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Rise of PLAAF : Implications for India

bolo

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More than the PLAAF, the concern for India should be the fact that China has the largest inventory in the world of non-nuclear ballistic missiles. Added to our inventory of cruise missiles and rocket artillery (all with more than enough range to target Delhi which is only 300 km from the border)... it means a first strike using these thousands of missiles could overwhelm India's airfields to NE India, rendering their ground troops without air cover.

The next issue would be the border infrastructure, which currently is massively in China's favor. Allowing us to bring far greater concentrations of troops and equipment to any point along the LAC than India can.

India's advantage is that China is mostly focused on the Pacific. India could do what we did these past few decades, essentially keeping their heads down and avoiding grabbing attention. Then use the time to build up their economy to double-digit growth, as well as inducting greater numbers of domestic weapons platforms. And building up their military production capacity, so they can produce very large numbers of indigenous platforms if necessary.
That old trick isn't going to work. What india should do is give up its ambition for being a superpower , don't meddle in China's affairs. Once the US is driven out of Asia, there will be peace and prosperity for the nations in the east and SEA.
 

Didact

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This is valid if China intends to steam roll into North east ...what if it's intention is to only humiliate India by mauling it into border skirmishes without actual plan to annexe north east ?

what if China does not cross the first echeleon and come into the plains but just retreats back after thrashing India managing to limit the war and possible losses and getting away with vital political victory over India ?

India will lose a lot even if it does not lose its territory ..as happened in 1962 ....
That would be a theory, of course, but as far as possible, every army wants to secure its positions from counter attacks in the future. This is the reason why India took over Kargil in 1971 & the Israeli's took over Golan Heights in 1967 (or maybe 1973??).

Having such a large plain sweeping your position means that the enemy has a staging ground to launch very large scale assaults. Furthermore, the better roadways and rail network in the plains will enable India to gain the element of surprise in an attack, and in the event of a success, quickly redeploy the troops to take advantage of the breach.

In short, India can't be silenced till the plains are in Indian hands.
 

MilSpec

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Rise of the PLAAF: Implications for India » Indian Defence Review


Rise of the PLAAF: Implications for India

\The PLAAF is on a focussed course to have an essentially fourth generation air force with the J-10/J-11 in air superiority roles complementing the Su-27/Su-30 fleets, JF-17 in interceptor role and the J-20/J-31 as fifth generation stealth multi-role types. The J-20 first flew in January 2011 and bears a resemblance to the F-22 Raptor. In October 2012, China flight tested the second next generation fighter prototype, the J-31 which is the size of the F-35 Lightening II Joint Strike Fighter produced by Lockheed Martin of the US and appears to incorporate design characteristics similar to the J-20. Regarded as fifth generation aircraft, the J-20 and the J-31 are expected to join the PLAAF between 2017 and the end of this decade. Whether these aircraft actually emerge with fifth generation characteristics is for time to reveal as the power plant and leading edge stealth technology appear to be out of reach for the Chinese as yet. The power plant problem may be solved through the stratagem of buying more Su-35 from Russia. Deliveries of 24 Su-35 and an unknown number of spare engines are expected to begin in 2015, while the J-20 is slated to be operational in 2017. Some experts feel that the J-20 would finally be powered by the 117S engine that powers the Su-35. This engine is a derivative of the Russian AL-31 which is fitted on one of the J-20 prototypes. If that be the case, the J-20 would be a formidable aircraft...
Should have stopped reading at the highlight.... The conclusion drawn was basic HAL bashing...
 

Indo-guy

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That would be a theory, of course, but as far as possible, every army wants to secure its positions from counter attacks in the future. This is the reason why India took over Kargil in 1971 & the Israeli's took over Golan Heights in 1967 (or maybe 1973??).

Having such a large plain sweeping your position means that the enemy has a staging ground to launch very large scale assaults. Furthermore, the better roadways and rail network in the plains will enable India to gain the element of surprise in an attack, and in the event of a success, quickly redeploy the troops to take advantage of the breach.

In short, India can't be silenced till the plains are in Indian hands.
well China risks escalation of full scale war if it routs Indian army in mountainous border areas and enters into the plains ...

