India's Military

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India's Military

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1Bretzky1
març 28, 2012, 7:36pm

A letter written by India's Army Chief V.K. Singh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been leaked to the press, and parts of it were printed in an Indian newspaper. In it he basically claims that India's army is decrepit and incapable of fighting a sustained war. That might explain why India plans on increasing its defense budget by between 10% and 20% per year over the next decade. If Singh's assessment is accurate, then India's military might be further behind China's than is generally believed.

2HectorSwell
març 28, 2012, 8:36pm

If 'leaks' to the media in India are anything like 'leaks' to the media elsewhere, could that letter not be a (legitimate) ploy by the Army Chief to influence the budgetary process and make sure that the rupees keep flowing to the military? I have not been watching Indian politics so I'm wondering.
And is the degree to which India is "behind China" matter as much as the fact that India has nukes?

3Bretzky1
març 28, 2012, 9:09pm

"If 'leaks' to the media in India are anything like 'leaks' to the media elsewhere, could that letter not be a (legitimate) ploy by the Army Chief to influence the budgetary process and make sure that the rupees keep flowing to the military?"

I can't make any claims to being an expert on the intricacies of Indian politics, but from what I have read of this story it seems that politics-by-leak is not standard practice in India, especially where military policy is concerned. However, there is always the possibility that the letter intentionally exaggerates the situation of India's military, even if the letter was only meant for private consumption, as a means of securing increased budget resources.

And is the degree to which India is "behind China" matter as much as the fact that India has nukes?

The possession of nuclear weapons by India does make the gap between China's and India's militaries less significant than it otherwise would be from the standpoint of direct conflict between the two countries, but it might be significant in terms of regional dynamics.

People like to side with winners. In international relations, he who has the guns has a big advantage over he who does not. In the coming struggle between China and India over influence in their neighborhood, China's possession of the more impressive and modern military force might have important ramifications for which country various other countries decide to get closer to. For example, if Vietnam has no faith in some combination of other countries (including India) to protect it against possible Chinese bullying, it might be much more pliant when it comes to its claims in the South China Sea.

4HectorSwell
març 28, 2012, 9:43pm

It’s just that possibility of Chinese bullying that could generate resistance and create solidarity among China’s neighbors in the medium term and thereby undermine China’s aspirations to regional hegemony. I read somewhere (Economist in a waiting room?) that China was only in the last few years considering how to project the kind of ‘soft power’ necessary to win hearts and minds and respectful deference. Guns will only get them so far, methinks.