With tensions heating up along the LoCs and LACs (Line of Control/Line of Actual Control) with Pakistan and China, the Indian army is ramping up its forces in massive proportions. So I’ll start this sensitive topic with a rundown of the types of war assets that are deployed at wartime.
Perhaps the most common type of war assets since time immemorial, the soldier has been the symbol of war since the dawn of war. For most of human history, wars have been fought with soldiers. Depending on the period you choose to focus on, infantry have been equipped in different ways for different things. Nowadays, infantry are used for quick deployment, for areas that cannot be accessed by other types of units, and for deploying a wide variety of tactics such as concealment.
Tanks and mechanised war are still new concepts, keeping in mind the discrepancy of time infantry war has existed in comparison to armoured war. Tanks however, have become the staple of every modern army. With heavy firepower, impressive strength, and defensive prowess, the tank is usually used in conjunction with infantry to support ground troops.
The ability to shell a locale from several kilometres away is a priceless advantage when you think about how war today is. It can inflict substantial casualties on infantry, tanks, other artillery (known as counter battery fire) and infrastructure.
Fixed weapons such as MG nests (machine guns), mortars, anti-air missiles, bunkers and logistics buildings are all part of conventional armies.
Airborne troops/Air force:
Aviation warfare is perhaps the newest concept of modern war, alongside drone warfare. Airborne troops are the quickest to deploy, some of the most versatile, and some of the most advanced troops in the modern army. Their ability to wreak havoc from the skies makes them some of the most feared adversaries to enemy armies.
The Indian army monitors, holds, protects and patrols a massive 826 kilometre border with China. Since 2012, the Indian army has been placing more and more soldiers to reinforce these positions. Not only infantry, more armour and installations are being placed around these areas as well.
Since the terrain is more extreme on the Indian side of the LoC, it is estimated that at time of war, it will take more time for us to deploy troops than the Chinese, since the terrain is flatter on their side. However, against China, India still has a major deficit in terms of expenditure and troop numbers.
A one-on-one fight with Pakistan should be a much easier war for the Indians, as the Pakistani army has less powerful assets than the Indians. Budget-wise, the Indian army stands at Number 8 globally, while the Pakistani army stands at 33rd. The Indians also have many more troops ready to fight at wartime. We have about 47 lakh soldiers that can be deployed (don’t quote me on these figures, I’m still uncertain about the authenticity of these) while the Pakistani army has about 14 lakh. In terms of air power, we have ~2080 planes, while the Pakistani army has ~900. In terms of organisation, we’ve seen the Indian army outsmart the Pakistanis, but whether that still holds true is yet to be seen. Unlike the war with China, this one probably won’t be heavily affected by terrain. Again, no nation publicises their military organisation, and it will have to be something to be seen if such a conflict does happen.
Mind you, I’m not writing this with aims of instigating any anti-Sino or Anti-Pak sentiments or propaganda. I hate war as much as the next guy, but I wrote this to put things in perspective for those who are too confused by all the smoke being stirred up in the media. I, in no way condone any type of conflicts between India or any nation at all.
It goes without saying, that if India will have to start producing arms locally with the make in India campaign, otherwise it will have a very difficult time reinforcing its troops if war does happen. It’d be like shooting the last bullet at your enemy and then placing an order for more and waiting for the delivery. If we are to emphasise our military, we must start making free-markets for our defence industries and become open to privatised funding from military giants outside India. According to Asiatimes:
“India’s defense industrial base, on the other hands, appears to be still stuck in its old Nehruvian paradigm of government-led development and growth. While the rest of India appears to be racing into the 21st century, powered by a dynamic, free market-oriented economy, the defense sector remains mired in the country’s socialist and protectionist past. Consequently, the nation is still predominantly saddled with an oversized, non-competitive, non-responsive military-industrial complex – capable, it seems, of only producing technologically inferior military equipment, and even then, never on time and nearly always way over their original cost estimates.”