Monday, February 6, 2023
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India’s options against China shrink to two — limited war or another Wuhan

China’s military preemption has baited India. A quick and emotional response would be a strategic folly. India can 'counter bait' China by maintaining the 'status quo' indefinitely.

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Ideally, both India and China want to achieve their political aims without any further escalation of the military situation on the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh. However, at this juncture, diplomacy is making little or no progress, at least from what is available in the public domain.

Diplomatic impasse

Since the 22 June talks between 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen. Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District commander Maj. Gen. Liu Lin, the disengagement process to avoid fresh clashes has not made much headway. The commanders met again on 30 June, with the talks lasting for 12 hours without much progress. “Army is preparing for the long haul and the standoff is expected to continue well into the winter,” Indian Army sources, the current substitute for formal situational briefs, told The Indian Express. India Today reported that far from de-escalation, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has witnessed greater mobilisation and concentration of troops on both sides of the border in the past 72 hours. And the mobilisation shows no signs of abating.

On the diplomatic front, the 15th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs was held on 24 June via video conference. The two sides recalled the conversation of 17 June between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister H.E. Wang Yi, and reaffirmed the necessity to sincerely implement the understanding on disengagement and de-escalation that was reached by the senior commanders on 6 June and 22 June. News agency ANI, citing unidentified government sources, reported that India and China have decided to hold WMCC meetings every week to resolve the dispute. 

The ambassadors of both countries were interviewed by the Press Trust of India (PTI). In diplomatic language, they reiterated the absolute position of their respective countries and accused the other side of aggression and violating various agreements. However, they reiterated their faith in diplomacy to resolve the problem.

The indications are that unless there is a Wuhan-style breakthrough, diplomacy faces a dead end.

Also read: Modi govt and military leaders have soldiers’ blood on hands. PM’s dilemma now same as Nehru

Worst-case scenario

India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is at stake. Territorial integrity and reunification of lost territories is the raison d’être of the ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). On this issue, the Narendra Modi government has the support of the entire nation. The prime minister’s strongman image is the lynchpin of his popularity. And so, it is logical that India may have to exercise the military option to restore status quo ante April 2020. However, the differential in comprehensive national power, particularly in the military domain, economic cost of war and the political consequences of a setback, impose caution.

China’s military preemption indicates its political intent — impose its will on India. Its coercive diplomacy has not achieved the desired results. Loss of face is defeat for the superior power. If India does not relent, limited war is almost a compulsion for China.

At this juncture, both sides must be preparing for the worst-case scenario of a limited war. Through its preemptive actions, China has baited India. A quick and emotional response would be a strategic folly. India can ‘counter bait’ China by maintaining the ‘status quo’ indefinitely. Winter, which will affect the strategic calculations of both militaries, is still five months away.

Also read: China is on LAC to tell India who the ‘big brother’ is, not to gain territory

Likely pattern of PLA offensive

The likely military aim of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would be to decisively defeat the adversary forces in eastern Ladakh in selected sectors and in doing so, provide strategic depth to Chinese territories claimed/threatened, enhance the security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and destroy military infrastructure.

It is pertinent to mention that the places of current confrontation — Sub Sector North (SSN) or Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) Sector, Galwan River, Hot Springs-Gogra, Pangong Tso, Chushul, and Demchok — are the same where the battles of 1962 were fought.

The PLA will avoid, to the extent possible, directly attacking the main defences of the Indian Army at heights of 15,000-16,000 feet and above as well as engaging in close combat from a position of disadvantage. Given the peculiarities of the terrain, the main defences are located 10-80 km from the LAC. It is these areas ahead of the main defences and other isolated vulnerable sectors such as the SSN that the PLA is likely to focus on. These areas allow predominant employment of mechanised forces. The offensive will be driven by high technology, with focus on cyber and electromagnetic domains, and precision-guided munitions.

Keeping the above in view, the operational-level objectives of the Chinese PLA are likely to be as follows:

  • Capture SSN Sector and threaten Indian defences in Siachen Glacier.
  • Cut off the Darbuk-Shyok-DBO Road at Galwan Valley — Shyok River junction to assist the offensive in SSN.
  • Capture Chang Chenmo River Valley and all areas up to the north bank of Pangong Tso.
  • Secure/capture the Kailash Range in Chushul Sector.
  • Capture the Indus Valley up to the Ladakh Range via Demchok and Changla Pass on the Kailash Range and contact Indian defences on the Ladakh Range.
  • Pakistan is also likely to launch a complementary offensive in the Shyok River Valley in the Turtuk Sector.

The PLA lost the advantage of surprise, preemption  and the window that was available upto end June while the Indian Army reserves were being mobilised, acclimatised and deployed. The likely plans of the PLA have been war-gamed for years by the Indian Army, and I have no doubts that the PLA will come to grief.

