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Dragon is in for surprise from India

China needs to be reminded of ground realities of Ladakh, which is characterised by High Altitude Area to Super High Altitude Area terrain demanding extraordinary standard of physical endurance, a quality which reportedly is lacking in PLA soldiers who are mostly hailing from urban areas.

Lt Gen Dushyant Singh (retd.)

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India-China border tensions flare up
India-China border tensions flare up

The old proverb, “Empty vessels make the most noise” fits aptly on Hu Xijin, editor- in-chief of Global Times (GT), China. Following the Foreign Minister-level talks, Xijin tweeted that “PLA is prepared to strike against Indian troops.” He went on to add that PLA was ready to strike a heavy blow to Indian troops. The statement was followed by a series of articles indirectly threatening India to acquiesce to Chinese stand or else face the consequences which would be detrimental to Indian interests. Some excerpts from a GT article are, “India has no chance of winning the LAC war.” Likewise, another ex- tract from the same article reads, “We must remind the Indian side that China‘s national strength, including its military strength, is much stronger than India’s… If a border war starts, India will have no chance of winning.”

Selective memory

China needs to be reminded of ground realities of Ladakh region, which is characterised by High Altitude Area (HAA) to Super High Altitude Area (SHAA) terrain demanding extraordinary standard of physical endurance, a quality which reportedly is lacking in PLA soldiers who are mostly hailing from urban areas. While the Chinese media continues to target India through information war by highlighting their victory over India in 1962, it fails to recollect the humiliating defeat of 1967. PLA suffered 340 killed and 450 injured at the hands of Indian Army. In comparison, 88 Indian Soldiers were killed in action and 163 injured. Also, it has glibly blanked out the severe blow inflicted by Indian Army on PLA soldiers in Galwan clashes. As per US intelligence reports, 35 soldiers including several officers of PLA were killed/injured in the incident. Some sources peg this number at 45.

The Fallacy of Type 15 Light Tanks: It has been flaunting its light Tank Type 15 as the game changer in Ladakh but seems to have overlooked that tanks are of very limited value in the rugged HAA and SHAA mountains. Light footed all pervasive Infantry with its missiles and rockets will play merry hell with the thinly armoured so called light tanks of China. Every fold of the ground in the Indus and Spanggur valley will become an obstacle for the Type 15 tanks. We must also not forget that it is a challenge to operate and maintain these tanks at SHAA of Ladakh due to the extreme cold climate. It is no brainer that India has an edge over China in this domain as well. Moreover, Type 15 tanks weigh 33 tons and when fully loaded would touch 35 tons. By no stretch of imagination, they can be termed as light tanks. The slow moving tanks will be dead ducks for our infantry men. Further, India also has been able to induct its T72 and T90 tanks in the region. Moreover, we must not forget that Type 15 tanks of the Chinese do not have any battle experience unlike the Indian T 72 and T 90s. Combination of Infantry and T 72 will cause havoc in the Chinese camp for sure.

Battle Hardy and Seasoned Indian Troops: Someone also needs to re- mind the Chinese of the fate PLA met in Vietnam in 1979. When faced with battle hardened soldiers like that of India and Vietnam, Han soldiers predominantly hailing from urban areas will wilt under pressure. The Battle of Pork Chop Hill with Vietnam seems to have faded from the memory of PLA Commanders. Chinese do not seem to consider that Himalayas have a way of teaching a lesson to armies that disregard its might especially when confronted with highly spirited, motivated and battle-scarred soldiers from India. Battle worthiness of Indian soldiers is unmatched in comparison to China. Indian Army has been fighting an ongoing proxy war with Pakistan for the last three decades in J&K. It is successfully operating on the highest battlefield of the world Siachen since the mid-80s and fought three successful wars post 1962. Its valour on the super high altitude Kargil Mountains where even walking is a challenge leave aside fighting with full battle loads remains unmatched by any army in the world. What makes the Indian army stand apart from the others is its strong regimental spirit, absolute loyalty towards the nation and never say die spirit. On the contrary, chocolate soldiers of China have never seen a conflict since 1979. That India will win easily is a foregone conclusion which is not based on nationalistic rhetoric but on irrefutable and logical military arguments enumerated in succeeding paragraphs.

Logistics infrastructure

Estimated Current Force Levels: As per some open source reports, China has amassed over two Divisions in the Sector. Further based on the reported movement of vehicles in the last few weeks opposite the Ladakh Sector, we may safely assume that China would enhance the numbers to 3 to 4 Divisions. It has also inducted additional tanks, artillery, and aircrafts opposite us. However, are they prepared logistically? We also need to consider that China does not mobilize such large troops in this sector as a matter of regular practice. They were forced to do so as a reaction to an unexpected level of resistance displayed by the Indian Army digging its heels duly supported by national leadership which did not buckle down to Chinese pressure. Hence, there would be a need to undertake logistics preparation before the troops can be launched into operations. Is the available time – frame and the exist- ing infrastructure adequate to undertake a pre-winter operation extending into the harsh winters of Ladakh? A dispassionate analysis of Chinese logistics capability will provide the correct answer to this question.

Availability of Roads and Logistic Staging Areas: China has built six logistic bases that support the Ladakh Region along the sole road artery [G219] that feeds the region. These are starting from the north Zaidullah [Can support two Divisions], Dahong Luitan [Can support two Divi- sions], Rudok [Can support one Division], Shiquanhe [Can support one Division], Kangsiwar [Can support one Division] and Noh [Can support one Division].

These logistic bases are connected by radial roads emanating from G219 to nine forward staging areas. The forward staging areas are starting from the North, TWT, Piu, Khurnak Fort, Dorje Kunjam, Maldo, Gar Gungsa (GordZong), Tashigang and Nupuk. These staging areas are 80- 150 km from the main road artery G219 and capable of supporting two Brigades to a Division. From the forward staging areas, multiple roads are available to support the forward troops. On the face of it, the logistic infrastructure appears flawless and well planned. However, a careful analysis will reveal several constraints in the Chinese logistics supply chain.

