By Mei Jingya, Sina English
Indian website Firstpost.com on Sept.17 published an article, entitled “Can China repeat its 1962 military humiliation of India?”, analyzing India’s readiness, compared with the year of 1962, to wage a war with China if talks fail to solve the India-China border disputes.
Giving a breakdown of the factors that led to India’s humiliation in 1962, the Indian author said:
- Though Indian civilian and military intelligence agencies had a satisfactory capability to collect infrastructure intelligence from Tibet, their capability to foresee war indicators from Tibet was very poor.
- India’s capability to analyze and assess China-related intelligence was inadequate. Their knowledge and assessment of the Chinese military thinking and mindset were poor. They hardly knew anything about the India expertise in the PLA. As a result, they seriously underestimated the Chinese political and military will to assert their ground interests across the Himalayas and over-assessed India’s own capability to anticipate and neutralize any Chinese actions.
- Inadequate professionalism in Indian armed forces and their inability to foresee different scenarios that could arise and identify the available options. Indian army went into war with very little training and experience and with very few equipment.
- The inexperience of India’s political leadership in military-related decision-making.
Compared with the year of 1962, the author lists his assessment of the present situation regarding these factors as follows:
- India’s intelligence collection capability in Tibet has improved. Indian intelligence agencies are unlikely to miss war indicators as they did in 1962.
- India’s analysis and assessment capability has improved than in 1962, but continues to be inadequate. The Chinese language capability of Indian security officials is worse than what it was in 1962. Their ability to understand and analyze the Chinese military mindset continues to be poor. Indian people have been largely influenced by Western thinking, without an independent application of their mind. There are wild swings in domestic assessments on China-from alarmism on the one side to total complacency on the other.
- The professionalism of India’s armed forces has improved. They are better equipped, better trained. But there is inadequate integrated thinking in the armed forces as a whole.
- India’s political thinking in matters relating to strategic decision-making on China is inadequate. There is a clear understanding in regarding China as a political and economic competitor, but inadequate comprehension of China as a military rival.
The author also noted that India has not paid adequate attention to two new factors that have emerged since 1962:
1. China’s increasing emphasis on the role of the helicopter-borne operations. China has been searching for alternative means of taking India by surprise-particularly in southern Tibet.
2. China’s fine-tuning of integrated Army-Air Force role in defending Tibet from external threats and in asserting their will trans-Himalayas. There has been an increase in the number of Air Force exercises in Tibet.
The author guessed that in any future military confrontation with India, the Chinese will most likely use their Air Force in Tibet in defense, but such forces in Yunnan will be mobilized in a military offensive. He added that Myanmar’s Kachin State and Yunnan are very important in trans-Himalayan military strategy, but disappointingly, India continues to neglect these two important regions in their intelligence coverage.
The original article’s author B Raman is Additional Secretary (Retired) in the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India. He is currently Director of the Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai; and Associate of the Chennai Center for China Studies.
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