Lt Gen H S Panag PVSM, AVSM (R) served in the Indian Army for 40 years. He was GOC in C Northern Command and Central Command. Post-retirement, he was Member of Armed Forces Tribunal. Views are personal.

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  1. Sir I don’t think the Chinese have the capability to launch operations in depth in our territory. The type of forces they have brought in are basically a show of force – Armr and Mech Inf Divs. At best they may launch into DBO and capture that. While doing that they have to contend with our Air force which has an edge over the PLAN in this area. Other avenues for their offensive actions are in the Galwan Valley which is a narrow valley and doesn’t lend to extensive operations , they can use it to interdict the Shyok – Darbuk Road only. To get into the Shyok valley that have to capture the Ladakh Range up-to at least Khardungla . For the Pakis to attack along the Turtuk axis that have to launch ops to capture SSH and Chorbatla and then again the Ladakh Range. These will be failures. The more they stretch themselves the more vulnerable they will get. Its a battle of logistics for the Chinese and that’s where we will be able to stall them with our Air Force playing a major part. In depth Operations by our special forces and Air Borne forces can easily foil their plans. We launch a counter along the Chang Chenmo axis due east . Our aim should be to draw them into a longer conflict situation which will be difficult for them to sustain.

  2. Contrary to conventional wisdom this time the better option would be a limited war. It will real put china on the defensive since this was triggered by Chinese and they will be seen as aggressors across the globe. This will put more diplomatic pressure on china as the days goes on in this limited theatre. We may also be able to push back and grab some areas from the PLA. Another Wuhan will make India look weak and begging China not to start a war. This will encourage China to do this to us repeatedly and it will have no incentive to settle the LAC for the next 100 years. If we have gone this far we should not lose the opportunity to fix the chinese. We talk about limited options for India, but it is not as if China has plethora of options. They have clearly overplayed their hands and we should exploit the situation by raising the stakes. The cost of initiating such border skirmishes and salami slicing has to be increased to the point where this is no more an affordable option for the chinese.

  3. the great MEA minister is on record saying that POK is ours and we will get it back. the even greater shah bhai modi bhai says the days of expansionism are over. there seems to be total confusion . if india says POK is our – then all China has to say the following areas are our. these two sets of geniuses need more co-ordination between themselves. of course the world – especially anti communist US is currently in favor of India. but once again the two geniuses need to look at Iraq – Iran – Pakistan and every country where US has put its foot in – – in this area – and decide in whose shoes they wish to be. but then we are different ???

