Geopolitics - December 2017

(Joyce) #1

December 2017


ndeed island territories
have become great
strategic assets for
projection of power in
recent times, but with
them come the need
for an advanced strong
coastal security. The
part of the theme-centric
Cover Story, Turn islands
into maritime shields
(Geopolitics, November
2017) brought new light to
the fact that India is in a
desperate need to have an
oceanic policy that would
result in the maritime
fortification of the nation.
With as many as 1208
islands along the maritime
boundary – we know a
few like the Andaman and
Nicobar Islands and the


hough the chances of India fighting a two-front war are
small, but then what will happen if two forces of the
world, China and Pakistan, always craving for supremacy,
gang up together in a fight against India? India is ready
to fight with them individually, but are we ready to meet
the unexpected? Your story, How India can prepare for
war on two fronts (Geopolitics, November, 2017) talked of
the frightening implications that this worst-case scenario
could bring and also provided various guidelines for the
country’s major forces to counter such a situation. Relying
on innovation, bold tactics and intense training to defeat a
joint attack are some of the areas we need to work on. The
fact that vast network of roads and railways, developed
by China are hugging Indian borders hard, whereas the
border roads in India continue to be neglected, the story
brought out many such loose holes that could infringe
security. Ganging up won’t be something new in the game
of power and India’s guiding forces must learn lessons
from the past.
Shivam Sharma


the strategic importance
of their position, our
neighbour China can do
everything possible to
erode the sovereignty of
these islands.
The story brought
out the facets that made
it important for India to
secure these strategic
pivots that provide geo-
strategic advantages to
the country. As readers,
we have got a clear picture
now. If secured and
developed in a proper way,
these small pieces of land
in the open seas could
become strong pillars in the
maritime shield of India.

Ramakant Sharma

10 November



M Panikkar, India’s visionary maritime thinker had argued that India needed an Oceanic
on the nation”. Panikkar’s vision Policy that would result in maritime fortification
was to establish a steel ring around India consisting of string of suitable military bases capable of operating
maritime forces from selected islands. The maritime powers post W W-II had

Guard jump out of aof Indian CoastCommandos
perform a drillhovercraft to

realised that island territories are great strategic assets and pivot for projection of power. Considering the strategic
importance of islands, US, France and UK retained control over the island territories to leverage maritime power
to protect their vital strategic national interests in Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean. Andrew Erickson, a professor
with the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College while

highlighting the importance of island territories that, “It’s truly a case of where you stand. Perspective is shaped
by one’s geographic and geostrategic position.” Thus island offers maritime powers reach and depth to secure their
territorial and strategic interests. large number of these islands are India has 1208 islands and a
located almost all along the maritime boundary. Andaman and Nicobar

BRIG NARENDER KUMAR (RETD)Islands are great strategic assets and pivots for projection of power, writes , and the 1208 islands that are largely located along the
country’s maritime boundary provide India a strategic advantage that no other country has in the northern Indian Ocean


40 November



an India fight a two-front war? If tiny Israel with its back to the sea can
multi-front wars over the past 70 repeatedly defeat much larger Arab countries in
years, India with virtually unlimited resources should at the very least achieve a Mexican standoff in a

shootout with China and Pakistan.single-handedly defeated a joint In the 1973 Arab Israeli War, Israel
attack by Egypt and Syria, which was supported by the expeditionary forces of Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Libya,
Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan and Cuba. To top it all, the expeditionary forces were reinforced by air force

contingents from North Korea and Pakistan. It was superior training, tactics, morale and equipment that
ensured a Jewish victory.Since the Sixties, the prospect of the The two-front threat is not new.
Dragon intervening to bail out Pakistan has been a constant factor in India’s war planning. In the 1965 War, the

India must rely on innovation, bold tactics and intense training to defeat a joint China-Pakistan attack, writes RAKESH KRISHNAN SIMHA

Union Minister for Defence Nirmala Sitharaman and the Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat at Pokhran Field Firing Range, Rajasthan on September 23, 2017




he Internal Security story,
Managing borders – the smart
way (Geopolitics, November 2017)
brilliantly summed up the fact that
the complicated borders of India are
far too wide to be managed under
‘One border, one solution’ category
anymore. If not this, then what?
Coming from the luminaries of
border management committees, the
story brought out all that could just
help in managing and safeguarding
borders more efficiently in the
present scenario. Undoubtedly,
the times have changed and our
forces need real workable solutions
while the industry needs proper
communication to guard the borders
Rashmi Singh

50 November



ndia’s borders are huge and com-plicated. ‘One border, one solution,’ doesn’t fit the country. Forces need
tion. These are some of the problems that real workable solutions while industry needs proper communica--
were discussed during the two-day conference on ‘Smart Border Management -

2017’ organised by FICCI in partnership with India Foundation in New Delhi recently. Almost everyone, directly or indi--
rectly related to border management, was present at the event. From union minis-ters to government officers, heads of vari-
ous forces guarding the border to retired officials, Indian and international compa-

nies – everyone came together to find so-lution to one of the country’s most important security challenges – how to create -
smart borders which, on the one hand, allow enhanced trans-border movement of people, goods and ideas, and on the other, -
minimise potential for cross-border secu-rity threats?

