War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

The Military Issues & History Forum is a venue to discuss issues relating to the military aspects of the Indian Armed Forces, whether the past, present or future. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Bharat-Rakshak.com Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
Paul
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3609
Joined: 25 Jun 1999 11:31
Contact:

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Paul » 12 Jun 2008 03:45

IMHO, it will be better to restrict the scope of this thread to a few selected streams and then keep expanding on them to get an idea of the big picture. After all, look at the gamut of Pakistan related threads and the time it took for us to develop a full understanding - Pakistan news/discussion, Islamism, Pakistan military acquisitions, Pak nucler terrorism, Kargil, and Pakistan army etc. It will take us a similar amt of effort to understand PRC, it's people, it's military, our evolving strategy etc. etc.

IMO...This thread is a strand of thought in the multi mix combination. JMT. peace. :)
Last edited by Paul on 12 Jun 2008 07:08, edited 2 times in total.

G Subramaniam
BRFite
Posts: 405
Joined: 26 Apr 2006 17:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby G Subramaniam » 12 Jun 2008 06:52

From John Garver's book
'Protracted Contest'

Start quote - Page 63
--

The Tibetan Special Frontier Force was started by Mullick in Nov 1962 under direct orders from Nehru

Mullick believed that Nehru was preparing for the day that India could restore Tibet to an independent status


According to John Avedon, who has close contacts with the Tibetan community in India,
Indian contingency planning in the 1970s called for a bold move to wrest Tibet from China in the event of another Sino-Indian war

The SFF was to be parachuted behind chinese lines throughout Tibet,
where they would sever PLA transportation and communication links,
rally the populace, and disrupt the PLA's flank and rear areas.

Meanwhile the Indian army would advance into Tibet, meeting the PLA head-on

Indian planned objective per Avedon was nothing less than the independence of Tibet

A bold offensive thrust into Tibet would permanently remove the chinese threat to north India and restore Tibet as a buffer

This would also give the Indian army the initiative unlike 1962

Perhaps Moscow may have persuaded India to open a Tibetan Front
in conjunction with a Sino-Russian war
This would have put the PLA into a dire situation,
The Indian forces could quickly sieze Lhasa and proclaim an independent Tibet

Large numbers of Tibetans could be rallied to the Indian side and armed with soviet weapons multiply the Indian armed capability


The Tibetan populace would welcome the Indians as liberators from the hated red guard

Once inside Tibet, Indian forces would benefit from intelligence, willing laborers and partisan support, whereas the chinese would hobbled by widespread tibetan sabotage


South of kashgar the road to tibet was only 150 miles from the soviet border and could be severed easily by soviet troops

Chinese fears of a Soviet supported Indian move into Tibet peaked in 1971

Beijing feared that after a successful liberation of Bangladesh, India might similarly liberate Tibet

The chinese forces were severely weakened by the cultural revolution and feared a defeat at the hands of India if it opened a
second front in support of pakistan

--

End quote

A democracy can survive a defeat in a border war
A dictatorship cannot survive a defeat even in a border war

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 12 Jun 2008 09:16

thanks for the post GS. that must have been formulated in the era of LB Shastri and IG as PM.
those were the days when India and PRC had a 1:1 GDP and India had relatively better weapons
and training on all fronts.

just shows how much we have let the ball slip through inept regimes like RG , VPS, who let a
yawning economic gap open up and restricted our options badly. we should have responded like
a alert terrier when the PRC went capitalist in 1978 , albeit we could not count on GOTUS help
but independent pvt sector in CONUS dont care where their shoes and plastic buckets come
from.

coming back to the thread, my assumptions were:

(a) Let us not discuss here _why_ a Indo-Sinic war starts. could be any number of reasons
starting with the need to slap India again because it has forgotten the "lessons taught"
in 1962 and acting uppity, not showing enough "respect" to the "undisputed leader of Asia"
getting into the _why_ is just a waste of time. Just assume it may happen.

(b) _when_ will it happen ? assume from today out to another 5 yrs. that gives us enough
clarity on what is there today and also using knowledge of ongoing projects we can say
XYZ would be available in 2-3-4 yrs down the line.

(c) as to _what_ will happen, I have given a broad goal and ramana has added another.
- capture of all territories if possible south of tsangpo
- if its not possible for eastern and western army groups to meet up then some area
just north of nepal would still be in PRC hands but subject to 24x7 threat from three
sides and militarily untenable
- liberation of east turkestan, part of POK and opening of Indian owned land corridor
into the CAR due north from J&K

- Lhasa to be kept within striking range

(d) why has Army group north been kept so huge ? and this was before Ramana stretched
the goal out to east turkestan...

simple..hit the enemy where you hold the most cards and he the least. that sector is
farthest from their heartland and this will make it tough for them to field a massive
logistics chain there. in contrast north and west india has better road & rail infra than
eastern india (army group east). the terrain once we enter via ladakh looks more favourable
than sikkim-AP to large scale war of movement.
strategically its also a more vital goal for us, though sitting near Lhasa has its own value.

what should be the goals of this thread ?

