Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

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Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby RayC » 14 Aug 2009 21:58

Could China and India go to war over Tibet?
Tue, 03/10/2009 - 11:47am

By Dan Twining

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Lhasa uprising. Much of the associated commentary suggests that Tibet is, at most, an internal human rights issue in China, albeit one that impacts China's foreign relations with Western democracies who care about the plight of the Tibetan people. Indeed, the Dalai Lama's admission that Tibet is part of China, and that he seeks true autonomy rather than actual independence for his people, reaffirm this view. There is also, however, an external dimension to the Tibetan crisis, one that implicates core national security interests of nuclear-armed great powers.

This is the role Tibet's dispensation plays in the conflict between China and India. Indian strategist C. Raja Mohan puts it bluntly: "When there is relative tranquility in Tibet, India and China have reasonably good relations. When Sino-Tibetan tensions rise, India's relationship with China heads south." Although not widely recognized in the West, the nexus of Tibet and the unresolved border conflict between China and India ranks with the Taiwan Strait and Korean peninsula among Asia's leading flashpoints.

Contrary to Chinese propaganda, Tibet was not traditionally a part of China. Over the centuries, relations between China and Tibet were characterized by varying degrees of association spanning the spectrum from sovereignty to suzerainty to independence. The People's Liberation Army invaded Tibet in the middle of the last century precisely because Tibetans did not consent to Beijing's rule.

For its part, prior to Indian independence, then-British India vigorously supported Tibetan autonomy and sponsored the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Ladakh to create an expansive geographic buffer between China and the subcontinent. John Garver's excellent history of Sino-Indian rivalry contains useful maps depicting a rump China and an expansive Indian subcontinent separated by a vast, autonomous Tibet, demonstrating how far apart were India and China geographically until Chinese unification by the Communist Party several years after Indian independence gave them a common border.

That common border has since been a source of conflict. As is well known, India and China went to war over their territorial dispute in 1962, ending the era of what Indian Prime Minister Nehru called "Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai" ("Indians and Chinese are brothers"). What is less well known in the West is that China, while subsequently resolving 17 of its 18 outstanding land border disputes with neighboring countries, has kept the territorial conflict with India alive, at times appearing to inflame the issue as a source of leverage over New Delhi.

Over the past two years, Chinese officials have publicly asserted Chinese claims to the entire Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which some Chinese military advisors and strategists refer to as "Southern Tibet." Chinese forces have periodically engaged in small-scale cross-border encroachments, destroying Indian military bunkers and patrol bases in Ladakh and Sikkim.

At the same time, China has been systematically constructing road and rail networks across the Tibetan plateau in ways that tilt the balance of forces along the contested frontier in China's favor; India has responded with infrastructure projects of its own, including roads and air fields, to enable military reinforcement of its border regions, but has failed to keep pace with its northern neighbor. China has also positioned large numbers of military and security forces on the Tibetan plateau, mainly with an eye on suppressing popular unrest. But the possibility of using them to "teach India a lesson" (as in 1962) remains.

Indian pundits note that public reminders from Beijing of China's decisive victory over India in the 1962 war have spiked over the past year, sending what Indians believe is a clear signal to New Delhi at a time of rising tensions. Combined with China's reported deployment in Tibet of nuclear missiles targeting India, officials in New Delhi feel increasingly alarmed in the face of Chinese provocation. In striking statements little noted in the West, both Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and respected former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra recently warned China against any attempt to seize Indian-held territory along their contested border.

Surging border tensions may be related to worries in Beijing over the Dalai Lama's succession. Some of the holiest sites in Tibetan Buddhism, including the sacred monastery at Tawang, are in Indian-held territory. The Dalai Lama, who has been in poor health, has said that he would not feel obligated to nominate a successor from, or be reborn in, Tibet proper, raising the possibility that the next Dalai Lama could be named outside China -- in the Tibetan cultural belt that stretches across northern India into Bhutan and Nepal.

Some Indian strategists fear that China may act to preempt, or respond to, an announcement of the Dalai Lama's chosen successor in India - particularly in Tawang -- by deploying the People's Liberation Army to occupy contested territory along the Sino-Indian border, as occurred in 1962, creating a risk of military conflict between the now nuclear-armed Asian giants.