The recent conference on how to manage our borders brought to the fore stakeholders – from the government as well as domestic and international companies – to find out ways on how
to secure borders that not only allow movement of people while minimising the potential for cross-border security threats, reports ADITI BHAN

At the interactive session with senior officials of border defence and border guarding forces, (L-R) Y S Sehrawat, Director General-Systems, Central Board of Excise & Customs; Lt Gen Suresh Sharma, Engineer-in-Chief, Indian Army; Lt Gen Shokin Chauhan, Director General, Assam Rifles; Dr Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State for Defence; Maj Gen Dhruv C. Katoch, Director, India Foundation; R K Pachnanda, Director General, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP); and, Somesh Goyal, Director General
of Police, Himachal Pradesh



he age-old woes of the
air arm of the Indian
defence forces got a shot
with your ‘Air Defence’
story Training for
Tomorrow (Geopolitics,
November 2017). Though
it ranks fourth amongst
the air forces of the world,
the Indian Air Force’s
training aircraft fleet has
been in a continuous state
of flux since the Nineties
causing an obstacle for
the force which requires
stability in its training
aircraft. Your story was
an informative read since
it brought out the need
to have a streamlined
solution for the Stage
II training requirement
and also informed us
that the force needed
to induct more basic
trainers to ensure a
steady pipeline of pilots
for a varied fleet of
fighter aircraft, transport
planes, helicopters and
even unmanned aerial

Sanjeev Soni

All correspondence may be
addressed to: The Editor, Geopolitics,
D-11 Basement, Nizamuddin East,
New Delhi-110013.
Or mail to:

34 November



he Indian Air Force (IAF) has a fleet of Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA), Intermediate Jet Trainer
of the Pilatus PC-7 MKII; HAL IJT-16 (IJT) and Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft, which comprise
Kiran and BAE Systems Hawk Mk132 aircraft. These trainer aircraft are used for Stage I (Basic Flight Training), Stage II
(Intermediate Flight Training) and Stage III training respectively. The IAF’s training aircraft fleet has been in a continuous
state of flux since the nineties and this is an undesirable situation for an air force which requires stability in its training
aircraft to ensure a steady pipeline of pilots for a varied fleet of fighter aircraft, transport aircraft, helicopters and
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV ). The BTA fleet was impacted by mid-air engine cuts which occurred on the Hindustan
Piston Trainer 32 (HPT-32) and ultimately result in the entire fleet of more than 100 aircraft being grounded due to flight
safety concerns a few years ago. Before the decision to ground the HPT-32 ‘Deepak’ was taken, the basic trainer was involved

in a total of 189 incidents/accidents July 2009 which were caused by engine cuts. In December 2009, a High Power Study
Team (HPST) was constituted by Air HQ and HAL recommended in December 2009, that since the HPT-32 aircraft was
designed and developed in the early 1980s and it did not meet present day standards. The IAF grounded the HPT-
fleet in June 2012.MKII BTA temporarily stabilised the The procurement of the Swiss PC-
situation related to Stage I flight training with the induction of 75 aircraft. The usage of the PC-7 MKII till 2019 is bound
to impact Stage I training until sufficient numbers of the HTT-40 are inducted. The basic and intermediate flying
training role is undertaken by a fleet of 75 PC-7MKIIs, which were ordered in 2012 (with an option clause for 38). All
75 aircraft were delivered by November 2015. The Swiss type introduced the modern training era into the IAF for
basic training, not only did the aircraft deliver excellent performance, but it also had a modern glass cockpit and avionics.

