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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Travesties Of National Security

OP Parakram, launched in the wake of the December 13, 2001 terrorist attack by Kashmiri militants on India’s Parliament, was the first full-scale military mobilisation against Pakistan since the 1971 India-Pakistan war. It began on December 19, 2001 and was completed by January 13, 2002. It finally ended on October 16, 2002 when India’s Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) belatedly recognised that the law of diminishing returns had been operative for many months already, and in a face-saving move, the CCNS declared that India’s mobilised military personnel were being ‘strategically relocated’, and constant vigil would be maintained.

In the aftermath of OP Parakram—hailed as being India’s first venture in offensive defence—several well-thought-out evaluations (see & concluded that the full-scale military mobilisation was a total disaster and uncalled for due to India’s failure to think through the end-game, due to lack of political will, due to the inability to calibrate coercion, due to the lack of politico-military synergy, and due to the absence of an exit strategy, all of which resulted in the futile threat of war being made to persist for a period long beyond its relevance. The operation emphatically illustrated the fact that India was not in a position to overwhelm Pakistan through exercises in coercive diplomacy, and that India’s capability of engaging in coercive diplomacy was a myth and is not India’s cup-of-tea (as she then lacked the three essential components required, namely, i) political will, ii) war preparedness, and iii) strategic vision), and this still remains so, since India lacks the essential ‘killer instinct’ to carry out such tasks, as the facts will reveal in the following narrative. It will also disclose that India’s military plans for undertaking a successful short duration, limited war under the nuclear threshold through punitive action and surgical strikes in January 2002, and an all-out war in June 2002, have eventually turned out to be nothing but voluminous disinformation.

During the CCNS meeting on December 19, 2001 in which the three armed services chiefs (COAS Gen Sundarajan ‘Paddy’ Padmanabhan, CAS Anil Yeshwant Tipnis and CNS Admiral Sushil Kumar) attended, none of them were even consulted about the available military options. Furthermore, the verbal order for full tri-services mobilisation was given NOT by the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee (who was silent throughout the meeting), but by his alter-ego, Brajesh Mishra, the then National Security Adviser & Principal Secretary to the PM. When the armed services chiefs asked Mishra what exactly were the higher directions of war (i.e. what was to be achieved, in what kind of time-frame) and what would be the rules of engagement (ROE) on land, at sea and in the air, they were blandly told “wo sab baadmein bataaenge” (all that will be revealed later). While the service chiefs clearly found this to be totally bizarre, they decided not to question the CCNS’ decision, hoping that by the time mobilisation was almost 80% complete (within the next fortnight), the higher directions of war and related ROEs would be clearly spelt out in writing. This, as we all now know never happened, since the NDA government of the day never had the stomach for either limited high-intensity conflict or for full-scale hostilities against Pakistan. Instead, it has been falsely propagated—thanks to disingenuous political naivety—that international pressure, especially the US, had dissuaded the NDA government from initiating hostilities against Pakistan. Yet another piece of disinformation was put out on February 17, 2003 by none other than the then President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, who stated this in Parliament: “After the December 13, 2001 attack on our Parliament by Pakistan-based terrorists, we were constrained to deploy our troops along the international border. This decision achieved its purpose by showing both our firmness and our self-restraint in dealing with our hostile neighbour”.   

The truth, however, is absolutely devastating, and it  clearly emerges from the book “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington” by former US National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice, who wrote that back in early January 2002 it was Brajesh Mishra who was pleading with Dr Rice to do something, anything, that would subdue the ‘for-war lobby’ that was gaining strength within India (meaning the NDA government-in-power never wanted to go to war with Pakistan). According to Dr Rice’s recollections, the US by early January 2002 had already been resigned to a war between India and Pakistan when Brajesh Mishra frantically called her for help. “I cannot constraint the war lobby here without some help,” he had said. This led the then US President George Bush Jr to speak with Pakistan’s President-cum-COAS Gen Pervez Musharraf to persuade him to make the statement on January 12, 2002 that Pakistan’s soil would not be allowed to be used by terrorists (an ashen-faced Gen Musharraf made this commitment in a nationally telecast speech), the fig-leaf for India to not start a war. Brajesh Mishra, on the other hand, had indicated (i.e. lied) back in 2002 that it was because of India’s successful coercive diplomacy that had forced Gen Musharraf to make the January 12 statement.   

Meanwhile as the military mobilisation was underway, India’s numerical advantage over Pakistan in main battle tanks (MBT) and infantry combat vehicles was 1.45:1, while the India-Pakistan fixed-wing combat aircraft ratio stood at 2.58:1. The ratio between India’s and Pakistan’s inventories of high-performance combat aircraft—which is a more telling indicator of the air imbalance than overall numbers—was approximately 3.03:1 in India’s favour. The ratio of India’s to Pakistan’s blue water naval vessels stood at 3.47:1. However, the Indian Army’s (IA) ineptness and its inability to wage sequential, estimates-based warfare (thanks to its doctrinal slumber, which prevailed even after OP Vijay in mid-1999) became evident in late December 2011 when the then GOC-in-C of the IA’s HQ Northern Command, Lt Gen R K Nanavaty, clearly told Army HQ that his Command was not in a position to go to war and required more preparatory time, as it was suffering from critical shortages of equipment, stores and spares. There were several other shortages, which, if not overcome, would have made the IA a sitting duck in case the Pakistan Army went on the offensive. Take, for instance, the import of 26,000 rounds of 125mm ammunition worth US$27.17 million (Rs 116.83 crore) for T-72M1 MBTs that was approved by India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) in June 1999 from Israel Military Industries Ltd. Though procurement action for this contract had been initiated in August 1997 and user-trials of the ammunition had been conducted a year earlier in August 1996, contract signature took place only on July 2, 1999 and that too for the delivery of only 2,800 rounds within two months and another 7,000 within six months (the actual delivery of the first 2,800 rounds, however, took place only on December 14, 1999). Similar shortages existed in early 2002 for ammunition like 12.7mm cartridges, plus 130mm and 155mm artillery rounds, which prevented the IA from even waging a series of contact battles, leave alone multi-pronged armoured thrusts deep into enemy territory.

The same was the case with the Indian Navy (IN), whose warship-related spares inventories were down by 50%, thanks to on-going investigations against corruption involving several spares-supply procurement plans, due to which the IN’s Directorate of Logistics was paralysed. To break this logjam, the IN’s then CNS Admiral Madhvendra ‘Madhu’ Singh obtained special clearance from the MoD to authorise the IN’s then Chief of Naval Materials, Vice Admiral Pramod C Bhasin, to immediately begin placing bulk orders for warship-related spares worth Rs 250 crores.

By December 24, in an effort to attain numerical superiority, IA HQ began redeploying to Jammu nearly two-and-a-half Divisions—elements of 20 Mountain Division, 27 Mountain Divisions 57 Mountain Division—to the west from the east facing Mainland China. This was made possible after Brajesh Mishra reportedly briefed Beijing about India’s so-called coercive diplomacy objectives (i.e. stating that India had no plans for invading Pakistan), which in turn enabled China to assure India that in the prevailing geo-strategic environment, China would not openly support Pakistan. 20 Mountain Division, 27 Mountain Divisions 57 Mountain Division, which have a dual-tasking role against both China and Pakistan, had never been switched before for two reasons: A) India had feared that China could open up a military front during an on-going India-Pakistan war in order to relieve pressure on Pakistan, and B) these Mountain Divisions from the east would require at least three months of re-orientation training to face the threat from Pakistan. It was thus felt that in a war with Pakistan so much preparation time would not be available, and hence, the dual-tasking role of these Mountain Divisions had remained largely on paper. OP Parakram, however, provided this opportunity to the IA and consequently, between January and June 2002, the IA had enough time for training and re-equipping these formations for an operational role in the militarily vulnerable Jammu corridor, especially the Shakargarh Bulge.

In late December 2001, while the IA’s Pivot Corps were ready for battle in 72 to 96 hours from the word ‘go’, the three strike corps—I ‘Vajra’ Corps (Mathura), II ‘Kharga’ Corps (Ambala) and XXI ‘Sudarshan Chakra’ Corps (Bhopal)—took 22 days to reach their wartime locations, following which on January 11, 2002, Gen Padmanabhan publicly declared that a limited war was a truism and went on to say in a televised press-conference that “there is scope for a limited conventional war” between India and Pakistan. However, the US knew very well about the IA’s acute hardware deficiencies and therefore never expected the IA to go on an all-out offensive over the next six months (this was precisely the reason why the US never issued any advisory to its nationals to leave India and Pakistan immediately, and instead issued such an advisory only in May 2002). Pakistan was at that time obtaining paid-for overhead recce satellite imagery showing forward-deployed Indian military dispositions NOT from China (which never has a SAR-equipped satellite at that time) but from Canada’s RADARSAT-1 SAR-equipped satellite, owned by RADARSAT International (RSI).

By January 7, 2002, while the IA had no options to launch offensive operations across the LoC in the snow-bound areas of Jammu & Kashmir, in the plains of Punjab and Rajasthan the climatic conditions were ideal for surgical operations backed up by punitive air-strikes (i.e. high-intensity conventional war with tactically limited objectives). Despite all this being communicated by Gen Padmanabhan (who by then was also the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, or COSC) to the CCNS, the Govt of India (GoI), through the CCNS, never spelt out any war-waging directives and related ROEs to either Gen Padmanabhan, or to Admiral Madhvendra Singh or to Air Chief Marshal Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy. This in turn resulted in the armed services chiefs being subjected to severe psychological stress, since their respective theatre and fleet commanders were constantly badgering them for seeking approvals for activating their OP-PLANs. The IA’s Western Command (HQed in Chandimandir, Punjab) was then the most important theatre command as far as Pakistan went and held extensive strike power. II ‘Kharga’ Corps was then the most important offensive formation (possessing 50% of the IA’s offensive capabilities) and was tasked to tear through the Thar/Cholistan Desert at/near Rahimyar Khan and race towards Jacobabad, thereby cutting Pakistan into two.