Firstly, the entire logistics is based on a single road artillery G 219. Further, large distances lead to greater turnaround time upto these mother depots. Hence, they need greater time to stock. Secondly, G 219 though claimed by China to remain open throughout the year, as per some defence experts is prone to major closures sometimes extending to 10 to 14 days due to harsh weather conditions during the winters. Thirdly, while the connectivity between the forward staging areas to forward troops is good, the forward staging areas themselves are connected by mostly single roads from G 219. This restricts the Chinese logistics supply chain between mother bases on the G 219 and the Forward Staging areas. Fourthly, the nine forward staging areas are a choke point and ideal targets for IAF to disrupt their supply chain. Fifthly, it also necessitates sequential application of forces along these radials. On the other hand, India has multiple connectivity to the Ladakh sector now. Although these roads close during winter, with construction of the Atal tunnel and another all- weather road from Darcha to Leh, this problem has been permanently taken care of. Further roads forward of Leh have now been upgraded and are open throughout the year. These roads only see closure for a very – very short duration due to heavy snowfall. In addition, the Indian air heads in the Ladakh region remain operative almost throughout the year.

Forward Road Connectivity: China has developed five laterals in its most vulnerable and highly sensitive Aksai Chin area. First being to Depsang Plains (areas of PP 10, 11, 11A, 12 & 13). Second to Galwan Valley (PP 14). Third to Hot Springs/Gogra (PP 15 & 17A). Fourth to Pangong Tso North Bank (till Finger 4) and fifth to Pangong Tso South Bank (almost till opposite of Finger 4, where an additional road from Rudok to Spanggur also exists). India with its revised policy is hastening rapid border
infrastructure development. Activation of the DBO airfield and completion of the DSDBO Road, and connectivity in other sectors is unsettling the Chinese. The Chinese see the development of our border road infrastructure as a threat to Aksai Chin. In short, it is advantage India when we superimpose our better fighting capability both by ground forces and the AF.

Air Bases: Seven active air bases are located in Xinjiang and Tibet that will come into play for operations against India. These are Hotan, Gar Gunsa, Kashgar, Hoping, DkonkaDzong, Linzhi and Pangat. Reports suggest that all these airbases have been active in the recent past suggesting that China is still short of being fully ready to take on India in a conventional face off for the time being. Further, given the altitude of these airfields fighters as well as the transport aircrafts will suffer a major load penalty. On the other hand, Indian Aircrafts will take off from air fields located in the plains and would be able to deliver greater TNT on the Chinese. Adding to the problem of high altitude are the large distances of Chinese air bases from the forward staging areas, which will pose a serious challenge in maintaining the forward troops. India on the other hand will operate over shorter distances with forward air heads being much closer to the forward troops. So what India lacks in numbers is compensated in better operating conditions and capabilities? China is conscious of this differential and hence eager to seek a diplomatic solution to the current face off, a fact substantiated by its eagerness to seek RM and EAM level talks with India during the SCO summit to resolve the current face off.

Weapons Equipment and Armaments: The common perception created by numerical data may give an impression that China has an edge on this issue. However, India has been quietly working towards building its stocks and making up its deficiencies to sustain a conflict in harsh and active winters from the time current face off commenced with the Chinese. It has been taking steps to make sure that our troops are fully geared and equipped to face the challenges posed by an adversary blinded by simplistic numerical comparisons.

Game not over till last ball

India is a peace-loving nation and firmly believes in peaceful growth of the entire world in the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. But if forced to go to war it will not hesitate to fight as it is geared to meet all contingencies. While India and China may not be at par in overall comprehensive national power calculated by social scientists and inter- national relations scholars, intangibles such as human factors, dedication, commitment, and local conditions have the potential to alter the outcome of a military conflict. Locational advantages, external support, terrain and weather conditions if exploited well by a country will produce unexpected results. India enjoys that advantage in Ladakh and its leadership at the national level and military at the operational level is will- ing and fully geared to do so. In comparison, Xi appears driven by personal ambition of being the next great leader of China after Mao even if it means putting his country in danger of losing its hard earned position in the comity of nations.

Lt Gen Dushyant Singh (retd) has served in varied terrains and theatre of operations, in India and in the UN as Military Observer. He has commanded an Infantry Battalion, Brigade and a Division in Jammu and Kashmir. He is currently Professor Emeritus Defence Studies at Gujarat Raksha Shakti University.

Defence

PAKISTAN’S FIRST ASSAULT ON INNOCENT KASHMIRIS

Maj Gen Harsha Kakar

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October 22 is being observed as black day in many parts of the globe to highlight atrocities committed by Pakistan on the people of Jammu and Kashmir commencing from this day in 1947. It marks the day when the Pakistan Army joined by raiders, known as Kabailies, invaded the region, causing untold misery to its innocent residents, killing thousands, pillaging, raping and transporting women to be sold as slaves. The state of J&K had sought to be independent and in pursuit of this desire had signed a standalone agreement with Pakistan, which it broke.

Hindus and Sikhs were mercilessly slaughtered and thrown into rivers. Muslim women pleaded for their lives but to no avail. Truckloads of looted goods and captured women were taken away as booty. Those who recollect those days consider them worse than the Holocaust launched by the Nazis in areas captured by the German army. Kashmir was amongst the few regions in India which has escaped the misery of Partition, but the raiders subjected the population to a phase even worse than that.

In his book Raiders in Kashmir, retired Major General Akbar Khan, a Pakistan Army officer, admits to the Pak Army playing a leading role in the 1947 conflict in Kashmir. The operation was code-named ‘Gulmarg’. He states that the aim of the operation was to invade, plunder and inflict violence on the people of Kashmir, to intimidate and oppress the population, forcibly occupy the region, depose Maharaja Hari Singh and take control of the state. Akbar Khan also mentions that Pak forces were instructed to be ruthless and barbaric.

