India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby LakshmanPST » 15 Jun 2021 13:15

This Twitter link has images of PLA tank deployments in Depsang and near Pangong Tso...
https://twitter.com/NatureDesai/status/ ... 57284?s=19

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby LakshmanPST » 15 Jun 2021 21:08


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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby LakshmanPST » 16 Jun 2021 01:10

Tweets posted by this account are generally factual...
Assuming this is true, something is definitely happening at the border...

https://twitter.com/TheWolfpackIN/statu ... 98562?s=19
Report- Indian Army is getting inputs of massive mobilisation of troops and artillery & armour movements on the depth areas of the Chinese side. Chinese PLA is desperate to achieve what it could not get last
year. But, India is also equally prepared: Indian commanding officer.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby ramana » 16 Jun 2021 01:50

The Chinese have been playing games.
As part of PGT accords the troops on both sides were to withdraw a set distance. More in case of PLA as they have better roads.
Looks like they are being moved forward.
And noticed by Indian troops also.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby ramana » 16 Jun 2021 01:57

Pratyush wrote:

‘Imposing Political Costs On China Works Better Than Militarising LAC’

NEW DELHI: A year after the Galwan clash distrust between India and China has resulted in both sides have increased troop presence along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. That means India needs acclimatized reserves, the financial implications of which may be difficult to sustain over a long period of time, says Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma (Retd), former commander of 14 Corps. Speaking to StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, Gen. Sharma said India needs to revisit doctrines of the past and prepare itself for a new character of war. Arzan Tarapore, South Asia Research Scholar at Stanford University, who joined in the conversation, said China may be better positioned to absorb the financial costs of maintaining an increased military presence along the LAC but India would do well to impose political costs on China.



A general should give military advice and not be worried about costs etc which are for the GOI to worry about.
He should present options not a point solution. He says no to military options on costs basis.
And the Stanford scholar is giving the Chinese perspective and is also ruling out military response by suggesting imposing political costs to China!

My view is all these chess games are nice but once in a while you have to fight on real battle field.
So it will be a combination of imposing other costs and be ready for a military fight.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby ramana » 16 Jun 2021 03:19

Pratyush wrote:Long view from Ladakh: Galwan’s lesson is that India needs allies against China. Three kinds of alliances are possible

The bigger puzzle is what does India do in the short to medium term when this asymmetry continues to exist? What does India need to do in the next five to six years to ensure its territorial integrity? The answer is simple and straightforward: We have to build balancing or countervailing coalitions with other nations which will support us in international forums as well as continue to sell us the modern weapons, platforms and technologies that we will need. Such coalitions will enable us to maintain our strategic autonomy from the political and military coercion China is applying in Ladakh.

There are three groups of nations or countries we can consider for building such coalitions. The first is the major democracies of the world. Examples of such countries are the US, France, UK, Japan and Australia. The Quad is one example of such a balancing coalition. This is why the Quad has developed quickly over the past few months in crystallising as a power centre in the Indo-Pacific, even as Chinese aggression has grown and its threat to India become more apparent. The second group of countries are those in China’s periphery and here both Russia and Vietnam come to mind. Third, are nations in India’s neighbourhood such as Bangladesh. We can consider one or a group of coalitions with these countries.



Not really sure abut the possibility of Russia joining an anti China alliance. Or for that matter countries in Indian periphery joining Indian against China.


Its like in West Bengal, those countries need assurance that India can and will beat up China when push comes to shove.
First need to get the Services from ever getting ready mode.
Next have adequate weapons to give a trashing to PLA.
And get ready for escalation.
China is not behaving per any rational player model of deterrence.

The received wisdom is nuke power don't fight wars.
They have proxy wars when they don't have borders. Eg. US and USSR with Cuban Missile Crisis
they have skirmishes when they have borders. Eg. USSR and PRC with Ussuri River clashes

At Galwan, India and China had both Ussuri River clashes and Cuban Missile Crisis afterwards.

So next stage will have to be a short sharp war unless XJP changes his mind.
Wont be long war for that might finish CPC in PRC.

He is in a trap. He can't do much with Taiwan for he has two options:
Armed landings which even US can't do now.
Missile strikes which will destroy much of Taiwan. Its like having to destroy to save Taiwan.
Hong Kong is already under the Red Army jack boots.

XJP needs a win to establish dominance and Force of history or mandate of Heaven.
Galwan 20 showed the myth of ten foot Chinaman attacking in waves is ended.
Have to see what 2021 will bring.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby darshhan » 16 Jun 2021 20:20

ramana wrote:
Pratyush wrote:

‘Imposing Political Costs On China Works Better Than Militarising LAC’




A general should give military advice and not be worried about costs etc which are for the GOI to worry about.
He should present options not a point solution. He says no to military options on costs basis.

And the Stanford scholar is giving the Chinese perspective and is also ruling out military response by suggesting imposing political costs to China!

My view is all these chess games are nice but once in a while you have to fight on real battle field.
So it will be a combination of imposing other costs and be ready for a military fight.


Exactly. Why is the honorable general worrying about costs? If it is a desperate situation then money printer will have to be started. Let govt decide on that. Only caveat being, increased imports should not cause increased costs wherever domestic options are available.

And yes time is coming when war will have to be fought. Lot of people in our MOD and military have internalized that war will never happen and they are content doing COIN. They will be mistaken for sure.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Cyrano » 16 Jun 2021 22:51

ramana wrote:My view is all these chess games are nice but once in a while you have to fight on real battle field.
So it will be a combination of imposing other costs and be ready for a military fight.


Absolutely. A bloody nose and missing teeth will be remembered far longer than some commercial or other impact.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby darshhan » 16 Jun 2021 23:48

Very good and informative article on Chinese military. Every decision maker in Indian Military establishment should read this article in context of coming India China war.

Pitfalls in making assumptions about Chinese PLA’s military-political behaviour

Introduction
“When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.”

-Sun Tzu[1]

Military strategists, operational planners, and tactical-level executors, all deal with assumptions that are a necessary part of war planning and warfare. Assumptions need to be made at the highest levels of statecraft—either within the political establishment or with allies— as well as for and by military establishments. Indeed, armed forces everywhere formally consider assumptions in their written estimates of the situation.[2] These assumptions may cover a range of issues, including about the enemy, one’s own side, neutral parties, the weather, and the international environment. If these presuppositions are carefully, logically and dispassionately formulated, the margins of error may be low. However, as a study on the subject of “assumptions” advises, “battles are lost and campaigns fail because commanders make classic, but avoidable, errors in military thinking from which come the faulty planning assumptions upon which their losing strategies are based.”[3] In his major work on joint operational warfare, US Naval War College Prof. Milan Vego cautions against the pitfall in thinking of an assumption as “certainty instead of a probability”. [4]

This paper deals with an aspect of assumptions that is not only inherently more problematic, but also leads to poor outcomes for the side making them improperly. These assumptions usually relate to social, cultural or quasi-cultural aspects of an adversary that are then predicted to have an impact on military and military-political outcomes. As this paper will show, certain assumptions about an adversary may be problematic because the premises are incorrect, to begin with, and there is inadequate knowledge or analysis of history. These assumptions are also vexed because postulations of a negative nature about an enemy could imply the reverse attribute for one’s own side. That too may be incorrect. Assumptions can also be dangerous because decision-makers might then prepare differently, be less ready, or else overly confident.

This paper focuses on some assumptions that are commonly made with respect to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China not only in India but elsewhere in the West. These assumptions find space in traditional mass media, social media, and scholarly discussions in military educational institutions.[5]

Discussion
The commonly held beliefs about the PLA are discussed in turn in the following sections.[6] They are considered not necessarily in order of significance.

“China’s military has no combat experience since 1979.”[7]
A refrain that perhaps provides comfort to China’s rivals is that the PLA “has had no combat experience since 1979.” Yet, China’s combat experience did not stop that year, when China lost to Vietnam in the Vietnam Border War in the Spring of 1979.