Although China enjoys the dominant military position in the Tibetan plateau, India still has cards to play. It hosts the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile in Dharamsala, enabling Tibet's representatives to keep their cause alive in the court of world opinion. And unlike Britain -- which last October withdrew its recognition of China's "suzerainty" (in favor of "sovereignty") over Tibet in a failed effort to placate Beijing, leading one scornful Singaporean commentator to note that China was "bringing Europe to its knees" -- India continues to recognize only Chinese suzerainty over Tibet, rather than full and consensual sovereignty. This creates the possibility that New Delhi could play a "Tibet card" in its relations with Beijing in the same way that China accuses the United States of playing a "Taiwan card" to keep it off balance.

What do Sino-Indian border tensions linked to the Tibetan cause mean for the United States?

First, the U.S. has a compelling interest in preventing conflict between one of its largest trading partners and its newfound strategic partner.

Second, historic U.S. support for the cause of human rights in Tibet, in addition to Washington's growing military ties with New Delhi, mean that the United States would find it difficult to be a neutral arbiter in such a conflict.

Third, India's continuing political and moral support for the Tibetan government-in-exile demonstrates that it shares with America a set of ideals in foreign policy, creating the basis for greater values-based cooperation between Washington and New Delhi - a prospect that has not gone unnoticed in Beijing.

Fourth, given China's development of military capabilities designed to threaten U.S. access to the Western Pacific and Southeast Asian waterways, Chinese pressure on U.S. friends including the Philippines and Vietnam to back down on claims to contested islets in the South China Sea, and Chinese harassment of the U.S. Navy in Asian waters, Washington has an important interest in making perfectly clear to Beijing that the use of force to resolve contested territorial claims or limit freedom of the seas is unacceptable -- and could upend rather than facilitate China's peaceful rise.

Could China and India go to war over Tibet?



Given what Adm Mehta has said and the Chinese exercises off Indian borders and building of highways and three rail links into Tibet, is China preparing for a confrontation?

If so, is Indian ready?

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby derkonig » 14 Aug 2009 22:22

War is inevitable given china's warmongering. While our armed forces are facing shortage in manpower as well as equipment, the issue of national leadership is totally being overlooked. Wars cannot be won without a strong, nationalist & decisive leadership. I am afraid the govt. of the day is the quite opposite of the aforementioned attributes. So even as India must prepare for a war with china, it is also important that the issue of national leadership be addressed.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby shiv » 14 Aug 2009 22:41

Tibet may only be an excuse for war.

China might possibly seek to punish India for getting too uppity. It is possible that they see a weak PM in India and perhaps a year of strife (poor monsoon) and may want to create an incident.

Hopefully they will be punished adequately if they do that.

In this past 1 year I have heard statements from the Air Force and navy chiefs about China and its intentions and have heard of Army tank movements. So the possibilities are

1) There is something going on
2) India sees less of a threat from Pakistan and is now looking at China

Significantly neither the AF chief nor the Navy chief have spoken in the vulgar brash language that the uncivilized Chinese use. The AG Chief (major) said that China's intentions are unclear. Sureesh Mehta said "Indian Navy is no match for China"

So if China is getting worked up and shrill it is something else - something about India's actions that is getting china worried. They may seek to "intimidate and scare" India. If they do that I hope we can bump off several thousand soldier sons of "one child only" Chinese families and cerate extra social happiness in China.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby samuel » 14 Aug 2009 22:56

There are too many issues that have risen with China for far too long for war to be dismissed as an "unlikely outcome."
It has:
1. Strived to marginalize our growth.
2. Actively engaged in destabilizing our country.
3. Maintains an aggressive posture towards us.
4. Governed by constitutional values largely rejected by our society.
5. Has the potential to or controls major water bodies and natural resources central to India.
6. Has systematically erased civilizational continuity between India and Tibet.
7. Has huge armed forces and a huge arsenal.
8. Is largely not culturally understood by Indians.

I would say it may be better to ask the question:
How will India win a war with China within a X year horizon, lasting for Y months.

Our long-term objective should be to maximize the physical margin between the two by creating a robust middler state. Added: And if war is coming, tell me where to sign up.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby suryag » 14 Aug 2009 23:43

And in this upcoming war I am sure unkil is not going to do anything but sing in a shrill tone about China's high-handed attitude. We are in this alone and sure a bloody nose will help. Adding to what Samuel ji has listed there is already different types of internal strife among the chinese populace(due to lack of employment, ethnic subjugation, forceful eviction) and to subdue these they need to have an external threat and that is India. Apart from this there is also a great incentive to attack in a year's time frame, we have the most pliant regime which is afraid to unleash whatever power its forces possess and frankly we will get stronger than them in 5-10 years and thereafter and they cant think of any conflict then

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby Muppalla » 14 Aug 2009 23:52

Do they see an exact replica of JLN in MMS?