The initial attack came as a surprise. Almost nothing stood between Pakistan and its objective of Srinagar except a few companies of the J&K State Army under Brigadier Rajinder Singh, Chief of Staff of the state forces. The state army was outnumbered, but by bold and determined delaying actions between Uri and Baramulla, they managed to slow the advance of the Pakistan invaders along the Jhelum Valley road. They also succeeded in destroying a vital bridge at Uri, upsetting the timetable of Pakistan’s tribal force. Consequently, the raiders could only reach the vicinity of Baramulla by 25th October, instead of the outskirts of Srinagar. There were many other local heroes, who delayed the advance, one of them being Maqbool Sherwani.

In Baramula town alone, of the population of 14,000 only 3,000 survived. Sheikh Abdullah describing the invasion in his address to the UN in 1948 stated, ‘Those killed were from all religions, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. The raiders came to our land, massacred thousands of people — mostly Hindus and Sikhs, but Muslims, too — abducted thousands of girls, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike, looted our property and almost reached the gates of our summer capital, Srinagar.” Brigadier Rajinder Singh, under whom the state forces fought a heroic battle, was ambushed on the night of 26-27 October. He is known as ‘Saviour of Kashmir’ and was awarded Independent India’s first gallantry award, the ‘Mahavir Chakra’ (MVC) for his bravery.

It was in response to the loot, plunder and merciless killing of innocents in Baramula, located 30 km from Srinagar, that Maharaja Hari Singh signed the accession of the state to India on 26 October, leading to the arrival of the Indian Army in Srinagar on 27 October, which prevented further massacres in the Valley. As per the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), “Pakistan has perpetuated the myth that the tribal raiders were liberators and came to Kashmir to fulfil their religious obligation of jihad because Muslims were being killed in Jammu in communal riots. However, the reality was that it was not as if Muslims had been spared.” They intended to loot, plunder and kill, with no concern to religion.

Has Pakistan changed since its approach since then? It continues to kill innocent Indian Kashmiris, this time by infiltrating terrorists and cross border shelling. The killings and rapes of Kashmiri Pandits in the early nineties was the next similar attempt. Simultaneously, Pakistan suppresses its own Kashmiri residents by denying them basic rights, converting POK and Gilgit Baltistan into a military state, with no development.

In the same voice it claims Kashmir as a part of its territory, solely on religious grounds. The reality remains that it has no love for Kashmir or its people but only of the water resources which emanate from the state. It failed in 1947, 1965 and 1999 and would fail in the future too.

The signing of the accession document was the commencement of a bloody war, where Pak’s first misadventure into Kashmir was thwarted. It broke its own accord with the Maharaja of Kashmir and attempted to capture Kashmir by force. It failed. Had Pak played by the rules, demanded from the British a desire to implement the wishes of the population, things may have been different. It has never learnt and repeated the same blunder on multiple occasions, failing every time.

Maj Gen Harsha Kakar was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in June 1979 and superannuated in March 2015. A prolific writer, he writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines. His blog is www.harshakakararticles.com and twitter handle @kakar_harsha.

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Defence

HOW PAKISTAN RESORTED TO GENOCIDE IN KASHMIR IN 1947

Unlike the communal violence witnessed during Partition, killings of Hindus and Sikhs in the wake of Pakistani attack on Jammu & Kashmir in 1947 were state-sponsored ethnic cleansing.

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The creation of Pakistan was the outcome of a movement which claimed that Hindus and Muslims were ‘separate nations’ and can’t co-exist in a single state. After its establishment, Pakistan defined itself as an Islamic state and pursued politics which was blatantly communal and reactionary. In October 1947, it launched naked aggression to annex J&K, trampling all international conventions and inflicting unspeakable brutalities on non-Muslims in the areas which came under Pakistani occupation.

Unlike the communal violence witnessed during Partition, killings of Hindus and Sikhs in the wake of Pakistani attack on J&K in 1947 were state-sponsored ethnic cleansing. The objectives of Pakistan’s invasion went beyond conquest of the land. It aimed at destroying non-Muslim populations too.

There is a continuity between Pakistan’s attack on J&K in 1947 and cross border terrorism unleashed by it in 1989-90.The pattern of ideological campaign informed by jihad and use of terror as an instrument for ethnic cleansing of minority groups remains the same.

The tribal lashkars were brainwashed to believe that Muslims in Kashmir were living in subjugation, where neither were they allowed to practice their religion nor the honour of their womenfolk was safe. There was an understanding between Chief Minister of NWFP, Khan Abdul Qayoom Khan, and tribal lashkars that they could plunder the state at will. The tribesmen were given license to rape and take away women as well.

JAMMU REGION

In Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Bhimber-Deva-Vatala and Rajouri towns, which had substantial non-Muslim population, Pakistani invaders had been directed to destroy non-Muslim habitats wholesale through killings, arson, rape and abduction of women.

In Muzaffarabad, even patients in hospitals were killed in cold blood. Women were raped on the streets at different places in full public view. Hundreds of women were kidnapped and taken to the tribal belt of NWFP. Many girls jumped from Kishenganga bridge into the river flowing below to escape humiliation. The deserters of the State army from Jammu and Mirpur were quite brutal and carried away many women.

This was repeated at Bhimber where over 5000 non-Muslims had taken shelter in the tehsil building. Majority of them were killed. Only a small section was able to escape. Hundreds of women took poison to save their honour. Others were abducted. In the Deva-Vatala region, over a thousand people were killed by Pakistanis in 30 villages.