In the years leading to the creation of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the Chinese were at war for much of the time. These wars were often intense, involved large numbers of troops, movements, and firepower, and caused casualties unlike anything that countries like India have experienced in contemporary, post-World War II times.[8] China has also fought several wars since the PRC was established:[9]

Korea, 1950-53; Indo- China, 1950-1954; Quemoy and Matsu, 1954 & 1958
Indian border war, 1959; Indian border war, 1962
Vietnam War, 1964-75 (with active participation at some stages and with advisers and hardware assistance almost until the end)
Soviet border war, 1969
Vietnam border war, 1979
The Vietnam war, in particular, was a watershed for China, and should be discussed more thoroughly given prevailing myths in Indian discourse.

While it lasted for only about a month, the war was intense for both sides.[10] PRC fought with some 300,000- 330,000 troops; of these, 26,000 were killed, and another 37,000 were wounded. (This casualty count is higher than India’s in all its wars post-1947.) For its part, Vietnam lost 30,000 soldiers, and 32,000 others were wounded. China lost 420 tanks and Vietnam, 185. While unsurprisingly, these figures have been disputed by both sides, they are likely close to the truth.
The border regions in Vietnam suffered massive damage. Ironically, these were the areas left largely unharmed by US bombers because they did not want to risk angering the Chinese if bombs fell across the border.
The PLA leadership was found wanting during this battle. Mainly, however, the army’s weakness was in their lack of both sophisticated hardware and effective tactics. There was also Soviet pressure on behalf of Hanoi that led them to withdraw. At the same time, the battle-hardened formations of the Vietnamese Army were actually in Kampuchea and it was essentially their militia that did the bulk of the fighting even while lacking the combat experience of regular units. The militia and the regular components fought back fiercely and helped turn the tide.
The decision to withdraw the PLA was taken after a fair bit of punishment had been meted out to the Vietnamese, especially by the third phase (early to mid-March 1979). In some ways the withdrawal was not different from that of the PLA in NEFA (Arunachal) in 1962. In retrospect, the Chinese may think of these as poor political-military decisions but that is what war is often about. As Chen points out, the PLA continued to be destructive during the withdrawal phase in Vietnam, causing ruin to infrastructure, mines, and small factories. [11]
The outcome was not a total rout for the Chinese as is believed in India. In discussions this author has had with Vietnamese officers, both veterans and of younger generations, one is struck by their humility in victories and realism in thinking of the Sino-Vietnamese conflict as a close-run affair. They gave the impression that they are good students of Clausewitz’s dictum—that in war, nothing is certain.
Both sides learned lessons from the war. For the PLA and the CCP, especially, the loss to Vietnam led to soul-searching that would result in the modernisation and indigenisation of the forces that is seen in full motion today.
Less known in India is that the Sino-Vietnamese border war, as it officially ended, continued to manifest as a low-intensity conflict for almost the entire 1980s.[12] This took place in the mountainous regions along the border, mainly in the Laoshan area. The fighting involved regular skirmishes and became known as “artillery diplomacy”.[13] Some accounts suggest that more than a few million shells were used by each side during the decade-long war.[14] The following is a brief excerpt from Xiaoming’s book, Deng Xiaoping’s Long War: The Military Conflict Between China and Vietnam, 1979-1991”.

“The 1980s border conflict between China and Vietnam can be divided into four phases. During the first phase (April 1979–November 1980), both sides sought to reconfigure their border defenses and to harass each other on a small scale. The second phase (May 1981–November 1984) saw the PLA forces take more offensive actions against Vietnamese occupied mountain ranges along the border. The third phase (December 1984–October 1987) featured intensified fighting in the Laoshan area, with both sides committing a large number of forces to offensive and counteroffensive operations. The last phase (November 1987–March 1990) was a stalemate, with the PLA forces conducting special operations until the withdrawal of the last field army unit from the border region.”[15]

Defining ‘Combat Experience’
What is “combat experience”? Even more difficult, albeit rhetorical, is the question, How does a soldier, airman or sailor acquire “combat experience” for the future? A corollary would also be equally fair: “Lack of past combat inexperience is no guarantee of future defeat. Combat experience of previous wars, lesser conflicts or even the last conflict may not necessarily be relevant in the next one.” Combat experience, combat lessons, combat preparation and combat readiness are all different. Drawing lessons from conflicts, whether one’s own or another’s, is important and requires serious analysis, integrity in approaches to learning itself, as well as strong teams for doctrinal and warfighting improvement as well as agile leadership within the armed forces. Combat preparation and readiness are aspects which occupy—or ought to occupy—much of military leaders’ time, energy, resources and efforts especially in visualising and training for the changing character of warfare across the spectrum of warfare (SoW) as reasonably as it can be envisioned.

Armed forces that have been able to initiate changes in how fighting is to be done—and thereafter have innovated, trained and reorganised themselves for the likely future battlefields and environment—have tended to do better than those who did not. The PLA, as a constituent and instrument of Chinese statecraft, has for almost two decades been carefully contemplating future warfare. What they try to ensure is combat preparedness, given that combat experience cannot be acquired outside of combat. In any war, campaign or battle (at the strategic/operational/tactical levels), warfighting experience is acquired fundamentally by only those who take part at these three levels of warfare. Planners as well as rear headquarters also acquire valuable experience even if they might not be at the frontlines of combat.

Likewise, the much unfairly derided “tail” also gains operational logistics and administrative experience as envisioned in the old principle of war called “Administration.” Yet, there is little to be gained in assertions that the entire armed forces or an entire service gains “combat experience.” In the Kargil war of 1999, for instance, only those troops and air force crews who fought, gained combat experience. Twenty years later, how much of that experience is likely to be available and what proportion of it may be useful against the type of enemy and the changed conditions of warfare?[16] In doing so, it is perhaps necessary to emphasise that militaries need to distinguish between combat experience (which is acquired by those actively involved in combat) and drawing lessons from combat which could then go into the development of tactical prowess for the larger competence of that service. Both these feed into each other. However, even in the absence of combat experience that may be gained by a large body of warriors in a longer, intense conflict, developing tactical competence through training, exercises and hard-nosed professionalism has always been possible. This may be something to think about before de-emphasising someone else’s experience or extrapolating one’s own. There is also the matter of combat experience and prowess that could be gained by an enemy at a particular segment along the SoW for which a larger Army may not be correspondingly prepared or proficient. An example could be the prowess that the “Tamil Tigers” showed against the Sri Lankan armed forces as well as when fighting Indian forces (Indian Peace Keeping Force, IPKF) at various periods of the Tamil “Eelam” conflict. [17]

In many popular forums of discussion in India—including in some military seminars, reportage in mass media, conversations in social media—there is a notion, either expressly stated or implied, that the Indian Army has much greater combat experience than the PLA. There could be a problem here. ‘Esprit de corps’, or fighting spirit is important but a priori, while combat experience is obviously a posteriori, and one should not be confused for the other. That the Indian security forces and especially the Indian Army have long conducted Counter-Insurgency and Counter-Terrorism (CI/CT) operations within the country’s own borders in measured ways, is well-recognised. However, CI/CT should not be conflated with combat experience that comes out of more conventional warfare including of the more intense type that can occur in the so-called grey zones of conflict. Neither should competence in CI/CT under highly challenging environments—as happens within one’s own sovereign territory–be conflated with preparation for combat of the type that India may find itself in with adversaries like China or Pakistan. Moreover, both the Pakistan Army and the PLA are, or have been engaged as well in their own versions of CI/CT over the past decades. The PLA, for instance, assists in “internal security” duties in Tibet and Xinjiang. At any rate, it is doubtful if the PLA believes that its own form of CI/CT experience would give it significant benefits of “combat experience” in the types of warfare it is gearing for.

