Crossfire War – Tehran – Beijing – Islamabad Watch – South Asia Theatre: Tehran – Kabul – Beijing – Riyadh – Dhaka – Kathmandu – Islamabad/Delhi; India PM Singh Calls on Defence Industry to End Production Delays of Advanced Weaponry in “An Uncertain International Security Environment”
Night Watch: DELHI – In an address to Indian scientists, India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged them to avoid further delays in the development of advanced weaponry.
He was speaking, in Delhi, to the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), and stated they should work closely with Indian industry and the country’s armed forces to modernize the nation’s defence capabilities “vital for the national interests in an uncertain international security environment. Causing delays at the stage of production mean that our armed forces are deprived of timely deliveries which often compel the government to look for external procurement to fill emerging gaps in our inventories.”
Singh was not addressing a new problem. Scandals connected to India’s Defense Ministry and weapons industry are more than a decade old and forced the resignation of former India Defense Minister George Fernandes.
That is one of the reasons why I believe the fourth war between Pakistan/India, since their independence in 1947, will be by far Pakistan’s best, because Islamabad has avoided massive corruption in its weapons industry. Regular readers of crossfirewar.com know one of my most important themes is the enormous impact of corruption when any nation is faced with a very real crisis instead of one of their own creation. [WEBINDIA]
On Oct. 7, 2006, crossfirewar.com reported an investigation by India’s private news channel NDTV on this very same issue. Indian scientists had been accused for years of delaying completion of India’s own anti-aircraft missile and, through their influence in India’s Defense Ministry, were able to prevent India from purchasing missiles from abroad, including from Russia, India’s most important strategic ally and the source of India’s most advanced weapons systems. Consequently, the anti-aircraft missiles guarding India’s most important military bases and industrial facilities are Russian made missiles that have become quite old and are no longer dependable.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister was not exaggerating when he spoke of “an uncertain international security environment.” It became more uncertain and more of a threat to India when in November, Beijing’s Ambassador to Delhi stated quite publicly northeast India, Arunachal Pradesh, is Chinese territory. The province is the same area China invaded India in 1962 and because of China’s successes in the month long fighting, which extended south into Assam state on the Bay of Bengal, Delhi had to fire its Defense Minister.
As a follow up to the Chinese Ambassador’s claim, Beijing had ground forces maneuvers with Pakistan last December just west of Kashmir. Riyadh also conducted ground forces maneuvers with Pakistan in the eastern Punjab the same month. The House of Saud had also purchased from China, in the mid-1980s, 50-60 intermediate range CSS-2 ballistic missiles, which possess a range of 2,500 miles (4,000 km). They can reach the entire Indian subcontinent. This past week Saudi Arabia King Abdullah visited Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and I suspect they compared launch schedules. Tehran’s ballistic missile Shahab program, developed with massive assistance from Beijing, is within range of at least the northern third of India. In February, Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf presented Tehran with his offensive “Action Plan.”
Islamabad has never had this amount of support before and General Musharraf knows precisely how to use it. He is a veteran of two of the wars against India, 1965 and 1971. Musharraf planned the Kargil Probe in 1999 caught Delhi by surprise to the extent where a Deutsche Bank study had to admit India did not respond adequately to the attack because Dehli had neglected its conventional forces for the sake of India’s nuclear and ballistic missile program.
Military analysts have stated, especially since 1998, after both countries tested nuclear bombs against each other, that Pakistan’s missile programs did seem to be more advanced and better managed. India won the first three wars easily and it was no surprise since diplomats and international affairs analysts all knew India had an enormous advantage militarily, with more of a military-industrial base, a larger economy and population.
However, I suspect with those three easy victories, complacency began to become more of an influence within India’s leadership and they therefore became more insulated, out of touch with reality. India is surrounded by enemies and not just countries on India’s border. It is no secret, which governments are waiting to join the fourth war on the Indian subcontinent since World War II, which makes South Asia one of the major theatres in World War III.
According to Indian Army Intelligence, the Islamic fighters infiltrating through Pakistan and Bangladesh have been ordered to lay low until late summer and conduct an “intense” terror attack. If that attack is successful then Delhi will have no choice but to implement its “hot pursuit” policy and respond by attacking the militant bases in both countries. And that would make what is still a low-level fourth war, begun in 1989, into a (f)allout war and I cannot think of any ally willing to deploy ground forces anywhere in India, with the possible exception of Japan due to their need to retain access to markets here and Tokyo’s opposition to Beijing. But Delhi may have to stand alone in this one.