Another take from me - resumed 6 hour after spilling entire cup of coffee on my keyboad this morning shortly after typing half the post below
Seriously, is it possible to draw any conclusions from Op. Parakram about the possibility of Indian air & naval power playing the dominant warfighting role?
Did Op. Parakram tell us anything about our ability to carry out that kind of war? Are our air and naval capabilities sufficient for this or are we still an old-fashioned army-centric force that can only inflict serious damage by flinging hordes of infantry, tanks, and artillery at the other side? Do air and naval forces comprise a large proportion of our combat power, or are they still minor players compared to the army?[/b][/quote]The more I read about history and warfare, the more I begin to see that expressions like " an old-fashioned army-centric force " can variably carry a lot of meaning, some meaning, or no meaning at all depending on the situation and the adversaries in question.
Most wars in history have been won by land forces even after revolutions in naval and air power, and land forces are essential to war winning.
Air Superiority is essential to winning wars, but the existence of air superiority per se does not guarantee victory.
Naval power is more about force projection, and is arguably as important or even more important than air power in winning wars.
Air and naval superiority alone have no (or a negligible) precedent of winning wars in the total absence of land action. Land forces have won wars in the absence of air and naval superiority.
Warfighting and winning/losing are done on a grand strategic scale by leaders of nations, on a smaller theater scale by Generals, and on a tactical scale by smaller armed forces units and on a battlefield scale by those on the ground.
Vietnam and Somalia meant total naval and air superiority for the US, but the US pulled out because Vietnamese strategy (and for the matter the disorganised Somali "strategy") of allowing thousands odf their own to die while continuing to fight and inflict a few unacceptable casualties caused the US to pull out.
It was British Naval force projection ability vs Argentinian inability to deny the sea to the Brits that allowed the Brits to put men on the ground in the Falklands. Once on the ground, the air forces and navies of both nations were unable to play a major role. The Birtish land forces won.
It has been said that Pakistan can fight all out war for two weeks with India and that India can fight for one month (or maybe 6 weeks)
Anything that happens in an India Pakistan war must happen within this timescale in an "all out war".
I am sure the Indian Navy can blockade Pakistan for a month, but that is not long enough.
I think the IAF would NOT be able to inflict a "Gulf war 1990" degree of damage on Pakistan in one month, although I think it could do some serious damage. Ultimately, air power has historically been most effective in battles of mobility - such as when India forces are rapidlly pushing deep into Pakistan, or if Pakistani forces push into India. In "static battles" - air power does not have much of a decisive role - as was seen in the 8 year Iran-Iraq war, (or WW1)
All that I have written above is known to militaries - and certaily to the Indian military - because some of the stuff has been sourced from Indian authors - mainly Jasjit Singh.
Ultimately Operation Parakram involved sea, air AND land force mobilization that suggested a strategy to occupy areas of Pakistan within the known constraints that I have mentioned above. Obviously that threat has not gone away. As long as a force disparity exists between India and Pakistan, that disparity can be utilized by India to continuously place Pakistan under threat of unspecified action. For that reason Pakistan has to continuously maintain a deterrent. Some Pakistanis may feel that their nuclear deterrent (provided they are not nook nood - as Pervez Hoodbhoy is said to have told someone) is enough, some have said that the conventional "near parity" worked in Op Parakram.
As long as Pakistan seeks to oppose India by military force, it will have to spend enough on its defence forces to deter India. The "nuclear deterrent" of Pakistan assumes that the "wicked Hindoo" is a rational being. I would not expect many Pakistani generals to attribute "rationality" to the likes of Bal Thackeray, or Togadia or even Advani. So there will always be a worry that nukes or no nukes - some Indian madman will attack Pakistan .
If Pakistan spends less on defence, it then puts itself at a disadvantageous position the next time some Indian leader starts a Parakram like move or even a Brass Tacks like exercise.
Pakistan HAS to keep up with India in defence expenditure. Or it must sue for peace. And India - as the bigger nation with greater resources, and now a better economy has the advantage of being able to ratchet up belligererence to a level that puts Pakistan under threat so that they have to decide exactly what they are going to do - H&D or no H&D.
Let us see what that mad jehadis do.