It will gain much more and lose little by retreating back ..after humiliating India .

the political victory will be great ..it will subdue India for long time and will allow China to establish is unchallenged dominance in asia.

I doubt if China will risk that ...because once the full scale war erupts then things will not remain as simple ...

China will likely opt for short lasting border war which will humiliate India and force India to settle border dispute at china's terms ...and will prevent any further escalation of war .

If war prolongs many more theaters of war will appear and international community will jump in ...to prevent nuclear war between to giant neighbors ...and that scenario may not be conducive to China .

Nuclear war between India and China ...will wipe out India and it will destroy China's dream of becoming Superpower forever ...


China will therefore limit the conflict to border area and is unlikely to step into plains to annex the territory except if it wishes to use it as bargaining chips with India to push through the agenda on its own terms ...

Should have stopped reading at the highlight.... The conclusion drawn was basic HAL bashing...
But you didn't ...right ?

by the way what's wrong with that particular phrase and how does it amount to HAL bashing ....?
 

bolo

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This is true, apart from the bit about the first strike. Since both China and India have "No First Use" policies, and China is known for using conventional warheads on ballistic missiles, there is little to no chance that a nuclear war would start. Unless of course, India disregarded their own NFU and fired a nuke first.

Otherwise, both sides having a No First Use policy rules out the use of nukes, except in some very unlikely scenarios.

Also, China has a significant advantage in terms of nukes, as mentioned by the Indian Naval Chief recently.



We have the high ground on the Tibetan Plateau, which means Indian ground radars will be coming up against a sheer mountain wall, and will be much less effective.

It's true that China will face significant logistical problems once inside Indian territory, however we realize that, and thus the conflict is more likely to be confined to a border skirmish. China has no interest or need in pushing deep into the Indian heartland, which would anyway be a possible trigger for a large-scale nuclear war if we did that.
Maybe in 1962 China may had logistics issues, but not a ground war in the 21st century.
你詐諦扮豬食老虎?
 

Didact

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well China risks escalation of full scale war if it routs Indian army in mountainous border areas and enters into the plains ...

It will gain much more and lose little by retreating back ..after humiliating India .

the political victory will be great ..it will subdue India for long time and will allow China to establish is unchallenged dominance in asia.

I doubt if China will risk that ...because once the full scale war erupts then things will not remain as simple ...

China will likely opt for short lasting border war which will humiliate India and force India to settle border dispute at china's terms ...and will prevent any further escalation of war .

If war prolongs many more theaters of war will appear and international community will jump in ...to prevent nuclear war between to giant neighbors ...and that scenario may not be conducive to China .

Nuclear war between India and China ...will wipe out India and it will destroy China's dream of becoming Superpower forever ...


China will therefore limit the conflict to border area and is unlikely to step into plains to annex the territory except if it wishes to use it as bargaining chips with India to push through the agenda on its own terms ...



But you didn't ...right ?

by the way what's wrong with that particular phrase and how does it amount to HAL bashing ....?
well China risks escalation of full scale war if it routs Indian army in mountainous border areas and enters into the plains ...

It will gain much more and lose little by retreating back ..after humiliating India .

the political victory will be great ..it will subdue India for long time and will allow China to establish is unchallenged dominance in asia.

I doubt if China will risk that ...because once the full scale war erupts then things will not remain as simple ...

China will likely opt for short lasting border war which will humiliate India and force India to settle border dispute at china's terms ...and will prevent any further escalation of war .

If war prolongs many more theaters of war will appear and international community will jump in ...to prevent nuclear war between to giant neighbors ...and that scenario may not be conducive to China .

Nuclear war between India and China ...will wipe out India and it will destroy China's dream of becoming Superpower forever ...


China will therefore limit the conflict to border area and is unlikely to step into plains to annex the territory except if it wishes to use it as bargaining chips with India to push through the agenda on its own terms ...



But you didn't ...right ?

by the way what's wrong with that particular phrase and how does it amount to HAL bashing ....?
You are drawing your theories based on the 1962 situation. Fair enough, history is always a precedent. However, as has been demonstrated countless times, events do not always walk upon the path lit by history. Emperor Wilhelm couldn't capture Paris in 4 years of war. 25 years later, the inferior Wehrmacht captured all of France in 53 days.