Pilatus also delivered flight simulators and training devices along with the aircraft. The PC-7 MkII has a lifespan of
10,000 hrs/30,000 landings. The IAF has a requirement of 183 BTA, which has now been increased to more than 200 as these
aircraft will have to perform Stage I and Stage II flight training. The IAF currently operates 75 PC-7 MkIIs trainers and the
procurement of an additional 38 PC-7 MKIIs now appears unlikely. HAL was tasked to make 68 HTT-40s in 2015 and
total orders for the type could increase to as many as 120.The Hindustan Turbo Trainer 40
(HTT-40) could go into production as early as next year and the all-important Stall and Spin trials will be completed before -
the end of the year. Approximately 100 hours of flight testing will be required to complete these tests. The aircraft’s initial
performance has exceeding expectations, raising hopes that this indigenously developed aircraft will complete its devel--
opmental and certification task within planned deadlines. Development of the HTT-40 started in 2013, when HAL has

The IAF needs to induct more basic trainers and find a solution for its Stage II training requirements, reports MIKE RAJKUMAR
The HJT-36 Sitara intermediate jet trainer is in serious trouble and has forced the IAF to continue with the venerable Kiran and utilise the PC-7 MKII for Stage I and Stage II training


Lakshadweep group of
islands – India has a strategic
advantage that no other
country enjoys. Considering

http://www.geopolitics.inNovember 2017 41


Opium War.” The late Lt General J F R Jacob writes in Peace’ that he reported the matter to his ‘An Odyssey in War and
superior B K Kaul (a relative of Nehru), who admonished him for having “misunderstood” the Chinese.
leadership has been right – and how often the politicians have blundered – Considering how often the military
it would be ill-advised to disregard the statements by both the army and air force chiefs that India must be prepared
for a worst case scenario.General Bipin Rawat said the country On September 6, 2017 Army Chief
must be prepared for a potential two-front war with China and Pakistan as reconciliation with the latter looked
bleak. Referring to the 10-week Doklam standoff in the Himalayas, Rawat said the situation on India’s northern
border could worsen in future, in which case Pakistan on the western front could take advantage of the situation.
Similarly, IAF Chief B S Dhanoa sent a personal letter to 12,000 officers, asking them to be prepared for operations “at a
very short notice”.by India’s uncharacteristic aggression, W hile the Chinese are clearly rattled
the Pakistan Army’s pride has taken a huge knock by the Indian Army’s surgical strike in PoK. With the signing
of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the equation between the two virtual dictatorships has
become even more skewed in Beijing’s favour. It has come to the point that Pakistani commentators are describing

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewing the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of terror attack in Uri, in New Delhi on September 18, 2016. The National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Defence Secretary G. Mohan Kumar and other senior officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence are also seen PIB
Indian Army moved divisions from the mountains to the Lahore front only after it was convinced that the
remaining forces could undertake a holding operation if the Chinese opened a second front. Again, in the
1971 War, the Indian Army waited until the Himalayan passes were snowed under – effectively blocking out the PL A

  • before launching its blitzkrieg into Pakistan.
    Enemies grow closerHow realistic is the two-front scenario? In the past, India’s political leadership
    ignored a number of red flags raised by forward thinking generals. For instance, in 1951 when the political
    leadership led by Jawaharlal Nehru was singing ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’, Army Chief K M Cariappa saw the looming
    threat and presented an outline plan for the defence of Arunachal Pradesh. Nehru snubbed him, saying that it
    was not the commander-in-chief’s business to tell the Prime Minister how to defend the country. “He advised
    Cariappa to worry only about Pakistan and Kashmir; as far as (Arunachal Pradesh) was concerned, the Chinese
    themselves would defend our frontiers” (from General V K Singh).Leadership in the India Army by
    for a Chinese military delegation, a PL A general remarked that “China In 1958, during a banquet organised
    would never forget that Indian troops took part in the sacking and looting of the Summer Palace during the Second

it as a master-client relationship, where Pakistan has no choice but to dutifully follow China in all strategic matters.
Shaheen exercise, conducted by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force After the sixth iteration of the
(PL A AF) and its Pakistani counterpart, the PAF, in Xinjiang in September, a Chinese air force office remarked that
pilots of both countries had become “buddies” after training together. According to Colonel Wu Qian,
“Speaking of Pakistan, the first word that comes to my mind is Iron Pak. If we characterise Pakistan-China military-
to-military relations, the three key terms are all-weather brotherhood, high-level mutual assistance and
support and deep-rooted strategic mut u a l t r u s t .”Such statements are hardly new and
in fact have been parroted for decades. This is because the Chinese and Pakistani world views are uncannily
similar. The Chinese elites want to restore the country to the glory days of the Middle Kingdom, implying that
the country occupies a central position in the world, and therefore China is superior to all other nations. Similarly,
many Pakistanis dream of restoring the Mughal Empire over the Indian subcontinent. Because the Chinese
cannot become masters of the world if there’s a powerful India next door, and Pakistanis cannot reinvent the Mughals
until India is balkanised, these views neatly dovetail into a common hostility against India.
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