  4. India cannot dominate the skies and the seas. It hardly has a credible Air Force or Navy given the enormity of the threat over India’s enormous borders, both land and sea. India is unprepared for a full scale war with China. India still depends on a non existent “Soft Power” sans hard power like its Quota (Reservations / License) and Corruption (Extortion / License Raj without an iota of Governance.
    China is far more powerful than India. If the battles are restricted to border skirmishes, then the Indian Armed Forces can cope to the extent that they are not hampered, obstructed and weakened by India’s ruling corrupt, incompetent, self serving, Politician-Bureaucrat Nexus. Beyond that, India cannot hope to take on China and its proxies Pakistan, Nepal and, possibly, in the near future, Bangla Desh unless there is political will to retaliate with maximum strategic force.
    The real challenge will be if there is a general attack (invasion) all over the land and sea boundary in which case the Indian Forces will be overwhelmingly out manned, out gunned and without any ammunition, fuel or other war fighting essentials. If this happens the scenario will play out depending on the Indian leadership who will have to choose between two options.
    (1)Temporizing and appealing for International help in which case, a lot of Indian territory will be irretrievably lost in a matter of a week.
    (2) Retaliating in full force with Nuclear war heads which will precipitate a truce and a return to established boundaries within a week. China knows this, so there will be a stale mate in the North if India stands fast and pushes back. But this is a big “If” as India’s leadership, regardless of Political affiliation is fundamentally as Anti-National as the Constitution and as incompetent as only the Indian reservations-extortion Raj can produce.
    China refuses to agree a border and keeps pushing the goal posts because it wants to use this ambiguity to exploit India’s weak Government sans Governance to salami slice India and take it with a thousand cuts, just like Islam does, So. India should hold fast and push back with force. Militarily evict any China man who strays across India’s perceived border line by force of arms until China comes to the negotiating table and agrees to a border. And continue to do so thereafter.
    The basis of China’s war with India is rooted in seeking revenge for the brutal putting down of the Boxer Rebellion (the last days of the Qing dynasty under the Dowager Empress Ci Xi) by the Indian Army which raped, pillaged and looted under British command. China wants to efface the memory of this humiliation to its own satisfaction
    Thanks to 73 years of Government sans Governance, India is the softest target among those who humiliated China then (British Empire, Russia, Japan, France, German Empire, US, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Netherlands Belgium, Spain, and the Mutual Protectorate of South East China). This eight Nation alliance was, essentially, fighting a war to impose Christianity and as regards the Non Christian Nations (Japan, South East China), their rights to loot China with impunity . The Chinese Emperor Qing and the Boxers (martial artists) had defeated this eight nation alliance when, in 1901, the British Empire fielded 20, 000 Indian soldiers who broke the back of the Chinese leading to the most humiliating terms including the mass execution of all Chinese officials who had backed or were suspected of backing the martial artists.
    It is gathering momentum now as India has been growing weaker day by day under the burden of its suicidal policies constructed by those who succeeded the British while China is growing stronger and stronger.
    India is ruled by a Politician-Bureaucrat Nexus that has no knowledge of anything beyond redistributing wealth by stealing from some for the benefit of others mainly the politicians, bureaucrats, judges, police and preferred vote banks. As behooves traditional bullies who have looted, plundered and raped helpless Indians for Seventy Three Years they are nonplussed when they face an armed enemy and prefer to pretend that such an enemy does not exist.
    In this very altercation, for example, Chinese troops circumvented the India China border treaties entered into by Rajiv Gandhi and Deve Gowda to not use guns within two miles of the LAC by attacking Indian soldiers with wooden clubs studded with sharp points (spiked maces). In retaliation, Indian Army is now fabricating similar maces! How absurd, India could go for a non cordite arms race with bows and arrows, catapults, or javelins, but, why all this? Now that China has abrogated the spirit of the treaties, why not simply start patrolling with weapons and respond with fire power?
    China (Communism) and Pakistan (Islam) covet all of India. But plan to take it slice by slice and with a thousand cuts. Mahomet (who was a camel driver) speaks of this in the story of the camel and the tent which became a central tenet of the desert bandit cult called islam. First the camel puts its head inside Mahomet’s tent, then little by little the camel works its way into the tent and Mahomet has to sleep outside.
    Nehru sacrificed Tibet to Mao hoping this would appease China. Mao then described Tibet as the palm of his hand reaching out for all of India and and the Indian territories of Ladakh, Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and Arunachal Pradesh as the five fingers of the palm. This is the basis of the Communist Party’s claim on all of India and like Mao, China follows the teachings of Sun Tsu. Islam however claims all of India on the basis of Quran and Hadith.
    So, India yielding even an inch of territory to the enemy is merely an incentive for the enemy to take more.
    The Government orphans the armed forces and National Security just as it orphans citizens not on Bureaucratic, Police, Judicial and Political service or pay roll: Out of sight out of mind?
    Every time there is an opportunity which the Chinese see, the Chinese come further into Indian territory. This is like moving forward towards the goal in Rugby or American football.’
    Apart from on going fluid opportunities due to lack of border infrastructure for the Indian Armed Forces, the Indian Army presented the Chinese with two significant opportunities, which they took advantage of.
    (1) During Kargil, the Indian soldiers were moved from their positions at Daulat Beg Oldie to reinforce the forces taking on Pakistan’s Norther nLight infantry in Kargil Heights. Kargil was a classic example of Indian failure in intelligence, logistics, military command and control as well as political leadership. In effect, the Pakis had moved into the heights and entrenched themselves when the Indian Army moved down during winter. Just as the Chinese did when the Indian Army moved from Pangong Lake (Daulat Beg Oldie) to Kargil. And India had to retake what was originally its own at enormous cost of Indian blood and lives owing to poor preparation, lack of ammunition, lack of reliable and appropriate equipment and weaponry, lack of co-ordination and laughable, unrealistic “Charge of the Light Brigade” Brass Hat commands, totally divorced from the reality on the ground or the methods of 20th Century warfare..
    (2) Owing to the lack of proper high altitude winter equipment, the Indian Army again moved to lower slopes more recently vacating territory which the Chinese quickly occupied. In both cases, the buck stops at the table of the politicians and bureaucrats at Delhi who constrain the Army into having to cope with what they have and carrying out orders issued with scant understanding of warfare or operational command. This the Government does not want exposed.
    The Indian Army on returning to these heights in fairer weather resume patrolling in India’s side of the LAC only to find themselves challenged by the Chinese who are now in occupation leading to these tussles.
    There is also the pathetic faith of India’s “diplomats”, “bureaucrats” and “politicians” that foreign powers are more honest than themselves and will adhere to promises, agreements and treaties more faithfully than they themselves do. Hence, there is an excessive faith in diplomacy and that China will adhere to what was the agreed Line of Actual Control rather than in building, refining and applying Indian hard power.
    In this witches’ brew, the cover up by India’s ruling class of their blunders lulls them into a state of self hypnosis or delusion which prevents them from learning the lessons of History. Particularly Indian military History which these blundering incompetent and corrupt wielders of power have buried. For just one example, the Henderson Brooks Report on India’s 1962 debacle has been covered up from Nehru to Modi, precisely because the Government is incapable of undoing the Himalayan blunder and taking back the strategic territories lost to China that will be demanded by public pressure when the public learn the full facts of the matter.
    My guess is: The US, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Taiwan will stand with India.
    Nepal and Pakistan will stand against India.
    Russia, and France will be positive Neutrals while
    Myanmar, The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia may be less outspoken positive neutrals.
    Srilanka and Bangla Desh will be negative neutrals. The rest will be Neutrals if not Neutered like the Philippines by China as Russia has been by China and the US.
    Naturally, as the war progresses the Neutral position will change.
    Thus the countries that will stand with India will enter only as the war progresses. The Positive Neutrals will enter once the war shows China at a disadvantage, and the negative neutrals will seek to take advantage of India which will emerge much weakened by the conflict.