On the day of Diwali in Rajouri, more than 7000 Hindus and Sikhs were killed by Pakistani invaders, their collaborators in the local population and state army deserters. Most of the women here saved their honour by swallowing poison. The Hindus of Rajouri do not celebrate Diwali to keep alive the memory of their loved ones killed in 1947.

Mirpur witnessed one of the horrendous religious cleansing campaigns in human history. Alibeg camp became Auschwitz from where every day the people were taken out and killed. Hundreds of women were kidnapped, dishonoured repeatedly and then sold in towns of Western Punjab and NWFP. As per one estimate only two thousand out of 25000 people in Mirpur managed to reach Jammu safely and some were repatriated later by the International Red Cross.

BALTISTAN

In Askardu, an ex- INA officer Col. Mataul Mulk was deputed as commander by the Pakistan army. The surrender of Indian garrison in August 1948 was followed by mass murder and rape. He shamelessly bragged in his report to the Headquarters, “All Sikhs shot, all women raped.’’ The Sikhs were tied with ropes and then asked to jump into the river. While they moved towards the river, they were shot dead. Only the Sikh women and children below ten were left alive.

The three members of a Kashmiri Hindu family were axed to death with swords. The Pakistani soldiers made an attempt to strangulate Niranjan Nath Nadir and push him into the nearby well. His two pet dogs fought with the Pak soldiers and saved him from being drowned.

In Shigar, the Sikh shopkeepers were tied to the trees and then shot at. Their family members were collected in the evening and stabbed to death. Among the attackers were Pakistani soldiers who forcibly married the two women survivors. One of the jawans had killed the mother, sister and brother of the woman he married.

In Khaplu, two Kashmiri Pandits, the doctor and his pharmacist, were killed. The doctor’s wife was abducted and tortured before she was released. At Astore the non-Muslims who refused forced conversions were shot dead.

KASHMIR

In the Kashmir valley the invaders ransacked village after village and town after town that came in their way. The same process of loot, arson, rape, abductions and killings was repeated against Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs. In Baramulla town, Kashmiri Hindus were dragged to concentration camps and women raped for three days. 36 Kashmiri Hindus were killed in the town.

In almost all villages, where Kashmiri Hindus escaped killing, they were forced to become Muslims and at some places coerced to take beef. At many places, the Pandit couples were asked to perform marriage anew as per the Shariat.

Over 135 Kashmiri Hindus were killed. There were nine major massacres. Seven baraatis were killed at Biner. In Aijar village, 13 members of the Pandit community were massacred, while in Chandrahama village, 17 Pandits were killed. The victims included women as well.

SIKHS

There was targeted violence against the Sikhs. While in the case of Kashmiri Hindus, the priorities for Pakistanis were loot, conversion and then killings. In case of the Sikhs it was killings, rape & abductions and then loot. The massacre of the Sikhs took place at ten places in Kashmir. In village Yaarbug, the Sikhs were taken to Gurudwara and burnt alive. The Sikh women were abducted and taken across to Pakistan. The Sikhs resorted to honour killings at many places to save their women from falling into the hands of Pakistanis.

Ramesh Tamiri is a researcher on History, politics and culture of Kashmir. He has been regularly writing on these subjects in different periodicals. He worked on oral history of Pakistan invasion on J&K 1947-48 for twenty years. His two books on the theme will be published early next year.

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Defence

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO ‘ONE CHINA’

We must strive to restore a suzerainty relationship between China and Tibet. We should support Taiwan and Xinjiang politically in their quest for independence and seeking legitimacy. Why should we respect ‘One China’ which is based on an illegal annexation, when China does not respect ‘One India’?

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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The reason to continue with ‘One China’ despite Chinese perfidy is attributable to weak governments with misguided diplomatic and political outlooks. Perhaps Chinese propaganda and biased Western comparisons have convinced some of us that China belongs to a different league. We might have been under the awe of their military might or economic prowess or their political heft.

China wants the world to repeatedly chant ‘One China’ which is expansionist. China gobbled Tibet, Xinxiang, Inner Mongolia and part of India soon after becoming a People’s Republic. It is now in the process of gobbling up Hong Kong, a sliver of eastern Ladakh and the South China Sea illegally. Next in line are Taiwan and Senkaku islands. Xi Jinping’s ambitious consolidation plan of the Chinese nation includes also sovereign Indian territories of eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. China covets parts of Nepal, Bhutan, Central Asian Republics and Russia based on some mythologically-obscure history drummed up through propaganda. In future, ‘One China’ will encompass all areas taken over through debt traps. Starting with Hambantota, China is eyeing islands in the Maldives, Pakistan and beyond. It will also seek and stake sovereignty over areas where people of Chinese origin reside. Even now it seeks allegiance from them. The future map of ‘One China’ will extend to wherever the BRI has spread its tentacles and people of Chinese origin reside. The world cannot afford a constantly bloating ‘One China’ except of course Pakistan. 

UNTRUSTWORTHY

China has a history of deceit and violating/dishonouring all treaties and agreements. It militarised the South China Sea despite promises not to do so. It disregarded the International Court of Justice and the UNCLOS in its South China Sea claims. Imposition of the National Security Law broke international promises made on Hong Kong to continue with the UK system till 2047. It violated all trade and investment treaties selectively. As per Chris Patten, one thing is clear: the world cannot trust Xi’s dictatorship. The sooner the world recognizes this and acts together, it will be safer. Do not forget China’s role and lies in spreading the Wuhan virus. The predicament, which you and I as world citizens find ourselves in, originated in China.