Most focus on the political aspects of the 1962 defeat, without realizing that India has not been able to match the scale of rearmament it executed just after 1962 in the following 5 decades. This fact was well noted by everyone, including Pakistan, except us.

The risk of letting Indian war machine survive the next war with China would be too great for the PLA and by extension, the CCP. If the Indian army survives, no matter how humiliated, the resulting rearmament will make the 1962 reorganization look puny.

And the problem with short war is that there is always the threat of rapid, unintended escalation. There is n0 guarantee that India will not open up another front to relieve besieged forces, especially in Aksai region and Sikkim region where the positions favor Indian forces

This is why even the IA has moved back from its abortive attempt at limited war v/s Pak to total war. You just need to look at the exercises to realize that Cold-start which initially was supposed to be the end all of the war will now be just the initial operations of a far wider operations. In short, limited war is finding lesser favor within the military community.
 

axisofevil

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This is valid if China intends to steam roll into North east ...what if it's intention is to only humiliate India by mauling it into border skirmishes without actual plan to annexe north east ?

what if China does not cross the first echeleon and come into the plains but just retreats back after thrashing India managing to limit the war and possible losses and getting away with vital political victory over India ?

India will lose a lot even if it does not lose its territory ..as happened in 1962 ....



fair enough, But as a resident of North East, I'll point out the difference between your opinion and mine. You're free to disagree if you like.

It is certainly true that all nations that go to war estimate and expect casualties. It's already factored into their battle plans and logistics plans. However, you can only predict such data to a degree of accuracy, and that too if the progress of the war is in line with your plans.

You can look up any war, any battle, any campaign from any period. The greater the delay/holdup, the greater the deviation from expected casualties and losses. This is partly the reason why superior equipped/trained armies aim at a rapid penetration/pincer/thrust campaigns, instead of slower general advances.

And in that respect, the terrain and topography of NE India is a quagmire, both metamorphic, and literal. The first echelon of the IA defenses stretches over the very difficult Himalayas. And unlike what many here might imagine, mountain warfare will focus on key passes and passages that allow logistics supply to the divisions of fighting troops. And as with any fight in confined space, the attacker loses the advantage of superior numbers.

Assuming PLA breaches the first echelon, they will come up against the second echelon, stretched along the vast flood plain of Brahmaputra.

The primary problem for the advancing PLA is that they will be an infantry heavy force will no armored support India on the other hand, has around 6 regiments of tanks (T-72) in NE, with an additional 6 regiments of T-90MS expected. Combined these come to around 2 armored divisions should the army command decide to commit them as a cluster. ( Over and above that, excellent rail networks should enable India to deploy entire divisions of armor on short notice.)

And need I remind you that infantry in plains without armored support tend to get slaughtered, bravery notwithstanding?

The next problem is that India controls the various flood gates to the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. In case of a breach in the defensive line, India will simply flood the area, an area denial/ scorched earth policy if you will. (There is a precedent for this. In 1965, India did indeed plan to release all the water in the dams in Kashmir to flood Pakistani Punjab plains, in case Pakistan breached Indian defenses around Achnoor.)

There are more problems, but am not in the mood to state them right now.


Valid points. Let me counter for the sake of debate


As you pointed out, taking out the Northeast seems tough enough. So what about cutting it off by Siliguri (chicken neck) and then gradually reducing supplies. Timing is everything so what if they engineer an coup in Bangladesh that puts in power a receptive govt for them? Possibly have Bangladesh playing a bigger role or headache perhaps. Then as the Northeast gets bombarded by their airforces and missiles with one group...another group sweeps in another area via Nepal or Bhutan. Then consider Pakistan may saber rattle a bit. My only concern is if China is able to persuade these smaller states to take to arms. Maybe not the ppl, but its easy to bribe a govt perhaps?


For me I would avoid fighting in the mountain terrain at all costs if I was China unless it was calculated. Thus, I would fight on my own terms where I want. PLAN could be used to engage us well. The issue with Pakistan comes up too with their navy.

