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'Limited war is the only option with China'

By RASHME SEHGAL
July 22, 2020 10:54 IST
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'The PLA will not voluntarily withdraw from Indian territory.'

IMAGE: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, third from left, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, right, army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, second from right, Northern Army commander Lieutenant General Yogesh Kumar Joshi, left, with officers at a forward base in Ladakh. Photograph: @DefenceMinIndia/Twitter

National security expert Dr Bharat Karnad is the emeritus professor in national security studies at the Centre for Policy Research.

Dr Karnad helped draft India's nuclear policy and authored India's Nuclear Policy and Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security.

Dr Karnad was one of the first security experts to have issued several warnings about the Chinese incursion and occupation of Indian territory in eastern Ladakh.

"War is apparently not the preferred mode of action for a peacetime army with leadership that, other than counter insurgency operations, has not experienced real war," Dr Karnad tells Rediff.com Contributor Rashme Sehgal in the concluding segment of a two-part interview.

 

You say a limited war is the only option for India. What prevents the government from taking this step?
Is our army diffident about taking on the Chinese army?
Or does our political leadership want to avoid a confrontation?

Limited war is the only option because the PLA will not voluntarily withdraw from the Indian territory it is ensconced in.

But war is apparently not the preferred mode of action for a peacetime army with leadership that, other than counter insurgency operations, has not experienced real war.

Your blog alleges that Prime Minister Modi wants to cut some kind of deal with the Chinese.
What are you alluding to?

How else to interpret Modi's reticence in calling out Xi's China for its calculated policy of territorial aggrandisement?

Do you see any kind of political fallout of these developments within the country?

It depends on what the Opposition parties want to make of it, and how successfully they are able to convey to the masses the fact of Modi's capitulation to China.

Several army sources believe the PLA and the Pakistan army will move in unison and are likely to attack India in the coming months.
What is the likelihood of such a move?

(This is a) Zero possibility.

The Pakistan army is too professional and pragmatic to get into a situation that could redound to its disbenefit.

With China supplying submarines and other naval equipment to the Pakistan navy, will this accelerate tensions further?

China as the primary supplier of military hardware to Pakistan is not a new development and will not aggravate the existing India-Pakistan or Sino-Indian tensions.

While Modi hesitates to take on China, he showed no hesitance in taking on Pakistan after Balakot.

The smaller, weaker, Pakistan is easier to belabour.

Besides, being tough with Pakistan has domestic political dividends in that the Hindu-Muslim tensions at home are externalised in India-Pakistan relations.

Feature Production: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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