TIBET-RELATED ISSUES

The relationship between Tibet and China has varied between suzerainty and sovereignty. When China was strong Tibet was sovereign to it. When China was weak, Tibet functioned as an independent state under Chinese suzerainty. The 1914 Shimla Agreement is the fundamental agreement on borders between India, China and Tibet. Iven Chen, the Chinese representative initialled the pages but decamped overnight from Shimla without signing the agreement. He left ‘Chinese ambiguity’ behind, which persists till date. Much later China invaded Tibet and usurped it. The Dalai Lama fled to India and the rest is history. Despite being defeated in the 1962 war, India never accepted Tibet as part of China. However it did not meddle in Tibet. Later, in 1987, Arunachal Pradesh was granted statehood. China never objected to it. A thaw took place when Rajiv Gandhi met Deng Xiaoping. China and India entered into Border Peace and Tranquillity Agreements in the 1990s. In 2003 India recognised Tibet as part of China. After that, it kept distance from the internal affairs of Tibet or China. India kept up the bargain. India has never had a direct connection with Taiwan, Xinxiang and Inner Mongolia. However we have begun a fledgling relationship with Taiwan now.

CHINESE PERFIDY

China never allowed a treaty/ agreement to stop it from interfering in the internal affairs of India. It started interfering when it trained Naga Militants in the 60’s and 70’s. Since the 2000s, China has been claiming sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, as part of ‘South Tibet’. A term which never existed earlier. It is currently fomenting trouble in Tawang on religious and political grounds.  China has now violated all border agreements to maintain Peace and Tranquillity by repeated military aggression. In 2017, it attempted changing the International Boundary at Doklam. Take note. In Sikkim there is an International Boundary and not an LAC. What’s more, it blamed India for violating the 1890 Agreement during the Doklam standoff. China attributes its current military aggression in Eastern Ladakh to Indian transgression of the LAC! That’s rich! Now it does not recognise the UT of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh since they are supposedly illegal. China objects to infrastructure development deep in Indian territory. It has not kept up the bargain on many border related issues and has interfered abnormally in our internal affairs. It has been simply perfidious.

There are reports that China and Pakistani are conducting joint patrols in POK. It is also helping Pakistan in setting up surface-to-air missile launch sites and a missile defence system thee. Besides this, the flagship CPEC runs through POK. They have also signed a deal to build three dams in POK  at, Diamer Bhasha, Azad Pattan and Kohala. The dam activity poses a direct military threat to India. Chinese activity in POK grossly violates Indian sovereignty as also UN resolutions on J&K. No UN resolution says that POK belongs to Pakistan. Yet, China has entered into illegal agreements on land that does not belong to either party.

The litany does not end here. China has been into extensive hacking and electronic surveillance in India. Chinese hackers stole 68 Lakh Records from an Indian healthcare site. As per media, Chinese cloud servers are sending data of Indian users to China. It could involve the technology giant Alibaba. A Chinese ‘hybrid warfare’ data firm with government links has tracked over 10,000 Indians including PM Modi. 40,000 cyber-attacks were attempted by Chinese hackers on Indian banking, IT sector in five days in the current tense times. Further Chinese are even involved in hawala rackets in conjunction with a Chinese bank. The Chinese ambassador even issues diktats to the media and the embassy threatens it as if he is a Viceroy of China. Now, Xiaomi Smartphones have banned  Arunachal Pradesh from their weather app. It has gone to the extent that Jammu and Kashmir is being shown as PRC even by Twitter.

China has also had the temerity to tell India to remain non-aligned and not get close to the US. China blocked India from becoming a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group. It opposed our entry into the UN Security Council and even helped Pakistan blatantly in UN and other forums. China believes the Dalai Lama is a terrorist whilst shielding Masood Azhar from being designated as one. It is an unabashed nuclear proliferator. It instigated Nepal to lay claims on Kalapani.

PREPARING AHEAD

Currently China is stymied by India militarily in eastern Ladakh. Its endeavour has been a miscalculation. It is trying for a face saving accommodation to buy time. Next time it will come fully prepared. When Xi says “solidify border defences and ensure frontier security… ensuring national security and enduring peace and stability” regarding Tibet and that Buddhism must “adapt to socialism and Chinese conditions” through political and ideological education: he has said a lot. There will be a next time when China will be better prepared and more aggressive. The only way to keep China at bay is to make it look inwards. The US has recognised this and has started its action. 

 Our External Affairs Minister says that what happened this year was a sharp departure over a course of relationship over 30 years. He talks of a very deep public and political impact and a relationship profoundly disturbed. He is incorrect. It is more than that. There is now a generational cleavage between India and China. Most Indians feel that unless the border issue finds some resolution, other issues—economic, cultural, diplomatic and political—must take a back seat. Tibet is an important tool in our kit to deal with any Sino Indian situation. Hence it is imperative that India adopts a suitable stance. While we do not aspire for Tibet, we should not treat it as part of China either. For that matter Xinxiang or Taiwan or Inner Mongolia are also not part of China. We need not blanche at ensuring that people of Tibet and Xinjiang get their due rights as per common human decency. We must strive to restore a suzerainty relationship between China and Tibet. We should support Taiwan and Xinjiang politically in their quest for independence and seeking legitimacy. Why should we respect ‘One China’ which is based on an illegal annexation, when China does not respect ‘One India’ which is legal to it? It is time to say ‘One China, get lost’.

THE WAY FORWARD

The reason to continue with ‘One China’ despite Chinese perfidy is attributable to weak governments with misguided diplomatic and political outlooks. Perhaps Chinese propaganda and biased Western comparisons have convinced some of us that China belongs to a different league. We might have been under the awe of their military might or economic prowess or their political heft. We may have also feared that China and Pakistan will wreak havoc. In that respect, things cannot go worse and we have been able to handle them well. Times have changed. Interests have changed.  The past mistakes of deferring to Chinese highhandedness need instant correction. It is apparent that the Chinese are not ten feet tall. Also, the Chinese Virus has generated immense negative political and human sentiment against China. The faster we decouple from China, and regain trade balance through ‘aatmanirbharta’ the better it is for us. It is now clear that there are finite limits to which China can use strong arm tactics against us or anyone. In any case a major part of hybrid/ asymmetric options against China stem from the rimlands of Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan and Inner Mongolia. These options will keep China focused inwards and at bay. We must not eschew them. It is poor statecraft to do so. In fact, it would be dumb to do so.

