Apart from the compelling fixation on Kashmir, more for ensuring its own survival as a country than anything else, Pakistan has also been harbouring a desire for long to pursue Ghazwa-e-Hind to establish an Islamic Caliphate in India. Any attempt by Pakistan to achieve this objective, is likely to be supported by the Arab countries.
Pakistan is a povertystricken country reduced to total bankruptcy with insurmountable fiscal deficit. Internal strife in Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Sindh is getting out of control and so is the increasing societal and ethnic divide. The public image of the Pakistan Army has also hit a new low where radicalisation is believed to have sipped in. They are now being seen as a parasite on national resources and incapable of defending the country anymore.
The real emerging threat In a Two-Front War scenario that India is looking at, will Pakistan be the main aggressor and China the covert supporter exploiting the strategic opportunity to contain India from growing economically and militarily into a nation strong enough to be able to tilt the balance of power extending from the Indian Ocean to the Asia-Pacific Region as per own choosing? Today, under the prevailing global security scenario, neither Pakistan nor China are actually in a position to be the main aggressor against India.
However, notwithstanding the prevailing situation in Pakistan, just in case this nation chooses a suicidal option to wage a war against India on the pretext of saving their persecuted Muslim brethren in Kashmir playing the victim card and indirectly enhancing the credit of their own Army in the eyes of countrymen as well as garner support from the international community, especially the Muslim world, to save their country from breaking down, then will China join overtly or covertly? In such a scenario, China will not only deploy its ground forces close to the LAC posing as a potential threat in the offing essentially to tie down India’s dual-tasked formation from moving out, but will also enhance the uninterrupted military supply and other administrative support to Pakistan. Will China stop at this?
Apart from developing long range attack capability by a credible array of missiles, China has moved far ahead in the domain of non-contact warfare to include electronic, cyber and space domains. It is believed that the main culprit behind a cyber-campaign targeting US utility companies in July 2019 was the notorious Chinese statesponsored hacking group APT10.
The cyber-attack on Mersk Company in Ukraine, one the largest shipping company in the world, had successfully shut their entire IT infrastructure and had brought activity at the ports to a grinding halt for three days, is one of the best examples of NonContact Warfare being deployed during war by state backed actors.
Are we prepared today to foil such a cyber-attack by China on our railway network, banking system, medical emergency services and power grid? Do we have adequate safeguards against China’s space warfare capability to take down Indian satellites which will directly affect the operational capability of Indian Navy?
Are we, therefore, actually ready to fight the so called Two-Front War in ‘multi-domain of today’s prevailing hi- tech era’?
When India claims to be fully prepared for a ‘Two-Front War’, it implies that the nation is well prepared to engage the adversaries not only in multi-domains, but on multiple fronts as well. The possibility of China posturing along the northern front and simultaneously unleashing multiple domains retaining deniability for its actions, facilitating Pakistan in any military action initiated by it, appears a more controlled action with prevailing geopolitics. Then, where does the much talked about “credible deterrence” and “rebalancing of forces” fit in? War is never fought and won on mathematical calculation and theoretical equation of forces. As such, India must prioritise capability building in multiple domains.
As the war with Pakistan and China will not be restricted only to western and northern Fronts and will instead spread across the entire spectrum, India should seriously consider developing three-dimensional manoeuvre capability with missiles striking up to Pearl River Delta Harbour.
The Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific Region will turn into a hot bed. The Indian Ocean Region is a major global seaborne trading route for China. The time has, therefore, now come to commence building expeditionary forces and provide more teeth to both the Indian Navy and the IAF. India also needs to establish military bases in critical locations such as Djibouti, Japan and in locations close to Southern China.
India, at the same time, must continue with strong economic linkages with China, but on own terms, and at the same time, work towards rebuilding strong military alliance with the traditional friend Russia.
Many fronts to tackle
History of India is replete with stories of repeated invasions that did not remain confined to land routes only. India always failed to check the invaders who came across the oceans be it the Dutch, the Portuguese or the British.
With the kind of technological development that has taken place and the race to ensure trade and energy security by world powers to ensure dominance, India’s war with Pakistan and China in the future will not remain confined to western and northern geographical fronts only, but instead it will spread to multi domain opening up number of fronts for India to tackle.
Somehow, over a period of time, as a consequence of repeated assurance given of being prepared to fight a Two-Front War and referring to raising of mountain corps, creating Integrated Battle Groups, border development, creating dual tasked formations, rebalancing of forces etc, the TwoFront War scenario somehow, started to appear confined only to two specific geographical regions and directions.
Under the given circumstances of the kind of threat developing against India through multidomains in not too distant a future as also the necessity of developing capability and wherewithal to tackle the enemy on multiple fronts, India may have to consider, apart from tri-service integration and theaterisation, handing over the operational charge of all three services to the Chief of Defence Staff in order to ensure better coordination and optimum utilisation of all military resources under a single umbrella of command and control.
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