expect China to be as obsessed with India as India seem to be of China.
    Stop kidding yourselves – India will ***always*** be impotent & outmatched in this rivalry: culturally, economically, militarily etc.

    • Yeah..sure. I mean, how can India rival China in “culture, economy, military”…after all China is the “centre of the world”.. lol
      Also, please do read history..it will be good for you! I don’t know….maybe you will know things in actuality than waste time in internet self masturbation egoistic rants. -_-

  3. Good, if true.
    BJP engages more in symbolism rather than meaningful change to make India a Great Power as it was till 1959, frittering away its mandate on foolish statements. For example renaming British made infrastructure like the Khangressis! Meaningless Patel Statue, when all the politicians’ statues which deface India ought to be destroyed.. Atrociously tall claims such as that Modi was the first Indian on a sea plane when Squadrons of Sea Planes (Catalinas) were based in India during the Second World War and were flown out of curiosity by Indian Air Force officers! Modi’s turbans. Modi accepting bribes in the form of “titles” and decorations from foreign powers which belies his claims to nationalism as well as his claims that the constitution is his religion, They are getting rid of “abide with me” during the Republic Day retreat. Good move, but why not shut down Republic Day altogether? This action merely exacerbates “Minority” insecurity with very little returns. It serves to undo, in International eyes, all the pampering that Modi and Gang have continued for Moslems, Christians and “Depressed classes” at the expense of the Savarna and Brahmanas since 2014. But they still publish Sgt Khilafart Gandhi’s ugly visage on all the currency notes! This is typical of the BJP which raises hackles with symbolic acts and pronouncements but carries out Periyarish, Nehruvian, Ambedkarite, Gandhist, Communist, Christian and Moslem policies with great enthusiasm. e.g. Balakot was a half hearted action. Again more symbolic than meaningful. (See: https://www.quora.com/Are-you-satisfied-with-the-government-response-to-Pulwama-terror-attack/answer/Suchindranath-Aiyer?prompt_topic_bio=1 )
    Indeed, everything except “demonetization” are essentially the policies mooted or implemented by successive Governments since 1947 (abrogating 370 was suggested by former President Venkataraman)merely spruced up, relabeled and implemented with technology applied without ensuring congruence with surrounding action systems. With disastrous consequences. Look at the economy! (Google my many answers on Quora on the Economy)
    Instead of this constant “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” driven by Modi’s inferiority complex that beats Nehru hands down, BJP should work on keeping its promises. How about equality under law? Returning the Savarna Temples that the British inspired Nehru and his Dravid, Dalit, Christian, Moslem, Communist partners in crime, confiscated in 1959? Eradicating the corruption instituted by the BJP? Election Bonds? Criminalizing the victim of extortion (so called “bribe giver”), exempting lawyers from GST so that Judicial corruption may proceed unhindered, retrospective FCRA amendment to permit round tripping corruption generated black money for political parties….
    Here are the latest jokes:
    (1) Pre Ashokan Budhism is nothing but Brahmanism, which is non proselytizing, being propagated by rebel Brahmanas of those days like Ramanujacharya, Basaveshwara or Guru Nanak in more recent days. (Ashokan Budhism (Theravada) was conceived as a Theocratic Empire like more recent Christianity or Islam). Brahmanism wrapped around with local myths, folk tales and cultures is Budhism. (Please google my answers in Quora on Budhism, Sikhism etc). (see: https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Bodhidharma-travelled-to-China-and-settled-there-even-though-he-was-a-prince-of-the-great-Pallavan-empire-of-Bharatavarsha-Indian-sub-continent/answer/Suchindranath-Aiyer?prompt_topic_bio=1 AND https://www.quora.com/Did-the-English-people-cheat-the-Sikh-community-while-vacating-India/answer/Suchindranath-Aiyer?prompt_topic_bio=1 )
    Now, this BJP which has chalked up a trade deficit with China which is bigger than India’s defense budget, is resurrecting yet another Nehruvian blunder of “Hindi-Cheeni Bhai Bhai” on nothing but symbolism to cover up the realities of China’s aggressive expansionism and that China is sitting on Indian territories of Akshai Chin, Tibet and has declared ownership of Arunachal Pradesh by claiming, on the basis of the trek of a couple of under educated BJP talkers, that India and China are the closest “brothers”. Simply because Kumarajeeva (Lit. “Spirit of Subrahmanya”), a Kashmiri Brahmana, translated “Budhist” Sutras into Chinese and was a “National teacher of China” under the Chinese Emperor, oblivious that Tibetans and Vajrayana are being persecuted daily by the Communists. AND. more importantly, that the BJP is carrying on all the British, Periyarish, Nehruvian, Gandhist, Ambedkarite, Communist, Christian and Moslem policies that have marginalized, persecuted and exterminate Brahmanas like Padma Sambhava (Tibet) , Potala Bharadwaja (Japan), Bodhidharma (Martial Arts to China) AND Kumarajeeva in India since 1921!
    Read: https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/4th-century-indian-monk-kumarajiva-was-venerated-by-the-chinese-as-national-teacher-scholars/1665558