Lt Gen Kapil Vij, the then GOC of II ‘Kharga’ Corps, was unaware of all that was happening back at Army HQ and the shenanigans within the civilian corridors of power in Delhi, and therefore proceeded to unveill the operational art dictating his OP-PLAN on the premise that the “law of the initial advantage of the aggressor” assumes critical importance, as it is the aggressor who generally sets the pattern which operations will take. Since no further operational instructions were emanating from either HQ Western Command (since IA HQ had not been issued any directives regarding the higher directions of war and related ROEs from the GoI), Lt Gen Vij decided to take the initiative with perfectly honourable intentions and by mid-January 2002 ordered a third of his warfighting armoured and mechanised infantry formations along with supporting field artillery assets—all located about 150km away from the international boundary (IB)—to be forward-deployed just 40km away from the IB, ready for the initial contact battles. The rest of his warfighting strength (follow-on forces for waging the breakthrough battles), including operational reserves, were positioned in a three-arrowhead formation along three probable routes-of-advance (a deployment done just prior to initiating the offensive). This was immediately picked up by US overhead recce satellites and was viewed by the US as an escalation, since it violated the India-Pakistan confidence-building measures (CBM)—formalised in the late 1980s after EX BRASS TACKS—that called for all land-based warfighting assets (men and material) of both countries to be kept 10km away from the IB and working boundary (WB), while the airspace of both countries would be no-fly-zones for combat aircraft and military helicopters 10km on either side of the IB and WB during peacetime. Therefore, it was not Pakistan that alerted the US about this, but the US itself saw all this through its overhead recce satellites and then reportedly confronted Brajesh Mishra with the evidence and bluntly asked him whether the GoI really wanted a full-scale war, or did it sincerely want the US to lean over Pakistan and prevent it from taking the Indian military’s bait, which in turn would serve to subdue the ‘war-mongerers’ within the GoI and the three armed services. Consequently, a highly embarrassed Brajesh Mishra, in order to save his face and credibility in front of the US, allegedly directed the MoD under the then Defence Minister George Fernandes to force Army HQ to relieve Lt Gen Kapil Vij of his command of II ‘Kharga’ Corps (he was replaced by his junior Maj Gen Bhupinder Singh Thakur by January 21, 2002) as proof of Mishra’s ‘sincere’ intentions about averting a full-scale war. Subsequently, the MoD mischievously began giving off-the-record briefings in which it was said that Lt Gen Vij had either “gone on leave on personal grounds”, or had been relieved of his command for committing tactical errors.

Against this backdrop, OP Parakram’s military aims were changed drastically between mid-February and June 2002. During this period, the IA remained focussed on how to regain the element of operational surprise. The initial military aim (of launching surgical AirLand joint operations backed up by punitive air-strikes against some 75 select transportation nodes/hubs) no longer looked attractive because Pakistan had taken adequate counter-measures to neutralise probable Indian land offensives in both West Punjab and Cholistan. It was therefore decided by IA HQ and Indian Air Force (IAF) HQ by early February 2002 that India ought to utilise its three military advantages: its three Strike Corps as against two of the Pakistan Army’s, the IAF’s edge over the Pakistan Air Force, and the fact that the three redeployed Mountain Divisions would, from March 2002, be operationally re-oriented and ready for war.

However, before deciding to formulate new OP-PLANs, all three armed services chiefs approached the CCNS and asked for ironclad proof of the capabilities of India’s minimum credible nuclear deterrent, and consequently, for the very first time in India’s history, approval was accorded for all three armed services chiefs to be given a series of no-holds-barred and on-site briefings by both the Dept of Atomic Energy and the Defence Research & Development Organisation at locations in Trombay and Hyderabad, which included visual inspections of both the fabricated weapons-grade plutonium cores and the triggering mechanisms of four types of nuclear devices—these being fission-based and boosted fission-based unitary warheads capable of being launched by ballistic missiles or NLOS-BSMs; and  fission-based and boosted fission-based unitary warheads encased within aircraft-launched gravity bombs.

Fully satisfied with such presentations and briefings, the IA, between mid-March and mid-April 2002, as part of an audacious theatre-level OP-PLAN (that had never been war-gamed before), had deployed all its three Strike Corps in the Thar Desert, with the military thinking being that once the balloon went up, the IA would cross the border boldly in Thar/Cholistan, and the subsequent series of attrition battles lasting between four to six weeks would end with India's advantage. This was in consonance with the IA’s then prevailing warfighting doctrine of strategic defence with operational-level offensives, which stated that: “The Indian Army believes in fighting the war in enemy territory. If forced into a war, the aim of our offensives would be to apply a sledgehammer blow to the enemy”. Thus, the IA’s newly-formulated warfighting strategy was manoeuvre-and-attrition combined in the Thar/Cholistan deserts. This strategy, if implemented, would have given India two advantages: the Pakistan Army’s centre of gravity, which are its two Strike Corps, would have been destroyed in detail, and land captured in Cholistan would have yielded some advantage on the negotiating table after the war. It would also have called Pakistan’s bluff about using nuclear weapons early in a conventional war with India (contrary to India’s declared retaliatory-strike policy on nuclear weapons employment, Pakistan has stuck to the attitude of ambiguity regarding the usage of nuclear weapons, which in turn has led the US to believe that that a full-scale war between India and Pakistan would easily escalate into a nuclear exchange, something the IA disagrees with till this day).

By late April 2002, overhead recce satellite imagery obtained by India’s Defence Intelligence Agency through Israel had detected the movement of a convoy of 15 TELs of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s 2nd Artillery Corps and escorted by a Motorised Infantry Brigade, which had moved out of storage areas located within the Chengdu Military Region’s Sivhuan province, and was headed westwards towards the Tibet Autonomous Region. Persistent surveillance of this convoy’s movement revealed that it had entered Pakistan through the Northern Areas. By late May 2002, while Gen Musharraf on one hand said that Pakistan could not be expected to fight India with both its hands tied, Gen Padmanabhan on the other hand stated that he had credible reports about Pakistan’s possession of tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) that are optimised for use against hostile battlefield formations, are limited in their destructive power, have localised radioactive fallout, and which do not inflict widespread devastation upon areas that are thickly populated with civilians. It is widely believed that it was this news about the arrival in Pakistan of China-supplied TNWs that deterred the NDA government from issuing politico-military directives to the three armed services chiefs for execution even after the May 14, 2002 terrorist attack that killed 34 Indian soldiers and their relatives near Jammu. The US, on the other hand, in an unprecedented act, decided to pull out more than 60,000 US citizens from India in mid-May 2002, prompting several other countries and the United Nations to do the same.

By June 9, 2002 the element of surprise was lost and in operational terms, the continued deployment of the IA along the IB and WB was reduced to a futile effort. By late July 2002, troops of the Pakistan Army had ventured into Point 3260, a relatively low feature having little tactical significance in the Gurez-Machal sector in Jammu & Kashmir, and had occupied Loonda Post, located approximately 800 metres inside India’s side of the Line of Control and overlooking the Neelam Valley in the Northern Areas. The intruders were spotted on July 26, following which a joint IA-IAF operation was launched on August 2 to evict them. In this operation, 12 IAF combat aircraft participated, of which four were Mirage 2000s that dropped laser-guided bombs over Loonda Post as part of actions taken to successfully evict the intruders.

It was only in August 2002 that the CCNS directed the COAS-cum-Chairman of COSC to draft a directive to extricate the three armed forces from the imbroglio. Therefore, put into perspective, ordering full mobilisation of the three armed services was a knee-jerk reaction of the NDA government in the vain hope that Pakistan would get coerced. Instead, here was a government which, instead of coercing, got coerced, while the three armed services got fully mobilised without even knowing what they were supposed to do and achieve. Throughout the 10-month period of OP Parakram, the NDA government kept the three armed services on the fringes of national security policy-making, since neither understood one another. All this, obviously, greatly pissed off everyone, especially Gen Padmanabhan, who subsequently aired his views in public on November 9, 2002, which can be read at:

The world would well have bought the NDA government’s ‘coercive diplomacy’ argument as a well-meaning one had Mishra from the very outset taken the three armed service chiefs into confidence and stated that an all-out war as never an option meant to be exercised. Instead, the idea was just to raise a lot of dust, heat and noise throughout the IB, WB and LoC, all of which would compel the international community to ratchet up the heat on Pakistan. If only all this had been communicated by Mishra to the three armed services chiefs on December 19, 2001, then everyone would have been on the same page, the IA’s, IAF’s and IN’s top-brass would not have been required to persistently try to refine their respective war-plans (especially the Army’s audacious deployment of all its three Strike Corps in the Thar Desert), and consequently Beijing would not have felt the urgent need to send a detachment of the 2nd Artillery Corps equipped with TNWs to Pakistan. Instead, what happened was that the NDA government kept India’s armed forces insulated from the national security decision-making loop, which consequently resulted in the IA upping the ante by trying to retain the operational initiative between March and May 2002, which in turn compelled China to not trust India’s earlier word (about not forcing an all-out war on Pakistan) and rush to Pakistan’s assistance in a last-ditch effort to prevent both India and Pakistan from dangerously climbing the escalatory ladder to war any further. In China’s eyes, therefore, India could not, once again, be trusted to keep her word. The consequences of such a folly on India’s part are bound to be enormous.  

If such a travesty of national security could not be further imagined, one had only to wait for what transpired within the corridors of power in Delhi in the immediate aftermath of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Here’s what reportedly transpired, based on the recollections of one of the armed services chiefs who was a first-hand witness to all the proceedings. Between November 26 and 29, 2008 as the 10 Pakistan-origin terrorists were creating mayhem in Mumbai, the GoI was in a tailspin, with the political decision-makers not bothering to contact the three armed services chiefs through the offices of the COSC, and the three armed services chiefs in turn not bothering to consult one another, leave alone approach the PMO or the then National Security Adviser (NSA) Mayankote Kelath Narayanan through the COSC channel. It was only on November 30 that Narayanan called the three armed services chiefs for a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, in which the Director of IB and the Secretary of R & AW were—strangely—not present. The mood in the PMO was tense and all those present agreed that Pakistan should not be allowed to go unpunished for this audacious act of terrorism. When asked for his opinion, the then COAS, Gen Deepak Kapoor, suggested that long-range artillery fire assaults and raids by special operations forces across the LoC be conducted. The IAF’s CAS, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, suggested that punitive air-strikes be conducted inside Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir/Azad Kashmir against terrorist camps, to which Gen Kapoor added that this would certainly lead to full-scale war and the same would have happened had the IAF crossed the LoC in mid-1999 during OP Safed Sagar. There was disagreement between the COAS and CAS over whether the Pakistan Army would climb the escalatory ladder if the IAF launched a few punitive air-strikes across the LoC. The then CNS, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, kept his views to himself since he was neither asked much nor did he offer any advice. There was absolutely no talk about the prevailing nuclear balance-of-power, and most of the time was spent on debating the most insane issue: Pakistan’s motives behind the 26/11 terror carnage (NSA Narayanan reportedly asked—rather innocently—whether Pakistan would stop sponsoring further spectacular terror attacks in future if the Indian Army shelved its ‘Cold Start’ warfighting doctrine). The overarching sense, it seemed, was to explore retaliatory military options that would not lead to full-scale war. As none existed, the meeting concluded after the PM told the three armed services chiefs to prepare for war. However, Gen Kapoor was explicitly told by NSA Narayanan not to recall any Army personnel from leave nor move any warfighting formations to their forward staging areas till further orders, as this would surely alert Pakistan. On December 1, 2008, Minister of Defence, Arackaparambil Kurien Antony, held a meeting with the three armed services chiefs and senior bureaucrats of the MoD to discuss a single point: the need to procure on a fast-track basis all the critical war-waging hardware required by the three armed services. Thereafter, nothing else happened for a week and the three services chiefs never heard anything from the PMO during this period, after which NSA Narayanan informed them that India would not initiate any form of military campaign against Pakistan. Therefore, the only two conclusions of this single meeting between the PM and the three armed services chiefs are that A) no one in India’s officialdom wanted war and all of them hoped that the crisis would blow over quickly, and B) no one wanted to talk about the nuclear weapons factor, as there are still several unresolved issues. The three armed services sought to make use of this crisis to make emergency purchases of critical military hardware (something the IA never quite seems able to do in peacetime).