(a) a study of the IA mountain divs - where they are today, what is needed, what
is being done (public source only)

(b) information (public source only) on infra / logistics on our side today and whats needed
if any to move the massive logistics tail of a multi-corps offensive forward. I have already
alluded to fact that most of railways northern holdings and 80% of airlines may have to
be requisitioned. there will be mewlings of protest from Itvity "honchos" , we dont give a
**** about that. I havent heard any rumbling noises lately on the 10km long rohtang pass
tunnel needed to make the manali-leh road as all weather for instance

(c) pore over google earth and other maps sector by sector and see whats the terrain and
roads/rail in Tibet. post these maps marked up with arrows/symbols on free image hosting
site and post link here with your notes. smaller the scale, more the detail.

(d) a thorough study of the PLA formations based in Tibet, nearby and their "panda fist"
divisions
that are supposed to be ready to move in 48hrs.

(e) full details on the major highways into Tibet and the new Quinghai-Lhasa railway
, estimates of how much these can sustain , distances for IAF to interdict..

(f) logistical notes on how much a mech/infan/mountain div needs per day (US army sometimes
releases good info on such matters just to let us natives know how bad we are)

(g) PLAAF & SAM assets (eg check SoCs posts on AFM for SA-xx double digit holdings). IDF
seems to have found countermeasures for it.

(h) based on all above what are the non-political major gaps to make Tsangpo Plan a reality?

I think thats the minimum needed before a country wages war and no doubt very detailed
docs exist in various "bhavans" in delhi.
Last edited by Singha on 12 Jun 2008 09:23, edited 1 time in total.

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 12 Jun 2008 09:20

and let us try to put one good quality post with useful info everyday
than just increase the post count with medium or low quality posts (I know I know
...guilty as charged sire..but I promise to be a "better" boy here) :((

Venkarl
BRFite
Posts: 963
Joined: 27 Mar 2008 02:50
Location: India
Contact:

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Venkarl » 12 Jun 2008 09:22

G Subramaniam wrote:From John Garver's book
'Protracted Contest'

Start quote - Page 63
--


Beijing feared that after a successful liberation of Bangladesh, India might similarly liberate Tibet


lol...aage se geela peeche se peela....sadly, India lost a golden chance in last century

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 12 Jun 2008 09:29

btw feel free to come up with better dispositions and groupings of IA ... this is your chance to
play general on a gigantic scale. what I wrote is just the beginning. no doubt there will have to
be IBGs of indep brigade strength formulated.

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 13262
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Lalmohan » 12 Jun 2008 16:11

i feel that any successful action in tibet might rely on a spectacular in xinkjiang and/or yunan as strategic diversions
xinkjiang - particularly with its motorable road into tibet is a prime candidate

ShauryaT
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5246
Joined: 31 Oct 2005 06:06

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby ShauryaT » 12 Jun 2008 16:24

Singha,

I am no expert in military matters but there is one mantra, that I have learnt, which I feel India needs. i.e: strategic lift and force multipliers that can be used in the mountains. Instead of buying 3000 more tanks, we may be better off investing in this area.

So, towards that better IFV with some recon and som punch(stryker), that can move fast in the mountains, helos (all kinds), light arty, planes that can load all these men and equipment.

My understanding is today, we do not have such a capability and are in the process of raising such an air assault brigade. The question is, is that enough, if we have to challenge the status quo in the mountains?

A war in Tibet, cannot be sprung up, one fine day. Mao deployed his strategems, right from 1950 onwards and a series of betrayals followed culminating in 1959 and 62. He also took full advantage of the cuban missile crisis. Conviced USSR to support the China stand. My point is the ground will have to be prepared, so to speak. LIC can be a potent weapon of this process.

Once the hostilities do start, we have to know, what are our aims? If the aim is to restore Tibet as a buffer between China and India - the scale of effort required is not something India can execute alone. We will have to be part of a larger grouping, on a common mission. The chances of war with China, unless China is the aggressor are simply not envisioned by our forces and not something they are planning for.

Also, at some point, we have to stop evaluating everything from a western perspective. We will be better off, trying to figure out, how to invade a growing China, using cultural tools that have been used in the past. In this cultural war, the war is not against the chinese people but against the west and the idiots (communists). A negotiated settlement is the best outcome.

For this, India would have to invest in both our military capabilities and execute the cultural invasion plan. Along, with diplomatic, psy-ops, geo-political alliances and other tools, we will know, in about 20 years, if the military plan needs to be acted upon.

China has counter strike options in all these areas, including psy-ops, a fifth column in India and execute geo-political alliances against us.

The question is, is anyone in Delhi listening?

G Subramaniam
BRFite
Posts: 405
Joined: 26 Apr 2006 17:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby G Subramaniam » 12 Jun 2008 17:25

ShauryaT wrote:Singha,

I am no expert in military matters but there is one mantra, that I have learnt, which I feel India needs. i.e: strategic lift and force multipliers that can be used in the mountains. Instead of buying 3000 more tanks, we may be better off investing in this area.

So, towards that better IFV with some recon and som punch(stryker), that can move fast in the mountains, helos (all kinds), light arty, planes that can load all these men and equipment.

My understanding is today, we do not have such a capability and are in the process of raising such an air assault brigade. The question is, is that enough, if we have to challenge the status quo in the mountains?

A war in Tibet, cannot be sprung up, one fine day. Mao deployed his strategems, right from 1950 onwards and a series of betrayals followed culminating in 1959 and 62. He also took full advantage of the cuban missile crisis. Conviced USSR to support the China stand. My point is the ground will have to be prepared, so to speak. LIC can be a potent weapon of this process.

