Military Strategy

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  • Cross LOC Strike and India’s Reputation for Resolve

    India needs to factor in the critical issue of reputation for resolve in future crisis situations in order to build its credibility and enhance its deterrence potential.

    October 21, 2016

    Tsering asked: What are the possible strategic and military implications of deep sea mining by China in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)?

    S.S. Parmar replies: The strategic and military implications are enormous as they would permit a larger legitimate presence of the Chinese in the region. Economically, deep sea mining in the IOR would require a conduit for storage and transportation of the products mined as close to the mining area as possible. This would require setting up of infrastructure designed to cater for storage and transportation that could be established in a nation or nations close to the region. This infrastructure could be set up by China either as a bilateral or multilateral enterprise and could add to the strengthening of strategic ties between China and the concerned nations.

    Militarily, China would be in a legitimate position to increase its military presence specifically naval for ensuring security of the area from a variety of existing threats like terrorism and piracy. In order to sustain a military presence, it would have to rely on ports in friendly nations for re-supply and refueling purposes. This offers the chance of increased military-to-military cooperation with nations in the area. Overall, the implications of deep sea mining in the IOR could accord China the opportunity to increase its foot print in the region.

    Geraldine asked : What does ‘strategic relationship’ between two nations mean? Does it mean only military ties or more than that?

    Ali Ahmed replies: A 'strategic relationship', as the term suggests, involves a shared understanding between the two or more states involved on the nature of threats in the environment and the place of their collective power in helping mitigate the threats. This does not amount to an ‘alliance’, meaning a deeper relationship in which the states are treaty bound to come to each other’s assistance in case of materialisation of a threat against any member state. In a strategic relationship, the states involved, that could number two or more, discuss the role of power through periodic bilateral (multilateral as the case may be) confabulations at a high, ministerial and bureaucratic-military official, level. The ambit of these talks can be quite broad, to include technology, strategic perspectives, state of and progress in the relationship, future directions of international affairs and the relations in particular, etc. It need not be restricted to the military sphere and could include civilian areas, such as nuclear technology, space, agriculture, etc.

    The relationship has material and physical dimensions in that there may exist a buyer-seller relationship between the states in terms of armaments and high technology, military training, exchange between subject matter experts, assistance to the position of the other in global forums to an extent, etc. The relationship is usually forged through a written document that brings out the demands on and expectations of all sides. Usually this may not have any hidden clauses, but there would be confidential exchanges and areas of such high end cooperation such as in the intelligence field and technology. The across the board relationship, its strength and depth make for a strategic relationship or partnership. Clearly, it amounts to more than military ties. There are mutual benefits in that the strategic or relative power (political, diplomatic and military) position of both stands to increase by maintaining the relationship. The relationship is not usually directed at any other adversary state or group of states, but the fact that it exists helps the participating states in respect of increasing their bargaining position in respect of that state.

    Posted on February 16, 2012

    Impact of Offset Policy on India’s Military Industrial Capability

    India’s offset policy in 2005 envisaged direct purchase of products and services, Joint venture, FDI, etc. So far, 12 Offset contracts have been concluded for $2 B. The study shows that most of it is far low end products and services repair and overhaul facilities, training, and simulators. However, expected inflow in terms of long term investments, FDI have not materialized.

    July 2011

    Towards a Proactive Military Strategy: 'Cold Start and Stop'

    The article reviews the Cold Start doctrine in light of the limited war doctrine. It argues that the launch of strike corps entails a risk prone war expansion. War termination should therefore be short of the launch of strike corps offensives. It suggests a 'Cold Start and Stop' strategy with limited offensives by integrated battle groups being used to coerce Pakistan. Pakistani amenability to Indian war aims would be dependent on India offering incentives diplomatically alongside. India's limited war doctrine, currently not articulated, must be informed by such a war waging strategy.

    May 2011

    Akash asked: How has Chinese military strategy undergone change in last five years due to modernisation?

    R. V. Phadke replies: Chinese military modernisation has helped the PLA change its war fighting doctrine in substantive terms. Gone are the days when the PLA followed the ‘People’s War Doctrine’ that was essentially defensive and allowed the enemy to come in deep before a counter attack was launched. Post 1991 Gulf War the PLA realised that modern weapons would not permit the PLA the luxury to absorb the first attack as its forces could well be decimated. With modern aircraft, ships, and Rapid Reaction Forces (RRF) or ‘Fist’ Units, the PLA would in all probability begin the so called ‘informationised’ war with a pre-emptive strike when an attack appears imminent. It would also use cyber and psychological warfare and space based assets for reconnaissance, surveillance and possibly offensive operations.

    Akash asked: How does changing chinese miliary strategy affect India?

    Ramesh V Phadke replies: China’s military strategy is part of its overall political design to build its ‘Comprehensive National Power’ (CNP) to ultimately challenge US supremacy in the region and later the world. Its application is, however, very subtle and carefully calibrated. China ’s claims to Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin in India, and Taiwan, Paracels and Spratleys Islands in South China Sea are part of its ‘National Reunification’ strategy. By selectively befriending smaller countries through generous injections of economic and military assistance and in the case of Pakistan and Iran nuclear and missile know-how it is determined to build a bulwark of anti-American powers in the region and is also ensuring that no middle rung power like India is allowed to become powerful enough to challenge Chinese hegemony in the region.

    Anshuman asked: What are your views regarding China's expansionist goals in the north-east and what military strategy would they pursue to achieve them?

    Anand Kumar replies: China and India have been discussing the unresolved boundary issue at the official level for a long while. From time to time Chinese officials, media and academics lay claim on Arunachal Pradesh, particularly Tawang. India needs to engage China to deepen the bilateral ties and minimize the potential for conflict. An outright military action is unlikely in the near future. In a positive development, the President paid a useful and constructive visit to China. The Chinese have supported northeast insurgents in the past but there are no confirmed reports of their continuing such support.

    Jointness in Strategic Capabilities: Can we avoid it?

    Jointness has so far eluded the Indian Armed Forces. All thinking officers in the services are aware that much more jointness cannot be avoided if the Indian Armed Forces are to retain their excellent reputation. But this thinking community often comes up abruptly against many senior officers who dissuade them from being idealistic, on the grounds that under the cloak of jointness, their individual services would suffer losses in men, responsibilities and budgeting.

    August 2007