    (2) There is a move to provide 10% Reservations for “Upper Class” in Karrinayithikka? What “Upper Class”? The PANGOLIN* Indian Republic has ensured that a forward State like Mysore has become uniformly backward in seventy years by its relentless efforts to achieve universal backwardness!
    Brahmanas cannot afford school fees or any kind of non traditional education. The priests in Karrinayithikka’s nationalized temples are paid salaries of some 200 to 600 Rupees a month which has been stagnant since the days of the Maharaja. They have had the temple lands taken away from them and they are not allowed to keep any collections which all go to the Government. The poverty line has been defined in India as Rs 98.70 per diem. The poverty line in Germany is Rs 3,784 per diem, in UK it is Rs 2,874 per diem, and in Japan it is Rs 1780 per diem (adjusted for purchasing power parity) calculated as on 19th August 2019. Why are they there? Out of their sense of duty (Karma and Dharma) living on the uncertain charity of a few dedicated better off Brahmanas and now subject to “gift tax” by the rapacious Indian State. The children of temple priests are debarred in Nationalized temples from learning as apprentices to their fathers unlike the tradition for centuries before the Indian Rapeublic.

    Like Moslems built tombs to bury their greatest monsters, Nehru and Bhatnagar built laboratories to bury scientific instruments in (Sir C.V.Raman on Nehru’s CSIR projects). Now Modi is doing the same (DRDO labs. What a laugh!). Where are the Human resources? Where is the education? Where are the standards? But the PANGOLIN* created an India to bury its best brains and talent in!

    *Note: PANGOLIN: An enemy of India who believes in inequality under law, exceptions to the rule of law and persecution of some for the benefit of others. At present, the sole purpose of the Indian Republic, Constitutional or otherwise, is to pamper and provide for certain constitutionally preferred sections of society who the British found useful to hold and exploit India at the cost of those who the British hated and persecuted. The Pangolin is a creature that is unique to India and feeds on ants that are known in nature to be industrious and hard working if not quite as fruitful as bees who flee to better climes. (PANGOLIN is an acronym for the Periyar-Ambedkar-Nehru-Gandhi-Other (alien) Religions-Communist Consensus that usurped the British Mantle and has worn it with elan to loot, plunder, and rape India since 1921 and re write History and laws to their exclusive benefit since 1947)

    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/a-few-poor-communities-will-benefit-from-10-reservation/articleshow/67449223.cms

    Unfortunately BJP is not a chicken with its head cut off. It is a Brontosaurus with its head cut off as it is led and controlled by persons without any erudition, education or intellectual capacity and has abandoned all the core values that it used to profess and has adopted all the “secular” values and policies of the opposition, albeit in Saffron Camouflage, rather than attend to India’s “Greatness”

  4. The actual Line of Threat is from the Chinese and not the Pakis. The Pakis are just barking street dogs once you confront them, they will run around the bush and back out. But the Chinese will slice your throat in a cool fashion that you would never know that death is taking over you. If you are awake to that threat, the Chinese can be easily taken down. As they do not have the gutts to face you directly gun to gun, face to face. They are always cowards. Thats the reason they have never been to war with any country. Today they may have a hugh almighty Army, Navy and Air force which is just a show of force, never tested on ground. And the US knows this, as the Chinese tech toys are just the same as the products they produce with cheap quality and price. All India has to know – Be awake, Alert and use the best of our Forces and comm technology to monitor every move of these pigs,. JAI HIND.

  5. Agree fully with the views of Snehesh. There is definitely some change in the way all the three Chiefs are communicating and this shows India’s increasing confidence about its position. China is indeed covering us from east to north and in fact to the west through its client state Pakistan and also from south over the IOR. While we have no desire to fight with it, we should be able to defend ourselves alone and give it a black eye in case of any misadventure. Since Modi government arrived on the scene, lot of positive changes in the are of defense have taken place over the years and we can now see some positive results. This is welcome and we should continue our build on our strengths and be ready to take on any Chinese misadventure..

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