  5. Conflict with PLA in Ladakh has to be fought in South China Sea and its threat to democracies by an authoritarian system from across the Taiwan Straits.

    Insofar as the Indian military’s capacity to fight a protracted conflict in the Himalayas, it is related to who can live and fight without giving the other side opportunities of premption, and the country’s economic sustainability.

    Even if the Chinese withdraw, but they have potential to return and seize vantage positions at the time of their choosing. It will encumber the Indian army to sustain a higher level readiness to respond with firepower and PGMs. In both these areas, our decision making inertia ihas limitated building our capacities in both these departments.

    Let’s not forget, that China has a proxy in South Asia, to be used as a cat’s paw to tie down several divisions of the Indian military. The scenarios painted by the author may or may not be likely, but no prudent military or political leader can disregard these at the cost of imperiling the nation.

    Therefore, as democracies on Chinas periphery are threatened by an authoritarian system, so this is a systemic clash, which is manifesting in Ladakh and in other locations.

    • And who are Hindus , are they some alien race or outcasts. Is it a crime to be a hindu in this country , who are unfortunate majority.. sick mentality grow up above silly and narrow minded mentality.

    • Are we not citizens of this great nation India , it’s a fashion these days to insult , bellitle Hindus who are patriotic indians

  6. Pakistan and China will beat India ver well. Mark it. Indian army, a weak army, just big in numbers cannot face Pakistan and now Chaina… they are scared like a pig.

  7. Pakistan and China will beat India ver well. Mark it. Indian army, a terrorist army, just big in numbers cannot face Pakistan and now Chaina… they are scared like a pig. CPEC is a reality for China, Pakistan and Russia. They will do anything to save it. What china is doing is to save CPEC entrance in Pakistan. Indian folish Govt will be used by firts Hindus mentality and then by US.

    • First learn how to spell China!

      Or never mind. when they stuff your mouth with pork and force you to gulp it down with alcohol in the month of Ramzan, having shaven your beard then, of course, you will never forget their spelling!

  8. Chinese are manipulating with Indian psychology. Indians should be bold and not show any signs of psychological weakness. Chinese are master psychological readers.
    if unfortunately war is forced , then India should respond with a painful retaliation . even use of entire nuclear weapons should be considered. Life and death doesnt matter, honour is at stake.

    • People have full faith with the government and have determination to eliminate all expansionists who wants to infiltrate within the country with the help of criminal politicians, paid intellectuals and third rates journalists. Chinese should not to be let off without proper treatment.

  9. How can Indian Army be a Hindu Army . Does any one prevent the eligible from joining the Army . Your Comments are utterly biased without any basis . If the Chinese indulge in misadventure they shall end up loss of face territory and suffer humiliation . Things don’t end as one country wishes or fool hardy imagination .

  10. This will continue till there is a vaccine for corona. China’s tactics to change plate.

  11. Let The World Sit Up And Notice India Is Fighting Two Terrorists State.And And China The Virus State Should Be Thrown Out Of Security Council Before The Virus State Turns It Insecure.

  12. Mr panag apart being a millitary personal holds a good grip in understanding the geopolitical analysis unlike most of the hot headed emotional military men.
    Mr panag ur views may not be acceptable by ur colleagues even who like many layman and emotional nationalists don’t understand the international geopolitical thinking framework.Infact most of the Indian think tank strategists even lake it,call it inherent or other wise but they barely understand how great or rising global powers think.
    Give ur nationalistic fellows a good dose of Republic tv boosting which has been nurtured for many years now and even ur think tank culture seem to be effected.
    India has come a long way on a one lane highway of a foolish,emotional ,nationalistic, responsive, thinking,the road ahead is not what ur nationalistic tv boosting politicians and strategists may want or like.The only thing this political structure and setup can do is diversions and well choreographed self boasting of unrealistic objectives.