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby RayC » 14 Aug 2009 23:59

Muppalla wrote:Do they see an exact replica of JLN in MMS?


I see!

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby SBajwa » 14 Aug 2009 23:59

Mupalla,

They do see that MMS is exactly like Nehru.

Past history has shown that the "War is the best stimulus to a sagging economy". China has learned this lesson from the past world wars and is now just beginning to implement these lessons to chalk their economic and world power future.

If I was a Chinese politburo leader I would think like this

"In the last 30 years China could not subdue Vietnam, Japan or Taiwan., while their proxy napakistan easily keeps India down., and what better way to start our economy by putting more people to work by building tanks, guns, airplanes, etc., to take on the weakling india with lots of population to murder."

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby ramana » 15 Aug 2009 00:16

Muppalla wrote:Do they see an exact replica of JLN in MMS?

MMS is an economist and bureaucrat. Nehru was polyglot with interests in law, history and international relations.

Even though I understand where you are going, the situation is not the same.


Its my view that the PRC will end up using nukes in case of hostilities as they will lose if its conventional. So there is no point in starting one you will lose. And India wont start one. So despite all the rhetoric and egging on from West, India and China wont go to war.

What China will do is to create opportunities for TSP to get belligerent and all those IBGs are there to take care of it. And even that option will fritter away in a few years time.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby RayC » 15 Aug 2009 00:18

ramana wrote:
Muppalla wrote:Do they see an exact replica of JLN in MMS?

MMS is an economist and bureaucrat. Nehru was polyglot with interests in law, history and international relations.

Even though I understand where you are going, the situation is not the same.


Its my view that the PRC will end up using nukes in case of hostilities as they will lose if its conventional. So there is no point in starting one you will lose. And India wont start one. So despite all the rhetoric and egging on from West, India and China wont go to war.

What China will do is to create opportunities for TSP to get belligerent and all those IBGs are there to take care of it. And even that option will fritter away in a few years time.


Could you amplify as to how the Chines would lose?

I am not saying that they will win, but what interest me is how they will lose!

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby karthik » 15 Aug 2009 00:20

I heard the relation between China and TSP is sort of sore now because of the Uighur revolt and TSPs hand in supporting the insurgents there! Wonder how far is the damage in relations if any!

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby Raj Malhotra » 15 Aug 2009 00:44

I expect a new war over Tibet or some other excuse cooked up by China. It will be replay of 1962 and Indians will not use Navy or IAF. And Brass will be sleeping as usual and cleverly blame the politicans. Or rather brass will be concentrating on global RFIs & RFPs and collecting retirement funds rather than working with drdo to tune up our conventional defence.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby AnimeshP » 15 Aug 2009 01:00

<Tin-foil hat on>
OK ... I have this conspiracy theory going around in my head ...

The last time the US faced a depression, it came out of it due to WWII. The US basically sat on the side (till it was attacked by the Japanese) and sold weapons on loan to the British and the rest of the Allies (Not sure if they supported the Axis powers too when they were not directly involved in the war).

Now, we again see the beginnings of a depression in the US. Under the current situation, the US is a leading producer of weapons (most of their other production capability has been outsourced). But it also has a huge debt which it has to pay down. Then you have the issue of China trying to upstage the US from Asia (if not the world).

So for US, any India-China war could come as a blessing in disguise.
- Both the countries have a potential to challenge the US in the future.
- US owes China huge amounts of money
- If a war happens and can be controlled to a conventional war instead of going nuclear, both India and China could keep going at it for a long stretch of time (given that neither has an overwhelming superiority over the other and neither can afford to lose face). US can exploit this to sell stuff to both sides and reduce its debt obligations and remain at the top.