Few countries would have let 164 people die in vain as India did after 26/11 without seeking retribution for the aggressor. The terror strikes of 26/11, which had the rest of the world worried about another military showdown between two traditional rivals, thus became a non-event for India and her armed forces. Regrettably, nothing has changed since then, and till this day the three armed services are condemned to second-guessing the intentions of the country’s civilian political masters and their inability to have the stomach for going to war with India’s adversaries should the need ever arise. Maybe that is why till this day, there does not exist any formalised or codified national warfighting doctrine, and consequently none of India’s three armed services have clear-cut and fully integrated OP-PLANS and related rules of engagement. Therefore, Cold Start, Pro-Active Strategy, Two-Front War and Transformation all remain mere notional/still-born concepts.


Rahul said...

Hi Prasun, Why does it costs so much for a full scale mobilisation ? During mobilistaion troops are just brought from thei garrision to staging areas right across the border. Why did more than a 1000 IA troops lost their lives during this op. Whats the casualties on Pakistani side ?
What is thee present ratioo between PA & IA MBT,IFV,APC ; artillery assets , naval capital vessels of PN & IN , fighter aircrafts of two airforces ?

dashu said...

thank you sir for this thread .
I have only 1 question is GoI learned any lesson from this blunder or our armed forces are still suffering .
sadly my hope of seeing India taking back the POK will remain as hope for ever . am not happy at all

dashu said...

to be frank I never dreamed of seeing aksi chin coming back to India as it's a well known fact that India is no match to China but POK should be taken back at any cost ...

Heberian said...

Hello Prasun,

Thank you for the news item on the latest effect of our "chalta-hai" attitude. Amma must be dancing in Chennai! Oh, but she neither knows, nor cares.. But then, its just one more among the many like Hambantota and now whats happening in Bhutan..

As I have said several times on your blog, I do really respect the Chinese. Their strategy is not really brilliant, but simply pragmatic based on their understanding our psyche and political awareness & will (non-existent), and consistent and applied for the long term. They are so good at both "Killing with a borrowed knife" and at "Disturbing the water to catch a fish"... amongst others..

Tongue-in-cheek I would like to think that the title of this latest piece, i.e., "Travesty of National Security" gives too much importance and too much credibility/ ability to our political masters.

I mean, the the NDA govts. reaction to the hijack of IC 814 clearly told the nation all it needed to know about the balls of the political class.

Brajesh Mishra, to put it mildly, is a dick. Please excuse the language.

What would have been a real surprise was if the NDA had the balls to go and get things done in Jan or Feb of 2002.

And the worst part is that the movement of the TELs from China to Paksitan was not raised or questioned by the government.

Our political class is a short sighted and emasculated lot.

To borrow and twist the title of a book, I believe that whatever India is today, is DESPITE the politicians not because of them.

Thank you for an article that brings to a wider audience the shit the services have to deal with..

Anonymous said...

giving impression that Indian armed forces and the politicians Fu*&#d up the situation would be naive,you only stated half the truth.what about the Pakistan's armed forces and politicians thinking,what were there strategy for war and what went on behind the curtains in Pakistan must be taken into account to understand the whole situation. i understand that on many standards Indian army was under prepared for a conventional war,but what about Pakistan,they are one among the most unprofessional armed forces,there height of dumbness is so much so that they tend to mix religion with everything.if you see them bragging about their nuclear weapons,i don't think any responsible nuclear power,no matter how evil would do a loose talk about using nuclear weapons,everyone knows a nuclear war is self destructive. more than strategic thinking,they are more lured into religious and frantic speeches,even now, time and again Americans say that there are terrorists sympathizers in Pakistan army and a terrorist group taking over there nuclear weapons has been bogging the world powers,this shows the level of unprofessional behavior in there armed forces.Any way,I'm quiet sure that Pakistani politicians and there mullahs might have had crapped in there pants seeing the Indian armed forces approaching the border,and we all very well the coward mushraaf,he even refused to acknowledge that those died in kargil war were Pakistani soldiers to hide his face from shame.if a war had taken place in 2001,I'm pretty sure we would have emerged victorious against these brainless uncultured baboons(Pakistani army).the only problem is that the same cannot be said to china,they are far more professional than we are and they have great strategic thinkers,and we lack in these areas.if china had not stood behind these baboons we would have been in a much better position now.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday i was watching movie "Thirteen days" based on cuban missile crisies of 60's. I was amazed the type of discussion and coercieve diplomacy done by US. At the end of movie i just questioned whether our indian government also handles things such meticulosly. My wife affirmed very optimisticaly and patriotically "Offcourse" and as always LOL without any comments. Reading your article was a eye opener for someone :-)


Erin Morris ( Fairfield, Connecticut) said...

Hello Prasun,

One VERY IMPORTANT point that you need to take into account is that INDIANS never had a sense of identity unlike say Americans , English , French and Chinese. Affliations in INDIA moves in concentric circles. People are first affiliated to their caste, then community , then state and then country . As a result of this inability to come forward as one country to face adversity has resulted in India being occupied number of times by foreign rulers .


Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To RAHUL: It is not the process of mobilisation that’s expensive, but the period of deployment (10 months!) that made OP Parakram cost-prohibitive. Even in Decembet 1971, the planned period for conducting offensive operations was only four weeks at the most, but had to be reduced to 2 weeks since the USSR at that time was unwilling to exercise its veto powers in the UN Security Council beyond twice. Hence, by November 1971 it was decided that while an all-out military offensive would be launched in East Pakistan, when it came to West Pakistan there would only be token limited-in-scale offensive land campaigns aimed at achieving modest objectives, which regretably were never achieved. Had the war continued for another two weeks in the western front, the Pakistan Army would have been decimated through a grinding war of attrition & manoeuvre, given India’s numerical superiority.

To DASHU: You will get your answer tonight after I’ve uploaded the concluding part. But don’t despair over Aksai Chin, since Aksai Chin was never for India to have. Even the Govt of India-issued maps between 1947 and 1951 clearly depicted Aksai China as lying OUTSIDE post-independent India’s defined territorial boundary.

To HEBERIAN: The former NSA is much more worse than a DICK. There was another ‘disaster’ attributed to Brajesh Mishra as well in mid-2003, when he sabotaged the joint announcement by both A B Vajpayee & Chinese President Jiang Jemin. Both Vajpayee & Jiang had already agreed during direct one-on-one talks in Beijing that while Vajpayee would himself announce that TAR was an inalienable part of the PRC & that the Dalai Lama would not be allowed to engage in any kind of political activity out of Indian soil, Jiang would in turn formally announce that Sikkim was an inalienable part of India. When Mishra got wind of this, he did his usual mischief to ensure that this joint declaration before the world did not take place, and instead only a low-key joint communiqué was issued. Consequently, the only conclusion I can reach is that Mishra, through his actions, was working more on the interests of some other ‘outside’ powers, and less about India’s.
Regarding the movement of the PLA 2nd Artillery Corps’ TEL carrying TNW-armed NLOS-BSMs, had it been debated in the open at that time (news of this first emerged from the US at that time), the entire flimsy house of cards build by Mishra would have come crashing down, & this would have exposed the hollowness of the NDA government’s policy decision concerning OP Parakram. In the end, as was subsequently proven, it was not India’s military, but the civilian decision-makers who got scared about Pakistan’s putative WMD capabilities. And the mess continues to this day, as you will find out after I’ve uploaded the concluding part.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@3.03PM: It is not India’s armed forces that are Fu*&#d up, but the dhoti-clad/Nehru jacket-clad/Gandhi topi-wearing civilian decision-makers. That should have been more than evident to by now, in case you went through my narrative above.

To PRASHANT: Very many thanks. Do watch out for the concluding part tonight, for who knows what additional surprises are in store!

To ERIN MORRIS: I concur to an extent. But one also ought to remember that India has gone through several cycles of ups & downs, perhaps like China & the Ottoman Empire. Said in layman’s terms, this amounts to a nation-state first achieving a state of adolescence, followed by prosperity & lastly, a state of decline & decadence. No one else, be it North America or Europe, has as yet undergone all these three phases. Maybe that’s why the West is enamoured with concepts like ‘clash of civilisations’, whereas in reality, history shows that civilisations have never ever clashed, but have co-existed peacefully. The Indian and Persian civilisations existing both before & after the rise of Alexander of Macedonia, plus the Indian and Chinese civilisations in the BCE & AD era are all proof of this. Only when a civilisation had entered a phase of decadence and consequently decline, had it been subject to external aggression & colonisation (and that too by rival empires or nations & not by any rival civilisation), be it in India, Persia, Baghdad, Turkey, or China.
Talking of occupation, sub-continental India was occupied only ‘once’ & the Brits were the only occupiers. The Turks & Mughals weren’t occupiers, as they made India their home. The rest, like the Greeks, Afghans, Uzbeks or medieval Iranians, were just mere invaders who came to gather their loot & headed back to where they came from.

Anonymous said...

Erin Morris ( Fairfield, Connecticut)
"One VERY IMPORTANT point that you need to take into account is that INDIANS never had a sense of identity unlike say Americans , English , French and Chinese. Affliations in INDIA moves in concentric circles."

this is true for most of the part,however,in armed forces no such distinction exists.the inability to stand united is not because of different identities,it's more of a case of lack of strategic thinking and the will to unite the nation as one.leaders are more busy trying to gain votes by playing politics with different identities rather than to unite the country in-spite of the different identities. India cannot be compared to AMERICANS,ENGLISH,FRENCH or others. In many ways India is a lumbering giant formed by accretion of many countries(states).each state has its own language and identity, and is exclusive to those inhabiting that state,which is different from the rest in the country and hard to ignore by anyone,the dressing style,the food,their history,the language,the looks,the way they practice the religion,the festivals,the traditions etc these things cannot be ignored and in all wiseness there identity has to be respected,if we ignore or try to downplay their identity,the crisis that will follow on will be of unimaginable magnitude,at the same time i do believe we can bring in a united front in-spite of varied identities,that will only depend on the will of those ruling.
In-spite of all these differences,i believe we have done much better in sticking together.And Please don't compare India with others,like say AMERICANS, ENGLISH , FRENCH. No two countries are the same,even though AMERICANS and ENGLISH have much in common, they stand poles apart when the question is about handling tough situation or diplomacy, India's way of thinking or its democracy or political setup doesn't have to be necessarily like that of AMERICANS,ENGLISH or FRENCH.the only country with which India can be compared is china, and that too it can only be comparable in size population,when it comes diversity and history,India stands alone and the level of diversity is unique to India,no country is good enough to dictate terms to India nor any outside answers or borrowed solution will work,only an Indian can answer to the tough question India will face.

Anonymous said...

"Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@3.03PM: It is not India’s armed forces that are Fu*&#d up, but the dhoti-clad/Nehru jacket-clad/Gandhi topi-wearing civilian decision-makers. That should have been more than evident to by now, in case you went through my narrative above."
thanks for the reply,but give me the complete answer,of all the things i posted you only picked up the nonsense part to reply, i think i have made my stand very clear, i asked about the way the Pakistanis were thinking and the way they dealt with problem.Even they must had acute shortage of arms and ammunition,and how they planned to overcome these shortages in time if India had attacked them, and what was Indian armed forces assessment of Pakistani armed forces preparedness,certainly the Pakistanis are not as good as Indians in diplomacy,yet your article states that India's diplomacy didn't work,how can you put this in context when we don't even know the Pakistanis diplomatic approach and how far the succeeded in achieving their diplomatic goals? without shedding any light on these issues what you have written can only be regarded as half truth at best.give the complete picture don't just post what happened in India's camp,the question here is about WAR and we have to understand what went on in enemies camp too.

manoj joshi said...

Sorry for the extended quote, you may like to comment on something I wrote later, and I am attaching another part below this, I hope I am not stretching your blogs hospitality !:

"Confirmation that the Indian reaction, or, to be precise non-reaction was a result of inadequate combat capacity has also come through a small news item about two weeks after the tension between the two countries peaked. It noted that “a prominent member” of the standing committee of Members of the Indian Parliament told The Times of India newspaper that “in separate presentations in April, the Army, Navy and Air Force had reported that India’s superiority over Pakistan’s was barely 1: 1.2. It had come down from the 1: 1.7 it had during the 1971 war. The members of the committee were also told that “a short surgical strike, either against terrorist camps... or against strategic targets in Pakistan, was not possible [and that] the war was bound to be a prolonged one.” According to the report, the committee member said that “irrespective of its hard posturing, at no point of time had the Centre taken any decision to go to war. Its sole objective had been to draw the attention of the international community and mount pressure on Pakistan.


Later in the year in September 2002, after the crisis had waned, President Musharraf traveled to the US and in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, he had this to say about the crisis:

“… my military judgment was that they[Indians] would not attack us… It was based on the deterrence of our conventional forces. The force levels that we maintain, in the army, navy, air force is of a level, which deters aggression. Militarily…there is a certain ratio required for an offensive force to succeed. The ratios that we maintain are far above that – far above what a defensive force requires to defend itself....
So I was very sure that militarily, conventionally, [that] they are not going to attack us. It would be silly, because it's going to end in a stalemate. ...But thank God at the moment there is a conventional balance which deters aggression, which deters war in the region.”

Anonymous said...

Sir , but MILDS-F MAWS wont go on IAF Rafales . Thales IR based MAWS which are fitted on latest version of Rafale of Armee de le aire will be fitted on them. Standard fit of French airforce .MILDS-F will be fitted on upgraded Sukhoi-30UPG .

Erin Morris ( Fairfield, Connecticut) said...

@ Prashant

The medieval world cannot be compared with the modern world . 65 years ago a lot of countries in Asia like Japan , South Korea were exactly where India was. Today they are developed states & India remain third world . Fact is hetrogenous nations like India whose customs/traditions divide more than unite will continue to remain de facto failed states.

@ Anonymous 7:02

A homogenous population ( mostly Whites) bind the US and China ( mostly Hans); a common religion binds the EU . What binds India ? ZIp, zero , zilch . For every one step that India takes forward it takes several steps backwards. Armed forces are under the control of the Government who make the policies & not the armed forces themselves.

Anonymous said...

Prasun K. Sengupta
"To HEBERIAN: The former NSA is much more worse than a DICK."

please don't post you personal opinions,I'm not here for your personal opinions,I'm here for the real facts and the events that have happened. mishra certainly had access to tons of sensitive information to which no other commentator here has nor will ever have.if he has made a strange decision, than there are certainly some driving forces or some hard facts that forced mishra to take that decision,he cannot act alone and certainly cannot act in dark we have to uncover these facts so that we can comprehend as to what made mishra to act in a strange manner.without even knowing what ever has happened behind the curtains,standing up and claiming that he is a dick doesn't make him one,it will only make the name caller a dick.

Black Hawk said...

I have a few questions:

1. Why didn't we start aerial and naval operations against Pakistan? We could have started an artillery battle on land and ordered the IAF and IN to go all out against Pak. Then the nuclear threshold could not have been breached and Pak couldn't have used the TNW. At the same time, PAF and PN could have been severely mauled thus making Pak pay a price. Also as the PA would have remained unaffected, US operations in south Afghan wouldn't have been affected. So why didn't we do this or for that matter why don't we do this in future instead of cold start. Don't touch the Pak army but rip apart Pak navy and air force.

2. I have read Sundarji's book " Blind men of Hindustan". There he describes an attack on II corps with TNW. In that scenario, the entire armour of the corps on enemy territory is rendered ineffective at once. The attack also kills 20,000 men instantly. The entire offensive in Cholistan comes to a halt for at least a week as the local reserves are barely enough to contain a counter offensive by the enemy to push back the invaders across the border. If such a scenario had played out in 2002, what would have been our response? Where do you think India would have retaliated?

3. Do we have TNW comparable to the Chinese ones?

4. All of India's armour is concentrated with the south, south west and central commands. The northern command is infantry oriented and it's job is to save Akhnur and Jammu. So how did ammunition shortage affect it.

5. If Mumbai II happens and India decides to respond with force and is successful in humiliating the Paks, then what will follow will be a nightmare scenario for India. Pak will be a wounded beast yearning for revenge. Terror attacks will increase multifold in J&K and across India. They will be even more deadly. We cannot keep responding militarily against every such attack. This is a never ending cycle and will never stop unless the powers that be in Pak viz. the all powerful Pak army is completely vanquished along with the Jihadi infrastructure. This is unlikely to happen even in the distant future. So what should our approach be?

A few months back I happened upon a podcast of a seminar at Madras University's Dept. of Defence Studies where the above question was put to a Joint Secretary at R&AW. He said there was no use in reacting with force like USA or Israel. India will never be in a position to do so. He said the govt. had realised this and is taking measures to vastly improve our intelligence capability in Pak, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Gulf. The CIA and FBI are training our agencies in anti-terror intelligence ops. We are liaising with the agencies in the gulf especially Saudi and UAE to gather intelligence. He said crores are being spent to upgrade techint to monitor activities of terror suspects abroad and intercept satellite calls and other electronic traffic. Also human resource is being cultivated in various countries to infiltrate terror organisations. The overall aim is to detect and stop terror attacks in their planning stages itself. To strike back at the Paks, India is cultivating various tribes in Afghanistan and even some sections of the Taliban. Once NATO withdraws, the aim is to bring all these ethnicities together and make Afghanistan stable and bring it close to India strategically so that an India friendly Afghanistan that contests the Durand line will do to Pak what Pak did to India and we can use Afghanistan to irritate Pak like how China uses Pak to trouble us.

While this looks and sounds alright, these plans seem too defensive to me. Your comments please.

Anonymous said...

@"Erin Morris ( Fairfield, Connecticut)

"Fact is hetrogenous nations like India whose customs/traditions divide more than unite will continue to remain de facto failed states."

the world is too big kid,I'm quiet sure that one day you have will be forced to change your preconceived notions.

well,excuse us for not being like you dear,but ,if India falls in your definition of 'failed states' than that depicts your level understanding.

"What binds India ? ZIp, zero , zilch"
don't ponder to much over it,you will not be able to understand it no matter how much you think of it.

Anonymous said...

Is DRDO developing something to replace INSAS 5.56?
Why aren't the Indian Navy and Airforce equipped with large number of tactical nukes.........

Futuristic & Indigenous weapons with high quality and quantity may be solution to Pakistan problem.
We need to be strong and technologically advanced enough to inject special forces inside the enemy lines to capture and destroy all missile and air force.
We need to get back to ancient Indian science to find the secrets and try to develop what they had.If Nazis can believe it why can we.

Deshbhakth said...

To Errin Morris( If that's whom you really are) from Connecticut(If that's where you really are)

If you open your front door and take a walk down your street I bet you won't be five minutes before running into an African-American/Latino/East Asian/South Asian/Hispanic. By 2040, Whites will be in a minority in your country and English will not be the native tongue of the majority of your country men. Are we to assume that your country is heading towards becoming a failed state?

Economic growth is a very powerful uniting force. The various pseudo sub nationalities in India clearly understand that they can prosper only when they continue to remain in a union. No political party that wants separation from the union can prosper for long in any region except some places in the north east and J&K.

Now before you declare victory and start crowing, let me remind you that some political parties in the south especially in Tamil nadu wanted to separate from India in the 60s. This demand just did not enjoy public support and these parties ran out of steam and gave up their separatist agenda and entered mainstream politics. A similar situation is playing out in the north east. For so long those places were isolated. With economic growth people from there have started to migrate and experience the rest of India. Given thirty years, the people there and their region will be so integrated with the rest of the country that separation will look like a laughable proposition. At that time parties like ULFA, NSCN(IM) etc. will be history. Maybe their leaders will be cabinet ministers looking to earn bribes and fill their Swiss bank accounts rather than fight India for separation.

Mark my words. The same will happen in J&K. India might appear weak and defenceless against Paki terror for now. It might even look like Kashmir will certainly leave the union. But we will continue to hold out in spite of the terror. Given two generations, the people there will start moving to India in a big way and the region will be so integrated that the Hurriyat guys will become a laughing stock if they preach separation.

The lure of the prospect of earning fabulous wealth in a stable secular and democratic republic is too powerful to resist. All separatist agendas will be washed away like in a Tsunami. All that we need is time.

Anonymous said...

Sir , arent MAWS,IR and chaff dispensers all fitted in the aircraft - in the fuselage, embedded on the aircraft fairing, on wing tips ? Are they also fitted conformally in weapons pylons. As for Rafale , every part of the IDS,MAWS,RWR,RF lammer ,chaff and flare dispensers are fitted in the aircraft-on wings, fuselage , tail. Are the maws and flare dispensers in tail meant to augment the existing capabities. Starting in 2013 Rafae will be fitted with a new missile launch detector. Its an IIR sensor from Thales . All members of SPECTRA as well as other self defensive sensors of Rafale are there in the airframe .

Anonymous said...

Dear SIR

You have FORGOTTEN two important things

In 2001 02 USA and western world DIS NOT WANT India Pakistan war
because it would have affected their AFGHAN campaign

In 2008 Mumbai attacks when India wanted some retaliatory attacks on Pakis ; Govt of India and RAW were SURE of a CHINESE second FRONT being opened

This held back India and RIGHTLY SO

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir

Pakistan is DYING ON ITS OWN
SO why should we go to war with those idiots

Today nearly Four years after 26/ 11
when we look at Pakistan we can say that no body in India COULD HAVE IMAGINED that in 2012 Pakistan would be in such SHITTY state


Mr. Ra 13 said...

If the Indians were thinking of winning the future wars only, then they could never win any present wars. I think this dictum holds good even today. In military terms, one should be always ready to win the present wars.

I feel there were Hawks who wanted a real and fruitful war, but only subjective to the condition that Pak666 makes the first initiative strike. Such pretext was needed to justify the Hawks on all counts. Unfortunately Pakistan understood this and started acting as the most peace loving entity, then the whole purpose of the Army gathering was collapsed after a certain threshold.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.02PM: Well put.