The US has appointed a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. He is to promote dialogue between China (PRC) and the Dalai Lama, protect religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of Tibetans; address humanitarian and human rights issues and repression of Tibetans,  look into severe restrictions on Tibetans’ religious freedom and cultural traditions within China. That is a packet. A similar one exists for Xinjiang in all probability. A German delegation at the UN General Assembly delivered a joint statement on behalf of 39 countries conveying their “grave concern on the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the recent developments in Hong Kong”. It called on China to “respect human rights, particularly the rights of persons belonging to religious minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet”.

The statement was signed by the US, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Britain and Germany. There is a definite move afoot to make China look inward. Why are we not there? A question cropped up from an intellectual on the Social Media “What is stopping media, academics, think tanks, intellectuals in democratic India, from criticizing CCP China›s genocide, religious cleansing, ethnic cleansing etc in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria etc? Why can›t they start supporting Taiwan independence? ” Time to smell the coffee.

There is a strong public opinion across India—vociferous and unanimous against this lopsided concept of ‘One China’. The Indian opinion in any media—social, mass, electronic or print—openly favour Taiwan’s independence,  Tibet’s autonomy, Xijiang’s freedom, Hong Kong’s autonomy and Mongolian rights. 3THM is the coinage as it is emerging. The surge of Tibetan and national feeling which burst forth when the SFF was used in the operations to occupy Kailash Range is a pointer. The ultra-cautious approach of the government is indeed baffling. The people of India must nudge the Government into action on this issue. It is understandable that we work our way forward with caution and incrementally. However, intent has to be conveyed. Alternatively, the government should explain itself as why it wants to continue to be an ostrich. The nation needs to know.  

Our External Affairs Minister has been talking of a ‘New Equilibrium’ with China. Well, every system exists in a state of equilibrium—natural or unnatural. That is physics. Currently, the ‘Sino-Indian Equilibrium’ is heavily lopsided against us. The Indian armed forces have given an opportunity to India to correct this imbalance. Some correction has already happened due to force multiplication of military action with economic, diplomatic and political actions. Beyond this much more cannot happen if we remain hesitant and cautious. A ‘New Equilibrium’ which is ‘balanced’ can be achieved only if China is made to look inwards. The ‘common man’ of India has been wise enough to recognise this. The poster on Shanti Path on Taiwanese National Day conveys a lot—not only to China but also to the Government of India and the world. Indians have made their choice. It is time the people’s voice is heard loud and clear by everyone who matters. One China, get lost. Onwards to 3THM.

Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on his blog www.gunnersshot.com.

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Defence

Testing of defence systems: New tool of adversarial response

India has, of late, tested a number of weapons and defence systems. Coming in a concentrated
manner during an ongoing LAC standoff with China raises an obvious question whether these
tests were pre-planned, or they have been orchestrated in response to the current face-off

Lt Gen Dushyant Singh (retd.)

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India has come a long way especially in space and missile technology it can be compared amongst the leaders. Our strategic capability despite the 1998 sanctions following the Pokhran tests speaks for themselves. DRDO does have major limitations in development of aircraft, tanks, and weapon systems especially for the infantry and armoured. 

Since Chinese intrusion in May 2020, India has tested a number of weapons and defence systems. These tests range from missiles to hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HTDV). Most of these tests have been successful. Coming in a concentrated manner during an ongoing border spat with China raises an obvious question whether these tests were pre-planned or they have been orchestrated in response to the current India-China face-off. 

Given the manner in which the tests have been conducted, it is obvious that they have been done as a response to the faceoff. Therefore, the next obvious question is: What purpose are they serving? Question assumes importance because it is common knowledge that the period between testing and operationalisation of a weapon system takes considerable time. In fact some systems have been inordinately delayed; for example the Trishul, Akash and Nag, the Arjun tank, Nishant UAV have taken so long to develop that they are now obsolete. This aspect is a common knowledge and it is highly unlikely that China will be unduly concerned by these tests. But to assume that the current phase of testing various types of missiles is mere optics meant to demonstrate the Government of India’s intent to counter the Chinese threat may also not be true. A subterranean analysis is needed to decipher the gains that these tests will provide to India’s defence preparedness. The recent statement of DRDO chief G. Satheesh Reddy that “India has achieved selfreliance in the field of missile systems and can produce whatever is required by the armed forces within the country itself” would have been based on a realistic appraisal of DRDO’s capability and not merely an emotional response post these tests. 

SYSTEMS TESTED IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS

 11 tests of various types of missile systems were conducted successfully by DRDO. Only testing of Nirbhay subsonic missile having a range of 1000 km conducted on 12 October, 20 developed a snag and had to be aborted. Some of the important defence systems tested in the recent past are discussed below.

 1) Test of SMART system

 India successfully tested indigenously developed “game changer” SMART (Supersonic Missile Assisted Release Torpedo) torpedo system on 5 October 2020 for the first time. SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight antisubmarine torpedo systems for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations far beyond the torpedo range. This launch and demonstration is significant in establishing anti-submarine warfare capabilities of India. However, the point to be noted is that this was the first test and many subsystems of the missile are yet to be tested. It will take considerable time to operationalise the missile.

 2) Testing of 400-km BrahMos 

. Testing of India successfully test-fired on 30 September 2020, over 400- km strike range Brahmos supersonic cruise missile. The surface-to-surface cruise missile, featuring indigenous booster and airframe section along with other Made in India subsystems, blasted off from the launching complexIII of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) near here, a defence statement said. 