Few militaries in the world are as alive as the PLA in preparing themselves for future wars across the spectrum of war itself and across the three levels of warfare. Even in the open domain, their military theoretical work and practitioners’ value additions are apparent to serious China-watchers around the globe. To be sure, what they make available to the world could be partly “bluff”, and partly robustness used for strategic signaling. It could also be meant to encourage other scholarship within Chinese think tanks, as well diplomatic and economic instruments of statecraft to be mutually coherent in enabling China to realise the “Chinese Dream.” If anything, this is all part of “informatising” warfare and statecraft.[18] “Unrestricted Warfare”, the 1999 book by two PLA senior colonels is only a two-decade old reminder of the work that is being done by the PLA.[19] Is that unusual? The PLA—like the Soviet Red Army especially in the late 1920s and early 1930s—has had an intellectual tradition of internal discussions as robust or perhaps even more so than in more politically-free societies and their militaries. Mao Zedong is himself an illustration of this. His writings in the 1930s, while in the midst of what was called Revolutionary Civil War, is a famous example. [20]

“PLA is not geared for ‘Mission Command’.”
There is a perception, in India and in the West, that the PLA is less geared to the exercise of “mission command”; to use a simpler term, this is “initiative of the subordinate”, as explained by Admiral Dudley Knox in a 1913 essay he wrote as a young officer in the US Navy.[21] The perception is based on two premises. First, for militaries in most democracies, the very idea of a political officer at all levels– not necessarily subordinate to the commander– seems wrong and unworkable. Second, the difficulty of having someone who is politically but not militarily trained along the same framework as the commander and unit/force they are attached to, giving orders is anathema. There is some substance to these reservations but not as much as may be thought by military officers in apolitical armies of democracies.

It is easy to forget that the PLA or the erstwhile Red Army in the USSR were armies of their communist parties and not of the motherland.[22] This distinction is not only relevant to the PRC, but Xi has felt the need to reiterate this and remind the PLA of its loyalty to the CPC. A party’s army has to be subordinate to the party, and having a political officer/commissar is perhaps necessary. There is evidence from the Second World War that Soviet commissars carried out their duties spiritedly, generally supported their commanders well, and in many cases were able to boost the morale of their troops. Their duties went much beyond executing officers and soldiers in their units for not showing adequate vigour in fighting unto death. Contemporary research in the West as well as in Russia shows that earlier estimates of indiscriminate executions of soldiers retreating from battle by “blocking battalions” were highly exaggerated.[23]

In the PLA and in Soviet Armies there were internal phases when the wings of political officers were indeed clipped; at other times, their importance was enhanced. Overall, it worked for them. In studying the PLA, it would be ill-advised to think that this diarchy will be an advantage for the adversarial side in a conflict. There is not enough evidence to support such an assumption and future wars, naturally, have not yet occurred. The Wehrmacht in WW II is also a case in point. While it had no political officers, it had become political and many soldiers and generals were Nazi party members and fanatically devoted to Nazi ideology. This politicisation did not diminish its level of mission command. Even until the bitter end, younger officers and non-commissioned officers continued showing initiative and decision-making abilities.

In the PLA’s case, it seems that the commanders concentrate on narrower warfighting readiness and training, and the political officers assist in party-work, indoctrination, counseling and maintaining focus and morale that the CPC expects of its troops. A paper by Srikanth Kondapalli gives a comprehensive account of the political-officer system.[24] Considering the flexibility in major reorganisation, restructuring, networking and integrating cyber and space instruments into potential warfighting, it may be reasonable to think that the PLA may be training well for greater mission command effectiveness at the tactical and operational levels of warfare. Larry Wortzel’s analysis of the PLA’s General Political Department’s (GPD) growing roles in the “three warfares” in the chapter titled, ‘GPD and Information operations’ and in an earlier chapter analysing their use of networks for operations, indicate that the initiative of the subordinate is being factored in. [25] It is difficult to embark on such ambitious programmes without effective doctrinal thinking—formulated centrally and to be executed decentrally.

In examining the precepts and the practice of mission command in the Indian Armed Forces, the constraints of political officers are absent; if indeed they are a constraint in the PLA. Are India’s forces doing enough to train themselves for mission command? In an age of network enabled capabilities (NEC), how will the negatives of the so-called “1000 mile screwdriver” be prevented, or the increasing tendency to clear everything with at least a level higher?[26] The Americans are certainly worried about this. Milan Vego, who has visited various Indian military colleges, has written about the centrality of training for mission command in a recent article. [27] Elsewhere, too, he has been a strong advocate for mission command/ initiative of the subordinate.

A prognosis maybe ventured here. The very collapse of a communist party may result in severe shocks to its armed forces that exist to preserve and protect the party. What would they preserve and protect when the CPC is no longer there? The political roots of the Army could then be found to have been weak as happened in the USSR, for erstwhile Warsaw Pact members and in nations like Ethiopia and Angola. When that happens, the PLA may well be weakened and remain adrift for a while.

“With a One- Child Policy, they may not have the will to fight.”
At societal and macro-economic levels, China’s one-child policy (OCP) has had negative consequences, some of them potentially serious.[28]Indeed, at the level of macro and micro- economics, the policy has been studied closely by China-watchers across the world. Chinese leadership has made course corrections to try and reduce the impact of the policy in several areas—even as there have been perceived benefits from the policy—conceived by the party leadership and enforced sternly. In the absence of such a policy, according to China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission, about 400 million Chinese more would have been born between 1980-2016.[29]

Yet, no contemporary forecasts on numbers as well as impact can be made in such a way that they turn out to be socially, culturally or militarily accurate when evaluated at some point in the future. There could be some eventual quantitative accuracy in forecasts about patterns like demographic age profiles, healthcare costs, consequences of aging, and decline in availability of working members. It is the qualitative impacts that are far more difficult to infer. Even here, the role of technology and politics in how humans work, eat, socialise, and conduct their lives, can change with time as has happened in the past; it may skew the forecasts either way.

What should be considered is possible military impact. It may be inaccurate to use suppositions of the OCP to deduce that Chinese people may not be good fighters and combatants for much longer, or that Chinese mothers and grandmothers may be so anti-war that leaders may hesitate to consider these options. The assumption is qualitatively risky. The military benefits may seem superficially plausible and, therefore, comforting to nations which are finding it difficult to contend with China’s growing military power.

Nations and their political-military leaders make cultural predictions of their actual or potential adversaries that have often turned out to be wrong. In their own turn, the Russians and the Americans learned this about the Japanese; the Germans about the Slavs; the British about the Zulus and about the Marathas, the Sikhs and the Afghans; the Americans, again, about the Vietnamese; the Pakistanis about Bangladeshi guerilla fighters as well as steely Bangla citizens all through 1971; the Indians about Tamil fighters in Sri Lanka.[30]

The OCP is also a problematic assumption because it echoes what was said about the US’ aversion to casualties in the wake of their withdrawal from Somalia in 1993. Yet, the Americans got embroiled in Afghanistan and in Iraq only a few years later with casualties of US combatants having reached almost 7,000, and more than 50,000 wounded in action.[31] Indeed, assumptions that are based on self-comforting cultural outcomes can be dangerous. Such assumptions also contain equally problematic reverse inferences that Indians, in the absence of OCP, will be deadly combatants.

Nonetheless, it must be said that some aspects of the OCP may result in a shrinking base of conscripts. This may also be a factor why the PLA seems to be ramping up its effectiveness while simultaneously reducing its manpower. In India, the Army has begun to take modest steps to reduce manpower. The primary drivers for this have been to achieve an increase in combat effectiveness as well as to ease future pressures on the revenue budgets and perhaps free up some capital for modernisation.[32] On the other hand, in China, one driver seems to be to attain greater combat effectiveness via technological modernisation, harnessing outer space, cyber, missile and information power. China’s requirements for “boots-on-ground” are correspondingly reducing. Simultaneously, influence at strategic levels including of deterrence, operational cohesion through reorganisation and jointness and combat capabilities at tactical levels are seeing phenomenal improvements.

Two inferences related to the OCP are therefore worth considering. What if the PLA reduces the overall impact of “body-bags” as seen by single- child parents and grand-parents if its war-fighting transforms to the imposition of high casualties on the enemy while reducing one’s own? In effect, this has been the American way of war where their preponderance of firepower has resulted in greater numbers of enemy dead and wounded than US killed or injured. Second, with a change in policy now from the OCP to two-child policy (TCP), would the supposed lack of “willingness to fight” under OCP’s influence reduce in about two decades when there might be fewer “little emperors”?

