rohitvats wrote:Another question to the proponents of withdrawal and who give the argument about India reserving the right to strike across anywhere, please do elaborate on this -
(a) Where do you think India can do this?
This depends on the political objective to be achieved. But, it has to be a political and not just a military objective. My preference is for a massive conventional response to achieve some meaningful objective that guarantees a firm thrashing to the PA with loss of substantial and meaningful territory.
(b) If the answer to the above is across LOC and that too in Northern Areas only, can you please elaborate on the how does one do it and what is force structure required?
We are not ready now for overwhelming force in the mountains, except to make it a very long and bloody affair. Hence I support the idea of about 10 additional mountain divisions and a special forces command. Massive investments in lift assets. Light arty and integrated offensive rotary assets for IA with wheeled fast moving transport with light armor. Once we are ready, with such a threatening force structure, optimized for mountain warfare. we will be in a far better threatening position. Our misinvestment in the plains has not paid dividends. There is nowhere to go in the plains that meets political objectives. Remember: Even for the massive brass tacks in the plains, there was a small plan for the mountains as per Ravi Rikhiye. The forces raised for an aggressive defense doctrine against China can be used for an aggressive offense doctrine for TSP in NA, if ever there is a need. 8 Mountain Division is a fine example of that.
However, the best offense routes are though Pakjab and NWFP into the NA. The third best routes for a massive invasion of the area, should work for us, through PoK. However, it has to be massive. My view has been, it will be worth it. One way or the other, the strategic value of Pakistan has to be degraded. If not through peace then through war. But it has to be meaningful. A long protracted war, restricted to NA would be meaningful and can be kept below red lines, if managed well. It does not threaten the core pakistani state, its peoples or even the PA, if it so chooses.
(b) What is the present force level and the cost for raising additional force levels?
You have very good knowledge of the former with the structure of the Northern Command and responsibility of XIV corps for the area. As for raising additional mountain divisions, we have raised two as you know. There is talk of 3-4 more. So it is in process. Ostensibly for NE though.
(e) and please compare the above cost with holding cost of Siachen.
The material costs of Siachen does not bother me, the human costs do. Even after learning for nearly three decades now, we are still loosing 15-20 soldiers per year with another 100 or so injured due to non-combat related tolls. We should increase our defense spending to 3% GDP levels. Lack of an indigenous MIC concerns me the most.
If you dissect all the issues, you will realize 99% of the issues are with our own policies and structures and not about Pakistan.