  13. Gen Panag is a keen observer and confirms that the Chinese plans have been war gamed many years ago. So, our forces are prepared and know what to use against the Chinese. We are confident his prediction of a defeat for the PLA will come true.

  14. After putt across Some baseless ‘ground reports’ for few days the author sees what the india has been aiming for and he could never understand. Now says PLA will come to grief ! What happened for this pivot in views?

  15. Third option is to retract the statement about using force to get back Aksai Chin and PoK. What was the point of making such a statement when India does not have the power ? Those areas are not coming back, and there is no point losing more land and getting another beating in the bargain, by threatening neighbours.

  16. Why still no fight now china with hong Kong then china virus now it is time to break one side or an other

  17. Reassuring lines by lt.general Panag. The probable areas of action are given all in Ladakh. There may be also a surprise attack in the Tawang area by CCPs PLA. On the economic front India may turn on the heat to companies owned by PinPing CCP apparaticks and corrupt cronies. That would hurt them most, after the Panama papers leak. Its a game of nerves at the LAC.

    • Very true . It is very very reassuring that probably all the action will happen in Ladakh and none in Delhi. But in these days of aircraft and missiles it is all very confusing.

  18. Towards the end of the article Gen Panag says this : “Keeping the above in view, the operational-level objectives of the Chinese PLA are likely to be as follows:…” And then he lists out various victories that China will seek to achieve.
    Now, only an army man can understand that language, names of the places mentioned there, etc. As a layman, who enjoys talking about stuff he doesn’t understand, my hunch is this : the present action of China is an eyewash. The real action will be to annexe Arunachal Pradesh once and for all. Secondly, Chinese soldiers surreptitiously sitting in POK will be activated, and a push will be tried to be made into the CIVILIAN parts of OUR Kashmir.
    There was no military “need” for China to get so worked up. It has got incensed by India’s move on 370 and subsequent chest-thumping by Modi-Shah duo. This is what my sixth sense says.

    • Ur six senses is dumber & useless thn !!

      Why do u think Chinese r hesitant to attack even with paks help?
      Bcoz 3 US aircraft carriers in South china sea with Japanise navy .Three carriers in South China sea at same time never happened before!!
      4 days back japanese & Indian nevy had joint excercise and after PM Modies speech Japan straight away support India!
      USA can’t allow fall of India at this point, if we fall south china sea nation’s will be in Chinese dominance. This is exact reason why Australia come out with thr defence budget hike in all this madness
      So keep ur six senses to urself and don’t make fool of urself
      We might have make fun of Trump’s speech in Ahmedabad but PM Modies foreign policy helping us here . Thts 2nd time Japan openly supported us .
      Don’t get influence by Chinese Gandhi!!!!! He is useless.

    • Come-on Sanjiv you can criticize more, I hope you would. BUT….
      India has the position of world 4th largest army and that not only incorporates ‘Number of Men’ but also its strategic, disciplined and experienced legacy. We have fought total of 4wars on papers , though lost 1 due to inability of then government and leadership and china know that.
      I know you must be knowing all these stuff that I have aforementioned but I strongly doubt your consience and consciousness on New delhi’s perspective on handling the contemporary border dispute. We all know, china is way ahead of us in technology and number but war is not ony about machinary and half of the their machines are out dated. But people like you is trying to denounce and demolarise the readers and the country while shouting that whatever the respected author has written is truth and vacated of fake nationalism. I don’t know what you people deems to achieve by do writing such pitty comment thereby mongering fear and lies. Half of the world is with us, and I assure you that war is unlikely but if in any condition a contrary would happen then I believe my forces will do anything to safeguard the sovereignty of Ladakh.And saliently, I would feel good to critisize ThePrint for calling X-army men who has a political motive as being a part of AAP party.
      Jai hind.
      We will win and conquer.

  19. India has so many options with so little downside as India has so little to loose.

    In no particular order
    1. Recognize Taiwan- Make Taiwan our Israel.
    2. Get involved with the Honk Kong protest. Not sure how appealing indian passports are, but the brain drain in our favour would do wonders.
    3. Fund democracy groups in china
    4. Become vocal about Tibet. Make tibet China’s Palestine
    5. Build military nato style alliance with the surrounding powers- encircle China to keep it in check, including bases etc.
    6. Drastically reduce the trade in our favour. Won’t make much of an impact on China but will help us and our allies

    Amongst other things, a stronger India can:
    7. Stop any company investing in POK doing business in India.
    8. Entice Bangladesh with open borders, free trade etc if they sort out their persecution of minorities. India needs a open, tolerant secular Bangladesh as most of it is going to under water eventually and apart from India, they have nowhere to go.