<Tin-foil hat off>

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby brihaspati » 15 Aug 2009 03:57

They can, but the outcome is dicey for PRC, and more so for CCP. The communists typically always ahve a strange phenomenon of right-left factionalism. This happens because when they come to absolute state power, they do not allow the normal democratic competitions. So personal fights for power and dominance takes the form of polemical battles and intense rhetorical battles within party fora. Liu-shao-qi, although discredited thoroughly by Mao due exactly to sucha personal power struggle, however, uncannily like Bukharin was once a leading and favourite party theoretician and ideologue. and one of his primary concerns about the practical processes of the party was about "factionalism". The CCP had long struggled with "factionalism" right from the days of Li-ta-chao.

So, one faction will push for a war with India as a national focusing solution to ethnic separatism and reduced growth in the backdrop of weakened justification for "communism" given the "success" of capitalistic strategies. This is the faction likely to be represented more strongly in the PLA and the current government dominators. Under the circumstances described above, and given the jitters of Tiananmen, the PLA and the "militarist" faction is likely to have gained more say in governance and the CCP leadership will also beecome more dependent on the PLA.

However those this faction has sidelined from key positions of power, will be the slightly weaker opposition still waiting for their time. The danger for the "pro-war" faction is of course, if they do not have a quick victory. To justify the redirection of national focus they need a protracted struggle - and the strategic dilemma is here. If they do not have a quick clear and decisive victory, the other faction could utilize this to try an overthrow the current post-holders - with the PLA joining in the fray and with a potentially dangerous situation where the whole CCP setup gets washed away by popular uprisings (the other faction may decide to become champions of "pro-democracy" reforms). This would be the fear from the other spectacular precedent of reversal in AFG and rise of Yeltsin.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby enqyoob » 15 Aug 2009 04:06

Of course, this is the troubling question to me too.

If so, is Indian ready?


In the 1960s-70s, India's armed forces were not equipped to deal with a massive Chinese invasion. In those days the general expectation was that China would use a mass "human-wave" attack. Completely without basis, Indians of the time believed that the American propaganda about 100:1 casualty ratios (1 American killed for 100 Chinese killed) would automatically apply to India-China wars as well, since we are so superior. But even then, like the Americans, we were also losing wars to the Chinese PLA, because Mao had declared that even if 300 million Chinese were killed, that would leave 400 million.

Today, the Chinese Armed Forces are well trained, motivated, and VERY well armed and equipped. They have MASSIVE firepower and reserves of weapons. It is very doubtful whether India has "qualitative superiority", all claims about the Su-30MKIs notwithstanding.

In 1962, the unquestioned superstition goes, if the IAF had not been held back, the Chinese supply lines would have been shattered and the Chinese would have been annihilated. Would they, and if so, why did the UN forces in the Korean "police action" fail so utterly and why is the DMZ in Korea so close to Seoul rather than being at the Yalu river?

In the 1960s-70s, at least there was SOME sign of wisdom in the GOI - there was mandatory NCC in high schools and colleges. The kids of those days thus learned some basic skills such as crawling under barbed wire, and marching, and even carrying .303 rifles, and most importantly, some sense of discipline inc. the concept of taking orders. So the possibility existed that the Chinese would run into widespread resistance and the local level.

How about today? Does today's cellphone-in-ear generation have a clue?

The Indian Admiral who laid out the simple truth, should be awarded a medal. India cannot counter China without
a) massive improvements in infrastructure
b) really large scale production of missiles (I mean short-range)
c) massive, well-guarded distributed stores of rifles and ammo all over the country
d) much more emphasis on training and discipline in emergency response and local civil defence, also as a backup to reduce basic training times for a large number of possible conscripts.

China is funding and training Naxals etc. to act as 5th Columnists all over India, from northeast to east to south to southwest and middle. The lack of awareness and the apathy in India are truly apalling.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby NRao » 15 Aug 2009 05:18

In this past 1 year I have heard statements from the Air Force and navy chiefs about China and its intentions and have heard of Army tank movements.


In response India has raised two additional mountain divisions and deployed the MKI near the Chinese border for the very first time.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby shiv » 15 Aug 2009 06:44

Human wave tactics were used against India in 1962.

About China's military "prowess" or "power" I think we have all been exposed to the same sources of Western propaganda that has presented the picture in both ways - even in the last decade as per my own reading from BRF sourced link.

