Mukeshji, thank you for the detailed posts and your perspective. I will try to address the main points therein:
My posts regarding India's GB options had three main objectives:
1. Take over the regions if possible, if not
2. Take over key nodes if possible, if not
3. Ensure that TSP-Chicom access to said points becomes untenable
For now, let us focus on #2, which is where most of your writing would find context. While I agree that it would be difficult, I would imagine that much of the trouble would be avoided with the element of surprise on India's side (for once). Do note that surgical strikes in Uri and Balakote would've presented proportionately difficult choices as well. The end result was quite lopsided - in India's favor. I'm willing to bet that one can expect similar a result wrt GB as well. Neither the Pakis nor the Chinese have shown any gumption when it comes to taking one in the gut in all these years.
This implies that the IAF will need to have complete air dominance over PAF in the region and our ability to suppress MANPADS around airfields in the region.
Yes. That is true. At least to the extent that PAF cannot carry out any transport activities, let alone fighter sorties. But I don't see why this is impossible. Manpads can be an issue but I'm counting on the surprise to work at least initially, preventing them from regrouping meaningfully.
A slug fight to defeat these troops is not in our best interest. Our assault needs to shock, decapitate command structures and bewilder the enemy into surrendering. Going out on a limb, I would hypothesize a missile barrage and IAF bombing to take out command centers, communications and eliminate at least 50% of the enemy (mostly the army).....troops dropped into GB within a couple of hours (at least taking over airfields and road nodes) focusing on Skardu, Gilgit, Sost, Gajkuch, Danyor, Chilas, Astore. Later troops can spread out to take over rural areas (thankfully, with sparse population, it may be possible to focus on rural areas later). Crucial success factor will be intelligence and having locals friendly to Indian interests (particularly among tribals).
I mostly agree with the highlighted part. And would say that targets should just be a couple of places (Gilgit and Skardu?) preventing the need to spread out the attack and therefore the number of troops as well. A joint operation in PoK with adequate surgical strikes might further aid in securing said nodes.
Ok, now that we have defined the magnitude of the problem, let’s look into one aspect to explore further. We calculated 30,000 troops to be airdropped, airlifted to GB. That using Boeing C17’s or C130J’s represent 300 or 500 sorties respectively. Now, I would envision the airborne corps something like the Russian 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division, operating in principle like Mechanized infantry who are transported by air (refer herefor why I envision this)
Where does the calculation of 30K troops come from? Is it because that is approximately what the TSP can muster? Note that India can easily game incursions and airdrops based upon the effect of the initial shock and awe. If the missile strike and IAF domination goes as per plan and the IAF can impose a NFZ
, I'd expect very little real resistance in the following hours/days by the TSP and its goons. They will be scattered and their ability to regroup will be in a shambles. Getting reinforcements from Peshawar is very unlikely since it is a convoluted and longer distance (say as compared to Kargil) and open to strikes at key nodes that will totally block advancement.
I'd say that after sufficient degradation has happened there wouldn't be a need for as many personnel as 30k. If India can get a 10th of that within the first few days adequately supplied, I can't see why these can't be held for as long as needed. Note that India managed Tangail with 700 troops and artillery support within a day. I'd venture that IAF capability today is a lot more. The key is total domination of the airspace.
a. Pakistan has the ability to surge troops to the region. As much as possible we need to keep them off-guard and off-balance till the beginning of the airborne invasion. That would mean that we should be able to engage them south in Punjab or Rajasthan to keep them off balance. A thrust to heart of Punjab, seaborne assault on Karachi and Gwadar, and threat of an amphibious assault in the Rann to keep them off-balance. Therefore we need to build the capability of this airborne invasion as additional to fighting a hot war with Pakistan.
Where is the surge coming from? Peshawar is the closest and like I said earlier, the road is not easy. TSP troops in the area need to supplied and this is only possible via road. If we cut this off, we can take our time in squeezing them dry. Opening up a front or threatening to do so along different places in the northern front will provide enough difficulty for the TSP to really want to pursue the retaking of GB. At how many places can they respond and how easily? WIll they attack directly across the border and truly escalate? Does TSP really want to engage more substantially - where the IAF and IN now have a free hand to attack their air assets at will? I'm not sure at all. There is a distinct possibility that they can lose all their AF in a very short time.
We need to keep China out of the picture. Difficult as they will see danger to their CPEC investments, and will intervene. Even a few sorties by the PLAAF will put paid to the invasion. So, we need to deter the Chinese.
A few sorties? What kind of sorties are these? And where are they coming from? Does Chicom want to get involved in this scrap, which it has not planned for? When Have they shown any such willingness to get into nasty surprises in a hurry? Consider that we still would outnumber them in the East. Easier said than done sir. But having said this, India can reassure them that their infrastructure and such will be allowed to operate (so long as they don't interfere) and at least until we decide otherwise.
Finally, we'll talk costs:
Once we add in equipment, the number of sorties easily doubles to 600 (this is an approximation but I used similar from the Center 2019 Russian exercise numbers to come up with ballpark numbers). So, if we are operating only C-17’s, and assuming that on the first day each aircraft puts in three sorties, you would still need 200 odd aircraft dedicated to this task. This is assuming 100% serviceability, no losses. Just the air transport component would cost USD 44 bn (USD 55 bn for C130J’s). And this is much more than current capability (for comparison we recently carried out ourbiggest airborne exercise for 500 SF personnel) . Where's the planning for this?
Throwing in all other costs, liberation of GB, this way would cost us at least USD 150 bn?
This assumes a far larger number of troops than I proposed. Let's take an example closer to home - Tangail:
The paratroopers, numbering 700 and led by Lt Col Kulwant Singh Pannu was reinforced by an artillery battery, an engineering detachment, an ADS, a surgical team and other administrative troops from 50th (Independent) Parachute Brigade.....The Tangail Airdrop operation involved An-12, C-119s, 2 Caribous and Dakotas from 11 sqn and 48 Sqn. The IAF also carried out feint drops using dummies dropped from Caribou aircraft to hide the true location and extent of the operation. The only hitch was a Hangup from the lead Dakota. One Paratrooper had a static line hangup, who, after carrying out emergency procedures, was dropped safely about 50 miles away.
I'd say a number of about 3 x this size should do the trick. After that the idea is to hold and secure the airbridge. Economically, this provides a very serious option to trigger a war economy and an associated private MIC that everyone here hankers for. Not very different from what Roosevelt achieved by entering WWII. The numbers would far exceed anything in terms of costs and revenues generated from GB alone. And the strategic independence and other advantages it would buy are incalculable. Since the region is legitimately India's, there is enough justification for such action.
Even if all of this is purely fantasy, there is always option #3 as listed in the early part of the post. If we can't control GB, nor can they. Chipak can forget CPEC in that region. We will bomb and trash thier attempts wherever/whenever we feel like.