Once the hostilities do start, we have to know, what are our aims? If the aim is to restore Tibet as a buffer between China and India - the scale of effort required is not something India can execute alone. We will have to be part of a larger grouping, on a common mission. The chances of war with China, unless China is the aggressor are simply not envisioned by our forces and not something they are planning for.

Also, at some point, we have to stop evaluating everything from a western perspective. We will be better off, trying to figure out, how to invade a growing China, using cultural tools that have been used in the past. In this cultural war, the war is not against the chinese people but against the west and the idiots (communists). A negotiated settlement is the best outcome.

For this, India would have to invest in both our military capabilities and execute the cultural invasion plan. Along, with diplomatic, psy-ops, geo-political alliances and other tools, we will know, in about 20 years, if the military plan needs to be acted upon.

China has counter strike options in all these areas, including psy-ops, a fifth column in India and execute geo-political alliances against us.

The question is, is anyone in Delhi listening?



India can and should play the china card to get advanced mountain weapons from the west

And yes, PRC must be penetrated and neutralised by soft power - mahayana buddhism. The chinese diaspora must be targeted as the first step
I was surprised to learn from an overseas chinese that millions of them worship guan-yin daily ( the bodhisatva amitabha )

G Subramaniam
BRFite
Posts: 405
Joined: 26 Apr 2006 17:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby G Subramaniam » 12 Jun 2008 17:30

Singha wrote:thanks for the post GS. that must have been formulated in the era of LB Shastri and IG as PM.
those were the days when India and PRC had a 1:1 GDP and India had relatively better weapons
and training on all fronts.

i.


This policy was started by Nehru after 1962, and continued by LB Shastri and IG
By 1967, as the Nathu-La battle showed, China no longer had a conventional advantage
IG ( with soviet cover ) may have had the balls to try this

In fact Nixon and Kissinger worry loudly after 1971 that India with soviet help may face down the chinese

The very first step we need to do is to block border trade with Tibet
Then all the supplies for Tibet have to come from china
which has a long logistics tail

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54822
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby ramana » 12 Jun 2008 20:08

There was early 1990s book by Taiwanese defence scholars(Richard Tan Bok et al) about IA tactics being developed in Kashmir for mtn hopping using helis and how that has influenced the PLA in their development of the Rapid Reaction Force structure. The 1992 economic downturn must have had quite severe effec in all these moves.

sanjaykumar
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4543
Joined: 16 Oct 2005 05:51

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby sanjaykumar » 12 Jun 2008 20:23

i feel that any successful action in tibet might rely on a spectacular in xinkjiang and/or yunan as strategic diversions
xinkjiang - particularly with its motorable road into tibet is a prime candidate



That is of course the key, victory in Tibet lies in East Turkestan. What are India's assets in Kashgar? I am sure Islamic militantcy is not a deterence to India's ambitions-power is amoral. Or if India feels a reluctance to employ unsavoury means, it can plan on fighting the Chinese closer to home put up its real defences in Madras.


Can you give me more information on the book excerpt detailing the 1970s contingency plans for Tibet? It does not come s a surprise to me but refreshing to see it in print.

Shirish
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 53
Joined: 09 Feb 1999 12:31
Location: India

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Shirish » 12 Jun 2008 22:41

Our strategy, for many years has been a choice of 3-
1. Offensive Defence
2. Defensive offence
3. Defensive Defence

China will perform an attempted land grab after the Olympics at 15-20 points while we will give them a bloody nose at 10-12 other points. Lets check back in December on the status.

vsudhir
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2173
Joined: 19 Jan 2006 03:44
Location: Dark side of the moon

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby vsudhir » 12 Jun 2008 23:01

The Indo-Tibet border is far closer to the Indian heartland than it is to the Chinese one. Hence, transporting men, materials and machines to the border should offer India more options.

The Lhasa railway not withstanding (a few cluster bomb filled Prithvis can disable the railroad effectively for days, if not weeks), Chinese attempts at forcing territory from India at a dozen points will require enormous resources that will leave vast pockets of Tibet undefended. A Haji-Pir like territory exchange cannot be ruled out.

The likely points of attack?
1. Tawang - capture of this area gives PRC full control over Tibetian lama reincarnations or so they believe. The PRC has also openly stated their desire for taiwan when disputing the whole of Arunachal.

2. The chicken neck between Sikkim and Bhutan. For obvious reasons, blocks India's logistical tail reaching the Tibet border around NEFA.

3. Ladakh.

The Maoists in Nepal are an unpredicatble. The PRC can put pressure on India via physical intrusions into Nepal.

Short of the use of tactical nukes, if we manage to capture territory for barter, then fine, else what we lose to PRC will be lost for good, I fear.


Paul
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3609
Joined: 25 Jun 1999 11:31
Contact:

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Paul » 13 Jun 2008 04:08

Helo using mountain hopping tatics were heavily used by Russians to protect their convoys in Afghanistan. Spetznaz and other stormtroopers were dropped on mountain tops to protect these convoys from getting ambushed.

PRC will be definitely needing helos to form roving patrols to protect their stretched lines of communication (roads, railway lines etc.) from Khampa tribesman. In this vast area running into millions of sq miles there is no way they can look after every mile of road, railway telegrpah line. Manpad training to Tibetian irregulars should be considered high priority by the establishment. They can be asked to lie low and come into action when lead starts flying.