On the one hand China is described as having a large and rapidly modernizing force, there are other reports of a fairly decrepit state indicated by the fact that the PLAAF is still largely obsolete (though changin rapidly). Training techniques with the PLAAF are unknown but "training" in wooden models due to lack of fuel was said to have been true until 10-15 years ago - which means that is what senior PLAAF officers may have got. Only one of PLAN's nuke subs has apparently ever done a proper blue-water patrol. The army has been employed to run factories and has not seen real war for a while and there is no clue on how they will behave when faced with real firepower.

Oh of course the Chinese will put in the "crack units" and massive amounts of firepower. That is what war is about. I am sure this is well known. But if they start taking heavy losses any use of nukes is a signal to China's adversaries that it will be OK to us nukes on China next time. So it would have to be a desperate Chinese leadership to fritter away the last card on a border war.

A few things are certain, even if Chinese attacks are beaten back with massive losses against them - their propaganda apparatus will go full swing and make people believe that they are winning or have won. China will enter war war as much for "Honor and dignity" as other more tangible gains. Even in the absence of tangible gains they will pull "victory" out because the people involved in the war will lose face and may even be executed unless they do that.

On the Indian side the unknown quantity is NOT the Indian armed forces. Not even the government which will do what i takes. It is us the elite who are the most scared and refuse to believe that we will do anything but lose and start chickening out at the mention of China.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby John Snow » 15 Aug 2009 06:56

Over Tibet maybe not
In Tibet maybe yes

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby suryag » 15 Aug 2009 06:58

Whenever it happens if PRC's casualties increase or if the conflict is entering a stalemate we can expect panda to coax the pakis to open a western front.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby shiv » 15 Aug 2009 07:07

suryag wrote:Whenever it happens if PRC's casualties increase or if the conflict is entering a stalemate we can expect panda to coax the pakis to open a western front.


Well Pakis will need no coaxing. They will ramp up the terrorism on their own - but with 1000 marines per consulate and $$$ from unkil - the Pak army's room for maneuver is greatly restricted.

In fact that may be why China is getting upset - with India having more resources to thwart China. :D

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby sanjaykumar » 15 Aug 2009 07:13

It is us the elite who are the most scared and refuse to believe that we will do anything but lose and start chickening out at the mention of China.


Because GOI has not let the elites into confidence about the true state of military preparedness, I do not believe a war will be started by India. There is no quiet confidence in the body of public opinion.

Hence it may be puzzling to interpret the news reports of Daulet Beg Oldi, Fukche, T 72s in Sikkim 60 000 troops in AP, new mountain divisions etc.


I conclude that GOI is in possession of intelligence that something is going down. Either Tibetans have decided upon a course of action (perhaps post Dalai Lama) or India is more active in Tibet than generally believed.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby shiv » 15 Aug 2009 07:19

sanjaykumar wrote:Because GOI has not let the elites into confidence about the true state of military preparedness, I do not believe a war will be started by India. There is no quiet confidence in the body of public opinion.


A discussion on the nature of our elite is already on in the leadership thread. No matter what the GoI tells us we do not believe it. The "nature of preparedness" is unsatisfactory.

By acting in this manner the elites are giving a psy ops opportunity for Chin which they will use

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby enqyoob » 15 Aug 2009 07:22

The difficulty in Indian preparations that it is always preparation for some very limited border war. This is not terribly different from Pakis planning what Asghar Khan called:

Wars for a Ceasefire
.

There is no plan or preparation or even imagination of what it takes to fight an all-out conventional war. Once India reaches a level of preparation where the Chinese have reason to fear massive loss of territory (incl. bases away from mainland China) and breakup of China, then there will be peace and friendship.

Dealing with China can only be done on the basis of accepted equality - based on respect induced by the sure knowledge that India can break up China without any doomsday nuclear scenario.

So again, that level of war requires massive reserves and firepower, that will last through months of intense conflict. Enough air defense and air power to win air superiority and protect the manufacturing and transportation links to the deep interior, and enough manufacturing to crank out modern weaponry much faster than the Chinese can hope to destroy it. Also, enough force projection (airborne and sea-borne forces) to cause serious fear that there can be 5 Indian motorized divisions attacking south-east from the Mongolian border, and sea-borne raids on the Chinese south-east coast.

I frankly don't see any sign that there is any preparation or planning or even thinking towards anything like that.

shiv, as for west vs. china, the truth is that the US-UQ-Australia-Canada-Frogistan gang has lost, and lost badly, in every confrontation with China and its proxies since WW2 ended. There is no sugarcoating this fact. There is absolutely no reason to believe that China is less able to train its armies, than it is to mass-produce anything from dolls to aircraft with amazing speed and reasonable quality. Individual Chinese may not be supermen, but consider the collective effect of millions of Chinese indoctrinated to be organized well.

