India-China Comparison on Military Strength “foolhardy” Says Naval Chief.
“If you wish to be secure on land, you should have supremacy on the sea,” said Jawaharlal Nehru, the architect of modern India. It was China who was listening to Nehru, rather than India and they built a Navy far superior to any other power in the Indian ocean. Incidentally, during his last days in 1962, China handed him a humiliating defeat in a war between unequals in NEFA and Tibet. At that time, India was no match for the mighty Chinese army. This was no secret.
Today, India’s Naval Chief Mehtha, sounded a real warning. He said it is foolhardy to say India is equal to China militarily. India is no match for China whether it is airforce, navy or army. China is four times bigger than India. The Navy Chief said India’s weakest link is the Indian navy. He said India is surrounded by China. It has six bases in the Indian Ocean, one in Chittagong, one in Yangon, Coco Island in Burma, Trincomalee in Srilanka and one in Waga in Pakistan, to India’s none.
Navy Chief Mehtha, who is leaving office in two weeks, spoke his mind about India’s chances of fighting a war with China. Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean is a reality with six bases to support them. The recent visit of Chinese naval ships to Cochin port, was a clear indication that they are everywhere in the Indian ocean. The Indian navy on the other hand was hardly seen in Chinese waters in the recent past.
Comparisons between India and China would reveal that India is nowhere near China’s strength. China has 68 submarines to India’s 16, none of them being nuclear. China has 56 airforce squadrons to India’s 12. China has 4 million troops to India’s 1.5 million troops. China has 14000 Artillery guns to India’s 4000. These are only some examples to show that India is no match for China.
China is jealous of India’s economic growth and a real challenge to its supremacy in Asia. It is in China’s interest that it is planning to destabilise India. The recent article of Dragon’s plan to split India in 26 created a furore in political circles. Whether it was real or imaginary, the writing is clearly on the wall, that China is harbouring extra-territorial ambitions.
China wants to establish its supremacy in the Indian ocean. With the waters unapproachable to US, UK and France, with no presence of their naval battleships, nor Russia. China rules supreme in the region. India is virtually surrounded by China. The prophecy coming from none other than India’s Naval Chief, is that one day, China will crush India militarily, if no action is taken to build up in the Indian ocean.
There is no doubt that both India and China are nuclear countries. When a war breaks out, it would be catastrophic for either to use nuclear weapons. China has a vast mass of land and population, which is almost two times the size of India. Nuclear war is therefore ruled out.
It requires political wisdom to see reality. The Navy Chief was candid enough to reveal the truth to the establishment that they should not sleep over the matter. The threat from China is real and it is coming. There is a talk of China attacking India in 2012, which is not far off. The question is whether India will be prepared.
With this warning from the Navy Chief, it is time to take stock of the situation and work on strengthening the airforce, navy and army. It is not time for an arms race, but to secure our borders, as we are surrounded by China. Perhaps, this revelation as echoed by other naval ex-chiefs, would be an eye opener to the government to move with caution in their relationship with China.
It is not that India is more vulnerable than China. China too has its own problems. The ethnic unrest in China’s mineral rich Xiang Province, Buddishts in Tibet and elsewhere, it may destabilise itself, if these groups wage an armed struggle. The problem is there is no solid support from outside to these rebels as the insurgents or Maoists get in India.
It is also difficult to count on Russia as our past experience has shown that in 1962 Russia did little in the wake of the Chinese attack. Besides, India has moved closeer to the US, a departure from its Russia leaning policy of the past. Russia with its own internal shortcomings and problems, economically is not sound enough to enter into a war for the sake of India. India therefore has to take care of its own needs, not depend on others for help.
When George Fernadez, the then Defence Minister said India’s Enemy No.1 was China and not Pakistan, there was a hue and cry both in India and China. There was hectic diplomatic activity to clarify India’s position with China. Today, George Fernandez is proved right. It is indeed China, which is India’s no.1 enemy, threatening to wage a war and destabilise India to gain supremacy in Asia both on the economic front and militarily as well.
It is time for serious thinking and action. I Hope the UPA government takes the Dragon warning seriously and acts in consultation with the chiefs of the army, airforce and navy to counter the balance of power in the region. As of today, the military balance of power is certainly in China’s favor. India has to match them. There is no need for despondency, as India is capable of defending itself without any outside support. India has to reorient its China policy in the wake of the real threat from that country. Jai Hind.
A.M. Jams Heed Basha is a Chennai-based columnist, who writes at www.newageislam.org and NewsBlaze.com