The thing is fighting with us before China used deceit which is the oldest weapon. Our strongest forces facing them, why would I face that if could focus on the South with Marines? Or Paratroopers Attacking from Maldives?


I think for modern war, we are ill equipped in strategy. PLAN special forces and frogmen could enter any point in our 1000's of KM coastline. Then wreak havoc with cooordinate strikes. Pakistan could awaken a jihadi network to aid it.



I know we can counter it but casualities will be heavy and weak govt at centre would be easy to captiulate to their demands.
 

Nav84

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@sancho . Doubtful to you maybe, to me its wishful thinking on your part.

We are not going to leave China alone in the battlefield. We are already practicing together for a two fron war against India. All 3 Shaheen series exercises were India centric.

We will join China against a war with India. It maybe our best chance to liberate Kashmir as well as seeking vengence for the brutality you have inflicted upon our peole there.
Do not talk so immature. You are a administration of this forum..Do not speak without concrete proof. Pakistan Army never claimed or had wishes they will join two front war with India. Pakistan will never participate in Indo-China neither China will get involve directly if Indo-Pak war happens unless you have prime minister like hafiz saeed. Pakistan should not even dream to fight with India in current circumstances is Pakistan going through. You have to see the reality..Do not act like a newbie on this forum and talking crap!!!
 

Chinese-Dragon

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你詐諦扮豬食老虎?
你认为怎么样? :no:

Do not talk so immature. You are a administration of this forum..Do not speak without concrete proof. Pakistan Army never claimed or had wishes they will join two front war with India. Pakistan will never participate in Indo-China neither China will get involve directly if Indo-Pak war happens unless you have prime minister like hafiz saeed.
"All warfare is based on deception" - Sun Tzu

Obviously if they want to do it, they will not openly claim it beforehand.
 

janon

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The next issue would be the border infrastructure, which currently is massively in China's favor. Allowing us to bring far greater concentrations of troops and equipment to any point along the LAC than India can.
...
Yes, the border infrastructure is massively in China's favour, but guess what? They only extend up to the border. No matter how good your rail and road infrastructure in the TAR is, and I will admit that it is pretty impressive, there is no way for you to send large ground formations through the Himalayas. Vehicles, armoured or otherwise, will all be smoked out when they try to make their winding way through mountain passes. And a handful of soldiers defending crucial passes can keep killing as many number of enemy soldiers and vehicles trying to come through.

“Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
With all the speed ye may;
I, with two more to help me,
Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
May well be stopped by three:
Now who will stand on either hand,
And keep the bridge with me?”

In this day and age, with all the reconnaisance assets each side has, it is impossible to send in a large force undetected. As somebody above pointed out, once the mountains are bypassed and the infantry reaches the plains without armour support, they will be mincemeat. So airborne or air assault troops flying over the mountains won't stand a chance either.

All this of course, is in response to the idea that China tries to invade India. It is impossible, and will remain so, unless there is a catastrophic degradation of India's air and ground forces first - like say, complete decimation of all our armour in the plains.

Needless to say, it is also impossible for India to send any forces across into China.

Do you wonder why it is that we are not upgrading our infrastructure to match China's, in the north east? It is not lack of money (we do have enough to build a few roads and rails), or inefficiency. It is because it does not bring enough value for money. For China, it serves a dual purpose of integrating the TAR into the rest of China economically. For us, integrating the north east with the rest of the country is a needed move, but upgrading military infrastructure with border roads and rails does not really serve that purpose. It is far more value for money to raise a new mountain strike corps, and train them specifically for mountain warfare against China - that one corps, if properly trained and employed, can hold off any invasion by China due to the factors explained above. That said, we are massively upgrading some military infrastructure, like airfields and airstrips and radars. Remember DBO.

