Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint.in
CDS Gen Bipin Rawat | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint.in
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Are they really serious when successive Indian army chiefs say they are preparing for a two-front war? Or is a two-front war merely a bogey to attract sympathy from the right quarters? The more important question is: does India really consider China an enemy and does it really have the stomach or the desire to fight China? The June 15 clash clearly shows India will do anything to appease China.

Yet, astonishing as it sounds, while flaunting their ambitious plans for a two-front war, the current army chief and his predecessor give themselves away when they declare that the focus of their war preparations is basically Pakistan and that on the Chinese front the Indian army will adopt a policy of deterrence.

In his first press conference after taking over as army chief last December, Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane spoke of “collusivity” between Pakistan and China and said this could be “both physical on land borders and in other spheres also” as in technology and “in coming to each other’s help in times of trouble”. This “collusivity” between two of India’s neighbours, he said, was “maximum” around the Siachen glacier and Shaksgam valley. For that reason, he said, it was important to “keep that area in our possession” because Pakistan was waging a “proxy war” on India, while China was “flexing its muscles”.


Also read: Chinese threat is unlikely to go away. India needs big plans for LAC to save its land


For those perceived threats, India’s war plans are ambitious and include, besides road and rail infrastructure and tunnelling, a new mountain strike corps — 17th — consisting of 100,000 men. This corps will be so located that it can be deployed on both the western (Pakistan) and northern fronts (China).

On the army’s strategy for the border with China, Gen Naravane explained: “We have to balance out our requirements and deployments to cater for both west and north. For the northern frontiers, we are going for capacity building, which includes building roads to forward areas, habitats, storage for ammunition and moving some of our advanced weapons system to [the] eastern side. In a way of balancing out we can meet a threat from any direction. As a result of this rebalancing, we are now prepared for this challenge.”

The general then reaffirmed what Gen Bipin Rawat, his predecessor, had said with regard to the truth about the two-front war. In an interview with the Times of India, Gen Rawat, appointed army chief in December 2016, said: “The two-front is a real scenario. Much has changed from before in terms of our capabilities … the army, navy and IAF are now jointly very much prepared for such an eventuality.” Apart from the development of Agni IV and Agni V nuclear capable ballistic missiles, he said, the forces have taken a series of steps to slowly but surely transform the “dissuasion” posture against China into “deterrence”, which in turn is now being upgraded to “credible deterrence”.


Also read: The US hasn’t woken up to India’s nightmare of a two-front war with China and Pakistan


Then he revealed what truly reflects the mindset and strategic thinking of India’s civil and military leadership. In case there are simultaneous threats from Pakistan and China, Gen Rawat, who is also India’s first chief of defence staff, said there would be a primary front and a secondary front. “The bulk of our forces and resources will be concentrated on the primary [Pakistan] front. On the other front, we will adopt a more deterrent posture, so that we are not found wanting”.

While the new corps (consisting of two high-altitude divisions) would have “quick reaction, ground offensive capabilities”, he made clear that India wanted cooperation not conflict with China. But, where Pakistan was concerned, he said in a talk at CLAWS, a military think tank, “we do not see any scope for reconciliation”.

The truth is India will never commit suicide by taking on China for America’s benefit, the two-front theory designed basically to get as much economic, diplomatic and military support as American naivety would allow.

Will India concede more territory to China? Yes because India has already written off Aksai Chin, which it once claimed. Today, a strategic highway linking Xinjiang to Tibet runs through Aksai Chin. Aware of Chinese sensitivity, New Delhi doesn’t even raise this issue because it knows Beijing is not going to talk about it. Thus when India talks of a border dispute with China, it only refers to the eastern border.

As the fate of arbitration after the Rann of Kutch clashes shows, India will concede a mile to China but it will not give an inch to Pakistan. In brief, America must know India has no desire to destroy itself for Pentagon’s pleasure. The two-front hoax is meant to squeeze the milch cow that is America. As its 2003 invasion of Iraq shows, Washington spent trillions of dollars for Israel’s benefit. Why wouldn’t America do the same in South Asia?

The writer is Dawn’s Readers’ Editor and an author. Views are personal.

The article was first published on the Dawn website.

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44 COMMENTS

  1. Two front war threat is real ,with China deploying forces in Gilgit baltistan and POK,last month Pakistan deployed 20k additional force near to ladkah to put pressure on india .
    Authors view is biased and he should start writing for Pakistanis new papers.