One could say that the sheer pace and scope of the PLA’s modernisation and continued transformation make any assumptions out of the OCP, or even of the TCP on their willingness and desire to fight well, quite unhelpful. India should concentrate on matching—and in some areas, perhaps out-matching—China’s military transformation.

“’Loss of Face’ is a uniquely Chinese socio-political characteristic.”
The concept of “loss of face”—hinged on supposed values of honour—is a socio-cultural attribute that has always been a factor in discourse between individuals, tribes and nations all over the world. It would be incorrect to think of it as a uniquely or even a predominantly Chinese characteristic. It is not exclusively “oriental” either, even if several business etiquette advisories for Japan and China seem to convey so. In India, after all, the Hindi phrase “naak kat gayee (literally, the nose has been cut)” forms one of the turning points in the ancient epic, Ramayana. The European, and later American custom of dueling with swords and pistols was about protecting one’s honour, i.e., preventing loss of face. US politicians and even presidents have dueled in the 18th and 19th centuries over “loss of face” issues. Even when it was deemed to be a crime by law, judges sympathised with what was thought to be a culture of honour.[33]

Some commentators have over-interpreted “loss of face” in analysing the way Chinese leadership thinks or predicting their reactions to events.[34] Escalation dynamics are important, but predicting these dynamics and subsequent military actions from a “loss of face” premise seems problematic. The better way of looking at it is through the Thucydidean postulation of “fear, honour and interest”.[35]The Athenians argue with the Spartans in defence of their “empire to its present height; fear being our principal motive, though honor and interest afterwards came in.” In fact, Colin Gray calls this formulation from around 400BCE thus: “the general theory of war is economically, indeed parsimoniously, best expressed in Thucydides’ timeless triptych…(fear, honour and interest)…it explains why wars occur…also why peace prevails.”[36] That “fear, honour and interest” were always and would remain the drivers for war and peace seems to be ignored by those who view the concept as uniquely Chinese. The three Thucydidean drivers, singly, or usually in combination dictate the choices that nations and societies make in choosing or avoiding war. The idea of loss of face is inherent in honour. Avenging loss of face or lumping it perhaps to bide one’s time is governed by complex, contextual evaluations by national and military leadership, keeping “fear and interest” in mind.

The threshold for “loss of face” is determined by combinations of the ways in which political-military evaluation of fear, honour and interest play out. China has, in many instances, accepted loss of face; so has the US, so has India. Sometimes, however, they do not, since fear, honour, and interest come to play in all situations. Above all, for Indian strategists, analysts and military leaders to over-interpret notions of loss of face would be incorrect. Second, if this is thought to be uniquely Chinese, then what are uniquely Indian, American, Israeli or Brazilian (to use nations at random) cultural characteristics that should be strategically and militarily evaluated, leveraged as applicable, and countered?

“The Chinese Go by Sun Tzu.”
This author has encountered this particular assumption in various academic settings where he has lectured on some of the masters of military strategy, such as Sun Tzu and Mao Zedong.[37] Both are important as theorists in China and for the PLA. Mao, however, was also a military leader and then Chairman for decades. His imprint exists and also tends to be overstated within PRC-PLA sometimes because of the Party-Army connect. However, as mentioned earlier, Mao’s military thoughts are rarely studied in India, unlike the easy-to-read book by Sun Tzu. Therefore, some assumptions on how Chinese military-political interfaces may act or react tend to persist. The one that is taken out of context the most is the assumed Chinese preference for “winning without fighting” as the “acme of generalship.” In Griffith’s authoritative book, this maxim is translated in this manner: “Thus, those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle. They capture his cities without assaulting them and overthrow his state without protracted operations.” In further dialogue involving Li Ch’uan, it becomes clearer that “they conquer by strategy” which is not the same as not fighting.[38] This quote is quite a bit different from the oft-used formulation of the “acme of generalship” and is from Sun Tzu’s Chapter III “Offensive Strategy” for which fighting is very much on the cards.

To be sure, many of Sun Tzu’s maxims have been universal in application, and sometimes seen in writings elsewhere even before translations became available in the Anglophone world. The trouble with an over-simplified aphorism, however, is that it is sometimes taken to mean that the Chinese would never be keen on going to war. Over-simplification and inadequate analyses often lead to the risk of simplistic inferences. The other danger is to misquote Sun Tzu. This has happened often enough but a recent commentary is a grim reminder of the lack of scholarship that leads to “everyman’s” Sun Tzu. The Art Of War should be read in the context of their history, the contemporary emphasis of the PLA’s need to be ready for war and combat, and the deep concerns about China’s power, willingness to use force and its great steps in military modernisation. A recent article shows the dangers of misquotes from Sun Tzu or even cases of attributing almost anything “catchy” to him to score a point.[39]

There is also a distinct danger in Sinologists needlessly mystifying the results of their studies and China-watching. The same author, John Sullivan, in another recent commentary has pointed out several infirmities and perhaps deliberate distortions in Michael Pillsbury’s famous book, “The Hundred- Year Marathon”. These concern some ancient texts that are presented as having been read by a select few due to their unavailability in English. (Which according to Sullivan are easily available.) [40] The critic cautions, “Although tales of fearless warriors and cunning strategists of yore may influence the collective imagination of Beijing’s leadership, one can reasonably argue their current strategic playbook echoes Mackinder and Mahan just as much as Mencius or Mozi.”

Four more points need to be made. First, at the level of strategic education and operational studies, the Chinese are internationally oriented, and not given to the mind-trap of preferring only Chinese theorists among whom are other ancients besides Confucius or Sun Tzu. As pointed out by Sawyer, the other six ancient military texts of China also need to be kept in mind.[41] There now is growing evidence about the seriousness with which their think tanks, military colleges and military journals read, evaluate, and write about the works of other theorists and evaluate them against changes in practice. Additionally, the Chinese have developed a fairly dispassionate attitude to lessons of history—whether their own or those of others. Goldrick points out that the Chinese have been studying the works of Alfred Thayer Mahan as much to understand why British sea power succeeded while the French’s failed.[42] Second, as happens in classroom discussions on Sun Tzu, the book is not called “Art of Peace”, to begin with; it is “The Art of War” and a great portion of it deals with fighting smartly. In a sense, Sun Tzu also cautions against convenient assumptions beginning in the first chapter with “Estimates.” Third, ancient or contemporary strategic texts and thinkers within a nation certainly contribute to the body of strategic knowledge. That alone does not mean that the nation has a developed and beneficial strategic culture. As a corollary, discernible canons of strategic culture within a nation or even alliance do not automatically result in strategic successes. Fourth, and consequently, no nation “owns” Sun Tzu, or Kautilya, Clausewitz or Colin Gray. They– and several others– all educate, inform and guide on the ground. The PLA is not dogmatic about Sun Tzu, any of their ancient texts or even Mao. Rare would be a theorist of statecraft or of war who would have intended their work to be seen as dogma.


Read it all

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby AshishA » 17 Jun 2021 08:29

^^ This is a really really good piece. Eye opening. I guess the next book on my reading list might be Mao's military thoughts.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby yensoy » 17 Jun 2021 09:06

AshishA wrote:^^ This is a really really good piece. Eye opening. I guess the next book on my reading list might be Mao's military thoughts.

Please do read it and decode it for the rest of us :D

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby KL Dubey » 17 Jun 2021 09:28

yensoy wrote:
AshishA wrote:^^ This is a really really good piece. Eye opening. I guess the next book on my reading list might be Mao's military thoughts.

Please do read it and decode it for the rest of us :D


Except that the article is dated May 2019.

The actions of the Indian armed forces in contrast to the clumsy and failed 2020 PLA attempt at aggression in its "western theater", has clearly put paid to the author's hypotheses. Starting from a claim that "comforting assumptions are made in India" was untenable.

The Conclusions section was underwhelming and obvious/trite. Again, the 2020 confrontation and the preparedness of the Indian armed forces has upended most of these conclusions.

Really, there seems very little new or interesting in such analyses. I see very little to change my advice: "let the experts do the planning and stop pretending that we know better."

