Only a person under the rock wouldn’t be aware of the conflict going on between India and China, with respect to the territory of Doklam, situated between the triangular region of India, Bhutan and China. China, being the global bully that it is, tried to cower India into submission. But our Men in the Army, were far from being afraid by this bullying, and decided to pay back the Chinese in the same coin, leading to war mongering from the autocratic government, who refuse to accept their wrongdoing in any instance.
While the war clouds loom large over India and China, the question still prevails: Who will eventually win the deal?
On paper, China takes all, but in reality, India is more than just a playground in China. Even in 1962, when China was as strong for us as Pakistan is to us today, had it not been for our extremely pathetic and over idealistic leadership, who even refused to deploy the Indian Air Force, India would’ve been more than just a match for the Chinese forces.
There has been a tradition militarily: the conflict of the land stretches out inadvertently to the sea. In this context, God forbid, but if the war that might happen between India and China stretches out to the sea, then I can say one thing for sure, the Chinese may not fear the Indian Army, but they should certainly fear the Indian Navy, for they won’t let you get away that easy.
Why do I make this claim? What purpose does it serve? Obviously, as a student of such matters, I’m not into war mongering, but strict research, analysis, and a rational discussion of the possible outcomes.
Keeping in with this school of thought, I would first elaborate on how the Chinese Navy fares, in comparison to the Indian Navy.
Chinese Navy, or as we popularly know, the People’s Liberation Army Navy, traces its roots back to the so called People’s Revolution, where millions of personnel of the Republic of China Navy defected to the side of the communists, led by their supreme leader, Mao Zedong, who asserted, ‘ To counter the imperialist aggression, we must build a strong Navy.’ Sounds good, right? Nope, had Hitler been alive, he would’ve died laughing at the shameless lying, an art in which Mao Zedong was a connoisseur.
Today, the Chinese navy is 230000 personnel strong, which makes it the world’s third largest navy, and has the following arms and ammunition to its advantage:-
- An aircraft carrier
- 4 amphibious transport docks
- 32 landing Shiptanks
- 31 Landing Ship Medium
- 29 Destroyers
- 49 Frigates
- 34 Corvettes
- 109 missile boats
- 94 submarine chasers
- 17 gunboats
- 29 mine countermeasure vessels
- 68 submarines
- 12 replenishment ships and
- 232 auxiliaries
On the other hand, Indian naval history is much more diverse, Indian naval history traces back to the times of the Indus Valley Civilization, but even as a formal navy, institutionalized for a nation of India’s size, we were established much before the Chinese one, i.e. in 1830, though it was an integral part of the British East India Company.
We have the following arms and ammunition to our advantage, apart from personnel 67109 naval soldiers strong, which makes us one of the top five largest navies of the world:-
- 1 aircraft carrier
- 1 amphibious transport dock
- 8 landing ship tanks
- 11 destroyers
- 14 frigates
- 1 nuclear-powered attack submarine
- 1 ballistic missile submarine
- 13 conventionally-powered attack submarines
- 23 corvettes
- 4 mine countermeasure vessels,
- 4 fleet tankers and
- Various other auxiliary vessels.
Now what? On paper, it looks as if China has the game in their hands, outnumbering India 4 to 1. However, if numbers and technology were everything, the Kauravas would’ve won Mahabharata hands down. The Chinese wouldn’t have needed 25 trucks to transport evidences of their humiliating loss at Rezang La, and Pakistani Navy wouldn’t have had the misfortune to see their pride, i.e. the Karachi naval airbases, being blown apart, twice.
I talked about figures first, now for the practical facts. When was the last time India fought a naval war? Possibly in 1999, when naval vessels were deployed in the Arabian Sea to keep a check on their Pakistani counterparts. When was the last time China participated in a complete, fully fledged war? Much before, in 1979. Since then, China has never seen the face of war; forget even being involved in it.
An interesting take has been provided by Colonel Wu Qian, a spokesperson for the Chinese defense ministry. While he has taken due caution to not displease his political masters, he has put forward his own doubts, with respect to the current Doklam issue.
Another naval strategist, James Holmes, who has put up an interesting take on the Sino Indian naval war on surprisingly of all websites, NDTV, is of the following opinion:-
“………………Fighting even an outnumbered Indian navy turns out to entail hidden perils for China. In all likelihood, Beijing would detach whatever fraction of the PLA navy fleet it could spare for action in the Indian Ocean while remaining on guard back home. That way the leadership could allocate resources prudently while keeping risk to a minimum.
………….Finally, bear in mind that naval warfare is no longer about navies alone. China’s military boasts an array of land-based weaponry to make things hard on American or Asian forces steaming within reach of that weaponry. But Indian commanders can tap that same logic when fighting within reach of their own shore-based arsenal of tactical aircraft and missiles.
The Indian air force, then, constitutes another implement of Indian sea power. And it’s an imposing one: American aviators testify to the combat excellence of their Indian brethren. The Indian armed forces, in short, could give PLA navy expeditionary forces a very bad day if they turn all assets at their disposal to advantage.”
Besides, India is not the country you would love to mess with, especially when you will meet them face to face on the battle ground [battle ocean to be precise], the Indian Ocean. Pakistan knows this much better than China. Even when they were equipped with much better arms and ammunition, especially with naval vessels that made it an equivalent of any Asian naval power of today, like Japan for example, Pakistan couldn’t save its own naval bases like Karachi from being pummeled black and blue by the Indian Navy, forget saving its own vessels, in the 1971 Indo Pak War. Besides, the structure of the present Chinese Navy is such that it can’t fight on more than four fronts, and if it faces India, it will have to fight on seven fronts, which means leaving behind its prized possession, South China Sea, which in short, would be a DISASTER!
This is not all. India has an added plus point, which China cannot even afford, that of silent, but reliable allies. Be it USA or Russia, Israel or Japan, India has improved its diplomatic efficiency to the extent that none of these naval powers will back out from helping India as and when needed. On the other hand, China has no ally, only rivals. That makes the whole difference mate.
To quote Mr. Holmes, “maybe this time the Bambi [India] would be no pushover for the Godzilla [China].” Simply cutting the long story short, China can maybe withstand the Indian Army for a while, but if India pulls out all stops for teaching China a good lesson, China may have a very bloody nose after this Doklam standoff. And for that, only China will be responsible, none else. I repeat, NONE ELSE!