The point being that money is needed to buy equipment and fight is correct, right, logical. No one is pointing against it. It was just a rhetorical answer to equally rhetorical question of some people who were saying since our PPP is 1/3rd of China, lets shiver and surrender, I merely pointed out, on the same logic we are 10 times bigger than paki, you do not see them shivering and surrendering. Our when the Chinese fought American in the Korean war, American GDP was perhaps 50 times of Chinese, and these single babies of their mama and papa did not go around arguing, surrender!!
Our defense budget is very less compared to China. But the analysis that is posted above is at best superficial. Let's make some deeper dives (and I am no army men, mere a oracle wala sitting in front of computer with some time on a Friday evening and access to internet). So TFWIW.
China higher budget goes against many things - Army, Air, Navy, missiles.....Most of it is in the eastern seaboard, and not all of it can be transferred to Tibet even if wanted. Certainly not the Navy (and what will happen in IOR, we will discuss a little later), fixed air defenses in east, many tanks and artillery, bridge laying equipment etc.
The only thing that matters is what equipment and men (and at what cost) can the two countries bring in the Himalayas. From Indian side I will assume that it is a 2 front war.
There are apparently 9 places where we can clash, 31 passes along the Himalayan border and some other features where a airborne assult can be launched.
It is not like Indo-Pak Border, where we can perhaps clash at 1000 places and here having a big army makes a difference. In theory if we had 10 million army and paki's only the current .7 million, we can start fight at any of these 1000 places and be defensive against the fronts that have these .7 million Paki army. But if suppose there was only 1 front possible, the advantage of having 10 million to .7 million would be meaningless. All paki have to do is defend that one front with their .7 million men. Depending on how big the front is, India could at best use a fraction of its 10 million in theory army.
In the same way, 3 times higher GDP and 'rich' Chinese army can deploy only so many men and material at these limited fronts (even if it fights simultaneously at all 31 passes and some other opportunities that it can generate).
In theory China can deploy 32 divisions in Tibet (32*25,000 = 8 lakh soldiers). Tibet population is 31 Lakh distributed over a decent land size. That land is a desert, high altitude, it cannot support 25% more population, even if these 32 division did not move with civilians supporting them. They all will be mostly near the border (say border and some 50 KM back), which perhaps currently would have 1 lakh population (because that is how much the land and river could support). That part cannot support 8 times its population. If the PLA sits in Lhasa, what good is that to tehm. Now if they come just with guns, what good is their 3 times high GDP and big defense budget? If they bring the many tanks and artillery and BMPs, where will they place them? How will they get the fuel and other supplies? The road to Doklam is one narrow one, so is the one in Tawang. The tanks will be stacked one over the other? And what will the IA and IAF be doing - Dhoti shibbering or running excel model of GDP numbers and then again dhoti shibbering some more?
Lets get the real strength of Chinese and Indian forces. The mountainous region, our communication lines are numerous plus very short, few 100s of kilometer. The Chinese have to haul everything from 2000 km to Arunachal and 4000 km to Leh. Their stuff is already 4-5 times costly, gun for gun and bullet for bullet. Plus they have one major highway connecting Arunachal to Leh, running laterally few 100 km from border. I am sure that mountainous road would have many bridges and choke points, that we can destroy to complicate their logistics. Similarly they have limited road and rail (one) that gets material from mainland to its colony. Yes they can definitely fight with what they have stored, but if they move a bigger army it had to be supplied year around, even in winters when the passes become unpassable. Their richness will show up in higher artillery or tanks, then other wise possible, but we have also put equivalent number and only 1-2 places can have armored clashes, I am no expert, do not know how big is the front, but if it is not wide, then having 200 or 2000 tanks will make very marginal difference. Artillery should be game changer and you can perhaps put many around and concentrate. We shelled quarter million shells in Kargil to kill 800 TSP troops (and many died from air action and other reasons), What will it do to well dug up, defensive positions (and we will be countering it). Supporting artillery will be logistic nightmare and small numbers are expected to be in play (but yes a much richer army can afford to field more).
MRBMs and SRBMs just deploy a didly 500 kg to 1000 kg warhead (A Jaguar will carry 2-3 times that number), we did 3 1000kg in Balakot. The missiles have high CEP for a hardened target. The IAF hangers are made to with stand direct hit from 2000 kg warhead. They will cause damage, and a 3 times more GDP will give them the ability to perhaps fire many of them. It will make little difference to bunkers or hardened hangers, but will be effective against open targets like fuel dumps, ammo dumps, hangers etc. To counter them we have our highly accurate Brahmos. We both can perhaps field equal numbers of precise cruise/ballistic missiles to target each other.
They only have 6 air bases, few of them within 50 km of Border (or all within Brahmos range). At least the sat pic shows none of these have hardened hangers (please correct). At most these can field some 150-200 planes. Yes a 3 times higher GDP PLAF can perhaps put their best 200 planes (and keep on replacing them when it loses them). In Air to air fight, I guess they may not need any extra training, but their pilots will need training in interdiction in mountainous regions (we have been doing it since Kargil) and operating from high altitude airfields. I would assume each side will have a go at each other airfields using BM/CM, we have many, hardened. I would expect IAF to gain air superiority and then make mincemeat of Chinese fabled 3 times higher GDP tanks and artillery (the intent has been shown by using the planes).
PLAAN has to travel 7000 km to reach Andman Nicobar. Some 6-7 days of sailing. It can do through only 3 points, one that is nearest that we can choke. Against this, we may have lesser number of ships (if PLAAN decides to send all its ships). I am sure to get intelligence related help from USA and these ships will be within IAF reach (remember the loan SU 30 MKI squardron in south with Brahmos?). Between a ship and a plane, it is no contest, even the mighty Bismark was sunk by a very obsolete plane during ww2. Currently PLAAN air asset that can come till Andman is 0.
Overall, their 3 times GDP doesn't look very scary. And war does not get won or lost by GDP and the equipment that GDP can buy (though yes equipments count and we have no reason to neglect the forces). In the last few years we have stocked on war reserves, and added quite a number of mountain divisions in the last 15 years.