India is set to lose grip over LAC with China in the next few years

October 31, 2019

Syed Haider A. Gardezi

Most of us are familiar with the Line of Control (LoC), the defacto ceasefire line which Pakistan shares with India in the North and North east. However, few people know about Line of Actual Control, or LAC as it is often called, that India shares with China in its north.  This line was established after the humiliating defeat of India at the hands of Chinese after the Indo-Sino war in 1962.

We usually don’t hear about this particular line in the news despite the fact that there is great disagreement between both India and China with regards to claims on territories on both sides, because there conflict here is not as ‘hot’ as it is between India and Pakistan. Mostly due to Chinese strategy of avoiding escalation that could trigger a conflict, even of a limited nature with India. China has been pursuing this policy out just so that it can remain out of unnecessary conflicts that could hinder its growth.

China however is not ignorant of the threats that it faces externally, especially since the silent rise of China is worrying the west, as it challenges their power in all theatres. Now the United States is relying on India, to check rising China in the region, however, India is on its way to disappoint the US, by adopting flawed, delusional war fighting strategies, to counter the People’s Liberation Army of China.

China at this point in time is investing in multiple dimensions of warfare. Including Land, Air, Sea, Information, Space, Deep Sea and Artificial Intelligence. On the contrary, Indian was fighting capacity has an over emphasis at Land, Sea and Air, with little attention to information, space and deep sea, and zero investment in artificial intelligence.

Indian Army under the leadership of General Bipin Rawat, as his tenures nears the end, has become more exposed and now is ever more vulnerable. This is because the use of Indian Army as per the political whims of Prime Minister Modi, the Indian Army today is facing heat on multiple fronts. It has lost the conventional ambiguity against Pakistan. It has failed to dominate the escalation ladder post alleged surgical strikes, and it has failed to cope with the evolving Chinese threat due to its obsessive aggressive posturing towards Pakistan.

Peoples’ liberation Army of China has evolved into a potent force that is now stepping in the big leagues with the incorporation of 5th Generation Aerial combat technology, hypersonic conventional and unconventional weapon platforms and artificial intelligence.

The incorporation of AI, leads many to question how is China going to use AI in the battlefield? Well, the answer is pretty simple for anyone with a wild imagination and a little interest in science fiction movies. Robotic Weapon Platforms. An example of such platforms can be supplementary drones with the Fighter Squadron to perform ‘air superiority’ or ‘Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD)’ roles. Another role could be Aggressive dog fighting beyond human capabilities. AI is set to be used in military planning and strategy, hence war gaming with AI can be a game changer as well.

There are just the tip of the iceberg in the vast ocean of possibilities with AI in warfare. However, theinteresting part is that India is highly unprepared to tackle the AI threat it faces from China. For a number of reasons, first of all its obsession with Pakistan. Secondly India lacks the infrastructure and capacity for R&D of futuristic weapons platforms. This is mostly due to poor defence manufacturing capacity of India.

Another huge mistake that India has made is the creation of Integrated Battle Groups under the newly formed 33 Corps to tackle the Chinese Influence in North. Now the IBGs are useless in the north as China does not plan using conventional forces in the next war, rather, it plans on crippling the Indian command and control infrastructure with hypersonic and ballistic platforms to psychologically harass and cripple the Indian forces. IBGs which already lack synergy, will be useless for such attacks, hence India is delusional if it thinks IBGs will be effective against China. IBGs might work in a conventional setting against Pakistan, however with China this theatre is a whole different ball game.

If India keeps this up, it is on a course to lose grip over the LAC in the coming years, as Chinese incursions have India worried and India is helpless as it cannot remove the newly formed Chinese bases from territory that it claims at its own and was once its own. Delusions don’t win wars, they win political campaigns however in the long term soldiers pay the price with their blood, it is something that General Rawat should consider.

The author is a Defence and Media Analyst. He tweets @haiderwrites

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