3) Test Firing of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle

 India on 8 September 2020, successfully tested Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle putting India in a select group of nations. This small club includes the US, Russia and China. After the AntiSatellite Test conducted last year, this is the biggest achievement by DRDO in terms of proving new technology. It is a dual use technology. It can also be configured to deliver nuclear warheads as well. While the USA has refrained from its operationalisation, Russia and China plan to use it for nuclear weapon delivery also. In the civil arena, it can be used to launch small satellites at cheaper cost. India has just done a technology demonstration.

 4) Test Firing of Shaurya Missile Test

 Firing of Shaurya Missile. India successfully test-fired a new version of nuclear-capable Shaurya Missile on 4 October 2020. The new missile would be inducted in the strategic forces to complement one of the existing missiles in the same class. DRDO claims it to be amongst the top 10 missiles in the world. Shaurya missiles have a very small profile. It is truck portable and can be launched from either from a single truck or a silo. Hence, it can be located anywhere. Moreover as per DRDO it cannot be detected by satellite imaging, the sources said. Given its short range, portability, difficulty of detection and nuclear capability it is an ideal tactical missile it would be an ideal deterrence weapon in the super high altitude terrain of Tibet. Strategic Forces Command it is believed is in the process of operationalising it in the Ladakh region shortly.

 5) Test of Laser Guided Anti-Tank Missile

 Test of Laser Guided Antitank Missile. On 23 September 2020, DRDO successfully test fired laser-guided anti-tank guided missile. The laser-guided anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is supposed to enhance the firepower capability of the Indian Army particularly along the frontiers with Pakistan and China. There is a long felt need by the Indian Army for an indigenous ATGM and the success of this venture has been eluding the DRDO since long.

 6) Test Firing of Dhruvastra 

Test Firing of Dhruvastra. India’s indigenously developed anti-tank guided missile ‘Dhruvastra’ was test-was fired on 23 July 2020. India has successfully conducted three flight tests of its indigenously developed anti-tank guided missile ‘Dhruvastra’ from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha.

 7) Test Firing of Prithvi-II Test

 Firing of Prithvi-II. Indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile was test fired on 24 September 2020. The trial of the missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from ITR complex. This missile is already operational. It was a user trial test. Under the garb of testing, besides validating technical parameters, it provided the much needed practice to the users to deploy and fire this weapon if called upon into battle. It should go to the credit of SFC and the DRDO to utilize the flurry of tests to enhance the defence preparedness of the users. 

8) Test Firing of ASAT

 Last year in March, India test-fired an A-SAT missile under ‘Mission Shakti’. The Successful testing has demonstrated its anti-satellite technology.

 9) Test Firing of Rudram Missile 

In continuation of testing various missiles, India successfully test-fired Rudram 1, its first anti-radiation missile designed to take down enemy radars on 9 October 2020. The antiradiation missile can be launched from Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets. The missile has a launch speed of up to 2 Mach, twice the speed of sound. This will enhance our air combat power manifold and it is hoped that the DRDO will operationalize this capability at the earliest. 

Analysis of the testing Game

 Limited Value: While India’s operational capabilities do not get a boost by such tests in the short term, it does convey a strategic message of India’s increasing technical capabilities and the resolve to deal with our adversary. Having said that, on the flip side we must not get complacent by these tests and continue to be realistic on their impact on the enemy. In fact, some experts say that “the surge of tests by the DRDO is welcome; however, ability to deploy these systems needs greater emphasis and visibility.” If the aim of these tests is signalling to the domestic audience it may have served the purpose, but experts are unlikely to be impressed. Historically too, if we take the record of the journey from final testing to operationalisation of a weapon system, it varies from 8 to 10 years. For example, Prithvi 1 was tested in 1988 and finally it came into service in 1994. Similar story exists for most of the systems under development by DRDO. The technology demonstrator to operationalisation is a journey by itself and incurs considerable financial commitment besides technical, human expertise and financial challenges of commercialization and finally operationalisation.

 Likely Gains

 Enhanced Technical Prowess: Above limitations notwithstanding, the missile journey of India is a success story, comparable to any leading military power in the world. On the positive side, a number of advantages these weapon tests bring to the table. Weapon tests do add up to a country’s technological capabilities. 

Hard Power Image:

 Conducting the weapon tests in a concentrated manner during an ongoing face off conveys an image of strong hard power orientation and resolve of the nation to its adversary. China though not worried by these tests would be cautious while responding to us especially since most of our existing systems provide dual capability of conventional and unconventional employment. Encourage Defence Exports:

 Successful testing of new defence weapon systems generate acceptability of India’s capability to produce quality weapon systems that too at much lesser cost. This will facilitate export of defence systems by India. It is therefore not surprising that in the past few years our export of defence systems have increased by 700 percent in the last three years. India is now exporting defence weapons and equipment to 42 countries, which includes the likes of US, Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, South Africa, and Sweden, Azerbaijan, Seychelles, Estonia, Indonesia, Guinea and the Philippines. India’s exports in 2014 stood at meager Rs 2,000 crore, which in 2019 stood at Rs 17,000 crore and India intends to increase it by $5 billion (about Rs 35,000 crore) in the next 5 years. Improved technological threshold will encourage our neighbouring countries to go in for imports from India. Countering Chinese Influence on our Neighbours: 

Increased acceptability of defence equipment due to display of high end technology demonstration will also help in weaning our neighbours away from Chinese influence. For example the decision to provide a Kilo Class Submarine, Tanks, artillery guns, ammunition for T-72 tanks, radars, sonars and 500 bullet proof jackets to Myanmar’s military may have been influenced by India’s increasing technological capabilities. A similar help to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will go a long way in countering the Chinese influence in our backyard. 