    China’s action of swallowing Tibet as meant India has had to spend Billions and Billions more on defence then otherwise would have been the case

    • Patel, first get rid of Gujaratis like Modi and Shah. They have cost India millions. Fix your house, before telling others impossible things. India became vocal on Aksai Chin and see what happened. If India becomes vocal on Tibet, Taiwan, trust me that China will take more land.

      • Your comments are cowardly and regionalistic. I would advise you stick to your anti-national congress party boards. Your party and it’s cowardice has done enough damage to this country.

        • For all you know Rasgolla is a pakistani troll. They all want weak India as imagined by The Print

  20. “What is its combat experience?” – What experience it had in early 1950s during the Korean war? It didn’t have modern weapons, not even communication equipment. And yet, it came down in hordes on American army, equipped with everything latests, after the latter bombed the north end of Yalu river bridge, despite warnings by China. They drove the Americans all the way to the south coast of Korean peninsula, AND INTO THE SEA! sO YOU ARE RIGHT, “People matter more than the equipment”! A VERY MOTIVATED CHINESE ARMY! They didn’t even have communication equipment. A bicycle rider would take written messages back and forth between the front and the rear on the battlefield. BUT THEY BEAT THE AMERICANS, THE BEST EQUIPPED ARMY! America couldn’t win the Korean war. Famous General Douglas MacArthur wanted to use nuclear bomb against the Chines, which infuriated his government in Washington DC. In the end the recalcitrant general was fired by the president Truman for insubordination. There was a truce in the end, which is holding. The war hasn’t ended technically ended. So how did an inexperienced, Chinese army without any equipment worth a mention, held against the best equipped, well fed, very well trained, American army?

  21. General Saheb – we don’t wish to read in the public media a discussion on strategy & tactics.
    Probably these things will be best discussed and analysed 5 years in the future – but not now.

    • What do you mean, “we don’t wish to read in the public media a discussion on strategy & tactics.”? How can you speak on behalf of others, who may like what the author has written? It is clear that you didn’t like what he has written, but then you should say YOU DIDN’T LIKE IT.

  22. The General in his worst case scenario forgot to mention the apparent implications of PLA & Pakistan military together against India…………….It will result in major humiliation………. because of Modi madness of Aug 5 Kashmir gimmick !!!

    • The General does foresee that ‘Pakistan is also likely to launch a complementary offensive in the Shyok River Valley in the Turtuk Sector.’

      I agree with you that all this was precipitated by repeal of Article 370 and Amit Shah’s boast that he will recapture PoK and Aksai Chin. Then it is natural that Pak and China will collaborate and give India a beating. You can only blame Modi and Shah – and the Hindus who blindly support them.

  23. The Chinese will not go away, it does not take big brains to figure that out. Winter or no winter, the territory is long gone and lost due to lapses by the army (at the local level you do not need permission from the PM to bulk up troop numbers which were woefully inadequate at the clash site on June 15. There were 50 or ours against 200 of theirs). We cannot talk of big words like wargaming and the like without so much as beefing up troops at the local level first and failing to see the Pangong intrusion, no less than 8 kms of that, despite all the sophisticated surveillance in the world.

    Anyway, what’s done is done and we’re left to eating humble pie. The only chance of getting back the territory is to wait for the next intrusion/attack attempt by the Chinese – because now the army and the political class have really woken up, are ready to counter-attack and in the process take back the lost territory wherever such an encounter take place. Note that they may not attempt to intrude deeper in all 7-8 places but only a few important ones from a strategic perspective. We”ll only be able to get back lost territory at those places.

    This is not even factoring in the very real situation of Pakistan joining in the melee .

    There’s the other option of us intruding into their currently undefended/less defended territory but I’m not sure our Army or the political class has the will for that.

    Till then, this government can keep banning apps and hope against hope that Indian trade, which is 2-3% of the total trade of China, will somehow impact them in any meaningful way.

  24. LT GEN H S PANAG (RETD), It clearly appears from the writing that you have been sabotaging your own armed forces for a long time. Looks very surprised, but in this world, anything can happen. There are people who kill their own children.

    • The long hard pain/sorrow of not getting promoted to next rank, revealing through out the article.
      No thanks for wisdom

  25. If Rahul reads this article, he will asking question to PM like ‘which of the two options are you going to use against China? Why dont you use the third and fourth options? Come clean on this and let the nation know! etc.’
    The General is living in his own make believe world after his retirement. Hopefully, Chinese are reading to this article to get useful strategic tips!

