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India and a Two Front War

Author:

MG an air warrior, a political observer, and writer with wide experience.

india-and-a-two-front-war

Introduction

Modern war is a highly technical affair. For close to two thousand years the Himalayan border was a place of tranquility and peace between Tibet and India. After 1947, when India became free from the British Raj, the Indian leadership led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had no comprehension of power politics and strategic dominance and surrendered Tibet as a buffer state to China and at the same time lost almost 30,000 mi.² of Indian territory in Aksai Chin.

Similarly on Western front India lost 1/3 of Kashmir to Pakistan, as it was very late in reacting to the Pakistan-sponsored invasion of Kashmir which had declared that it wanted to be independent. They violated a "standstill agreement" which they had signed with the maharaja of Kashmir.

Much water has flown down the Ganga since then. The new Indian leadership led by Narendra Modi has beefed up the Indian armed forces. It is a significant entity in Asia. He has also cultivated a military partnership with the United States and has formed the Quad along with Australia, Japan, and the USA to counter China. With the American seventh fleet in the South China Sea, China has a lot to look back before it indulges in a military adventure with India.

If you look back at history we can see that the nemesis of Germany was a two-front war. The Germans did not want it but somehow they were dragged into it and in both wars ended up fighting on two fronts and were defeated. This example must be kept in mind in case there is a war in the northern region as there is a possibility that Pakistan and China may try to take advantage of the situation and wage a two-front war against India. I will discuss in the succeeding paragraphs what is the likely scenario of such a conflict.

War is not a set-piece battle but a dynamic ever-changing scene. In this logistics, supply, and the support of the population in the backyard play a huge part and both India's northern adversities suffer from this.

india-and-a-two-front-war

The Achilles Heel

First, we must consider the main adversary of India that is China. Comparatively, Pakistan is not that much of a danger because it is very small in size and has the risk of being completely sidelined.

Many analysts talk of a Chinese army of 2.5 million. The Chinese however cannot use this entire army against India, because that will leave the western region completely unguarded. China faces a hostile seventh fleet and Taiwan and Japan are waiting to settle scores with China.

One Child policy and PLA

A point ignored is the demographic effect of the one-child policy. Firstly, the PLA has a morale problem. It is a conscripted army where the service is of 4 years. Now in ALL families who have boys, there is no brother/sister. The child is single. When this child is sent into combat it could well mean the end of that family’s lineage as there would be no heir in case the boy dies. Hence Chinese are extremely unhappy about this and the boy also is aware and does not want to die and extinguish the line, so there is a real morale problem in PLA.

Sinkiang and Tibet

Again China faces a restive population in its backyard in both Sinkiang and Tibet. Supply lines and logistic stand to be disrupted and India will use this to stoke the embers. So China will be fighting with one hand tied behind its back. The Indians have already set up fighting units manned by the Tibetans and these were used to the chagrin of the Chinese in the recent conflict in Ladakh. They were able to capture the heights at Galvan and the Chinese were outsmarted. This action was just a trailer and in war, there could be an uprising in Tibet.

The situation in Sinkiang province is equally bad. The Muslims are facing genocide and more than 100,000 are behind barbed wire. The Uighur Muslims are also carrying out an insurrection against the Chinese. There is every reason to believe that the Chinese supply lines could be severely affected.

Pakistan is the lesser danger but it also suffers from internal discord and there is an uprising in ~Balochistan. Sindh's and Ahmedias are not happy with the Pakistan state.

Indo- Tibetan force soldiers

Indo- Tibetan force soldiers

Conclusion

The situation in case of a two-front war is bad but it is not an insurmountable problem, as far as India is concerned. The Chinese have to face the fact that there is another alliance called the Quad which India has with Japan, Australia, and the USA. This could have a decisive effect to strangulate China. The PLA is aware of this and that is one of the reasons they have disengaged from Indian troops in the northern frontier.

The Chinese are well aware that a conflict with India would end up quite differently from what they have planned. The Indians have prepared with two strike corps to march right up to Lhasa. The Tibetans are waiting for this to happen.

War is always a bad option and one sincerely hopes that the Chinese will not provoke one and not instigate Pakistan to start any operation. There's every chance that it may end up in a way, in which they won't be able to chew the food and the repercussions could well mean an internal implosion in China.


Comments

MG Singh (author) from UAE on February 21, 2021:

Bill, thank you for sparing time and commenting.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 21, 2021:

Always a fascinating read, my friend. I learn by your articles, and for that I say thank you!

MG Singh (author) from UAE on February 21, 2021:

Tom, whatever you say is true and Nehru is the villain, but nobody after that has dared to change the basic culture. China is like a balloon and in case the Indians can have the nerve and will it can be burst. However there is no place for bravado like the statement of the HM, Shah when he announced in parliament that come what may we will retake Aksai Chin. Such hallow statements are meaningless. In 1950 India was also offered a seat in the UNSC but that man Nehru didn't accept.

tom on February 21, 2021:

indian armed forces corrupt demoralised ,soldiers suicide,ex servicemen poor,inadequate force levels,limited ammunition reserves,1949 mao warned indian ambassador you cannot fight on two fronts,bsf low quality force,corrupt smuggler force,pakistan rangers better ,i have seen both in wagah border,chinese weapons low quality,pakstan economically worse,we have no light tanks to fight in mountains,earlier we had pt 76 and amx 13,1962 war was winter war,we need more mountain strike corps,rahmos can hit chinese dumps in tibet,1949 truman wanted india to occupy tibet,we need a general sundarji

MG Singh (author) from UAE on February 20, 2021:

Thank you, Arun for sparing time and commenting.

Arun NAIK on February 20, 2021:

This is a very interesting article and brings out exciting possibilities.