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Pratyush » 17 Jun 2021 10:35

^^^

Not necessarily, the article had cautioned against the set of beliefs that are being widely held ( We don't know if the forces also hold such view) . We have not seen enough to make a determination one way or the other.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby AshishA » 17 Jun 2021 13:34

Pratyush wrote:^^^

Not necessarily, the article had cautioned against the set of beliefs that are being widely held ( We don't know if the forces also hold such view) . We have not seen enough to make a determination one way or the other.


I agree. It's my personal belief that we shouldn't hold on to the assumptions too much. It shouldn't be either 10ft superman or 4ft little emperors syndrome. This paper by the rtd admiral is a step in right direction.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Aditya_V » 17 Jun 2021 14:31

Similarly, it is stupid to assume Chinese are very weak today and will supermen tomorrow. We should build up our defenses and should blunder into war, unless China is affected by some weakness and is absolutely on its knees, or they force a war on us. All this armchair ideas we should have attached China in 2017 need to be abandoned.

Pakistan is not weak, we will need to fix Pakistan first before we can deal effectively with China.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby RKumar » 17 Jun 2021 14:40

Most of us think the Chinese will not fight a war but my personal opinion is they will delay it as long as it is possible. They will attack India when they see an opportunity and are sure can win. What India is going to do regarding it? Will our response be reactive or proactive.

India has to prepare not for a local conflict but an open showdown. As Chinese first moved 50-60K troops to our border and captured our land. It is up to them to de-escalate and vacate our lands. In event of any (small or big) shooting event. We should be ready to take it to land, air and sea. In fact, we are in a very positive position on the sea and we should not hesitate to decimate anything flying with China flag in or on the Indian sea within the first 12 hrs of the conflict.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby darshhan » 17 Jun 2021 15:14

KL Dubey wrote:
Except that the article is dated May 2019.

The actions of the Indian armed forces in contrast to the clumsy and failed 2020 PLA attempt at aggression in its "western theater", has clearly put paid to the author's hypotheses. Starting from a claim that "comforting assumptions are made in India" was untenable.

The Conclusions section was underwhelming and obvious/trite. Again, the 2020 confrontation and the preparedness of the Indian armed forces has upended most of these conclusions.

Really, there seems very little new or interesting in such analyses. I see very little to change my advice: "let the experts do the planning and stop pretending that we know better."


Here the author is not trying to impart operational and tactical skills or knowledge to the military. This is just an advisory article telling that our military and strategic establishment not to fall for certain assumptions. If our mil guys already do not believe in these assumptions, then it is even better.

War is coming and preparedness of both the countries will be out in open. I believe that our military can give a good account of themselves against chinese but all is not good. But for the next year or two we will continue to retain advantage against PLA courtesy our forces better training in mountain warfare but after that I am not sure. Hence the best option for us will be to fight against chinese within this time frame.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Aditya_V » 17 Jun 2021 15:45

Nope, The Chinese have not been able to acclimatise to Tibet since 1950, it will be foolish to blunder into a war- prepare the logistics, induct weapons, but we are in no position to force victory. It will be a very stupid gamble in economy reeling under Corona.

I stay in Chennai- Darshan which city do live in?

The Chinese will definitely attack someone, but I suspect they will first test their strength against Philipines or do an expeditionary attack on the African continent. If India shows weakness, it will be attacked, but I don't the Chinese will take a risk unless like 1962 where they were guaranteed a victory with the mess we were in with 15 years of Nehru rule.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Pratyush » 17 Jun 2021 16:14

The real PRC advantage is in the consistent progress they have made in terms of production of domestic weapons.

Such as the single engine Delta canard fighter or the 4 engine transport jet.

I regard the transport jet to be a great accomplishment for them. Because it has the potential to be converted into an airborne tanker aircraft. However, inefficient such a conversion would be. It will still give them a significant advantage. A force of 250 such tankers coupled with 1200 + 4th gen and above aircraft will make them a formidable opponent. At the very least this will enable them to contest air supremacy on equal terms with the IAF.

We need to step on the gas and think in terms of getting 50 to 60 aircrafts per annum as a mix of Tejas, or the MWF or the ORCA. From 2025 onwards in order to build numbers by 2040.

SAM have a place but purely as a defensive measure. They cannot be relied upon to be able to stop a determined PRC offensive.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby tandav » 17 Jun 2021 16:25

RKumar wrote:Most of us think the Chinese will not fight a war but my personal opinion is they will delay it as long as it is possible. They will attack India when they see an opportunity and are sure can win. What India is going to do regarding it? Will our response be reactive or proactive.

India has to prepare not for a local conflict but an open showdown. As Chinese first moved 50-60K troops to our border and captured our land. It is up to them to de-escalate and vacate our lands. In event of any (small or big) shooting event. We should be ready to take it to land, air and sea. In fact, we are in a very positive position on the sea and we should not hesitate to decimate anything flying with China flag in or on the Indian sea within the first 12 hrs of the conflict.


"Most of us" does not include me... I for one know for a fact that as per them they are already at war and successfully achieved initial objectives. It is the IA which is reactive and fixed to defensive positions. PLA is ready for offensive actions and infact is carrying out offensive action even now under the aegis of grey zone warfare that has stood them very well. They are maneuvering at will in Tibet plateau and can redeploy their forces to any sector within 24 hrs given the flat terrain and superior infrastructure

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby AshishA » 17 Jun 2021 18:31

An important but overlooked aspect is Chinese have lots of intelligence assets in India. Their own and paki hired ones too. I assume we have a good intelligence infrastructure in Pakistan. But is there similar infrastructure with respect to China? I have a reason to doubt it because for years India didn't consider China as enemy state. After galwan, I hope intelligence aspect is not overlooked. If we can know when and where the Chinese attack will come, we can counter it and surprise them.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby ramana » 17 Jun 2021 22:11

100 percent of strategic intelligence is open source. 100 % of tactical intelligence needs covert.

After galwan, I hope intelligence aspect is not overlooked. If we can know when and where the Chinese attack will come, we can counter it and surprise them.


I long ago posted that a Chinese attack is like a stochastic integral. The probability that they will attack is 1.0.
However, where is at first glance equiprobable.
However, looking at terrain and infrastructures it's only certain locations and India has bolstered forces there.

Currently, even if they flood all of Tibet with troops China will need double that to attack and win.
Otherwise, they lose.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby ramana » 17 Jun 2021 22:12

On the need to utilize airpower:

https://www.vifindia.org/article/2021/j ... narratives
not just for fly pasts

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby darshhan » 18 Jun 2021 01:36

A piece from drive.

Tracking China's Sudden Airpower Expansion On Its Western Border

hina's bewilderingly quick construction of airfields atop man-made islands in the South China Sea, as well as its extra-territorial claims over that body of water, have grabbed headlines for years and the issue remains one of the most significant strategic and geopolitical problems of our time. Yet another far less discussed, but similar strategic expansion is underway in the western reaches of the Chinese mainland, which has gotten much less attention, yet it isn't all that less concerning. Beijing's remarkable blitz on airfield and other military-related construction in this remote region coincides with escalating tensions with its neighbor, India.

Just a year ago to the day, a clash along the Line Of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley between Chinese and Indian troops ended with dozens dead. While it was one of a long list of violent clashes over the years along various disputed portions of the border between the two countries, many saw this particular incident as a strategic turning point for both sides, but especially for the ever more powerful China.

Fast forward a year, and China's heavy investment in airpower-related facilities in the region is already being leveraged by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), as evidenced by an unprecedented level of activity along the Sino-Indian border as of late. This is in addition to massive growth in ground-based air defenses, as well as the construction of new fortifications, heliports, and rail lines into the area. As such, there is more going on here than just some defensive upgrades and the strategic implications are potentially severe.

With that in mind, The War Zone brought in some of the best satellite image analysts we know, virtually a who's-who of the strongest voices in Twitter's open-source intelligence community who also specialize in develpments in Asia. We want to actually show you via satellite imagery exactly what we mean when we say China is massively expanding its air combat capability footprint in the far western areas of the country, as well as what it all means.

