India's plan to change posturing to counter China


India's plan to change posturing to counter China 

On 15th June India & Chinese militaries engaged in a conflict. The clashes took place in eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley. Both India & China have suffered significant casualties. This is actually the biggest-ever military confrontation between the two armies in over five decades. The Indian Army stated that 20 Army personnel, including a Commanding Officer lost their lives. On the other hand, China didn’t disclose its numbers. Indian radio intercepts indicate that China lost 43 of its men whereas U.S intelligence pegged the number at 35. Most experts believe that this incident is not one-off and a long drawn tussle is on the cards. In this video Defence Talks analyzes how India can change its military posturing to counter China? Let’s get started.


The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also referred to as the Quad) is an off-the-cuff strategic forum between the us , Japan, Australia, and India that's maintained by semi-regular summits, information exchanges, and military drills between member countries. The forum was initiated as a dialogue in 2007 by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, with the support of Vice President Dick Cheney of the US, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. 

The dialogue was paralleled by joint military exercises of an unprecedented scale, titled Exercise Malabar. But it had been unable to sustain momentum as China expressed concerns about what it saw as an effort at containment by like-minded democracies within the Asia-Pacific and a few quarters in the Indian strategic circle believed that peaceful coexistence with China was possible. It's time India plays a more decisive role in consolidating the ‘Quad’ at a strategic level. 


There are serval countries in Asia that are friendly to India but have disputes with China. These countries have expressed interest in buying weapons from India. For example, Philippine military officials had indicated last year that they are interested in acquiring BrahMos missile. Philippine Army spokesperson Ramon Zagala has said: “ [The Philippine ] is curious about acquiring this sort of missile because it will strengthen our coastal defense operations.” consistent with the Philippine press agency (PNA), Ramon Zagala gave the statement during the goodwill visit of two Indian warships to the Philippines. Readers might not that INS Sahyadri, a “Shivalik”-class missile frigate and therefore the anti-submarine corvette, the INS Kiltan visited the Philippines on 23 to 26 October. During the visit, the officials led by Major General Reynaldo M. Aquino toured the INS Sahyadri and were briefed about the Brahmos missile. Similarly, Vietnam is known to have expressed interest in several Indian weapons including Brahmos. Just like China has armed Pakistan as a counterbalance to India, India needs to do the same and provide weapons support to these countries. 


A tactical weapon of mass destruction (TNW) or non-strategic weapon of mass destruction may be a weapon of mass destruction , generally smaller in its explosive power. These are designed to be utilized in battlefield situations, in contrast to strategic nuclear weapons which are designed to be mostly targeted within the enemy interior faraway from the war front. There is no exact definition of the "tactical" category on the range or yield of the nuclear weapon. The yield of tactical nuclear weapons is usually less than that of strategic nuclear weapons, but larger ones are still very powerful, and a few variable-yield warheads serve in both roles. 

India has been mum on the development of tactical nukes and its thought that it is not actively pursuing these. It is paramount that India starts developing these so that it can thwart any large scale armor thrust from the Chinese side. A variable yield weapon could be very useful in this scenario. For example, the U.S is deploying B 61 Mod 12 free-fall bomb which has “dial-a-yield” capability, that can limit the extent of the nuclear reaction inside the warhead to lower the explosive force. The weapon can be configured to have an explosive power between 5 to 50 kilotons of TNT depending on the situation. 


World’s oldest and world’s most populous democracy must come together. U.S & India have taken some steps in this regard. In 2018, these countries have signed an important agreement. The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) allows them to use each other's land, air, and naval bases for repair and resupply. It was a major step toward reinforcing defense ties. LEMOA simplifies logistic sharing. The U.S. Navy plans to deploy 60 percent of its surface ships within the Indo-Pacific within the near future. 

Instead of having to create facilities virtually from the bottom up, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. now has the advantage of using the tremendous Indian facilities. The US have a large number of bases around the world and this will be strategically very helpful for India. COMCASA is another such agreement. COMCASA or Communications, Compatibility, and Security Agreement enables interoperation between U.S. and Indian military. Before the agreement, the United States had to remove advanced communication equipment from all military platforms sold to India such as the P-8I. For example, the United States had to place less secure temporary systems on Indian units so the two sides could communicate during bilateral exercises. With the signing, these restrictions are not needed and communication is much more seamless. But there still along way to go and India & U.S need to smooth out the wrinkles and move to the next level when it comes to sharing advanced weapons technology and intelligence. 


India features a declared nuclear no-first-use policy and has developed a nuclear doctrine supported "credible minimum deterrence.” In August 1999, the Indian government released a draft of the doctrine which asserts that nuclear weapons are solely for deterrence which India will pursue a policy of "retaliation only". The document also maintains that India "will not be the primary to initiate a nuclear strike , but will respond with punitive retaliation should deterrence fail" which decisions to authorize the utilization of nuclear weapons would be made by the Prime Minister or his 'designated successor(s)’ India's Strategic Nuclear Command or SNC was formally established in 2003, with an Air Force officer, Air Marshal Asthana, as the Commander-in-Chief. 

The joint services SNC is the custodian of all of India's nuclear weapons, missiles, and assets. It is also responsible for executing all aspects of India's nuclear policy. However, the civil leadership, in the form of the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) is the only body authorized to order a nuclear strike against another offending strike. The National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon signaled a significant shift from "No first use" to "no first use against non-nuclear weapon states" in a speech on the occasion of Golden Jubilee celebrations of National Defence College in New Delhi on 21 October 2010, a doctrine Menon said reflected India's "strategic culture, with its emphasis on minimal deterrence". In 2016, India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar questioned the no first use policy of India, saying why should India "bind" itself when it is a "responsible nuclear power”. Keeping in view the increased threat perception, India may need to update the doctrine and remove ’no first use’ policy.

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