India has no clarity about its military and strategic objectives vis-à-vis its stated adversaries, Pakistan and China, and can defeat neither of them in a war, says a book titled National Security and Conventional Arms Race: Spectre of a Nuclear War.
N.C. Asthana, a former Indian police officer has penned the book which presents the harsh reality that India “cannot win a war” against Pakistan due to existing politico-military reality. He goes on to say that instead of pouring vast sums of money into expensive weapons imports, India would be better served by finding solutions by strengthening itself internally and pursuing non-military solutions, including diplomacy.
The Wire on Tuesday carried a review of the book that quotes, “a huge mismatch between the militaristic official and media rhetoric, on the one hand, and the reality, which is that India cannot defeat either country militarily”.
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“Under the delusion that India has somehow, magically become invincible and how a large number of Indians seem to be itching for a war,” The Wire quotes Asthana.
“Exploiting enmity with Pakistan for electoral benefits has made Indian leaders victims of their own rhetoric where they are left with a one-dimensional policy — one which is unrealistic in view of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”
“This sum pales before the $130bn India is projected to spend on arms imports in the next decade, including on 100-plus even more expensive fighter jets to make up for the shortfall caused by the Modi government’s decision to scrap the earlier deal for 126 Rafales,” The Wire stated.
“As the fanfare over the arrival of the first Rafales showed, each of these purchases is hailed and sold to the public by the media as weapons that will flatten India’s enemies. But of course, this is far from the truth,” Varadarajan quotes Asthana.
Asthana further argued in his book that the frenzied import of conventional weapons by India would never guarantee a permanent solution to the military problem posed by Pakistan or China because both the countries are nuclear-weapon states and could not be decisively defeated on the battlefield.
“Given the myth of Indian invincibility, the futility of warmongering should be obvious. Yet, as the past few years have demonstrated, jingoism in India is at an all-time high,” The Wire stated, quoting Asthana’s arguments.
“If they want peace, nations should avoid the pinpricks that precede cannon shots,” Asthana notes while quoting Napoleon Bonapart.
“In any case, the moment Pakistan feels that it is going to lose a conventional war under the weight of a bigger Indian military, it will feel compelled to go nuclear immediately,” The Wire reviewed.
“This is not 1971. Recall what General Khalid Kidwai, head of Pakistan’s strategic command, told a visiting Italian arms control organization delegation about the country’s red lines in 2002.”
Asthana summarises Gen Kidwai’s red lines thus: “Nuclear weapons are aimed solely at India. In case that deterrence fails, they will be used if India attacks Pakistan and conquers a large part of its territory (space threshold), India destroys a large part either of its land or air forces (military threshold), India proceeds to the economic strangling of Pakistan (economic strangling), India pushes Pakistan into political destabilization or creates a large-scale internal subversion in Pakistan (domestic destabilization).”