With that being said, we will let Detresfa_, Sim Tack, and The Intel Lab share their in-depth and carefully curated analysis of the situation:

Tensions Rise As Combat Capacity Grows
The tempo of military infrastructure development in western China, particularly in the country's Tibet and Xinjiang autonomous regions, has accelerated rapidly over the past years and airpower is one of the biggest elements of the expansion. Since 2017, the year of the tense Dokhlam standoff between India and China, an especially since last year, the number of new military facilities constructed or existing military facilities receiving significant expansions has skyrocketed.

Across its westernmost provinces, China has laid down new runways that expand the overall capacity for the PLAAF to operate in this strategic border region. The emergence of hardened aircraft shelters and underground facilities associated with various airbases has also increased the survivability of military assets deployed in the region, while the enlargement of support facilities helps boost readiness levels and the potential sustainability of air operations along the wider Chinese border with India.

Though much of this infrastructure development is focused on enabling and supporting fixed-wing airpower, there are many other significant aspects of this relentless infrastructure expansion effort. This includes expanding or building entirely new bases for helicopters, as well as ground forces, to include air defense assets, and logistics facilities.

The sudden acceleration of infrastructure development in Tibet and Xinjiang is linked directly to the rising geopolitical tensions between India and China. Border tensions between the two countries have informed a heightened military posture, though the competition between the two powers covers much more than competing territorial claims within the Himalayas. The expansion of military capabilities in this border area underpins a wider and longer-term regional competition over political, economic and military power.
The full intended extent of Chinese military infrastructure development in the region also remains not fully known, as each individually identified new runway or other military infrastructure expansion project in itself increases the potential scale and scope of China’s long-term plans. With different airbases at different stages of completion, from old airbases receiving thorough updates to newly constructed runways at others, interpretations of how Beijing will operationally apply this increased capacity develops along with the construction work.

Current observations through satellite imagery, as well as of overall Chinese behavior along its border with India, only tell the story so far, but it is clear that this is not the endpoint of China’s expanded military infrastructure ambitions. Meticulous investigation of developments across various types of military infrastructure in the region will help lift the veil on China’s true intent and capabilities over time.
With all this in mind, we have assembled satellite imagery and analyzed a number of airpower developments in the tense region. The massive expansion of China's existing airbase facilities and the building of new ones underscores just how aggressive its push to wield power over the region truly is. To put it frankly, the expansion is breathtaking in its scale and harkens back to the early 2010s in the South China Sea in terms of how fast Beijing is working to shift the strategic reality in the region on its own terms.

Satellite Imagery Analysis
HOTAN AIR BASE
At Hotan Air Base, which is co-located with the civilian airport in Hotan, a Chinese city in Xinjiang, there has been construction of a new, second runway with its own parallel taxiway. However, additional developments at the airbase leave no question about the military purpose of new infrastructure at Hotan.

In addition to the new runway, a new support and maintenance area has been built up, containing several hangars that have also been observed hosting unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations. Satellite imagery also shows the construction of an underground tunnel near the new runway, the purpose of which is difficult to ascertain through imagery alone, but could possibly be used for unobserved or protected vehicular movement and munitions handling within the airbase.

Hotan is already an established airbase, actively hosting fighter aircraft as well as electronic warfare platforms, but its expansion represents a significant increase in the capacity of Chinese airpower in its westernmost territory.

Hotan Air Base is also situated very close to various sites along the border that separates China's Aksai Chin region and India's Ladakh that was involved in a protracted and sometimes violent standoff between the two countries in 2020. This region is one of the most intensely disputed areas along China's western border with India.

The expansion of capabilities at Hotan are not a minor adjustment in China’s posture and represent a drastic escalation that is fully oriented toward expanding Chinese airpower in the areas around Ladakh. In addition to airpower, the large base also serves as a major logistical hub in this region where Chinese ground forces man positions along the disputed frontlines.

NGARI GUNSA AIR BASE
Further south, in Tibet, Ngari Gunsa Air Base is seeing its capacity increased in a different manner. While no new runways have appeared there, China is busy constructing at least 12 hardened aircraft shelters that suggest an increased fighter presence in the future as only four Chinese Flanker aircraft are typically stationed there.

Construction of new hangars and what appears to be a dedicated air maintenance and support area, as well as munitions storage facilities, will also further increase the air base’s capacity. Satellite imagery shows an active deployment of surface-to-air missiles within the air base, as well. The development of new air defense positions alongside China’s air bases in Tibet and near other border locations is a common theme across the region-wide infrastructure drive.

The observed construction of hardened aircraft shelters, and expanding support areas, indicate an intent to base larger fighter units at Ngari Gunsa and suggests that China is actively aiming to fill assessed gaps in its airpower capabilities along this sector of its western flank. This assessment may be influenced by the deployment of Rafale fighters of the Indian Air Force at Ambala Air Force Station located just across the border from Ngari Gunsa.

With deployments increasing in the area, the new hardened aircraft shelters will also allow China to increase the survivability of its aircraft when on the ground, by protecting them against bombardments as well as environmental exposure. Perhaps more importantly, they will also conceal their presence to future observation through reconnaissance flights or satellite imagery. Until now, aircraft at Ngari Gunsa had been stationed on the open tarmac, without means of cover or concealment.

LHASA AIR BASE
The Chinese airbase at Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, is seeing similar expansions to those at Ngari Gunsa, with 24 hardened aircraft shelters under construction. The separate location of two of these shelters also suggests that they may be intended to serve a high alert function for rapid reaction.

Just as at Ngari Gunsa and Hotan, these expansions also include newly developed maintenance and support areas. At Lhasa, an entirely new helicopter staging area also appears to be under construction, which, in combination with the many heliports China is constructing in the region, as well as elsewhere in the country, draws attention to the Chinese military's emphasis on rotary-wing capabilities.

In the mountains just south of the airbase, satellite imagery also shows the ongoing construction of several underground facilities. The presence of underground facilities in the immediate vicinity of PLAAF bases is by no means unprecedented, but also underscores the importance of survivability as part of China’s military infrastructure expansion.

Lhasa Air Base is not located immediately at the western border, where the most recent standoff with India occurred, but instead sits closer to separate disputed border areas that lie across from India's Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh states. It was, in fact, the primary airbase serving Chinese airpower during the 2017 Dokhlam border crisis.

The development of military infrastructure at Lhasa also impacts China’s posture across Tibet, however, as it serves as a major logistical hub into the region. As in other air bases, the new developments such as hardened shelters will increase the survivability and concealment of aircraft on the flight line, but the construction of more elaborate underground facilities in the mountains to the south could suggest an even greater ambition to increase the protection of PLAAF aircraft and weapon systems. Here, like other locations, observations have also revealed renovations to existing area-denial systems alongside the airbase upgrade.

KASHGAR AIR BASE
Satellite imagery of Kashgar Air Base, located along China’s western borders in Xinjiang, shows the construction of more hardened aircraft shelters as well as maintenance and support areas. In addition to these expansions in support of fighter aircraft operations, the developments at Kashgar also include an extension of the apron that is typically home to H-6 strategic bombers, and a temporary aircraft shelter that appears to support UAV operations. The facility also boasts a new, already active, air defense site integrated within the grounds of the airbase itself. The imagery shows likely HQ-9 surface-to-air missile systems deployed at this site.

The base shows largely the same type of improvements that other bases along China’s western borders have been receiving, aimed at improving survivability and support of air operations in China’s border region. The base witnessed the arrival of H-6s (a nuclear-capable platform) during the 2020 Ladakh crisis, and ongoing apron extensions in the area where they were observed could point to a long-term ambition to base these aircraft at Kashgar.

Such a capability reaches beyond efforts to control China’s airspace in the border region, supported by expanded fighter operations and new air defense positions, and plays directly into the Chinese nuclear deterrent toward India. The H-6s at Kashgar are not necessarily fulfilling a nuclear role, however, and could also provide the ability to execute standoff strikes using traditional and more exotic weapons currently in development, or they could be configured as aerial refueling tankers.

