"Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent failures against Pakistan in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Balakot and Kashmir:

Indian government and media have made a series of false claims about Balakot "militant casualties" and "shooting down Pakistani F16".  These claims have been scrutinized and debunked by independent journalists, experts and fact checkers. There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Beautiful Balakot, Kaghan Valley, Pakistan

Western Narrative:

The widely accepted western narrative about India and Pakistan goes like this: "India is rapidly rising while Pakistan is collapsing". In a 2015 report from South Asia, Roger Cohen of New York Times summed it up as follows: "India is a democracy and a great power rising. Pakistan is a Muslim homeland that lost half its territory in 1971, bounced back and forth between military and nominally democratic rule, never quite clear of annihilation angst despite its nuclear weapons".

India-Pakistan Military Spending: Infographic Courtesy The Economist

India: A Paper Elephant?

In an article titled "Paper Elephant", the Economist magazine talked about how India has ramped up its military spending and emerged as the world's largest arms importer. "Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean", the article said. It summed up the situation as follows: "India spends a fortune on defense and gets poor value for money".

After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military".  Here are some excerpts of the report:

"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".

Ineffective Indian Military:

Academics who have studied Indian military have found that it is ineffective by design. In "Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy Since Independence",  the author Steven I. Wilkinson, Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Yale, has argued that the civil-military constraints that have helped prevent a coup have hurt Indian military effectiveness and preparedness in at least three important ways:

(1) the weakening of the army before the 1962 China war;

(2) the problems caused for defense coordination and preparation by unwieldy defense bureaucracy, duplication of functions among different branches and lack of sharing of information across branches and

(3) the general downgrading of pay and perks since independence which has left the army with huge shortage of officers that affected the force's discipline capabilities.


India's international perception as a "great power rising" has suffered a serious setback as a result of its recent military failures against Pakistan which spends only a sixth of India's military budget and ranks 17th in the world, far below India ranking 4th by globalfirepower.com.  "Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's recent failures in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  The recent events are forcing India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

Here's a discussion on the subject:


Here's Indian Prime Minister Modi making excuses for his military's failures:


Views: 405

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 3, 2020 at 1:38pm

As tensions escalate with #China and #Pakistan, #India faces tests on two fronts at once. Indian Prime Minister Narendra #Modi spoke Tuesday with President Donald #Trump on "the situation on the India-China border". #Ladakh #Kashmir #CPEC https://www.newsweek.com/china-pakistan-tensions-india-test-two-fro...

After a spat of unarmed clashes along his country's roughly 2,100-mile with China last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke Tuesday with President Donald Trump on "the situation on the India-China border," according to a readout. The U.S. leader had offered to mediate the feud, but both New Delhi and Beijing have rejected the offer and maintained the situation was under control.

"At present, the overall situation in the China-India border areas is stable and controllable," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday.

"On border-related issues, there have been sound mechanisms and channels of communication between China and India, and the two sides are capable of properly resolving relevant issues through dialogue and consultation," he added. "There is no need for any third party to intervene."

But there was no indication that the situation had yet been resolved. After the Communist Party's official publication Global Times reported last week that border forces had been armed with new tanks, drones and helicopters, state television reported that the Chinese military had recently held high-altitude infiltration exercises at the Tanggula Mountains in Tibet, the far western province that borders India.

It was along this contested boundary between China-controlled Aksai Chin and India-administered Ladakh that patrols from both sides clashed several times at the sites of Pangong Lake, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie. The skirmishes were prompted by India's recent development near the sensitive Line of Actual Control dividing the two countries.

Indian media, which first reported on the conflict and the buildup of 5,000 Chinese troops at the border, reported Tuesday that New Delhi had moved in more personnel to the area. The next day, however, violence was reported elsewhere in the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

The Indian military reported Wednesday that Pakistan had violated their Line of Control ceasefire with small arms fire and heavy mortar shelling against the town of Nowshera in India-administered Kashmir. Days earlier, the Pakistani armed forces claimed the shootdown of two Indian drones.

While India and China fought a brief 1960s war and clashed occasionally along their borders, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought multiple deadly conflicts over Kashmir since the partition in 1947. India and Pakistan engaged in a dogfight and cross-border strikes last year in the first escalation of its kind in decades after India accused Pakistan of harboring insurgents responsible for a suicide attack on security personnel, a charge the country denies.

The situation intensified after Modi reshaped the Indian constitution in August to assert federal rule over India-administered Kashmir and Ladakh. Both Pakistan and China condemned the move as "unacceptable," with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warning the security and human rights implications could bring the two nuclear-armed rivals to war.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 6, 2020 at 4:22pm


Comment by Riaz Haq on June 6, 2020 at 4:24pm

#Indian Defense Analyst Dr. Pravin Sawhney: "PAKISTAN HAS NEVER LOST TO INDIA. NOT IN 1965! NOT IN 1971! IF INDIA HAD DEFEATED PAKISTAN, THERE WOULD BE NO LINE OF CONTROL IN KASHMIR TODAY". #India #Pakistan #China #Kashmir #CPEC | | JNN | https://youtu.be/QfhG-vtLfUs via @YouTube Watch at 33 Minutes in 43:12 Minutes video interview