Compare this to the Soviet Union's record - India in 1971 and Cuban forces in Angola in the 1980s are the only examples of Soviet weaponry being used to defeat western-backed armies of any kind. The Soviets also have a very dubious record in bissing contests with the Chinese on the Siberian border / Ussuri River.

The counter-arguments I have heard about PLA/PLAF/PLAN preparedness are:

1. With one-child generations today, the PLA won't be willing to take large casualties. There will be massive protests from parents.

Has anyone told the PLA that? Where is the evidence that parents of soldiers will protest, or that it will matter whether they protest?

2. PLA has fuel shortage - shiv's point is that maybe today's senior officers were trained at a time when there was a fuel shortage, 15 years back.

Maybe, but 15 years back, did any nation feel able to take on the PLA then? So they may have been short of fuel, but they still managed to deter enemies quite well. Why would such officers be found short in a time when there is no fuel shortage?

3. PLAN operational readiness is poor.

But they have not been tested in wartime - yet. There is evidence that the PLAN is increasingly willing to do things like the standoff with the US Navy some time ago where US forces were using water-cannons etc against a Chinese submarine, with little success in persuading them to go away. Point is that the PLAN is willing to challenge anyone.

The reaction to the infamous EP-3 shows that the PLAN/PLAF are also not hesitant about challenging anyone.

4. PLAF has inferior aircraft. But again, what alarms me is the sheer numbers, and potential for rapid multiplication. India has several hundred operational combat aircraft, but with 1 week of attrition, that number will be much lower. My guess is that China thinks in terms of tens of thousands of combat aircraft. India has nothing that can win 10:1 confrontations with the PLAF.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby sanjaykumar » 15 Aug 2009 07:33

The Indian defense budget increase of 25% is not Pakistan-centric. Why increase it when Pakistan is on the ropes? And there is no hope against China.

Numbers may mean something but MiG 29 vs 100 Sopwith Camels is still an unequal contest in favour of the MiG. China has been under European miltech emargo for 20 years. The Americans have given them nothing since the USSR imploded. ( see http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airc ... urley.html for the Bekaa Valley affair or MiG alley in Korea).

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby Yayavar » 15 Aug 2009 07:45

narayanan wrote:
shiv, as for west vs. china, the truth is that the US-UQ-Australia-Canada-Frogistan gang has lost, and lost badly, in every confrontation with China and its proxies since WW2 ended. There is no sugarcoating this fact. There is absolutely no reason to believe that China is less able to train its armies, than it is to mass-produce anything from dolls to aircraft with amazing speed and reasonable quality. Individual Chinese may not be supermen, but consider the collective effect of millions of Chinese indoctrinated to be organized well.



N^3, Was the war in Korea not with Soviet help including people and weaponry? Or, was it all China plus North-Korea?


Compare this to the Soviet Union's record - India in 1971 and Cuban forces in Angola in the 1980s are the only examples of Soviet weaponry being used to defeat western-backed armies of any kind. The Soviets also have a very dubious record in bissing contests with the Chinese on the Siberian border / Ussuri River.


Chinese had attacked and then suffered. The Soviets were unwilling to escalate or one can say US succeeded in splitting the communist camp or China took advantage of US in keeping the conflict to the border. China attacked Vietnam and hurt it badly but withdrew without removing Vietnamese from Kampuchea.

It does point out that China has been very willing to take casualties and go all out. India has been unwilling to do that.

They are willing to challenge US and put things on the line - as you point out below. However, they have not had outright success either -- often the other side - US or USSR has been unwilling to let it escalate.

But they have not been tested in wartime - yet. There is evidence that the PLAN is increasingly willing to do things like the standoff with the US Navy some time ago where US forces were using water-cannons etc against a Chinese submarine, with little success in persuading them to go away. Point is that the PLAN is willing to challenge anyone.

The reaction to the infamous EP-3 shows that the PLAN/PLAF are also not hesitant about challenging anyone.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby John Snow » 15 Aug 2009 08:14

Agree with N guru 400%, that is why I try to bring some interlude via humor seriously.