CHANGDU BANGDA AIRPORT
Imagery shows that China is also refurbishing the Changdu Bangda airport located in the very eastern corner of Tibet, near the disputed border with India's Arunachal Pradesh. The airport has in the past had a primarily civilian character and was used to host China’s longest paved runway at 18,000 feet before it was closed, leaving Changdu Bangda with just one operational runway. New imagery, however, shows that the runway is being refurbished and possibly even extended, while the construction of underground facilities in the mountains right next to the airport unveil a likely military role for the airport.

Located at an altitude of over 14,400 feet, the opening of a more than 18,000-foot second runway could greatly enhance the operation of a variety of aircraft within the PLAAF inventory. Especially with two long operational runways, a military role for Bangdu Changda airport could significantly increase the capacity for air operations over Eastern Tibet. The underground facilities would also be able to ensure a protected presence of PLAAF aircraft and weapon systems.

MULTIPLE NEW AIR BASES UNDER CONSTRUCTION (TINGRI, TASHKORGAN, DAMXUNG)
In addition to the enhancement of infrastructure at existing airbases and airports, satellite imagery has also shown the ongoing construction of entirely new runways at various locations in and around Tibet. The runways are being constructed at locations that previously have not hosted airports or other military infrastructure. These runways are located at Tingri and Damxung, both located in portions of eastern Tibet opposite Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, as well as Tashkorgan in Xinjiang near China’s border with Tajikistan.

Imagery clearly shows soil preparation and outlines of runways, aprons, and support areas under construction at these locations. The military character of these facilities cannot yet be derived from these observations, however. Still, the reality is that any additional runway capacity in Tibet and Xinjiang adds to the overall air combat potential capacity and resiliency of the PLAAF along China’s western borders.

The Bigger Picture
The overall purpose of these PLAAF infrastructure developments in China's westernmost regions is clearly centered around projecting increased airpower along the largely disputed border with India, and improving the sustainability of air operations in case of actual armed conflict. As such, the construction drive backs up China’s aggressive territorial policies along its western border areas by helping to ensure control of the skies over them.

China’s efforts extend far beyond airpower itself though, and the rapid increase of active heliports and ground forces garrisons throughout Tibet and in Xinjiang paints a picture of a vast multi-domain military buildup along the edge of China’s territorial reach that airfields will be critical in sustaining. In addition to the militarization of the region, China’s infrastructure drive actually also includes a tremendous number of civilian infrastructure developments. Some of these, such as road and rail construction, serve an indirect military purpose by enhancing military logistical capabilities. Others, such as electricity generation, telecommunications, and agricultural developments help China sustain populations into the more remote western reaches of its territory and thereby cement the political claims to territorial control over Tibet and its disputed borders with India.
The timing of this infrastructure development, which has taken place over the same general timeframe as border clashes with India in Dokhlam and Ladakh, suggests a level or pragmatism related to these border disputes, but is also closely linked to the development of China as a global power.

For China, the budgetary burden that this infrastructure development brings with it is something that can currently be shouldered by sustained economic growth, while the strategic benefit of the infrastructure itself will pay off over a much longer term. With Chinese leadership likely anticipating the possibility of increased regulatory and budgetary constraints in the future, now is the time to build up the infrastructure that can carry Chinese power projection through the coming decades.

The infrastructure developments also serve as a more short-term boost to China’s economy by subsidizing its vast construction sector as the government seeks to sustain current levels of economic growth and to expand the Chinese middle class. Beyond the ongoing construction, similar benefits can be found in the dual-use nature of some of this infrastructure as well as the permanent employment and economic activity that this militarization will bring to Tibet.

The unavoidable strategic implication of the buildup, of course, is a significant expansion of China’s anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) bubble along the entire stretch of its western border. As Chinese capabilities in this area grow, it will become more difficult for India or other neighboring nations to attempt to match its pace and maintain anything resembling a balance of power in the region.

In addition, it is important to note that these developments are well in line with similar military and dual-use infrastructure expansion initiatives in other Chinese border regions, such as across areas that are the responsibility of the PLA's Southern Theater Command and deep into the South China Sea. All of these combine to form an assertive infrastructure-driven policy toward securing vast territorial claims. The well-documented development of Chinese military facilities in the South China Sea in fact provides what can be regarded as a template to the rapid development of persistant military capabilities and combat capacity, as well as the sustainment of A2/AD bubbles that other border areas are now witnessing.

The growth of Chinese strength along its western border will surely embolden Beijing in the pursuit of territorial claims and in future border clashes that may in fact translate into an even more aggressive posture. By also logistically unlocking the Chinese ability to project offensive military power from the western part of the country, toward India or Central Asia, it raises a perception of a Chinese military threat beyond the geographically limited border disputes themselves. With this in mind, the buildup of combat capability on China's western edge will likely become a greater international concern as time goes on.

With all that being said, the big takeaway here is that China's force posture and ability to sustain a major conflict along its western border is being dramatically enhanced in a breathtakingly short period of time. That, paired with China's rapid advances in air combat capability, should make India and even other nearby countries very nervous.



Kindly analyse

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Shankk » 18 Jun 2021 02:46

First and foremost china do not want to start any major war with India as the end result is really not in their favor. They just want a compliant India as a major market and an entity that do not challenge them strategically. Galvan was an attempt to achieve some of those goals like intimidate India like in 62 into accepting some of those goals. Make India more favorable to RCEP, diminish Modi credibility, make India take knee jerk reaction and show the world how India is unreliable partner that does not respect IP etc. Whatever they could achieve behind the door if India had thrown in towel. That backfired badly.

Besides practically they are just not in position yet to start any major war with India. They may have superior infrastructure on land but their air force do not have necessary dominance on IAF to win anything conclusively. Involvement of air power would complicate things for them a lot given geography and logistics. Besides if they muster courage to do anything big, Indian response will not be limited to that theater only. India still has advantage on naval front due to being much closer to the chinese shipping lanes. So essentially china will have to dominate on all three fronts to force India into settlement of their choice.

Also things were relatively predictable earlier due to old and rigid ROE. They had to have intelligence gathering at right place to predict and plan to be effective. That was less expensive and more effective. Now with decision making powers given to troops on border and local leadership, that task has become much more complex. They can't predict and plan as well and don't want to let things escalate beyond a point to avoid strategic response.

It's a difficult problem for them. It is not going to be easy and cheap to force India to act to their advantage and they also can't lose India either for obvious reasons. They sure are in a pickle.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Maria » 18 Jun 2021 02:54

Shankk wrote:First and foremost china do not want to start any major war with India as the end result is really not in their favor. They just want a compliant India as a major market and an entity that do not challenge them strategically. Galvan was an attempt to achieve some of those goals like intimidate India like in 62 into accepting some of those goals. Make India more favorable to RCEP, diminish Modi credibility, make India take knee jerk reaction and show the world how India is unreliable partner that does not respect IP etc. Whatever they could achieve behind the door if India had thrown in towel. That backfired badly.

Besides practically they are just not in position yet to start any major war with India. They may have superior infrastructure on land but their air force do not have necessary dominance on IAF to win anything conclusively. Involvement of air power would complicate things for them a lot given geography and logistics. Besides if they muster courage to do anything big, Indian response will not be limited to that theater only. India still has advantage on naval front due to being much closer to the chinese shipping lanes. So essentially china will have to dominate on all three fronts to force India into settlement of their choice.

Also things were relatively predictable earlier due to old and rigid ROE. They had to have intelligence gathering at right place to predict and plan to be effective. That was less expensive and more effective. Now with decision making powers given to troops on border and local leadership, that task has become much more complex. They can't predict and plan as well and don't want to let things escalate beyond a point to avoid strategic response.

It's a difficult problem for them. It is not going to be easy and cheap to force India to act to their advantage and they also can't lose India either for obvious reasons. They sure are in a pickle.


Maybe they do but wants to goad India to have a go at them to drive the global narrative. Maybe they want to beat at its game by fighting and winning a defensive war.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Shankk » 18 Jun 2021 03:03

Maria wrote:Maybe they do but wants to goad India to have a go at them to drive the global narrative. Maybe they want to beat at its game by fighting and winning a defensive war.


India doesn't do that with Pakistan as well. You think they are so naive to plan for that?

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Maria » 18 Jun 2021 03:31

Shankk wrote:
Maria wrote:Maybe they do but wants to goad India to have a go at them to drive the global narrative. Maybe they want to beat at its game by fighting and winning a defensive war.