Most likely this will be a short duration high intensity war lasting no more than a 4-5 weeks (will be longer than the usual paki turkey shoots though). Both sides would have expended their stockpile of Ballistic missiles within 2 or 3 weeks. After that we are back to an old fashioned slugfest contest. PRC will also have more room to maneuvre as they can fight in their own territory without major losses in their heartland. See my post in India-china thread (deng-kissinger discussion). They anticipate offensive action from the indians.

The side that can must more firepwer in the opening phase will have a leg up on the other side.

G Subramaniam
BRFite
Posts: 405
Joined: 26 Apr 2006 17:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby G Subramaniam » 13 Jun 2008 05:26

sanjaykumar wrote:i feel that any successful action in tibet might rely on a spectacular in xinkjiang and/or yunan as strategic diversions
xinkjiang - particularly with its motorable road into tibet is a prime candidate



That is of course the key, victory in Tibet lies in East Turkestan. What are India's assets in Kashgar? I am sure Islamic militantcy is not a deterence to India's ambitions-power is amoral. Or if India feels a reluctance to employ unsavoury means, it can plan on fighting the Chinese closer to home put up its real defences in Madras.


Can you give me more information on the book excerpt detailing the 1970s contingency plans for Tibet? It does not come s a surprise to me but refreshing to see it in print.


You can google John Garver and buy his books at amazon.com

sanjaykumar
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4543
Joined: 16 Oct 2005 05:51

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby sanjaykumar » 13 Jun 2008 05:33

Thanks, I assumed it was out of print.

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 13 Jun 2008 11:39

using the details of the link posted by Satyarthi above, I have taken images off goog maps
and marked them up showing potential routes of friendship and trade with our brothers.
this is a set of 9 photos covering just Arunachal.

1. Dibrugarh-Tezu-Walong-Kibithoo (at 1371m - it is the lowest crossing point into Tibet from India)-Kahao- along the Lohit river which enters India here-Rima, a large town, just 10 kms or so away from the border- Chamdo (3243 m). The famous Rima Gap where within 100 kms the Salween, the Mekong, and the Yangtse flow is not far from here. This the shortest {Tinsukia to Tezu = 137 kms; Tezu to Hayuliyang=103 kms; Hayuliyang to Walong=103 kms; Walong – Kibithoo= 30 kms; Kibithoo-Kahao=1.6 kms} and will be the fastest route to the Tibetan border from the Indian plains once the bridge over the Lohit near Tezu is finished. Its already taken 20 years! Reviving of this trade will immensely improve the economy of this area. -- this is a potential ingress point for them. needs to capped and sealed

2. Dibrugarh-Ledo-Pangsau Pass (937 m)-Mytkina (Burma)- Kunming (Yunan, China). The WW II Ledo road to Kunming already has a solid foundation. It requires clearing of trees growing on it and resurfacing and it will be ready within a couple of years. Both Kunming and Calcutta are about 1700 kms by road from Ledo. - this goes into Kunming and is the famous "Stillwell road". you can see Pangsau pass in one photo.

3. Dibrugarh-Roing-Anini-Mipi-Yongop La or Zeklu La- (all around 3000m) to Shuden Gompa (4175 m approx) ; (To the Idu Mishmis here Tibet is known as the place where the rivers are silent).I have not marked this route but you can
see Anini in another photo


4. North Lakhimpur-Along-(or directly from Assam via Passighat too) –Yingkiong-Tuting (590 m)-Gelling (1220 m)-Kepang La (1915 m) directly N of Gelling or Guyor La (1760 m) via Bishing and Korbo - Kemteng-Gya Dzong (2775 m)(Shimong Adis who inhabit this region are Lhobas in Tibet. In the village of Mankhota (1120 m) on the Yangsang chu near the border live some Khamba families from Tibet )

5. North Lakhimpur-Along-Mechuka (1890 m): means place of medicine water that rises from the snows - up the Yagyap chu- Nepar la or Nyug La (4700 m approx.)-Migyitun-Kyim Dzong (There's a Kaying-Tato-Mechuka motor road now); (Pachakshiri Membas who inhabit this region are known as Moinbas in Tibet) - I could not find Nepar La on border but
we know its between Taksing and Gelling somewhere, so the marking is the midpoint given the order.


6. North Lakhimpur-Dapporijo-Nacho- Taksing (2400 m)-Limeking-Lhontse Dzong (This was one of the routes through which till about 40 years earlier amongst other goods Tibetan ornaments esp. brass carved bells known locally as majes used to be got- now its textiles on rare occasions)

7. Tezpur-Bomdila- Tawang-Bum la (4332 m)-Tsona Dzong (this is very close to Bhutan and Chinese goods in large quantities are being brought in through adjacent Mele La in Bhutan. Lhasa is about 600 kms away.)

Impressions:

- there is a large "flat" part of Tibet due north of Bhutan, accessible from both sikkim and tawang. this is
marked in one photo. flat is a relative term, but compared to the scene further east , its a lot better. I think
this is also the part of tibet that is more settled and developed compared to west.

- distance to Lhasa is around 250km as crow flies from border. well wihin radius of airborne
delegations going across for discussions from assam

- there is terrain sloping down into their "flat" part from the east that maps into two of the routes.
this is shown in another pic.

- see the incredible riverine nature of assam east of dibrugarh to tezu on the egde of the plains.