  2. I understand that the print want to show us what is going on across the borders. These are not print’s views. However we should take some keynote from this article.
    1. India is not going to appease America as it would loose it’s autonomy in international affairs. However a undeclared mutual interest relationship would be strengthened due to Chinese.
    2. Two front war has always been a theory right after ’65. However it might not have been expressed in public like today. So, no American appeasement.
    3. It is a Pakistani establishment’s mindset to appease international power for its own na-pak goals. Like they did it with Americans during ’71.
    4. As said earlier, its the Pakistani mindset, they are now appeasing China.
    5. Taking out offensive roles against china can be suicidal but that can be well planned. However defensive-offence will have a completely different outcome.

  3. disappointed. this narrative is a false logic rather than seeing what the reality is. It is saddening to see that on matters of national security, the opinion and rationale is unanimous because all available facts strengthen that logic. Calling it a farce and trying to become a devil’s advocate is not helping.
    I feel sorry for the author and the print. I never endorsed this media anyways to anyone, just ended up on this article.
    This is not ethical journalism. It’s plain and simple foolish.

  4. Well Pakistanis are out of depth on intellect. This article just proves yet again the obvious.
    This author is superimposing a Pakistani mindset on Indian reaction to the much evolving situations. That is obviously his stunted evolution.
    But he getting space on Indian media is a blot on the cerebral capacity of the people t the helm of affairs in The Print.

    • Mr Pranav: Like a Yogi Adityanath clone, you bray:

      “.. Well Pakistanis are out of depth on intellect ..”

      Well, isn’t one of the first lessons in warfare that one must never understimate one’s enemy ?

      But then I forget. After all your itchy groined ilk has cut its teeth running around in hordes and thrashing or lynching solitary Muslim cattle owners. And will run away with your prehensile tails between your legs when the going gets tough.

  5. Am a subscriber, print really? this is not something I was expected. seems it is posted by the new author there is no review before publishing?

    • What is wrong with the article Mr Jithin Jose ? Care to elaborate ? After all, you don’t seem to review your own comments before publishing …

  6. What’s wrong with your newspaper. By printing news like this, how are you expecting us to read news from your source.

  7. So, what is wrong there?
    Or you think, Pakistan is a baby lamb and as such pure white.
    The moment, real war starts, it is bound to create problem for India.

      • Indian articles get published in the Pakistani press and vice versa. So what is the problem here ? If you have a comment disagreeing with the author pen it rather than beating about the bush.

  8. Some factual mistakes:-
    1. India hasn’t given up Aksai Chin…the reason (speculated) for present stand off is Chinese insecurity about Aksai Chin.

    2. India isn’t a “goon for hire” & we don’t need anyone’s baksish unlike Pak.

    3. Rann of Kutch experience needs to be updated. Talks of demilitarization of glacier were there in 2003 & later too but 26 /11 happened.

    4. As for reconciliation…..Our PM visited on 25 /12/2015 …..our Airbase was attacked within a week.

    5. Dear reader’s editor….. do read a little bit before writing.

  9. name of author is enough for everyone here reading this crap to understand that which country his loyalties belong
    traitor

    • And pray tell us what your name is such that one can draw some conclusions from it.

      Truly mind boggling that people like you are utterly unable to produce a single, cogent argument and instead resort to puerile name calling. Why don’t you stay in your shaka and scratch your groins rather than braying nonsense here?

  10. This author lays bare the approach Pakistan was taking towards India in order milch USA. And he now mistakenly thinks that India is doing the same. This is a big problem with a few Pakistanis. They’re never able to understand the democratic ideals on which India was built. For example this author doesn’t acknowledge that USA is more eager to help India as they realize how strategic it is to have strong relationships between USA andthe largest democratic country India. It is India which still hesitates to be that closer to USA because India has a very strong bonding with Russia. So India is becoming extra careful not to affect the sensibilities of either USA or Russia. And the good thing is that both USA and Russia seem to understand India’s sensibilties. This unique position of India is what make Pakistani’s unbalanced, because now nobody hyphenates Pakistan with India.

  11. Why are you sharing a biased and anti india article in this indian newspaper. That is why some people call u libtards.

  12. The author forgot it was mentioned as 2.5 war. And the .5 war is nothing but to eradicate filthy journos from the face of earth.

  13. saw the headline and checked the author’s name, a Muslim will never write anything positive about India, so donot waste your time

  14. A COUNTRY which is a death knell for minorities. A COUNTRY which is PAK says prayers 5 times a day. Still no response from above. It still goes about with a begging bowl . SOMETHING is wrong . Stop praying and start education in science though at times scientific learning will say your religious beliefs are wrong. Look at Americans and chinese who through crumbs at you from time to time and learn from them.

  15. “The June 15 clash clearly shows India will do anything to appease China.”