India doesn't do that with Pakistan as well. You think they are so naive to plan for that?


They hold our territory, they are amassing on their end, to me it looks like they want to convey ' Aaa bail mujhe maar' to us. Ofcourse they are not naive, they are just Chinese.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby VinodTK » 19 Jun 2021 04:12


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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby pgbhat » 20 Jun 2021 21:43

Some great discussion about treatment of ITBP.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby ramana » 22 Jun 2021 00:46

In future please give author name.

Attribution: Sudarshan Shrikhande, “Pitfalls in Making Assumptions About Chinese PLA’s Military-Political Behaviour”, ORF Occasional Paper No. 191, May 2019, Observer Research Foundation.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby ramana » 22 Jun 2021 00:48

Looks like another long IDSA genre paper.

Yes Indian military has studied the 1979 Sino-Vietnam war and learned a lot on what it takes to challenge PLA.
The pertinent lessons for India are Nathu La, Sumdrong Chu, Depsang, Dokhlam, and Galwan.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby kit » 22 Jun 2021 15:44

ramana wrote:The Chinese have been playing games.
As part of PGT accords the troops on both sides were to withdraw a set distance. More in case of PLA as they have better roads.
Looks like they are being moved forward.
And noticed by Indian troops also.


China is doing on India what India did with Pakistan., long drawn-out conflict to the point of making it unaffordable

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Aditya_V » 22 Jun 2021 15:54

kit wrote:
ramana wrote:The Chinese have been playing games.
As part of PGT accords the troops on both sides were to withdraw a set distance. More in case of PLA as they have better roads.
Looks like they are being moved forward.
And noticed by Indian troops also.


China is doing on India what India did with Pakistan., long drawn-out conflict to the point of making it unaffordable


That will not work out, Pakis try to match us blow for blow, if Chinese want to sit in Tibet in the long term it will far more costlier for them.

The India-Pak analogy is wrong. I hope the Chinese are thinking they way you are, if they think we and the Pakis are the same which I hope they do then it will be nice blunder for them to fall into.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Pratyush » 22 Jun 2021 17:27

^^^

It can work if the Indian armed forces continue to think that imports are the solution for every national security crisis.

If the Indian national security establishment reaches the conclusion that domestic industry is the solution. Then we can sustain this forever.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby SSridhar » 23 Jun 2021 11:48

^ Agree. Additionally, it can work also if we are defensive for ever without doing our own version of salami-slicing to take back what is our territory. If the Chinese can operate below the threshold of a skirmish, we should be able to do so too. I am sure we are doing that without publicizing them. We had a few Hand-in-Hand exercises with PLAGF when times were somewhat better. We are prepared for Hand-to-Hand, as shown at Galwan and the Hans know they cannot match us at all in such a situation with their conscript deployment. That's why they are recruiting Tibetans. The Chinese have always done that. When they couldn't fight the Wolf Warrior Mongols, they recruited them into their army (which was largely farmers otherwise) or even the Juerchens from the North-East, then the Hui Muslims (whom they forcibly converted into eunuchs).

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Paul » 23 Jun 2021 12:59

https://www.news18.com/news/india/cant- ... 80493.html

Can't Fight in Mountains, Needs More Training': Bipin Rawat's Observation on Chinese Army After Ladakh Faceoff

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said that the Chinese soldiers are mainly enlisted for a short duration and don't have much experience of fighting in the mountain terrain of the Himalayas.

The Chinese Army has realised that it needs better training and preparation, said Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat. The CDS added that the realisation came after the faceoff with Indian forces last year in Galwan Valley and other locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

A report in ANI quoted Rawat as saying that the Chinese soldiers are mainly enlisted for a short duration and don’t have much experience of fighting in the mountain terrain of the Himalayas.

“Chinese deployment on border with India has undergone a change, especially after incidents that happened in Galwan and other areas in May and June 2020. Thereafter, they realized that they need to be better trained and better prepared," Gen Rawat said when asked about the fresh activity of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) along LAC.

On June 15, 2020, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops “surprised" India in the Ladakh sector of LAC (line of actual control) where the Indian Army lost 20 lives, including that of Colonel Santosh Babu in the Galwan valley.

The Chinese Army also lost their soldiers, though they never stated the exact numbers. The figures, given our informally, varied from 5-14, even as China has publicly accepted only four deaths. India’s estimate on Chinese fatalities said that PLA lost between 25 and 40 personnel, including at least one officer.

“Their soldiers mainly come from the civilian street. They are enlisted for a short duration. They don’t have much experience of fighting in these kinds of areas and operating in this kind of terrain," Rawat further explained.

The report quoted the CDS as saying that India had to keep a watch on all activities of China in the region and Indian soldiers are very adept in fighting in the region. “The Tibet Autonomous Region is a difficult country. It is a mountainous region. You need specialized training for this, in which our soldiers are very adept because we have a lot of mountain warfare training. We operate in mountains and continuously maintain our presence," he said.


“Whereas for the Chinese, it’s not so. It is part of that training that they are carrying out. We have to keep our guard and keep a watch on all activities of the Chinese forces. In doing so, we have to maintain presence along LAC," he added.

Asked if the northern front has become as important as the western front in view of the increased deployment of forces, the CDS said both fronts remain a priority for the country. “We have maintained a kind of posture that our troops deployed at northern borders are capable of functioning at western border and vice versa. Yes, we have committed some additional troops on the northern border as we find they are becoming more active and are a primary threat to us," he said.

Earlier in an interview with CNN-News18, Rawat said, “The Indian armed forces have been given the task to ensure that the sanctity of our borders are maintained and no part of our territory is lost without a fight. The Service Chiefs and I have said that we need to be prepared, and any misadventure from our adversaries will be dealt with firmly."


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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Paul » 23 Jun 2021 17:44

Tibetians and Uighurs units in PLA can be expected to take part in a conflict with Indian Army.....

dharmic aeroplate v2
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Indians tend to think of Tibetans as a unified anti-cheen set but history proves otherwise. For various reasons, Tibetan militias and regiments have been in PLA even in 62. likewise some indians fought armed struggle vs british while some joined British indian army. 1/2



I think tweet is referring to PLA deployments in 1962 war
dharmic aeroplate v2
@daeroplate_v2
·
2h
Replying to
@daeroplate_v2
Three pages from Shiv kunal verma’s book say tibetan and uighur units fought from DBO down to hot springs area, regular chinese handled pangong and spanggur attack while tibetans again kept for demchok… plus recce canberras flew all down tibet but none paid heed to buildup

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Aditya_V » 23 Jun 2021 18:05

In the Battle of Rezang La it was the Uighurs who bore the brunt. They have lots of Graves in Khasgar- the PLA down played causualties big time in the 1962 war and 2020 Galwan clash like the Pakis.

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Re: India's Border Security with China and Pakistan-2020 - Part 2

Postby Atmavik » 24 Jun 2021 08:19

Paul wrote:Tibetians and Uighurs units in PLA can be expected to take part in a conflict with Indian Army.....

dharmic aeroplate v2
@daeroplate_v2
Indians tend to think of Tibetans as a unified anti-cheen set but history proves otherwise. For various reasons, Tibetan militias and regiments have been in PLA even in 62. likewise some indians fought armed struggle vs british while some joined British indian army. 1/2



I think tweet is referring to PLA deployments in 1962 war
dharmic aeroplate v2
@daeroplate_v2
·
2h
Replying to
@daeroplate_v2
Three pages from Shiv kunal verma’s book say tibetan and uighur units fought from DBO down to hot springs area, regular chinese handled pangong and spanggur attack while tibetans again kept for demchok… plus recce canberras flew all down tibet but none paid heed to buildup



I have read the book and don't find mention of Tibetans in PLA. In fact the one criticism I have of the book is it does not cover much of PLA or the Chinese point of view of the conflict. the only mention of PLA i find was how the geography of Arunachal/nefa was similar to Korea and the PLA in this sector used sound tactics.


I did read from other sources that the PLA units in ladhak were Uiyghurs.


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