- in the photo showing bhutan see the border town of sandrup jhonkar bordering nalbari distt of
assam. just north of this town inside bhutan is where ULFA had a major camp and this was smashed
by IA a few yrs back with bhutan govt co-operation under op "All Clear"

- Walong you can in route1 and again borders Yunnan province. I recall "LNS" writing an account of
battle of walong in BR somewhere. I used to think it was near tawang, now I know. its east of the
"great bend" of the tsangpo hence just marked for reference.

- the eastern part of arunachal pickings look very slim on the routes, very high passes and rough terrain
with snow capped mountain chains.

- if we are going to send a "trade delegation" has to be a dual pincer arcing out of sikkim and western AP
to meet for trade talks on bank of tsangpo due south of Lhasa.

- north-central bhutan looks impassable with snow capped peaks but trijunctions of bhutan with
india-tibet on east and west look more promising.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33097132@N00/sets/

the natural gateways between India-Tibet/PRC seem to be part of Sikkim, Tawang, Walong (to Yunnan)
and the Pangsau Pass (to myanmar)

each photo has the lat-long on bottom left. feed that into your own goog earth to roam around.

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 13262
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Lalmohan » 13 Jun 2008 13:11

the fact that access (in both directions) is over highly defensible individual passes and roads makes a war of maneouever very impractical. One using helos and airdrop - when you consider the sheer magnitude of heavy lift required (by either side) also becomes impractical - also given the altitude restrictions. the ugly stability lies in the fact that neither side can break through in strength and dominate on the plains or the plateau without a serious and possibly catastrophic escalation. Only a paradigm shift in military technology can break this impasse in my opinion.

this conflict therefore naturally rises to different dimensions. we have to have a substantial presence in turkestan - enough to keep the PLA on its toes, airbases in the 'stans are a good start. We have to have a similar presence in Myanmar. We need to get closer to the Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese and the Taiwanese... although they remain an enigma. I don't see any 'KMT regime' forsaking Tibet either, nor Arunachal.

Nayak
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2553
Joined: 11 Jun 2006 03:48
Location: Vote for Savita Bhabhi as the next BRF admin.

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Nayak » 13 Jun 2008 14:31

India plans to strengthen mountain warfare machinery

http://in.rediff.com/news/2008/jun/13war.htm

In a move that could raise the hackles of neighbouring Pakistan and China, India will soon raise two new division-sized army formations to give more teeth to its mountain warfare machinery.

The Army already has 10 Divisions dedicated to mountain warfare and another infantry division earmarked for high altitude operations.

"The two new formations will be raised in a two-phased plan in about five years," the sources said.

Under the first phase, which will be implemented in two years, the two new divisions headquarters along with a brigade each, would come up, including the headquarters' support elements such as signals, provost, and intelligence units.

The air assets would include helicopter gunships and attack helicopters to provide the two divisions capabilities to carry out manoeuvres for countering the terrain impediments.

"The gunships and attack choppers will be necessary for providing the two formations fire power in a mountain terrain, as the army will not be in a position to deploy tanks and armoured vehicles," sources said.

The fire power in the third dimension (air) was required due to difficulties the army would face in using artillery guns also in an operation on a mountainous terrain.

"The air assets are an integral part of any mountain division to provide the fighting ground troops logistics and fire support," the sources said.

rohitvats
BR Mainsite Crew
Posts: 7734
Joined: 08 Sep 2005 18:24
Location: Jatland

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby rohitvats » 13 Jun 2008 14:55

X-posting from China watch thread:
Singha: The troop deployment is not rational. One rationalizes on the troop ratio on the two important parameters:
1. Objective
2. Opposing formations

What you've suggested is highly unrealistic. One needs to examine the situation in terms of assets already available and those required fulfilling the objective. Time does not permit me to elaborate further, but this is what the situation is on ground in the Northern Sector:

1. 14 Corps: 3 Mtn Div (Leh) and 8 Mtn Div – Kargil plus the Independent Infantry Bde (102) for Siachen. If I remember correctly, the 3 Div maintains one brigade up and two in reserve or may be other way around. A Sino-India conflict is most likely to happen in summer when the passes are open and allow the movement of troops and supplies. This means India cannot touch the troops in the 8th Div’s AOR save for a brigade at the maximum.

2. 15 Corps: 19 Div (Baramulla) and 28 Div (Gurais). Of these, the 19th Division has enough troops to qualify it as a Corp in itself. But the catch is the geography of its AOR and the nature of line of communications which require such heavy investment in troops. 28 Division similarly guards the backdoor entry into the valley. I don’t think many troops can come from this sector.

3. 16 Corps: 10Div (Akhnoor), 25th Div (Rajouri) and 39th Mtn Division. The 1st two have clearly defined and pre committed AORs and cannot budge. IIRC, 39th Mtn Division was the Northern Command Reserve. It was based out of Yol in Himachal; around 3 hours drive from Pathankot but has now moved. But not very far though. This is one Division which will be readily available for induction into the Western Sector (opposite Leh and Himachal). The fact that it is a mountain division doesn’t hurt either. Route of induction will be across the Rohtang pass in Kullu-Manali.

4. 9 Corps: 29th Infantry Div (Pathankot) and 26th Infantry Div (Jammu) plus 3 Independent Armored brigades (2nd, 16th (Pathankot) and 3rd (Sambha)). Headquartered out of Yol in Himachal, it was formed out of 16th Corps. During a Sino Indian conflict, this will be in the Chicken’s neck Area to take care of any Pakistani misadventure. It has enough armor (9 armored and 3 mechanized regiments) to take on the ARN in a defensive mode.