Most of our talk about going all out war with even Bangladesh is just fantasy. We do not have stomach, nor leadership in IA to wage a very conventional war for 15 days plus. The truth is very very discomforting better burry it fast. In addition the nation does not understand that pain in Arunachal is pain in Andhra, Pain in Kashmir is Pain in Karnataka, everything is so remote we romotely pay attention. The political leadership is equally defunct. The less siad the better.
Mean while we plod on.

Chal ne do Balkishen ( during janmashtami very apt) as say in Hyderabad.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby Bade » 15 Aug 2009 09:08

^^^ Long time jingos are developing weak knees much early in the game when PRC is mentioned instead of TSP, eh ? :P TSP is just an extension of PRC or was till recently. So what has changed for this softening of position.

The 2012 apocalyptic prediction falls on the 50th anniversary of the '62 victory for PRC. So it is natural to expect some skirmish and declare another victory to assert oneself. Even ordinary Chinese do that in real life from anecdotal experience. PRC behavior has some parallels with how the Chinese people think and act. Even the earlier calm travelogue blogger Liu blows out the top more often than before. But it will not last long. The calm will come faster, if one ratchets up the noise too. Or else, one will have to keep dealing with fighting fires every now and then.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby shiv » 15 Aug 2009 09:11

Some more (possibly uninformed) thoughts.

India will never go to war of its own accord. The only question is what India will do if and when China goes to war on some excuse - which is possible - simply because it has done that in the past using the logic that if you have sodomized your neighbor in 1962 there is no guarantee that you have got over that desire after some decades.

It is the question of "what India will do" that I am going to speculate about.

First in order to attack India, China will have to build up forces at the border. Theer are currently reports of 50,000 Chinese troops exercising close to the border. Secondly those troops will require supplies. That means huge war stocks have to be built up locally. Not just weapons and ammo, but food for the troops. Since the corder areas are actually 10,000 feet up in the mountains, these supplies have to be brought in via specific routes - mainly rail and road.

For a build up of supplies it should be possible to see increased traffic by rail and road as well as recce pictures of dumps. Local stocks are essential because the first thing the Indian Air Force will do is to knock out railroads and bridges (and airfields) and even attack the storage dumps.

How will China stop the IAF from doing that?

Ground defences is one thing, but it will be difficult to provide cover for all segments of a railroad/road. All that needs to be done to put things out of gear is to block two or three areas (eg destroy bridges, cause landslides, destroy vehicles on mountain roads) and repeat by the time it gets repaired.

Ideally China should do a US to India. China should have fighter air cover 24x7 with refuellers to refuel them and AWACS to guide them. Where will these aircraft come from? Check Google Earth for the alititudes and distances of Chinese air bases. The Chinese have a problem here and for an attack they should be preparing by basing fighters there and building up fuel and spares supplies. While it is important not to underestimate Chinese capability it is wrong to overestimate their ability to work against forces of nature like high altitude air bases, long and tenuous logistic lines and limited ranges of 80% of their aircraft fleet.

What is the structure of the PLAAF? What aircraft are the primarily operating? What is the warload with which these aircraft can take off from airbases above 10,000 feet? What would be the radius of action and loiter time? Where are the fuel supplies coming from? Local dumps or from tankers? Where are those tankers operating from?

For more realism check Google earth, or Bhuvan if you are jingostically inclined.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby shiv » 15 Aug 2009 09:11

Bade wrote:^^^ Long time jingos are developing weak knees much early in the game when PRC is mentioned instead of TSP, eh ? :P TSP is just an extension of PRC or was till recently. So what has changed for this softening of position.


:D

Yes - but Indians do brown their pants first and think later when the word China is mentioned. I am sure the Chinese realise this and will use it to their advantage in a psy ops battle. It won't help them against Indian forces though.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby symontk » 15 Aug 2009 09:19

Few pointed out that IAF would not have made significant difference in 1962. But this cant true.

IAF have to be used against Chinese motorways and railways. Although it is impressive to build highways and railways to Tibet, it is still the Achilles heel of the Chinese. Once IAF starts attacking them the supplies will be impacted and Tibet being an inhospitable/non-populated terrain it will take time to replace the destroyed rails and highways.

However if Chinese have stocked all kinds of supplies for a month's war the scenario could be different. We also dont know whether they have stockpiled construction equipment/supplier near the border to tide over the IAF attacks

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby shiv » 15 Aug 2009 09:27

symontk wrote:Few pointed out that IAF would not have made significant difference in 1962. But this cant true.