Enhanced Defence Preparedness:

Increased testing leads to induction of indigenous equipment in the long – run at lower costs. Also, some of the equipment tested are on the verge of being inducted into the service such as the Shaurya missile system. There are reports that Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has begun looking for deployment of the weapon system in Ladakh. Further, these tests also help in providing the much needed user practice and revalidation of existing stockpile of our systems. Conduct of the 350 km range Prithivi 2 from the existing stockpile is a case in point. Deployment of Shaurya missile, world’s top 10 missile and ability to practice and validate existing strategic weapons does give us a better response capability against our arch rival China.

Parting Words

 India has come a long way especially in space and missile technology it can be compared amongst the leaders. Our strategic capability despite the 1998 sanctions following the Pokhran tests speaks for themselves. DRDO does have major limitations in development of aircraft, tanks, and weapon systems especially for the infantry and armoured. But it makes it up with the Integrated Missile Development programme and the Space programme. Fortunately these are systems of the future and when coupled with its niche technology development programme in robotics, artificial intelligence, ship building and UAVs we expect India to rapidly move in the direction of self-reliance especially if the private defence sector is boosted appropriately. The new DAP 2020 with an option for leasing of defence systems is a good provision to tide over our short term needs at relatively lower costs till we achieve greater selfreliance and increase our exports as rightly aimed by the present government. It would not be out of sync to mention that India is on the path of projecting itself as a significant power in the region and the testing of new defence systems is a right step in that direction. 

Lt Gen Dushyant Singh (retd) has served in varied terrains and theatre of operations, in India and in the UN as Military Observer. He has commanded an Infantry Battalion, Brigade and a Division in Jammu and Kashmir. He is currently Professor Emeritus Defence Studies at Gujarat Raksha Shakti University.

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Defence

PASSING OUT PARADE, VALEDICTORY FUNCTION AT INS VALSURA

Ashish Singh

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A total of 34 officers including 10 officers from friendly foreign countries successfully completed their Electrical Specialisation Course O-173 from the portals of INS Valsura, the premier Electrical training establishment of the Indian Navy. The valedictory address for the passing out ceremony was delivered by Vice Admiral S.R. Sarma, Chief of Materiel over video conferencing. 

The Admiral advised the officers to imbibe the ethos enshrined in the ‘Chetwode Motto’ while executing their duties as leaders of men. During his address, the Admiral highlighted that in a quest to prepare personnel for onboard challenges, training at INS Valsura has kept pace with rapid advancements in the field of technology. 

The Admiral also complimented the staff of INS Valsura, who, despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic have effectively managed to equip all trainees undergoing training at Valsura with sound professional skills and leadership attributes required to serve the nation diligently. Commodore Ajay Patney, Commanding Officer, INS Valsura reviewed the Passing-Out-Parade (POP) of the course and awarded trophies and certificates to officers who excelled in academic, sports and extra-curricular activities of the 95 weeks professional training. 

The FOC-in-C (South) Rolling trophy and Book Prize for standing first in order of merit amongst International officers was awarded to Lt Cdr Aliyu Suleiman from Nigerian Navy and the coveted Admiral Ramnath Trophy for ‘Best All-round Officer’ was awarded to SLt Vikrant Nagpal. Commander AR Khandekar Rolling Trophy and Book Prize for standing first in Overall Order of Merit of the course was awarded to SLt Jacky Modi and the Commanding Officer, INS Valsura Rolling trophy for ‘Best Sportsman’ was awarded to SLt Harshavardhan Mohite.

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Defence

Thales develops new, ultra compact surveillance radar

The AirMaster C has enhanced target detection capabilities
for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and UAVs.

Ashish Singh

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Threat detection, identification and surveillance missions depend on a force’s ability to operate in any type of environment and all weather conditions. Drawing on its experience with the successful Master series of radars, Thales has developed a new, ultra-compact surveillance radar with enhanced target detection capabilities for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. With its low integration and operating costs and high availability and performance, the AirMaster C sets a new standard for airborne radars. The nature of armed confrontation is constantly evolving. From the intrastate conflicts of the post-Cold War period to the asymmetric threats of the early 21st century and, more recently, the resurgence of rivalries between major powers, armed forces around the world must constantly adapt as they face different types of adversaries in a diverse array of environments: open ocean, coastal areas, remote deserts and urban spaces. 

Responding to these rapid changes, Thales has developed the AirMaster C, a new surveillance radar with an ultra-compact, programmable 2D active antenna based on SiGe (silicon-germanium) technology. SiGe is much more energy efficient than other technologies used for AESA radars, and allows the radar to selfcool. Weighing less than 20 kg and housed in a single unit design, the radar has a 30% lower SWaP (size, weight and power) than the other radars in this class. In addition to this breakthrough SiGe technology, other innovations are deployed. Multi-polarisation (a capability displayed by many cameras) will allow the radar to automatically select the optimal settings to maximise detection performance on each mission. The radar also offers a simultaneous short-range and longrange detection capability, similar to the human eye, for instantaneous surveillance.

 With its 2D navigation and weather modes, the AirMaster C will also provide valuable navigation support in all types of environments and weather conditions. The AirMaster C is a smart software-defined radar designed to reduce aircrew workload. With its autonomous sensors, self-learning functionality and the ability to analyse and classify huge volumes of data, the radar can automatically adapt to different uses, terrains and environments. The AirMaster C builds on the innovative design and proven success of the Master series. Notified by the French Armament General Directorate (DGA), preparatory studies are being carried out by Thales in collaboration with Airbus Helicopters for the integration of the AirMaster C on board the Guépard helicopter. 

This is the future light joint army helicopter, which will have to carry out a wide variety of missions for the three French armies.“We’re proud to present the latest addition to the Thales family of airborne surveillance radars, the AirMaster C, which meets the full range of current and future operational requirements. With this new product, Thales offers an optimised surveillance solution for a broader array of platform types and operators, ensuring they benefit from the highest levels of mission performance as they face the new challenges ahead.” said Hervé Hamy, Vice President for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Thales.

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