I'll expand on this post and post the part II soon.

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 13 Jun 2008 15:16

sure there is no hurry, but the crux of Tsango plan is we devote bare minimum resources
to guarding against the pakis and take some risk on that account. so a formation may
have a preset tasking at present but for sake of discussion let us wave our wand and start
with a clean slate...its not that sena bhavan will lose any sleep over this :((


Lalmohan: the fact that access (in both directions) is over highly defensible
individual passes and roads makes a war of maneouever very impractical.


they said afghanistan wasnt suitable for mech warfare until "Grom" unit ransacked kabul
palace , a airborne division landed at kabul airport and heavily mechanized soviet divisions
surged south from the CAR states.

in mountains its not possible to maintain a cohesive and chained line of defenses.
you do occupy forts and strong chokepoints, but flipside is if these are turned,
overrun or taken from airborne attack there can be sudden collapses and openings
for tens / hundreds of km onward. remember in 1962, the chicoms did a takedown
in A.P. border and walked right down to the foothills near Tezpur. check how far that
is in google earth..it will be around 150km...mostly on foot and in a alien land.


we have only just started , no need to make major conclusions yet.

Bhutan and Nepal need careful study apart from Sikkim, Uttaranchal, HP and J&K
and terrain and "trade routes" marked out.

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 13 Jun 2008 15:19

we also need district level roadmaps of India, identifying NH, SH , smaller roads.

I have a Eicher road atlas of India similar to the rand-mcnally things in US. I will
scan some relevant pages over the weekend.

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 13262
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Lalmohan » 13 Jun 2008 15:54

Singhaji - happy to do the thought experiment for longer, so i shall withdraw my 'conclusion'.

one major contrast with afghan scenario - these passes are i believe at much higher altitude - beyond practical helilift (at present)

another thought - the war for tibet or atleast aksai chin may first be fought in POK or through POK and into Xinkjiang; my geographical knowledge of the sector is weak, but i suspect that we need to look at that first before political borders.
this border is far more vulnerable for the PRC/PLA than the Myanmar/Yunan sector

The paks are collateral damage in this game - when two elephants fight, a few squirrels may get squashed :twisted:

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 13 Jun 2008 16:01

the passes are mostly around 4000-5000m range which is 12-15kft. thats above the
ceiling of heavy attack choppers but within the Dhruv and Mi17V range. any of the newgen types
like NH90 or the redoubtable 3-engined Merlin will claw their way up there. payload will be reduced
ofcourse.

the thing is , you dont have to set down and takeoff at the highest point (pass) itself, just
fly over or below them and disgorge the cargo...many of them of the two legged and well armed
trade ambassadors who will manage rest of the way :mrgreen:

there's more than one way to spread the brotherhood jam on the bread.

Nathu La in sikkim is 4310m. the feared Khardung La near Leh enroute to Siachen is 5359m.

here is a unpaved section of the khardung la route. some nut cyclist (or CIA recon-droid).
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... ngLa4A.jpg

vivek_ahuja
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2330
Joined: 07 Feb 2007 16:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby vivek_ahuja » 13 Jun 2008 16:44

Singha wrote:they said afghanistan wasnt suitable for mech warfare until "Grom" unit ransacked kabul
palace , a airborne division landed at kabul airport and heavily mechanized soviet divisions
surged south from the CAR states.


Singha,

The above statements have left out some crucial facts which reverse the lessons that are drawn from the Afghan experience. For one thing, the Mechanized Divisions you refer to did make it into the country, but you fail to mention that during that drive from the soviet border, most of the T-72 fleet that tried to do cross country movement became immobilized because they broke their suspensions moving on the rocky terrain. That problem existed thereafter to a point when the older T-62 and T-55 tanks became the preferred weapons. Given that the IA also has a similarly equipped fleet, this is hardly an optimistic outcome, wouldn't you say?

in mountains its not possible to maintain a cohesive and chained line of defenses.
you do occupy forts and strong chokepoints, but flipside is if these are turned,
overrun or taken from airborne attack there can be sudden collapses and openings
for tens / hundreds of km onward. remember in 1962, the chicoms did a takedown
in A.P. border and walked right down to the foothills near Tezpur. check how far that
is in google earth..it will be around 150km...mostly on foot and in a alien land.


Again, different situation and not likely to be seen in any future war. The reason being that back in 62, you had the IA sitting in valleys thanks to the forward deployments policy with the Chicomms sitting in high ground. It was damn easy for the latter to roll up the Indian Defenses. In any future war, both sides are going to find themselves sitting in hilltops, and so it won't be easy to break through the frontlines in weeks, let alone days.

-Vivek

vivek_ahuja
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2330
Joined: 07 Feb 2007 16:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby vivek_ahuja » 13 Jun 2008 16:47

Lalmohan wrote:one major contrast with afghan scenario - these passes are i believe at much higher altitude - beyond practical helilift (at present)


Not to mention the almost complete lack of roads on the Indian side to help with the required logistical train.