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 3, 2020 at 4:12pm
#India’s poor politico-strategic choices. #Modi is in a bind after major blunders in #Kashmir. #Ladakh #Galwan #China #Pakistan https://www.thefridaytimes.com/indias-poor-politico-strategic-choices/
Recently, some in the Indian commentariat have begun talking about India facing a two-and-half front conflict situation. Strictly speaking, this is not new. We first heard the phrase in June 2017, just days before the Doklam standoff between India and China.
It was a comment by then-Indian army chief, now Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat. Rawat was speaking to the media. “The Indian Army is fully ready for a two-and-a-half front (China, Pakistan and internal security requirements simultaneously) war,” he was quoted as saying. He also talked about the 17 Mountain Strike Corps being raised from the scratch, as he put it. This Corps is meant specifically for offensive operations against China.
At the time his statement drew many comments in India. Most analysts looked at India’s previous conflicts and determined that politico-military objectives are best gained when a state can focus on a single threat and neutralise it. Two or more fronts, even for a strong state, can be problematic. Resources, both in men and war materials, get divided; logistics can become a nightmare; focus is lost in planning for more than one front at the tactical, theatre and strategic levels; diplomatic space is shrunk when a state is fighting more than one adversary and so on.
Three years from Rawat’s June 2017 statement, India thinks it faces the same situation again. The difference is that unlike the Doklam standoff, the current Sino-India face-off in Eastern Ladakh’s high-altitude barren heights and valleys has drawn blood, Indian blood, while the Chinese army sits comfortably on its gains. India is in a quandary. Despite Rawat’s boast, India doesn’t have many military options against China, not just in a land war scenario but also, as explained in detail by Pravin Sawhney, a former Indian army officer and now Editor of Force Magazine, across the full spectrum of military conflict.
At the Line of Control against Pakistan Army, ceasefire violations continue, however. That said, here too the Indian Army and more notably Indian Air Force know since February 27, 2019, that a misadventure would be costly. It would have been costlier on that morning if the Pakistan Air Force strike package, under directions from the government, had not shown restraint. PAF dominated the skies and controlled communications. Such was the confusion that the air defence unit near Srinagar shot down an Indian Air Force Mi-17 V-5 helicopter belonging to the Srinagar-based No 154 Helicopter Unit. That fratricidal action was even worse than losing a MiG to PAF.
Corollary: the China front is a militarily hopeless situation for India; the Pakistan front is a costly venture. As for Rawat’s half front, the internal security situation, people in the Occupied and now illegally annexed Jammu and Kashmir despise India to the last man and child. Despite a lockdown since August 5, 2019 and incarcerating thousands across jails in India, India has failed to break the spirit of Kashmiris. That front is already lost, unless Rawat, now at the top of the military pecking order as CDS, thinks that killing, maiming, arresting and torturing Kashmiris is a benchmark of success.
India’s trade volume with China stands at USD86 billion with much greater potential. It could have a peaceful South Asia and trade relations with Pakistan and beyond if it decided to work with Pakistan and China in a cooperative rather than a conflictual framework. But no, it won’t do that. After making poor choices it would double down on them, giving Rawat his misplaced two-and-half-front conflict scenario. If that is not stupid, I don’t know what is.
Comment by Riaz Haq on July 29, 2020 at 5:59pm

#India’s New #Rafale Jet vs. #China’s J-20 Stealth Fighter. Do #French Built Planes Stand a Chance? Simple answer: NO! Rafale is lighter & less capable than #Russian Su-30MKI jet of which India currently deploys over 250. Chinese PL-15 missile is superior https://militarywatchmagazine.com/article/india-s-new-rafale-jet-vs...

Looking to the J-20, the fighter has one of the highest altitude ceilings in the world and can comfortably exceed Mach 2 speeds, meaning it will be able to attack the Rafale from above and provide its missiles with much more kinetic and gravitational potential energy. Its range and endurance are among the longest in the world, with the aircraft designed for long distance missions over the Pacific. More important than its flight performance advantages however are its technological ones. As a fifth generation fighter, the J-20 makes use of an advanced radar cross section reducing airframe. Although the fighters in peacetime often deploy with luneburg reflectors or external fuel tanks, making them easy to detect even at long ranges, when in ‘stealth mode’ the fighters have a small fraction of the radar cross section of any fourth generation jet making them extremely difficult to lock onto. The J-20 further benefits from advanced stealth coatings, an asset the Rafale lacks, which absorb radar waves and augment the stealth advantage already provided by the design of its airframe.

In terms of situational awareness both the Rafale and J-20 deploy AESA radars, with France and China being the first two countries after Japan and the U.S. to integrate such radars onto fighter aircraft. It is important to consider that China’s research and development budget is several times higher, which combined with a much larger and generally more sophisticated military industrial base is expected to provide it with more advanced radar and electronic warfare systems. Not only this, but the J-20’s sheer size, more than twice as large as the Rafale, means it can carry a much heavier radar. The latter factor alone guarantees a significant advantage in situational awareness for the Chinese jet. The J-20’s situational awareness is further augmented by integration of state of the art distributed aperture systems, which are currently deployed only by the Chinese fighter and the American F-35 and will provide an important advantage over the Rafale particularly at closer ranges.


Finally, looking to weaponry, the J-20 deploys the PL-15 air to air missile with a 250-300km range. The missile makes use of thrust vector controls and has a very high manoeuvrability, although its most outstanding feature is its use of an AESA radar which not only makes it much more difficult to jam than passive radar guided missiles, but also allows it to lock on to its targets at greater distances and better engage stealth targets at range. The Rafale currently deploys the ageing MICA air to air missile, which is effectively obsolete for long range engagements with a range of 80km - respectable for its time but now far surpassed by new Chinese and American technologies. India’s Rafales will, however, soon deploy the Meteor missile which is thought to have a range anywhere between 200-280km, a potential challenge to the PL-15. it remains uncertain whether the Meteor integrates an AESA radar as the PL-15 does, although given the cost equipping missiles with such radars would incur in Europe it is likely that the platform, like the latest American missiles, still uses a passively scanned radar.


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