  26. General Panag displays negative mindset and utter lack of imagination. General, there are many more options open than the two you profess to consider.
    The defeatist attitude, if is truly your core constituent then it is not just enough to pity you but feel sorry for the organisation that groomed and promoted you!
    There is another possibility that some of the so called ‘Defense Analysts’ are a sold out bunch who are actively aiding in the Psy Ops of the enemy.
    You have accepted defeat even before the battle has begun.
    And General, why the assumption of a limited war ? With WMD on both side, there is no stronger and weaker side. It is the will determination and perseverance that brings victory.
    You might have heard how Vietnam and US conflict ended up or how China and Vietnam ended up teaching each other a lesson!

    • So what is the positive mindset we should have ? Why don’t Modi, Shah, Sitaraman, Bhagwat and other Hindu nationalists show us their positivism and courage to boost us ? They show off their Hindu bravado against students, women and minorities, but seem to be chicken hearted with the Chinese.

  27. Any one who talks of a limited war has forgotten the lessons of History. Germany’s Kaiser was confident that his war with France would last just four months.However by the time the war ended in the words of Graham Allison “..the Austrio-Hungarian Empire dissolved , the German kaiser ousted, the Russian tsar overthrown,France bled for a generation and England shorn of its treasure and youth. And for what ? If we only knew.” So when talking of war it should be made clear to the people that the possibility exists that either India or China or both will be destroyed. It should also be made clear to the people that anyway they have only time till 2070 for by then if carbon dioxide emission remains as at present much of India would be like the Sahara and about a billion persons would have died or migrated.Rather a difficult choice to make as to which of the two would be a better option!

  28. As always, this article is also Anti Modi and Anti BJP.
    All your articles have either hatred towards Modi or support for Congress.

    To hate Modi, You go against your country also.
    Shame on you Shekhar Gupata……

    • Modi has destroyed the economy, brought civil unrest, divided Indians, and lost territory. Why should not people be against him ?

    • Well said. Unlike the Chinese, indians will squabble against each other. However it’s better to consider the worst case in a defense scenario. Realistically, india should be able to defeat the PLA since our mountain divisions are better trained and our logistic situation is superior to China. We have better air power in the region and their mechanised divisions are useless in this terrain. India could retake Aksai Chin and then go to the negotiating table. The main problem India faces are the Congress and communist supporters from within.

  29. GOI has to proactively start discussion with USA & its allies to provide part of their air, naval capabilities without any economic cost to India under our leadership. It means that they have to gift them to us to be used by us in the event of an escalation. China has already planned to go up to Arunachal pradesh, India has to further strengthen LAC, scatter & distribute our army in such a way, that the chinese air force will not be able to get at our army in one area because they will be distributed. Front line, second line, third line, fourth line of defence at LAC, support mechanisms for Siachin …. have to be planned & executed quickly

    • GOI has to proactively start discussion with USA & its allies to provide part of their air, naval capabilities without any economic cost to India under our leadership. ……………….. what a hubris !! why will they do it ?

    • Keep dreaming. Trump does not do anything free. Hindutva Hindus are filled with gobar in their heads.

    • It is only in missiles and ammunition that others can help us. Aircraft and Naval assets take 5-7 years to procure. Even a gift of Suoer Hornet fighters will need our people to be trained fully and will take over a year. US may be able to help in light artillery and choppers which they have already supplied.
      Even in missiles , our collaboration with Russia is far superior to anything the US can provide ( BRAHMOS).
      We have to depend on our own Sukhoi and Mirage planes plus Russian BVR missiles to make an impact. Role of US is very limited here.

  30. The Indian armed forces can deal a severe blow to the Chinese, one serious enough to embarrass and destabilize Xi Jinping. It is unlikely he will risk a real fight if he realizes that India’s leadership has the will to fight. It is not yet clear that India’s leadership has this will. They first tried to keep the intrusions under wraps internally, and spoke up only when they came under pressure in the Indian media. They have been hesitant in their reaction – the armed forces have mobilized, but our territory continues to be under occupation, we have not made any noises about the PLA’s blatant breach of border management agreements, and our non military response has been limited to banning a few apps.

    What is clear is that India has once again badly misread China, as it did in the years leading up to 1962. Our political class and diplomatic service were caught off guard, naively trusting the Chinese. They got rather carried away by the “success” of summits such as Wuhan, as though a few photo ops reflected any real intention of the other side for peace. Meanwhile, defense budgets have slipped and bureaucratic lethargy and incompetence have continued to undermine military preparedness as before. Meanwhile the Chinese have continued to push us around whether it is with regard to the LAC, sheltering terrorists in Pakistan, keeping India out of the UN Security Council or out of the NSG.

    As Gen Panag says, the army is ready to do what is needed. I hope we have the will.