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 13 Jun 2008 16:53

:mrgreen: :(( I was about to mention that instead of more tanks, we need a fleet of 4 and 6
wheeled IFVs, most of them armed with 20mm cannons/ATGM/AGL but some as wheeled tanks of
105mm and 120m caliber. in a hull down position and using the latest FCS, they would relatively be
adequate.

suspension issues taken care off, far more mobile in the mountains and plateaus, easier to repair
wheeled vehicles, less of a logistic (fuel & spares) train, excellent for recon and of great use
in plains units as well.

the US seems hell bent on converting the Stryker into a $6 mil Bradley-mki-wheeled-F22 we can
probably spend not more than $1.5mil a pop. its time to get Tata , M&M, Israelis, Poles, Russians,
Slovaks et al together and see if a relatively cheap base vehicle can be customised to our
needs in many configurations.

vivek_ahuja
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2330
Joined: 07 Feb 2007 16:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby vivek_ahuja » 13 Jun 2008 16:54

Singha wrote:the passes are mostly around 4000-5000m range which is 12-15kft. thats above the
ceiling of heavy attack choppers but within the Dhruv and Mi17V range
. any of the newgen types
like NH90 or the redoubtable 3-engined Merlin will claw their way up there. payload will be reduced
ofcourse.


The latter point is more drastic than you think. The Mi-17, for example, is capable of carrying only a few hundred kilos at those altitudes, and while the Dhruv is designed for the altitudes, its size is not useful for heavy operations unless in mass numbers, which means that you end up stripping down these units from whole fronts of the war to try and fund a single operation of sufficient intensity. So what would be possible is the classic 'one leg on the ground and the other kicking the chicomms' by holding on one front and advancing on another.

Finally, the latter point means we can forget about high intensity advances into Tibet. We will be lucky if we can take back the Aksai Chin with our present airlift capability.

Bottomline: we need more...

vivek_ahuja
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2330
Joined: 07 Feb 2007 16:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby vivek_ahuja » 13 Jun 2008 16:59

Singha wrote: :(( I was about to mention that instead of more tanks, we need a fleet of 4 and 6
wheeled IFVs, most of them armed with 20mm cannons/ATGM/AGL
but some as wheeled tanks of
105mm and 120m caliber. in a hull down position and using the latest FCS, they would relatively be
adequate.


Yes, the above is more realistic.

Any attack leading beyond the Himalayan peaks northwards would be dependent on vehicles in the class of the BMP-IIs, BRDMs and so forth. Lighter, faster and perfect for supporting Infantry while providing crucial anti-tank capability.

Also, the above mentioned vehicles have already been deployed to such regions...

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 13 Jun 2008 17:02

>> lack of roads.

was this a deliberate strategy to slow down major intrusions or simple a case of nai dilli
neglecting the welfare of lesser peoples?

if the first case, its like have a rough neighbour who covets the wife and squats on
some of the garden. rather than opening a path to set his house on fire, we are
digging trenches to MINIMIZE our LOSS than any attempt at a +ve outcome.

this must change. PRC has simply ignored these 'peaceful' and 'we dont mean you harm'
signals and shown consumate skill in high-altitude civil engineering to build xyz roads
upto the border
(we get to hear about it in periodic wailings in the media).

here is french AMX-10RC with 105mm gun. Italy has a 8 wheeled Centauro.

http://www.army-technology.com/projects ... .html#amx3

I feel they could have killed two birds by specifying two versions of the ABHAY
- one tracked and one wheeled, with the usual forking of sub-versions like
IFV, tank destroyed, mortar launcher , command, medical etc.

vivek_ahuja
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2330
Joined: 07 Feb 2007 16:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby vivek_ahuja » 13 Jun 2008 17:17

Singha wrote:was this a deliberate strategy to slow down major intrusions or simple a case of nai dilli
racists unable to bear the thought that mountain cannibals dont deserve anything ?


Yes, it was a deliberate strategy that had its flaws IMO.

The idea was that any enemy trying to fight inwards into India would be slowed down beyond a point for the lack of roads and wear him down under the strain of the logistical setup allowing for the initiative to shift to the IA to go on the offensive. Classic thinking.

However, (and these are my views), what was seemingly forgotten was that the above strategy was designed for two professional armies fighting each other in the classic conventional sense. Unfortunately, the IA was not facing a conventional army but a people's army. This was an enemy who didn't need a very heavy logistical setup to advance and had the assumption that the army lived off the land they captured to a good degree.

Also, this was an army that in 1962 had used its immense manpower to do in two weeks using pure human energy what the technologically oriented organizations of the other side had either neglected or deemed impossible to do. The Chinese had built their own roads down from Bum-La all the way south as they advanced during that winter. So in the end the IA was the only side that suffered as a result of the lack of roads.

But even after the 62 war the roads were left undeveloped as far the borders went based on the same idea that it would slow the enemy down. I have to wonder incredously as to whether the lessons of the 62 war were deliberately ignored or are we just too stupid to see the light of day.

This must change. PRC has simply ignored these 'peaceful' and 'we dont mean you harm'
signals and shown consumate skill in high-altitude civil engineering to build xyz roads
upto the border
.


Perhaps. But remember that building a road from their side of the border had always been easier. The reason for that is the Tibetan terrain. Although it is at much higher altitude on the average than on the Indian side, it also has a much more gradual incline in the larger sense whereas in India even most of Assam is near sea level and then you have these hills quite literally rising into the sky. Difficult terrain for roads to be built.