The Himalayas have always prohibited free movement between the Indian subcontinent and China, which is why these two entities grew as two separate civilizations, and the people look different from each other despite being neighbours. The ability for people to move has increased, but the ability for hostile armies to move has only decreased in modern times.
 

sancho

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The ability for people to move has increased, but the ability for hostile armies to move has only decreased in modern times.
Has it? Isn't it a fact that even IAF "today" is far more able to support troop movements in the north eastern areas far better than it was in the past? We saw the C130Js landing at Daulat Beg Oldie, which was advertised as a show of the new capability they have. The C17s were purposly procured because they can lift more payload to higher altitude areas and can operate at more airstrips in the region than the current IL 76 and many people kept advertising the CH47 only for the capability to drop troops at mountain tops...
When we look at the other side, we can't just look at their ground infrastructure improvements, which as you said are impressive, but have to see their progress in air lifting as well and the Y20 in this case will make a big difference in future. Just like we can't ignore the huge firepower PLA has build up in the light tank, IFV, selfpropelled howitzer and mortar fields. They are not only able to move large ammounts of troops and armored vehicles around TAR, but are doing everything to be a highly mobile and powerful force by air lifting as well and that is something that should be worring for India, or that makes clear why not loosing air superiority will be crucial for Indias defence. The minute PLAAF gains superiority, their troops will surpass the borders, the one or the other way.
 

janon

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Has it? Isn't it a fact that even IAF "today" is far more able to support troop movements in the north eastern areas far better than it was in the past? We saw the C130Js landing at Daulat Beg Oldie, which was advertised as a show of the new capability they have. The C17s were purposly procured because they can lift more payload to higher altitude areas and can operate at more airstrips in the region than the current IL 76 and many people kept advertising the CH47 only for the capability to drop troops at mountain tops...
When we look at the other side, we can't just look at their ground infrastructure improvements, which as you said are impressive, but have to see their progress in air lifting as well and the Y20 in this case will make a big difference in future. Just like we can't ignore the huge firepower PLA has build up in the light tank, IFV, selfpropelled howitzer and mortar fields. They are not only able to move large ammounts of troops and armored vehicles around TAR, but are doing everything to be a highly mobile and powerful force by air lifting as well and that is something that should be worring for India, or that makes clear why not loosing air superiority will be crucial for Indias defence. The minute PLAAF gains superiority, their troops will surpass the borders, the one or the other way.
I meant the ability to move troops through the himalayas. Airborne forces cannot survive, if dropped across the Himalayas, with no armour support. Only a combined arms force, and that too a very large one, can survive in enemy territory for any meaningful length of time. And such a force cannot make its way across the Himalayas. If you are suggesting an entire tank division being airlifted into India, that is also impossible - they will be shot down.
 

Indo-guy

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@janon , @sancho , @sandy_3126

are not we skirting main contention of this article that rise of PLAAF does put serious challenges to IAF ?

we really do not have answer to the way china is enlarging its offensive capabilities ...Do we ?
 

sancho

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I meant the ability to move troops through the himalayas.
They showed that it is possible in 62 and today are even far more capable to do it, just as we are trying to be as well. And the important point is, that we still focus only on the mountains while they work on simply surpassing them.

Airborne forces cannot survive, if dropped across the Himalayas, with no armour support.
Who said they wouldn't have armored support? That's the point, PLA is inducting huge numbers of modern light tanks, or wheeled tank destroyers, howitzers and mortars. They already train to not only transport them quickly by road and rail, but also to airdrop them, not to mention that their airstrips in TAR getting enlarged to operate bigger aircrafts too.

If you are suggesting an entire tank division being airlifted into India, that is also impossible - they will be shot down.
That's your "blieve" and I "hope" that we are able to do it, the fact however is, that PLAAF is superior to IAF in AWACS support, fighter numbers and defensive / offensive missile capability, which makes it hard not only for IAF to survive, but also to defend strikes against our ground forces. That's why I said, the minute they gain air superiority, they will strike their way through our defences and won't need to take the difficult way through the mountains anymore, but can transport troops and credible firepower even behin the borderline.
It would be silly of us to aim Chinas capability only on the 62 war and romantic notion of the mountains being the limiting factor. The world

@janon , @sancho , @sandy_3126

are not we skirting main contention of this article that rise of PLAAF does put serious challenges to IAF ?

we really do not have answer to the way china is enlarging its offensive capabilities ...Do we ?
As said in the post above, the crucial point is IAF's lack of AWACS support (we waited too long for DRDO AWACS) and offensive strike capability. That will highly limit IAFs capability to defend our air space and to do pre-emptive strikes beyond the ground based Brahmos range of IA today.
 

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