To Anon@7.21PM: To get the answers which you seek, you ought to lay your hands on the autobiography of Gen Pervez Musharraf, called IN THE LINE OF FIRE. Everything’s explained there & with particular reference to OP Parakram, he says that the appreciation of GHQ was that India could only launch a limited offensive & that too by crossing the LoC and not the IB or WB. He also mentions that India was under no condition to launch a full-scale war. You therefore don’t need to go as far as reading about India’s assessments on Pakistan’s warfighting potential, since Gen Musharraf has himself revealed that Pakistan’s POL stocks were far too low (although there was no shortage of warfighting hardware) at that time to allow a full-scale or even a limited-scale offensive against India. So, go & read-up, for this thread is about OP Parakram & its aftermath, & not about Pakistan’s diplomatic prowess or India’s lack of it.

To MANOJ JOSHI: No apologies reqd at all, for I always welcome lengthy comments/observations that reflect objectivity & fair analysis. The first observation coming from MPs attached to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence is spot on & almost totally tallies with what I’ve stated above in my narrative. But what is glaringly brought out here is that the NDA govt never bothered to take the three armed services chiefs into confidence about the GoI’s intention of not going to war, meaning that the entire military mobilisation was only meant for show for the gullible (which Pakistan’s armed forces were most definitely not), this in turn only meaning that the gullible were the citizens of India and members of the three armed services. Had the COSC been asked to give their unified inputs on possible options for ratcheting up the pressure on Pakistan, far more saner & far expensive (in terms of cost & lives) options would have been available on the table. This is yet another example of why India requires a permanent Chief of Defence Staff so that vital inputs of a politico-military nature can be supplied to the CCNS when it comes to deliberating the higher directions for war & issues pertaining to national security management. And so is the second observation (Musharraf’s appreciation of the scenario), since the Pakistan Army too was acutely aware of the hardware deficiencies of its Indian counterpart & was therefore highly confident that an all-out conventional war was never a possibility. But most importantly, Gen Musharraf’s remarks confirm that the Pakistan Army still believes in maintaining operational parity with its Indian counterpart at all levels despite the nuclearised subcontinent, & consequently it will not be inclined to use its nuclear weapons at a very early stage, as has been wrongly speculated by many in the West. The Pakistan Army thus till this day remains a force to be reckoned with vis-a-vis India in the conventional warfighting arena. It is only the PAF and Pakistan Navy that are lagging far behind their Indian counterparts.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.36PM: In case you didn’t notice, this happens to be my personal blog & therefore, like it or not, you will have to endure my personal opinions. If the former NSA & PS to PM Vajpayee really wants to come clean, then like all self-respecting politicians/civil servants worldwide, he ought to put down his thoughts & recollections in writing & publish his memoirs. If he chooses not to do so, then he cannot escape from any kind of condemnation that is reaped upon him. He also has every right to give his side of the story in a blog that he can create, should he wish to. But by not doing so, & instead choosing to brand the former COAS Gen V K Singh as ‘insane’ & blindly accusing the Army HQ of leaking the contents of the letter written by the COAS to the PM on March 11, 2012 (when it has subsequently emerged that it was an official of the Union Cabinet Secretariat who had leaked the letter to the ‘desi’ mass-media), the former NSA to me is a certifiable ‘DICKHEAD’, period.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To DESHBHAKTH: I’m glad you’ve touched upon the subject of national integration through economic means. I myself have always believed that the best way of convincing others to believe in the concept of a united India is to make it worthwhile for them to stay in peace & prosperity within the Indian Republic. And the only way to achieve this is to increase the connectivity between various geographical parts of India, be it by road, rail or air, & also making credible gains in the upliftment of living standards in those states that lie along India’s territorial boundaries.

To Anon@7.29PM & Anon@8.23PM: For both the Rafale & Super Su-30MKI, the IAF has specified the MILDS-F MAWS.

To Anon@9.25PM: It was only the NDA govt that held back India. OP Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan was practically over by January 2002. And who says Pakistan is dying on its own? It is still receiving 70,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Saudi Arabia & the UAE & has been receiving them since 1998. But yes, Pakistan’s situation is far worse than that of present-day Afghanistan, & Pakistan is still home to 3 million Afghan refugees.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To BLACK HAWK: Excellent queries, and here are the answers:
1) As I have explained to Manoj Joshi above, there are always several options on the table, but these options can only surface if some civilian member of the CCNS ever bothers to ask the COSC members for their thoughts, inputs & suggestions. The problem on December 19, 2001 was that only one party (Mishra) was telling the three armed services what to do & was not in a mood to listen to what others had to say or ask. It was an entirely one-sided affair.
2) The scenario outlined by the late Gen K Sundarji is the worst-case nightmare scenario (i.e. Pakistan using TNWs inside its own sovereign territory against the invader & projecting this as an act of self-defence) that I had first discussed with the late General way back in February 1992 when he was briefly staying with me in Singapore during the Asian Aerospace 1992 expo. The truth is that under such circumstances it will be almost impossible for India to launch a full-scale retaliatory strike against Pakistan using boosted-fission or thermonuclear devices. The only available option would be for India to use TNWs against a corresponding Pakistani military target.
3) As of now (strangely) no TNWs are in India’s inventory.
4) HQ Northern Command was facing acute shortages of field artillery ammo as well as ATGMs.
5) If another 26/11 happens, India will not respond with force, since Pakistan itself now only admits that it too is under attack internally from the very same non-state actors/terrorists that seek to attack or have attacked India in the past. My personal assessment is that there won’t be any major state-sponsored terrorist act against any part of India for the next four to six years, since the Pakistan Army will be far too busy in Afghanistan & North Waziristan. But in the worst-case scenario that this were to happen, India can then, like what the US Congress recently did, openly declare its support for calls for an independent Baluchistan, & also openly extend political and financial support to the Shia Hazaras of Baluchistan & the Shias of Gilgit-Baltistan & exploit their separatist agendas. The idea here is to keep the counter-attacks at the sub-conventional level, instead of exercising strictly all-military offensive options.
6) I guess you’re referring to B. Raman. While preventive measures are all right, pro-active sub-conventional measures of the type I’ve stated above are more likely to produce the desired results. Whether Pakistan likes it or not, a stable Afghanistan will ALWAYS demand that the Durand Line be redrawn, that’s a given. The question then is how much land of present-day Pakistan will Kabul demand. Will it be FATA and the Pashtun part of Baluchistan, or both? Therefore, inside Afghanistan India should only continue to provide grassroots-level humanitarian aid, as opposed to massive securitised aid. Already, according to a poll, 76% of the Afghans believe that of all aid-donors to Afghanistan, it is India’s aid to Afghanistan’s civilian population that ranks No1 as being as the best. And if Pakistan is totally unable to latch on to Baluchistan (East Pakistan scenario redux), then India should join forces with the US to help create an independent Baluchistan (minus the Pashtun areas which can be gifted to Afghanistan), which in turn will give India access to Gwadar Port (thereby enabling India to distance itself from Iran & its port at Cha Bahar), which will at last enable India to establish a safe & reliable land corridor to Afghanistan & the Central Asian Republics.

Heberian said...

To anon @7 :36 pm

Mishra definitely had access to ALL the facts we had. However, you are assuming that people commenting here did not. He was/ is a not just a dick, but a total prick too."Woh sab baad mein bataenge".

@ "Erin Morris" -

Deshbhakt has a point, even though we are not "weak and defenceless" against terror.

I suggest you read Ramachandra Guha's book on on Indian history after 1947. No one would ever call India a failed state. Midly dysfunctional for sure, but then which social unit is not? Our political class does have a proclivity to ignore problem areas and not doing what needs to be done. But in the end, like the Commonwealth Games.. the show goes on. Quite well, I might add.

So yeah, dont worry about the Tamilians and Punjabis and Mizos and Assamese and Telgus.. like it or not, its all will still be subsets within the universal set of India.

@ Prasun - Thank you, as usual :)

Heberian said...

@ Deshbhakt

Seconding what Prasun said about transport infrastructure being essential for socio-economic upliftment, I will bring to your notice something JF Kennedy once said " It is not our wealth that built our Roads, but it is our roads that built our wealth"

Obviously, our politicians think otherwise..

Anonymous said...

"Mishra definitely had access to ALL the facts we had. However, you are assuming that people commenting here did not. "

can any one of these commentators tell me what went on in the corridors of power circle in new Delhi when mumbai was attacked, i want every inch of that information,everything that happened on minute by minute basis.the commentators here only speak of what was published in the media or what was made available to the media,there are tons of other classified information which will never be made public,if it ever makes it to public domain, it will threaten the national security of the country ,and those commenting here are oblivious to the other half of the story and assume that what ever they have heard is the complete truth.

if you are aware,more than 6 decades have passed by since the world war 2 ended,yet, even now
there are still many classified documents on what happened during the world war 2,and they will continue to maintain it as a secret.this holds good even in case of china-India war that took place in early 1960s.without ever knowing these secrets, we can never write the last chapter of the book,penning down and claiming some one as dick even when we all know that the big picture escapes the imagination is certainly absurd and only goes on to prove that the one calling names is just an ignorant fool.

"He was/ is a not just a dick, but a total prick too."

just to be clear,I'm not defending mishra,but to assume that he was some pain in the ass without even knowing the complete picture makes us all look like a fool.

SK said...

" no one wanted to talk about the nuclear weapons factor, as there are still several unresolved issues"

Could you elaborate more on unresolved issues ? Does the India have any tactical nukes in its arsenal.

"For the very first time in India’s history, approval was accorded for all three armed services chiefs to be given a series of no-holds-barred and on-site briefings by both the Dept of Atomic Energy and the Defence Research & Development Organisation at locations in Trombay and Hyderabad"

What do the 'strategic force' have under their command then ? Just the missiles minus the warheads ? Can't they have the warheads in a semi-assembled form at secure locations. Like say for example the triggering mechanisms could be held by a civilian dept and the warhead by the strategic forces.

Heberian said...

Anon @ 11.35 am -

I can accept the justification of your viewpoint because it is based on the singular assumption that all the commentators here were never really in the know of things (because they dont say more than they do?), however, I will try to exlpain my perspective:

1) You are right about us assuming things and thus looking like fools.But that only holds true if everything one types here is purely based on conjecture and hearsay.
2) As for your demand to know everything that happened during the Bombay attacks, you know better than that.. and how much can really be spelt out in public forums while keeping the mask of anonymity on?
3) Whatever happened in the corridors of power had on hallmark that is uniquely mostly ours.. that of vacillation and indecisiveness. The decisionmakers dont want to be be held responsible if their call goes wrong. And yes, much did transpire, including offers of help from others.
4) Many a times, historyy is unwittingly written by personalities. Mishraji was one such. Instead of pragmatism and cold decisivness, he chose prevarication and appeasment of various spineless vested interests over the interests of the nation. Not once, but many times.And many of his influences have not yet reached the public domain.

For the record, I am not saying Mishraji was a pain in the ass based just on heresay...