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 13 Jun 2008 17:31

another failing of this underdeveloped road strategy was amply illustrated in 1962 itself. we were
chased down to the assam valley, nehru shopping around world capitals for help, IAF banned
from being used....and the PRC just stopped, walked back and declared a great victory in the
"teach a lesson" mould. Nehru's H&D in tatters after that. tezpur town was evacuated of
civilians, sullenly walking dowm the highway to the west while nehruji sat in dilli and bade
farewell to his assamese brothers on A.I.R :evil:

with this teach-a-lesson warfare, the victor of the moment calls it off and walks back, so
we cannot depend on the war continuing until a logical conclusion or until we are ready to
strike back. old russian WW2 ploy of trading space for time on the steppe aint going to work.

this time they wont play around though, they will keep what they take as
another type of teach-a-lesson (Mk2 if you will). they are pretty upset and nothing
short of a wwf type smackdown will do.

it seems the british in singapore WW2 were horrified by the arrival of japanese infantry who had
comandeered cycles and woven their way down the malayan jungles. and tiny stinging
tanks as big as a santro barely. the rice n fish IJA infantry sure packed a nasty bite.

vivek_ahuja
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2330
Joined: 07 Feb 2007 16:58

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby vivek_ahuja » 13 Jun 2008 17:44

Singha wrote:So we cannot depend on the war continuing until a logical conclusion or until we are ready to
strike back. old russian WW2 ploy of trading space for time on the steppe aint going to work.


True. But before talking of things required to be done in Tibet and stuff, what needs to be discussed first and foremost is how to break through a defensive line that involved taking or bypassing or suppressing hills without spending weeks in attrition type frontal attacks like Kargil.

If we cannot convince ourselves that we can break through the Chinese lines within the minimum possible time required for any operations beyond to have an impact, or that our own lines will in fact hold should the reverse situation happened, then all other talk of things and events beyond becomes redundant.

-Vivek

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 13 Jun 2008 20:08

some info on the Tawang area. seems to be one Se La Pass even before you reach tawang
from Bomdila. my wife had visited there as a engg college student around 10 of them in a
sumo in late 90s. spoke highly of the place.
http://www.clsp.jhu.edu/people/zak/rama ... Tawang.htm

http://www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/user ... tawang.JPG

definitely soiled khaki kind of road
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1105/702 ... ee0303.jpg

http://www.iitg.ernet.in/adcom07/images/rview.jpg

at 11,000ft
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031101/nt4.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... Tawang.jpg

http://arunachalpradesh.nic.in/images/tawang-road.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/125/3203 ... 8f1b_o.jpg

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1291/541 ... 41.jpg?v=0

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/144/3203 ... 8d.jpg?v=0

http://bp2.blogger.com/_ix33dCo9t8Q/RX6 ... h/sr12.jpg

http://www.mapsofindia.com/maps/arunach ... tawang.htm

the huge monastery is the 17th century tawang gompa and seat of one sect
of tibetan buddhism. the dalai lama goes there to preach sometimes. I think
thats also one reason why the chicoms always have the hots for tawang.
thought control and capture of cultural symbols lists high on their control freak
agenda.

Lalmohan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 13262
Joined: 30 Dec 2005 18:28

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Lalmohan » 13 Jun 2008 20:32

what might work is attacks along lateral valleys to cut off large units in a given valley - hence my thinking of POK as a Schlieffen plan or even a Schwartzkopf plan route ;)

the real key here is to understand the logistical nodes...

however, given what we learnt on BRF a couple of years back on PLA doctrine of columns advancing till they're exhausted and not being replenished but simply replaced... that might be more complex

we'll have to hit the follow up forces very hard indeed whilst bottling up the spearhead

how about - cut the Xinjiang Road, and the Lhasa railway line using air interdiction, bottle up the advance units in the passes, artillery and air strikes against these units for attrition. mass risings of Uighurs and tibetians in the rear to keep the PLA off guard

and then...

thrust up the Neelam valley, hitting the paks with everything and cutting through with air assault all the way past Skardu and the Wakhan right up to the Xinjiang road and isolating Aksai Chin...?

(geography knowledgable folks please forgive my ignorance!)

there are political scenarios where this might even work

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 66601
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby Singha » 13 Jun 2008 20:42

one of the features of Arunachal is a deliberate lack of east-west roads to connect to the thin N-S roads leading
from assam valley to the border. I think under the new "I am awake now" policy this gap will be filled up
over the next decade. but for now, a formation needs to drive down through assam and up again for the most
part.
I read somewhere there are villages in the north which are not reachable by any road. they lead a subsistence
life and only the army posts here and there for company. MI17 drops supplies to helipads and army provides
some food and all medical care to these hamlets.

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 54822
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby ramana » 13 Jun 2008 21:14

Good show. Keep thinking. Thanks for the efforts. Folks who see barriers think of it as an opportunity. You guys have already identified key areas for improvement. What about protective gear for the troops? And measures to make every shot count, due to the logistic tail limitaions?

surinder
BRFite
Posts: 1421
Joined: 08 Apr 2005 06:57
Location: Badal Ki Chaaon Mein

Re: War inside Tibet - goals, strategies and equipment

Postby surinder » 13 Jun 2008 22:06

Why not take care of the Pak problem before taking on PRC in Tibet? PoK, Norther Areas should be in our hands to increase our elbow room and also to reduce any communication/transport to TSP. Maybe even another dismantling of TSP before the big fight with PRC: Perhaps free Baluchistan, or NWFP joining A'stan. Would that sequence of events not make more sense?


Return to “Military Issues & History Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ashok Sarraff, brar_w, Kakarat, Rakesh and 62 guests