    Either the author doesn’t know the meaning of “appease” or he’s willfully ignorant of the facts. Either way, not much to be gained from reading this piece. I’m not a fan of this administration, but “appeasing China” is certainly not how I would characterize India’s actions.

    Also, nothing the author has said contradicts the Indian military’s threat perception of, and preparation for, a two-front contingency. That the plan a more deterrent/defensive posture on one front doesn’t make that front any less real. It will tie up resources. Why is that hard to fathom for the author?

    Everyone in the world is not used to playing the type of double-faced game Pakistan has been playing with the US for decades and is only just beginning to be called out for.

  16. Weird article. The Indians put the Chinese in their place on the 15th June. The Chinese are scared, like the Pakistanis, to declare their casualties. Once Tibet is free, India will have Aksai Chin back. All India – China border problems will be solved once and for all. In the meantime India is doing the right thing, by preparing for all eventualities, including the two front war.

  17. Gadaro me tum logo ka naam aise hi thode liya jaata hai…
    Amit Shahji is saying that we will take both Pok and Akshai Chin in Parliament and you are saying India has written off it..
    Bhang khake likhte ho kya.. ha ha

  18. I am now starting to doubt ThePrint credibility by publishing such rubbish. Or should I assume that Pakistan’s foreign policy experts have fallen to low levels of stupidity mired by parochial and tunneled vision dug by military.

  19. Siddiqui is marinated with Pak psyche of wagging its tail to any body who can throw crumbs at it, a lap dog of China who are selling their women to the Chinese to keep them in good humour. Sunk deep in that appeasement psyche he feels India is out to Appease the Chinese. His vitriol is rather glaring. 5thChinese were given a befitting reply at Pyongyang as Indian Army always does. He should ask his generals who have experienced Indian Army kicks repeatedly. If the need arises I don’t think we would really worry fighting Chinese. This is not India of 1962.

  20. What nonsense. republishing Pakistani POV from Dawn..no substance but pure fictional viewpoint for pakistani s.For India, China is equal enemy if not more.Everyone aware of Pak n China nexus.

  21. India’s posture towards China has to be obviously of credible deterrence in view of the asymmetry of power which currently exists between them 1- so that India should not allow further Chinese transgression inside LAC and 2- it would not be possible to physically take back Aksai Chin from China. The border settlement will eventually happen along with the Eastern Sector. But areas of Shaksgam valley and GB are different issues as Pakistan and China can together create mischief against India. In fact, Pakistan being reduced to a client state of China, has ensured that India in effect faces a single enemy group on its eastern, northern and western borders. Hence, Pakistan needs to be put in its place as soon as possible. If USA comes to support us in our defense against China, so be it. We need Russia as well to support us along with countries like France and UK. In return India will have to agree to support their strategies objectives as well; after all, if China has to be shown and put in its place, India’s active support is required by all the world powers as India as a large and capable army and the advanced technology armaments can be supplied by USA and others, to take on China.

    Pakistan should not create nuisance for India in this global scenario. .

  22. As far as milking the US goes, a Pakistani should be the last one to pontificate. The one nation which has milked the US the most is Pakistan. Worse still, it has played a game of hunting with the hounds and running with the hares resulting in thousands of casualties to the US troops in Afghanistan. All the while, the US has been bankrolling this on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy nation.
    What is truly amusing is the absolute lack of gratitude amongst Pakistanis for the immense aid received in dollars as well as arms from the US. They would rather vilify the US.

  23. Lol same goes for China to After Pakistan Losing 4 wars they think Pakistan will take on India.

  24. A good sign for Indian armed forces that both political leaders and intellectuals are accepting that China is the main threat to India and should be ready for two front armed conflicts against China & Pakistan. No one can’t predict the future of Tibet today but my prediction is that Tibet will get independence within 25 years.

  25. It is refreshing to have views from Pakistan / China on India in the Indian Media. Well done Print. This shows the REAL strength of India as a Nation.
    Can we imagine Pakistan and China also welcome from India, with open arms, views on Pakistan and China freely in its media st up too.
    The main concern of India is neither the LAC or LOC. Yes, there may be a give and take on the LAC as it is not defined in any definite matter at all; this will definitely work in favour of India to progress as a world power. Hence China’s reluctance to resolve the LAC in any manner.
    LAC by character is different from LOC for obvious reasons; so cannot and need not be hyphenated.
    In reality the priority of India, appropriately, is its economy. Knowing the designs of its belligerent neighbors, irritants at LAC and LOC can be handled by India as a matter of course

  26. Have things got so bad for the Print that you publish pakistani propoganda from the pakistani media! Moreover, please put the writers credentials at the top instead of the bottom so that we don’t waste time reading the article!

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