Lalith Yellapragada said...

Hi Prasun,

In reply to my post in your previous article you had said that Govt of India or Indian armed forces have never deployed BMD systems . I found Green Pine BMD radars using Google Earth .


SK said...

To Lalith Yellapragada
Greenpine Radars is only a element of BMD system (One greenpine is located at north-east of Bangalore another near Konark on north-east coast) A radar only detects a missile launch, for a BMD system to be complete it needs other components as well like tracking/guidance radars and interceptors. India needs a long way to go before the interceptors are developed, validated and deployed

Indranil said...

When we are talking of retaliatory or "surgical" strikes, why r we thinking of only air strikes or long range artillery or diplomatic offensives.
What if Hafiz Sayed's car gets rammed by a truck or if he is blown by a CIA drone strike or if Dawood Ibrahim is assasinated by Balochi or Shia insurgents? Wouldn't these be considered as "surgical" strikes?

Anonymous said...

Whats the reason behind Delhi's reluctance behind deploying TNW?

Anonymous said...

Sorry the above comment should read:

Whats the reason behind Delhi's reluctance in deploying TNW?

Unknown said...

Prasun, whilst I would love to have seen a military reponse to 26/11 do you not think there is a chance that this is exactly what the planners and perpretaors of the attacks in Paksitan wanted?? Who knows how the Paksitani leadership would have responded to any agression by India? As it is, unlike the US after 9/11, India still has the moral high-ground wrt Pakistan and still has the sympathy of the rest of the world- attacking a Muslim power would not do India much good IMHO.Also one can never rule out geograpchic issues in the context of India. The China factor is always present, who knows what China would have done on behalf of Pakistan had India done anything and who knows what could have happend in JK and the NE had India launched such military operations.

However do you forsee that in the future when the Indian armed forces are significanlty more cinventially powerful than the Pakistani convential military ie with 5th gen fighters and MMRCA and plenty of AWACS and the like not to mentionF-INSAS SSBNs and SSNs and plenty of SSKs and advanced destroyers that the Indian govt will be more willing to conduct aggresive realitory action against Paksitan?

Anonymous said...

Prasun saab, if another such attack like the one on the Parliament years ago or one like 26/11 pops up, what will be India's response if the perpetrators are clearly traced into Pakistan? Will we really go to war this time?

Rahul said...

Hi PRASUN, How can the detonation of a TNW wipe out an entire armour divison . T-72 , T-55 ,T-90 were designed keeping in mind the nuclear battelfield . Soviet designers designed T-72 in such a way thst it can survive the explosion and shock wave of a 5-6 kt TNW at a distance of 600 m from the centre if detination. BMP were designed accordingly. They can so withstand such shockwaves and transport troop safely un a NBC environment .
Why don't MRSAM and LRSAM batteries accompany the strike corps battle formations into hostile territory. Army needs to procure such sam systesms that can effectively intercept and bring down ALCM,LACM,TBM,NLOS-BSM from a safe distance .These systems must be based on high mobility TEL so that that can accompany the formations. Once tnw equipped cruise missiles and tbm are shit down the nuclear threat vanahes S-300V, S-400 ,PMU-3, land based Aster are viable solutions. Cities should also get an area defense BMD coverage. What's the status of AD-1,AD-2,PDV interceptors ?
How advanced is the PA , PAF radar and IADS network and how many sam systems does they deploy? What ARM do we field to disabl these systems ?
Why do Pakistan get 70 k barrels of crude oil every day free of cost? What other favours do they enjoy ?

Anonymous said...

Sir , it is for sure that IR MAWS will be there on IAF Rafale. IAF has not yet specified any thing. And also it dosent make any sense to go for a an inferior Maws. The standard Spectra suite will be there in its upgraded version.

spanky's Blog said...

Hi Prasun,
Very nice article!!!! Although I had guessed something similar from leaks in media, I never knew so much details.Thanks for bringing it out in public domain and with such minute details.


Vikram Guha said...

Prasun da,
Tarun Vijay said today that the Govt of India has asked Indian Army not to use force to evict Chinese soldiers who cross over into India.

As always would appreciate your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

hi prasun,

Consequently, the only conclusion I can reach is that Mishra, through his actions, was working more on the interests of some other ‘outside’ powers, and less about India’s.

Could you elaborate a little more?Possibilities? Hope these outside powers have not got to our bureaucracy.

AK said...

Hi Prasun , will the economic downturn force the MoD to sign Rafael deal next fiscal year ? The greater the delay the latter will the first Rafale enter into service . Once the deal is signed why can't Dassault rapidly supply some acs by building the IAF Rafales at their St Dizire facility for some period of time instead of building French ones. Acs can also be supplied from the French airforce fleet . Are there any chances ofHAL increasing its target of Rafales made per annum from 14 to 24 . When will the contract for Honeywell F125 turbofans be signed ? In the mosque Jaguar, there is a wide aperture at the very front . There are also two black coloured bulges in front of the cockpit on the upper part of nose. What is the aperture for FLIR and what are the two bulges ?

Unknown said...

Prasun, do you give much weight to the recent reports that the MMRCA deal will be scrapped because of the (slight) economic slowdown right now?

Anonymous said...

To AK and Unknown above:

The report seems to me as speculative.But I wont be surprised if it is signed next financial year.Yes indeed MMRCA delay will cause many problems.But this is what can be expected form our politicains and specialy UPA.This Govt. is full of nonsense.Economy at 5.5%.Even in worst time in 2009 recession, it was 5.9% at the lowest.AK antony doesnt give a damn if defence deals are cancelled or delayed indefinitely...He is a higly incompetant person...Has anyone seen him talking in TV...He cant even speak clearly..Lolz..defence minister of our country

Mr. Ra 13 said...

I hope these ‘outside’ powers are not the Mothership Aliens. Lol...

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To HEBERIAN: VMT. Here’s another interesting development:
By the way, Shipping Corp of India has already spent Rs.280 crores for dredging the sea lane. What a waste!

To SK: The unresolved issues did not relate to the developmental or availability status of nuclear weapons. Rather, there was dissent about the probability of official involvement by Pakistan’s state organs (like the military) in the 26/11 carnage, especially since this incident happened when the then Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was in Delhi. I too am inclined to believe that the 26/11 carnage was not authorised by any official organ of the Govt of Pakistan. Instead, non-state actors, including ex-Pakistani military personnel, were involved & they essentially jumped the gun, i.e. while they were mentored & trained by Pakistan’s military to carry out such acts at a future date, these non-state actors did not wait for the green light & consequently went ‘rogue’. It was very similar to how Ilyas Kashmiri turned against Gen Musharraf & plotted the latter’s assassination.
Regarding TNWs, there are none in India’s arsenal at the moment. India’s Strategic Force Command (SFC) retains command-and-control of India’s nuclear arsenal only in the event of being authorised to do so. In peacetime on any given day, the SFC is the not the custodian of nuclear weapons or their components. For the Agni family of ballistic missiles, it is the Directorate-General of Field Artillery that is the sole custodian of such assets, while the DAE is the sole custodian of the fissile n-cores, while the DRDO is the sole custodian of the triggering devices. What this means is that in peacetime, if anyone from the SFC wants physical access to the Agni family of missiles, he/she cannot do so unless they receive explicit permission from Chairman of COSC. That’s why the SFC does not have its dedicated cadre of personnel for either operating or guarding the ballistic missiles; all personnel guarding, maintaining & manning the missiles are from the Army’s designated Artillery Regiments. The same practice applies for air-delivered gravity bombs. As for the nuclear command-and-control chain, it is the PM that has the two sets of activation codes (one reqd for purposes of assembling the warheads & integrating them with the delivery vehicle—this being done by the DAE & DRDO, & the other for their launch), which—once the shit hits the fan—are passed on sequentially (first for assembling the warheads & readying the launch vehicles, followed some time later for their liftoff) to the National Security Advisor who, in turn, passes them on to the Chairman of the COSC (the other two armed services chiefs won’t be on the loop) and who in turn passes them on to the C-in-C of the SFC. Only then can the SFC acquire access to the relevant Artillery Regiments that are custodians for the delivery vehicles. For those ready-to-launch SLBMs (once they become available in future), new command-and-control guidelines will have to be drafted. Right now, adhering to the no-first-strike option means that a retaliatory n-strike can be staged within a week or even after two weeks.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To LALITH YELLAPRAGADA: Well, good for you! But they’re still the DRDO’s property as of now & as SK has explained, it will take a long time before they become the property of the armed forces. Until then, they will remain as mere instruments for experimentation, & not for any operational usage.

To INDRANIL: The scenarios you’ve suggested will come under sub-conventional warfare, or black-ops of the type whose responsibility will never be claimed by anyone. The mere fact that only air-strikes and long-range artillery fire-assaults were discussed in late November 2008 was because at that time India’s armed forces did not have the requisite tools for waging sub-conventional warfare. And as I have stated above, this was the very reason why the Director of IB & Secretary of R & AW were not present at that meeting. Had sub-conventional warfare been an option (i.e. if India possessed the ‘killer instinct’), then these two officials would definitely have been present at that meeting.

To Anon@7.02PM: There’s no reluctance. The delivery tools like the supersonic LRCM & subsonic Nirbhay are still under development.

To UNKNOWN: That could well have been the motive of the 26/11 planners. But at the same time, sub-conventional warfare options could have been exercised, provided they were available & had been well-rehearsed. A swarm of loitering drones armed with HE-frag warheads could easily have been sent over the Baitul Mujahideen HQ in Muzzaffarabad, whose location is well-known to everyone concerned, followed by the IAF going on a high state of alert. India could have easily invoked the doctrine of self-defence the same way as the US did when it began firing Hellfires from its Predators against insurgents/terrorists holed up in FATA.
The kind of military superiority that you’re suggesting will be available to India in only the 13 Defence Plan (2023-2027). One doesn’t have to wait that long. Asymmetric warfare cannot be waged with conventional forces & means. One has to find a corresponding & proportional asymmetric response, something only sub-conventional war options can offer.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@8.06PM: No. India won’t, because India can’t. If India acquires the same kind of military might as the US, then it will. After all, it takes quite a lot of guts & resources to invade and conquer two countries in sequence (Afghanistan & Iraq) after the enemy has levelled only two buildings (the WTC twin towers) & partially damaged another (the Pentagon). In any case, the Indian Army’s war preparedness will be at very low levels for as long as it continues to shoulder the burden of fighting terrorism & getting involved in internal counter-insurgency operations, since such operations tend to distract the Army from its core functions. Even raising the four additional Infantry Divisions & a new Mountain Corps HQ won’t make much difference, since it will only add extra manpower (which is already available if the 63,000 Rashtriya Rifles personnel are relieved of their counter-insurgency duties & are returned back to their respective units/formations), & this in turn will affect the Army’s teeth-to-tail ratio by forcing the Army to spend more on pay & allowances and less on new weapons procurement. Already now, 80% of the Army’s annual budget is being spent on pay & allowances, while only 20% is available for weapons purchases. The only way to reverse this is to adopt a new mindset, which is the real transformation that ought to take place, instead of what is being tinkered with at present.

