I want to post a few thoughts here about the philosophy of war - or, to put it differently, the thoughts and plans that a country or people have on the question of war. Whatever I write here is unlikely to be of much interest to most people but I think what I say is important in the long run, looking at the big picture of war, development and civilization. I will dump my post here and maybe come back to it in future
In the first post of this thread I stared with the following statement
When you talk of military threats and challenges, you have to decide what you are going to be doing. Are you going to be sitting and waiting for others to attack so you can defend yourself, or are you going to go out and attack. This straightaway splits the requirements in the following way
1) If you are going to sit back and wait for an attack, who is most likely to attack you and what is it that you need to counter. Unfortunately reality demands that you must prioritize. If you think the entire world is going to attack you, your preparation is likely to be less focused and even your neighbour may take you down because you were too busy seeing far away, nearly non existent threats like asteroids
2) If you are going to go out and attack someone - you need to see where your interest lies and whom you want to attack. If Myanmar wants to attack India its preparations need to be of a particular nature. But if Myanmar wants to attack and take over Russia, the preparations have to be different.
In order to expand on how this affects India I would like to compare the US and India
The US does not wait for war to come. It imposes war on others. The last war imposed on the US was Pearl Harbour, 1945. One might argue that 9-11 was war imposed on the US but the US hardly fought the war needed to punish the perpetrators of 9-11. the US chose, instead, to impose wars on several other nations. I do not intend this to be a political post so I am not going to question US motives in imposing war. I am only going to observe the way the US prepares to impose war.
US preparations to impose war are inevitably based on experiences gained in previous wars.
Pearl Harbour brought the US into a previously European "World War" 2. World war 2 ended with a nuclear weapon.
Nuclear weapon capability started a long "cold war"
The cold war led to the Korean war. The Korean war taught the US that nuclear weapons could not be used willy-nilly and that conventional weapons would still rule the roost.
The cold war also got the US involved in Vietnam. Vietnam taught the US the importance of the following concepts in war
- Aircraft guns are not outmoded
- Agility and spare power are useful in air combat
- SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences) is a good idea to minimize losses to SAMs
- Radar stealth is useful for the same purpose
- Minimize own forces casualties to reduce political opposition at home
- Mimimize visible collateral damage to enemy populations like the sordid Napalm burns images from Vietnam
The Vietnam war led directly to the development of the F-16, AWACS, advanced in SEAD, advances in PGMs/LGBs
Ever single one of these ideas was developed in the decades after the Vietnam war until they were first utilized in the Kosovo war. F-117s led the attacks and PGMs were used extensively. Next came the first Gulf war. SEAD, "no fly zones", pinpoint cruise missile attacks, PGMs.
Then there was 9-11. This led to back-on back US decisions to attack Afghanistan and later Iraq, then Libya and now Syria. Here was saw a refinement of no fly zones and PGM attacks and targeting by data sharing between multiple sensor platforms, all held in the air by refuellers, with air dominance being maintained by CAPs of F-16s and F/A-18s ready to shoot down at BVR.
This type of war is a game changer when you fight conventional armies. The war assumes that the enemy has an air force like yours that needs to be grounded. The type of war that needs BVR missiles for air dominance assisted by sensors on AWACS and UAVs and satcom assumes that the adversary has an air force with radars and missiles and is going to fight you in a "similar" type of war. The type of war war requires SEAD assumes that the enemy has robust radar networks and C&C centers that you will take out using your highly stealthy fighters and your PGMs.
But what would the US do if it was attacked by a force that had stealthy fighters for SEAD, a robust AWACS set up cooperating with loitering UAVs, and a huge air force backed by refuellers and BVR missiles? In other words what would the US do if it were to meet an adversary that fought like the US does? Chances are that the US will look for technologies to defeat stealth. They will look to shot down refuellers, UAVs and AWACS aircraft. And when all else fails they will ready for dogfights with agile fighters
Now what about India. From 1947 India has maintained that attitude that we will not start a war. This is the exact opposite of the US. War has been imposed on us time and but for a few exceptions that I will mention below
The Pakis attacked in 1947
The Chinese attacked in 1962
Pakis again in 1971
Pakis in 1999
India threatened, but did not make war after a Pakistani provocation in 2001
The exceptions are the Goa action, the Hyderabad action, the Maldive coup and the Sri Lanka action where Indian armed forces took the initiative.
When India is the "passive party" waiting for others to attack us, we should ask ourselves what sort of attack we can expect. The answer is a no brainer. Every country is copying the US or is being equipped with US style weapons to fight US style wars.
China will attack us in the way the US attacked Iraq
Pakistan also learns from the US and will attack us with the same equipment that the US uses for its attacks on others.
So please answer this question:
If we are going to get attacked by nations who will hit us the way the US hits its adversaries, should we be not be devising ways to defeat the types of attack that the US likes to use? Should we not develop the means to thwart and defeat attacks of the type the US did on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya? The later countries failed to survive such attacks? What do we have that can ensure that we are not defeated?
It is all very well copying the US doctrine and developing stealth aircraft etc. But India will use them only after we get attacked. Should we not be looking to defeat all the new technology that the US is developing because that is the sort of attack we will face rather than blindly doing a carbon copy of what the US is developing. We need toi be able to defeat US type war. Everyone who attacks us (Pakistan/China) will be doing so using US developed tactics and equipment
What means do we have to defeat a US like force equipped with US equipment and US support systems?