    • Don’t full yourself. These ‘Hindu nationalists’ are good at fighting students, women and minorities. They know if they mess with China, they will get a another public beating. They are keeping quiet to avoid another beating. Shah claimed he was going to get back Aksai Chin and PoK, that is what caused China to give a beating. Shah wanted to be more Hindu extremist than Modi. Now he is the quietest.

  31. In any war or military conflict how any one party alone can decide if it should be limited or otherwise.I am a civilian, not at all competent to make any opinion in such matters. But even to me the general’s view seems to be little odd

  32. Gen. Panag is not objective in his views and analysis.There is a not too covert tendency to down-play the competence and professionalism of the Indian Army.These type of retired Generals always over-estimate their strategic capabilities in Military matters.They are blissfully unaware of the changing dynamics in modern military combat situations.It is best left to the current military leadership and their Civil authority to devise the strategy and action.A blind dislike of the present political dispensation does not help in coming to the right conclusion and judgement.

    • ‘It is best left to the current military leadership and their Civil authority to devise the strategy and action.’

      It was left to the current military leadership and their Civil authority and we lost land. RAW and army were napping and did not foresee. Modi was feting Xi and claiming he has a Plus One relationship and others are not brainy enough to grasp.

      You want to follow such incompetents and get another beating ?

  33. from Dr Ranjit Singh: 9868 041 558

    In my considered opinion, China will never vacate the area it occupied last month: Historically, it gobbled up vast areas of Mongolia, Manchuria, entire Tibet besides flexing muscles in south China sea. They apparently took this misstep to teach ‘India a lesson’ because in Parliament last August a declaration was made that ‘Aksai China’ is part of India. But they received a bloody nose at the hands of our unarmed professional soldiers, as happened in 1979 when PLA invaded Vietnam but received severe beating!

    • But they received a bloody nose at the hands of our unarmed professional soldiers….’

      Is that so ? They lost 43 and India lost 20. But why is more Indian land with them now ? Engage your little Hindutva mind and figure it out.

  34. Mr P Kamath,
    You have no idea how the Indian Army War Games possible scenarios. Gen Panag has listed the enemy’s possible aims. But that may not always be what he actually does.
    We build capability and war game a few scenarios.

  35. True face of so called army personnel hs Panag……. They are now want war with China….. But when he write about Pakistan he always said war is not the option. Mr Panag we tackle China in a better way without war …… Our military given them befetting reply. It is better for india prepared for long haul and prepare for 5to 10years . Like australia Morrison said. …. But when india go any strategic moves ,,,, this type of personal come and say non alignment is best .

    • ‘Our military given them befetting reply. ‘

      What was that ? Aksai Chin lost ? More lost in Galwan. Ladakhis say they fear all of Ladakh will go.

      To me, it looks Hindus are incapable of defending India, they are more busy arranging fights between Indians.

  36. In the middle of full scale tensions, to hear a great ex- General say that the options are shrinking has to be music to some ears. The opinion is based on information available in public domain and reports from newspapers. ( Gossip? )
    Even if the it is true, wonder if a general in the middle of the battle would tell his solders that the defeat in inevitable and then expect them to fight to the end and expect a motivation.
    Perhaps this is the culture that has brought this country to where we are over the last 70 years

  37. Hope I am not reading an Article from a Retired Lt Gen from PLA & reading it from a Chinese sponsored Social Media ? Now a days from a retired Havaldar to Retd. Maj Gen have turned as Military Strategic Analyst & some write for Enemy Country & some write favorable to India. God only knows who are on whose Payroll they work ? Retirement with Good Rank fetches good pension/almost free canteen & health facility etc & agree to work for vested Interest may fetch more Earning than Earning of entire Army period. We should send our children to work in army for 10 years,Retire as Major or some Rank, which is enough to merit as Strategic Defense Analyst, sit in TV Panel,write Article etc & earn good money.

    • Clearly a good for Nothing IT cell troll. Did you even make an effort to read even 2 lines from the article before belching out?

  38. I would like to hear / read General Panag on this issue: PLA was formed by Mao Zedong on the occasion of 1949 long march. So it is an army of the Communist Party of China. It is not an army owned by the Chinese nation, but by the communist party of china. What is its combat experience? Even with the best equipment at its disposal and larger numbers, evidently China cannot throw everything it has at India. People matter more than the equipment. On the other hand, Indian army is a professional army with considerable combat experience. Readers would be delighted to know his views on this matter.

    • Gururaj, the Indian army is not a professional army, it has become a Hindu army. If it wants to be a professional army, it should have the best fighters, more Sikhs, Muslims and Gurkhas. The PLA has given India a beating in 1962 and they took more land without a fight. The Chinese are more nationalist than Indians. Hindu nationalism on the other hand is about stoking divisions and fights within India. They are more into partitioning India.

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