To RAHUL: Soviet-era weapons were designed for usage with Soviet-era military doctrines, which called for waging conventional war even in NBC environment, i.e. carrying on fighting & advancing irregardless of sustaining losses from TNWs. Just because India imported similar Soviet-era weapons does not mean that India also imported the Soviet-era warfighting doctrine. There is no military doctrine existing within either India or Pakistan which says that Indian or Pakistani military forces & their equipment will be required to fight in a NBC-contaminated environment and attain their objectives. The stark truth is that in the event of TNW detonation/s on the battlefield, the conventional war will stop in its tracks (exactly as the late Gen K Sundarji had explained in his book THE BLIND MEN OF HINDOOSTAN). The war domain would then immediately change & require an entirely different kind of response, which the Army’s field commanders will not be aware of.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SPANKY’s BLOG/SWAROP: VMT. Even more interesting is what emerged after OP Parakram, i.e. lessons learnt & how HQ Southern Command conceived of the idea of Integrated Battle Groups & what exactly it all entailed. I still have to get some critical inputs from Gen (Ret’d) Paddy Padmanabhan (will do that in the near future after visiting him in Chennai) on some issues in order to get a better perspective. Gen Padmanabhan, by the way, was the topper of the NDA’s 15th course & in the history of post-independent India’s Indian Army, I place him in the same level as Gens Thimmaya & K Sundarji (in terms of being visionary & audacious).

To VIKRAM GUHA: If that’s what Tarun Vijay has indeed said, then he truly deserves the distinction of being called a certified dickhead/prick. For he doesn’t understand the difference between ‘transgression’ and ‘encroachment’. Whenever the PLA’s Border Defence Regiment (BDR) personnel come inside what India perceives to be her territory, they do so for very short periods (not more than a few hours) & return back. That’s what called a ‘transgression’, & no force is reqd to evict them since they go back on their own accord. On the other hand, when the BDR personnel permanently occupy positions that were earlier occupied by the Indian Army (as is the case with Sumdorong Chu), it is ‘encroachment’. The Indian Army is under orders since 1987 not to evict those BDR personnel that have permanently encroached in Sumdorong Chu. And since then there have been no other incidents of encroachments of this type, the question of evicting anyone doesn’t even arise.

To Anon@10.12PM & Mr.RA 13: The ‘outside’ powers are those that are interested in keeping the Tibetan issue alive & use it as a pinprick against both Delhi & Beijing whenever it suits them. And one of those powers, the UK, has since changed its stance about Tibet (i.e. supporting Beijing’s sovereignty over what China refers to as Greater Tibet, as opposed to present-day TAR) probably in order to obtain something back in return.

To AK & UNKNOWN: They’re all just malicious rumours. Everything’s on track. The GDP growth rate figures are all based on declared revenue earnings/expenditure. Once one includes the earnings/expenditure of the undeclared ‘parallel economy’, things are not that bad, although there’s plenty of scope for improvement.

To Anon@11.42PM: A K Antony alone cannot approve or disapprove of any procurement contracts. In the Union Cabinet, whatever any Minister proposes has to be seconded by another Minister or the PM. Without a vote of two, nothing can proceed. Therefore, singling out just one Minister for non-performance is wrong. It’s a team effort & the entire Union Cabinet is to be held accountable for such collective decisions. It is not Antony’s fault that of the 73 strategic roads approved for construction by A B Vajpayee way back in 2001, only 13 have been built so far.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@8.35PM: First, read the RFP. Then comment on what will & will not be on board the IAF's Rafales.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

I have inserted the following paragraph to the narrative above in order to give more clarity to the disconnect prevailing between the civil & military decision-makers back in 2002, & the grave consequences of such a disconnect:

The world would well have bought the NDA government’s ‘coercive diplomacy’ argument as a well-meaning one had Mishra from the very outset taken the three armed service chiefs into confidence and stated that an all-out war as never an option meant to be exercised. Instead, the idea was just to raise a lot of dust, heat and noise throughout the IB, WB and LoC, all of which would compel the international community to ratchet up the heat on Pakistan. If only all this had been communicated by Mishra to the three armed services chiefs on December 19, 2001, then everyone would have been on the same page, the IA’s, IAF’s and IN’s top-brass would not have been required to persistently try to refine their respective war-plans (especially the Army’s audacious deployment of all its three Strike Corps in the Thar Desert), and consequently Beijing would not have felt the urgent need to send a detachment of the 2nd Artillery Corps equipped with TNWs to Pakistan. Instead, what happened was that the NDA government kept India’s armed forces insulated from the national security decision-making loop, which consequently resulted in the IA upping the ante by trying to retain the operational initiative between March and May 2002, which in turn compelled China to not trust India’s earlier word (about not forcing an all-out war on Pakistan) and rush to Pakistan’s assistance in a last-ditch effort to prevent both India and Pakistan from dangerously climbing the escalatory ladder to war any further. In China’s eyes, therefore, India could not, once again, be trusted to keep her word. The consequences of such a folly on India’s part are bound to be enormous.

Mr. Ra 13 said...

Is it not possible that the Hawks wanted the things only in the way as suggested by you above. It may be possible that the Doves took it in some other manner and Dr Rice understood it in the third manner and the Chinese acted in the fourth way and the things reached nearest to the Armageddon.

SK said...

VMT for the patient elaborate answer. It raised another question, 1-2 weeks waiting period for response after a Nuclear attack looks to great to me. A lot can happen in two weeks, international pressure will be stepped up to restrain from using the N-option among others....the usual spineless leadership might buckle under it. Which then questions the so called "Indian Nuclear Detterent".

In your opinion do you feel the present procedure & structure for Nuclear retaliatory strike is adequate ? Of course the scenario changes drastically ones the SLBM on SSBN become available.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Mr.RA 13: It is entirely possible. Something similar to what transpired during the Cuban missile crisis.

Anil Kumar said...

Hi Prasun,

Can the RFP for the MMRCA / Rafael be read anywhere online ?


dashu said...

what is this all about

Rahul said...

Hi Prasun , You didnt get what i said. I am not talking about India adopting docttines from USSR . I am just saying that T-72,T-90 tanks can survive a TNW attck as well as from other tactical weapons upto 6 kt. These tanks have NBC flitration systems which ensures that the crew inside remains safe in case of a radioactive fallout. The BMP series has also been designed by USSR keeping this in mind. So the tanks getting destroyed by TNW in masses will not take place .

And pls be kind enough so as to answer this:Why don't MRSAM and LRSAM batteries accompany the strike corps battle formations into hostile territory. Army needs to procure such sam systesms that can effectively intercept and bring down ALCM,LACM,TBM,NLOS-BSM from a safe distance .These systems must be based on high mobility TEL so that that can accompany the formations. Once tnw equipped cruise missiles and tbm are shit down the nuclear threat vanahes S-300V, S-400 ,PMU-3, land based Aster are viable solutions. Cities should also get an area defense BMD coverage. What's the status of AD-1,AD-2,PDV interceptors ?
How advanced is the PA , PAF radar and IADS network and how many sam systems does they deploy? What ARM do we field to disable these systems ?
Why do Pakistan get 70 k barrels of crude oil every day free of cost? What other favours do they enjoy ?

There have been some reports that phase 1 of BMD will protect Delhi and Mumbai. So is this true and if so when will it take place ?

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

If another 26/11 happens, India u said should join forces with the US to help create an independent Baluchistan (minus the Pashtun areas which can be gifted to Afghanistan).
How do you think this will happen and in what time frame? Also wat abt Pakistan using TNWs inside its own sovereign territory against the invader(this case the US and india) & projecting this as an act of self-defence? Will the US counter this by warning China?
Also then we can keep gilgit baltistan ourselves then.

Anonymous said...

Prasun saab, a friend of mine told me that the first batches of production-grade Nirbhay LACMs will be deployed on the N.E. border against china, is it true?

Vikram Guha said...

Prasun Da,

The PMO's office has decided not to raise a mountain strike corp because it fears that will invite a Chinese aggression the PIONEER reported today.


Sayan said...

Sir ,
When will Nirbhay LACM make it's debut ? As reported many times by DRDO spokepersons when will Tomahawk type land launched cruise missile be showcased to the public ? Why hasn't yet IAF and IA placed bulk orders of LrSAM ? What is the use of deploying 25 km range Akash sam to protect NE bases when all the attacks to be made against them will be made from outside this range with the launch ac a long distance away . Also what's the logic of deploying Akash mk1 to protect Pune & Gwalior airbases ? What is the missile complex outside Hyderabad ? Is the BDL expanding it's production facilities to cater to huge Akash orders and upcoming LRSAM .

Anonymous said...


The GDP growth rate figures are all based on declared revenue earnings/expenditure. Once one includes the earnings/expenditure of the undeclared ‘parallel economy’.

Can you please help me understand what is this ‘parallel economy’.


Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SK: Most definitely it is far from adequate. India definitely not kept up with the likes of Pakistan & China in evolving a functional & credible command-and-control system for strategic weapons. Pakistan has chosen the easier route, i.e. adopting the templates & protocols of the PLA’s 2nd Artillery Corps, and consequently has a dedicated force of 18,000 military personnel belonging to the Special Response Force (SRF) that’s guarding the country’s strategic assets. The SRF in turn reports directly to the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), the Secretariat for the National Command Authority. In India’s case, there’s nothing of the type. Right now, only US-trained CISF units are attached to the DAE & DRDO for guarding the components for the n-devices, while the missiles & their launchers are under the IA’s Directorate of Field Artillery. CISF reports to the Union MHA, while the armed forces report to the MoD. The IA had some time back suggested the creation of a Strategic Command with its own dedicated cadre of military personnel (like Pakistan’s SRF) under which all the existing strategic Missile Groups (like 333, 444, etc) would be consolidated & report to the SFC, which in turn will report to the Chairman of the COSC. This well-meaning & functional proposal has not yet been accepted & consequently, the Missile Groups are all attached to the Army’s three Artillery Divisions. Therefore, in conclusion, what India has so far is just a demonstrated capability to field strategic weapons, but not the demonstrated intent to put them to use should the need arise. China & Pakistan, on the other hand, have in place both demonstrated capabilities & intent. To me, this is a far more glaring deficiency, rather than the usually spineless national leadership. The other glaring lacunae is the lack of adequately trained military personnel from all three armed services required by the SFC for monitoring the strategic targetting processes, which is a 24/7 job. Such personnel are reqd for matching the weapons with their respective targets by deciding which is the best weapons delivery platform (like ALCM, GLCM, TBM, IRBM, MTBM or ICBM or SLBM) & what would be their respective crossover points. The US Defense Dept runs a 3-month course on this subject, but the only person I know of who had attended such a course from India was the former IN CNS Admiral (Ret’d) Vishnu Bhagwat. There may be more, I hope.

To ANIL KUMAR: Nope, it is not available on-line, although I personally believe that they ought to be posted on-line, as many other countries do.

