NEW DELHI: India has no clarity about its military and strategic objectives vis-à-vis its stated adversaries, Pakistan and China, and can defeat neither of them in a war, a new book by N.C. Asthana, former Indian police officer respected for his insights into security affairs, says.
The Wire on Tuesday carried a review of the book National Security and Conventional Arms Race: Spectre of a Nuclear War. It quotes the book as seeing “a huge mismatch between the militaristic official and media rhetoric, on the one hand, and the reality, which is that India cannot defeat either country militarily”.
The reviewer, Siddharth Varadarajan, editor of the esteemed current affairs portal, quotes Asthana as suggesting that instead of pouring vast sums of money into expensive weapons imports, India would be better served by finding solutions to the security challenges both Pakistan and China present by strengthening itself internally and pursuing non-military solutions, including diplomacy.
Asthana also puts the lens on what he calls the “politics of warmongering”, which, according to him, has consumed public discourse in India over the past six years.
“Under the delusion that India has somehow, magically become invincible, he notes how a large number of Indians seem to be itching for a war.”
This invincibility narrative is both fuelled and strengthened by relentless arms imports. Asthana puts the figure India has spent on arms imports in the five years since 2014 at $14 billion, “and the undisclosed cost of the 36 Rafale jets purchased from Dassault Aviation is not included in this”.
But even this sum pales before the $130bn India is projected to spend on arms imports in the next decade, including on 100-plus even more expensive fighter jets to make up for the shortfall caused by the Modi government’s decision to scrap the earlier deal for 126 Rafales.
“As the fanfare over the arrival of the first Rafales showed, each of these purchases is hailed and sold to the public by the media as weapons that will flatten India’s enemies. But of course, this is far from the truth,” Varadarajan quotes the book as saying.
Asthana argues that the frenzied import of conventional weapons will never guarantee a permanent solution to the military problem posed by Pakistan or China because both the countries are nuclear-weapon states and cannot be decisively defeated on the battlefield.
“Given the myth of Indian invincibility, the futility of warmongering should be obvious. Yet, as the past few years have demonstrated, jingoism in India is at an all-time high,” the book notes.
“While conventional weapons can provide a tactical advantage in limited theatre conflicts short of war, the danger lies in escalation — which is hard to control at the best of times but especially so when the public discourse has been vitiated by the politics of warmongering.”
Asthana believes that exploiting enmity with Pakistan for electoral benefits has made Indian leaders victims of their own rhetoric, where they are left with a one-dimensional policy — one which is unrealistic in view of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Quoting Napoleon, he notes: “If they want peace, nations should avoid the pinpricks that precede cannon shots.”
This is from a 2020 book.. I agree with some parts of his takes but there are other parts which he has not taken into count ''what if Pakistan launches mass offensive'' or where doctrine is based on offensive solely meaning a much more ambitious approach from the Pakistani side could literally throw spin into everything. Meaning preparing for such an offensive will call for probably the biggest land-offensive in scale ever carried out in history but Pakistan has the manpower to commit to such a vast scale offensive. The Indians are suspect hence in such scenario I would put the house on pakistan getting it done in 3 years max assuming this is an ambitious Pakistan but the result is completely depended on Pakistan's appraoches and manuvers including scale of ambitions