IAF have to be used against Chinese motorways and railways. Although it is impressive to build highways and railways to Tibet, it is still the Achilles heel of the Chinese. Once IAF starts attacking them the supplies will be impacted and Tibet being an inhospitable/non-populated terrain it will take time to replace the destroyed rails and highways.

However if Chinese have stocked all kinds of supplies for a month's war the scenario could be different. We also dont know whether they have stockpiled construction equipment/supplier near the border to tide over the IAF attacks


The difference between 1962 now is recce and satellite images. The troop build up in 1962 would have been apparent if

a) we had the means (we did not in 1962)
b) we are actually looking (we were not, in Kargil, in 1999)

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby RayC » 15 Aug 2009 09:43

I would say it may be better to ask the question:
How will India win a war with China within a X year horizon, lasting for Y months.


That would be difficult as one has to have the inputs of combat ratio, terrain, morale, climate, serviceability of eqpt, failures of such eqpt in a war and other factors and still never be correct.

No one can predict how many months a war will take to get the results desired.

we are actually looking (we were not, in Kargil, in 1999)


we had no spy in the sky at that time and the satellite photos sold to India from foreign sources were passed off as the latest, when they were not.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby symontk » 15 Aug 2009 10:02

Number of our satellites are pretty limited for monitoring China. (They are as well used for monitoring Pak border too). The satellite capabilities again is doubtful for a war scenario. Case in point is that, Indian security forces are yet to use satellites effectively for any anti-naxellites or anti-insurgency or anti-pirate operations. Why I stress on these operations is that these are the actual tasks to find out hideouts or supply dumps of Chinese.

So we are limited (I would no say limited in comparison with satellites, probably its much better than satellities) with IL-76 AWACS. Not a good scenario since we have Pakistan also ready for tango if needed.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby RayC » 15 Aug 2009 10:07

I believe that the Chinese have storehouses for stocking food supplies etc in Tibet, as also near the border, ostentatiously for the civilian population.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby sanjaykumar » 15 Aug 2009 10:17

Tibet is a logistics nightmare for China-it is Bangladesh multiplied by ten, in terms of securing supply lines against a hostile population.

But the IAF trump is the unforgiving terrain - on the Tibetan plateau, there is nowhere to hide.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby Bade » 15 Aug 2009 10:45

symontk wrote: The satellite capabilities again is doubtful for a war scenario. Case in point is that, Indian security forces are yet to use satellites effectively for any anti-naxellites or anti-insurgency or anti-pirate operations. Why I stress on these operations is that these are the actual tasks to find out hideouts or supply dumps of Chinese.


For thickly forested regions any satellite imagery will be of limited value, and the Chinese side of the Arunachal border is quite green too. The real value will be on the dry plains, but again for recon and post mission damage assessment, mostly one would think. Not for near real time battle planning since the orbital period is close to 100 minutes or so in polar ones, between adjacent tracks and time involved in processing the data to extract meaningful information.


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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby symontk » 15 Aug 2009 11:15

But the IAF trump is the unforgiving terrain - on the Tibetan plateau, there is nowhere to hide.


Best would be to have at least a 1000 long range UAV's that could destroy personal, trucks, bunkers and bridges. This would create havoc among Chinese border troops and on road / rail supplies

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby shiv » 15 Aug 2009 11:15

Bade wrote: For thickly forested regions any satellite imagery will be of limited value, and the Chinese side of the Arunachal border is quite green too. The real value will be on the dry plains, but again for recon and post mission damage assessment, mostly one would think. Not for near real time battle planning since the orbital period is close to 100 minutes or so in polar ones, between adjacent tracks and time involved in processing the data to extract meaningful information.



All you need to watch are the roads, railways and airfields for activity. In Tibet and Aru.P region these are clearly visible. There are hardly any forests there. Across the border from Arunachal Pradesh the mountains rise steeply to 3000 meters and higher.

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Re: Could China and India go to war over Tibet?

Postby Sumeet » 15 Aug 2009 11:20

But will China attack India till it is assured that its puppy on our western border can contribute substantially ?

Currently, Pakistan is in no position to open up a front against us. So I think it is also important to answer will China be willing to go to war with India w/o pukes.


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