To DASHU: Well, I sure hope that the Govt of India knows what it has been doing, notwithstanding its track-record thus far.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To RAHUL: Of what use will be such MBTs & ICVs & their crews even if they survive a TNW attack? What about their fuel suppliers? What about their ammunition replenishers? What about the food & water suppliers for the crews? What about their field kitchens & field hospitals? None of them have NBC filtration systems. The fact therefore remains that in the event of a TNW blast against a major ground formation, the entire war effort on land (in India’s case) will grind to a total halt. That’s why I had mentioned the importance of doctrine. According to Soviet military doctrine, WW-3 was to last for only five days, with the first four days involving conventional warfare & the fifth day being Armageddon. And even if TNWs were employed by NATO, they still would not be able to stop 44,000 MBTs of the Warsaw Pact. In other words, the USSR had planned to survive the usage of TNWs & still win the conventional war. And what is all this about MR-SAMs & LR-SAMs accompanying the strike corps battle formations into hostile territory? No formation of the IA has any MR-SAMs or LR-SAMs at the moment. ALCMs & LACMs are never used against land-mobile targets or formations, but against permanently fixed installations. LR-SAMs are not mounted on high-mobility TELs nor are they responsible for battlefield air-defence. They’re meant for area air-defence & that too for fixed installations. Provision of air-defence beyond the fire-support coordination line is the air force’s responsibility. Hostile NLOS-BSMs will have to be countered by endo-atmospheric interceptors like the AD-1 & AD-2, which are still years away from deployment.

To Anon@7.47PM: Well, obviously I’m no prophet & therefore can’t foresee the future, but certain US-based think-tanks have visualised a scenario that by 2025 Pakistan will suffer a catastrophic break-up & will disintegrate. Today we’re witnessing total lawlessness in Baluchistan, FATA & parts of Karachi, & even Pakistan’s armed forces cannot seem to get a grip on the situation. In the recent past, in just one day, 2,000 RPG rocket-grenades were fired against the Pakistan Rangers & police forces in a suburb of Karachi & targetted killings continue unabated as if it was downtown Baghdad. If all this carries on, then the future is indeed bleak for Sindh province. As for Pakistan using TNWs inside its own sovereign territory against an invader, it all depends on what kind of military campaign the invader might wish to wage. I don’t foresee the Indian Army marching deep into Pakistan to capture a huge chunk of territory. Instead, it will likely be the capturing of small pockets of land, most likely in southern Punjab, southeast Sindh, or in POK—something that will not be provocative enough to necessitate the usage of TNWs.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@9.42PM: If the Nirbhay is nuclear-armed, then it will be foolhardy to have it deployed to any area close to the China-India border, since air bases & ground-based launch sites can easily be targetted by pre-emptive strikes by the enemy. Therefore, any nuclear arsenal of India will more likely be safely located/housed within India’s hinterland.

To VIKRAM GUHA: There were never any plans for raising a Mountain Strike Corps. That was the creation of the ‘desi’ media & it was pure disinformation. What is being raised after securing GoI’s clearance is a new Mountain Corps HQ, which will be located at Panagarh. And the four newly-raised Divisions will all be trained equipped (with new field artillery howitzers, MBRLs, armoured/mechanized hardware, UAVs, etc to go on the offensive, if & when reqd. What the ‘desi’ journalists are missing (& have therefore failed to report or analyse) is the significance of re-designating the IA’s existing 54th Infantry Division as an Air-Assault Division, which will make use of the IAF’s newly-acquired C-130J-30s & Mi-17V-5s & will be usable against either China or Pakistan (i.e. omni-directional).

To SAYAN: When? Only Dr V K Saraswat can give you a firm date about Nirbhay’s debut. Bulk orders for the Barak-2 LR-SAM have already been placed by the IN & IAF. BDL will not make the LR-SAM, NOVA Integrated Systems Pvt Ltd (JV between IAI & TATA) will produce them.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Will someone kindly step in & have the honour of explaining to Anon@1.19AM what ‘parallel economy’ in the Indian context stands for? VMT.

Heberian said...

Anon@ 1:19 am -

"Black money" explains "Parallel Economy".

Some articles you might want to read :

Sayan said...

Sir , Only orders for about 432 LRSAMs have been places by IAF . This is far away from the bulk procurement of Akash SAM worth 24000 crore . IAF purchasing six squadrons after 2 initially ordered . Can you pls give the exact no of Barak - 8 missiles ordered , the no of squadrons they will make . My figures may be wrong . IS IAF PROCURING BARAK-8 & IA BARAK-2 AS THEY HAVE ORDERED AKASH MK1.It would have been better if LRSAM would have been purchased in same nos.

What is the use of deploying 25 km range Akash sam to protect NE bases when all the attacks to be made against them will be made from outside this range with the launch ac a long distance away . Also what's the logic of deploying Akash mk1 to protect Pune & Gwalior airbases ? What is the missile complex outside Hyderabad .

Anonymous said...

sir ,
regarding the 54 air assault division i have a few ques..
1) will this division be parachute qualified or only air assault qualified ??
2)since this will be a specialized division so will the brigades , battalions constituting the division regularly rotate(incurring continous training costs)..or will they have permanent units ?
3) & BTW sir , isn't it that each indian army infantry officer is air assualt qualified(they learn that at JLW belgaum & CIJW)..
4)& sir , u talk about the 4 new divsions being equipped with new ICVs , MBRLs , UAVs , howitzers.. but where is the equipment..i don't recall any new orders for any such new divisions..thus it mean the army will just be pooling/milking its existing inventory ?

Anonymous said...

Prasun Da,
When upgradation of Mirage-2000 fighters will complete only by year 2021,why IAF is purchasing MICA? Why not Meteor which would be ready by then.
Will the upgraded Mirages equipped with Mica be venurable to SD-10 equipped JF-17s?

Rahul said...

Hi Prasun , can you pls give some more details on 54th Infantry division . When will its transformation be complete ? Will it be a Rapid Reaction Force like the ones of PLA in TAR ? Uptill now the various equipments that the 54th infantry divison used- Insas assult rifles, 9mm pistol , grenades ,rocket launchers,etc , will the same equipments be used ? Or new weapons systems such as assault rifles, rocket launchers,bulletproof vests,NVGs are to be provided ? IAF has bought 80 Mi- 17v5 to replace its older Mi-8s. So when the air assault division is operational additional transport acs will be needed. From where will this come ? What is the no of combat ready troops in this division ?

Anonymous said...


Is this the Land launched Tomahawk type cruise missile or the air launched one ? It is mentioned , "It’s official. The ‘fearless’ missile is ready to be test-fired. If the United States has the Tomahawk, India will have its ‘Nirbhay’, the 1,000-km range subsonic cruise missile, which will be test-fired for the first time next month. " The air lauched Nirbhay is a supersonic missile with a 400-500 km range. It doesnt have a 1000 km range. So is this the Tomahawk type lacm and answer to Babur cruise missile ? Pls tell about it .

SherKhan said...


I saw a report by a US think Tank. It said that in another 20-30 years India's population will be touching 2 Billion mark. The internal pressures will lead to the formation of many new nation states or civil war where cities like Mumbai will push the outsiders out.

Not sure how accurate your or my US think tanks are but one thing is a fact. Pakistan has been proving think tanks and great mind wrong since its inception.

DS said...

Dear Mr.Prasun Sengupta,

I prepare forecasting reports about various military hardwares just like Frost & Sullivan. Recently I have prepared a forecasting report on PGMs ( 2013 - 2020 ) . Can you please let me know where in India or elswhere can I sell this report.


Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,

Is it true that the GOI make use of the IB and state CIDs to carry out political espionage and if so how much could it benefit from it.Why the state govt is not interested in protest as it is abuse of the govt machinery

Mr. Ra 13 said...

During 2003 who in USA decided to attack the Iraq in place of Pakistan. This so, because I feel that Bush and Donald Rumsfeld then were interested only in attacking Pakistan.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.34PM: Just read this:
The topmost poster on that thread very clearly states the speed (Mach 0.7) of the strategic missile (Nirbhay) & it will be air-launched from the Su-30MKI. 400km/500km-range is tactical, whereas 1,000km-range is strategic. Therefore, the supersonic LRCM will not be Nirbhay. The UAV to be powered by Laghu Shakthi turbofan will be of the loitering type & it will be armed with PGMs like the rocket-powered version of Sudarshan LGB, now under development by ARDE. Therefore, Nirbhay won’t be a loitering ALCM.

To SHERKHAN: Let’s both hope that no matter whose think-tanks they may be, that they’re both wrong in their assessments & forecasts. I don’t see India’s population touching the 2 billion mark. May be 1.5 billion by 2030 but after that the population growth should register a declining trend. On an average, new states are created WITHIN the Indian Union once every 7 years, something which Pakistan now wants to emulate for good reasons.

To DS: Well, for a start your prospective customers should be those global OEMs that are involved in the bulk production of PGMs.

To Anon@12.26AM: Of course it is done both at the federal- and state-levels. No one is holier-than-thou. It has been the case since the days of the British Raj. It is the professional job of any police force to compile constituency-wise population profiles for the maintenance of law-and-order, & the collateral benefits all such information are passed on to the ruling-class politicians for a fee. Who do you think does your police verification whenever you have to apply for a passport in India? The Police, or IB?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To SAYAN: Orders for guided-missiles are always placed in successive tranches. The Akash Mk1 & Barak-2 LR-SAM are no exceptions. The IA’s reqmt is for M-SAM with a range not exceeding 40km and for that the Akash Mk2 using higher energetic propellant is being developed. The IAF is procuring Akash Mk1s in a hurry as it wants to replace its 25km-range S-125A Pechoras ASAP. There are various types of SAM deployment patterns that can enable the Akash Mk1 to be sited in-depth even 75km away from the air bases. Therefore, it does not mean that Akash Mk1 will be able to protect an air base only out to 25km.
Pune & Gwalior are the two places where the Akash Mk1’s TETTRA-type training schools are. These are the incubators from which successive Akash Mk1 squadrons will be borne & nurtured.

To Anon@9.06AM: 54th Infantry Division will be re-structured & re-equipped as an Air-Assault Division, & NOT an Airborne Division. Equipment reqmts for the newly raised four Mountain Warfare Divisions are being sourced mainly from the IA’s war-wastage reserves. This is what has caused the equipment shortages within the IA. This has been going on since 1993 when the 63 Battalions of Rashtriya Rifles was raised using the Army’s own internal resources—money & hardware. The IA’s war-wastage reserves started declining from then on.

To Anon@10.34AM: Guided-munitions for combat aircraft are also acquired in successive tranches under supplementary contracts, and not in one go.

To RAHUL: 18,000-strong 54th Infantry Division will be re-structured & re-equipped as an Air-Assault Division, & NOT an Airborne Division. It will be a rapid deployment formation, much like the PLA’s heliborne ‘Fist’ forces. For this Air-Assault Division, new lightweight weapons will be reqd. Bulletproof vests are never borne by any regular infantry forces. Only flak jackets are worn. Additional Mi-17V-5s & the CH-47Fs will be procured for heliborne transportation. The 145 LW-155 39-cal/155mm howitzers are also being bought as integral field artillery assets for this Division.

Ravi said...


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