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Friday, January 8, 2010


Cadre strength in Bihar is going to increase by 22.


In the wake of ongoing restructuring in Border Security Force (BSF) six posts of IG are going to increase.

Emerging India: Insecure and unsafe


Colonel Anil A Athale (retd) says India's [ Images ] indifference to strategic and defence requirements can cost it dear. A two-part column:
A student of military history would be justified in feeling a sense of deja vu at recent happenings. Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf [ Images ] disclosed that he used American aid not against terrorists but to bolster Pakistani capabilities against India. Our leaders then go ballistic and beseech the Americans!
Cut to April/May 1965 -- Pakistan used the Patton tanks against India in the Rann [ Images ] of Kutch -- we spend time and energy in taking photographs and again go to the Americans.
As in 1962, we seem to downplay Chinese intrusions -- not unlike the famous Nehruvian jibe about Aksai Chin that not a blade of grass grows there!
To cap it all is the recent disclosure by nuclear scientist Dr K Santhanam, that the May 1998 thermonuclear test was less than 100 percent successful has fuelled a much needed debate on our security and defence preparedness. Dr Santhanam is a scientist connected with India's nuclear programme and his views have to be taken seriously. Since 1998, India has openly shifted from 'defence' to 'deterrence' as cornerstone of its security policies.
India did not have much choice in the matter. In the decade of 1980s a reckless US supplied weapon systems to Pakistan (the F-16s) which in turn for the first time gave that country reach and bomb weight to pose a direct threat to Indian cities. Our nuclear reactors came under threat. Thus should Pakistan have so chosen it could target these and virtually 'nuke' India?
The critics of 1998 Pokhran II and an overt Indian nuclear posture to 'deter' this attack, ignore this reality. All that the 'Shakti' tests did was to go for overt in place of 'covert deterrence', itself a contradiction in terms. Ten years have passed and during this time these theories were severely tested and a comprehensive debate ought to be welcome.
While the attention of Indians and the world is focussed on the economic progress of our country, the age-old weakness of our civilisation -- the neglect of the security dimension, casts a long dark shadow on our future.
India is unique in several ways -- unlike other countries, in India ardent and idealist 'peace lobbies' are part of mainstream politics and not on the fringes as in all other countries of the world. In its 5,000-year-old history, India has produced treatises on virtually every subject on the earth, from astronomy, medicine to even sex, but we do not have a single major work on warfare or the art of war.
Time and again our use of war elephants was shown to be ineffective, yet we persisted in it.
We were the first to use war rockets in the 18th century, but never developed them to make them bigger, longer or more effective. Intellectuals stayed away from the war strategy and weapons.
We refused to change with the times.
In the nuclear age as well we seem to be repeating our dismal history. The new 'mantra' is minimum deterrence and second strike capability as panacea solution to face all threats. India went wrong in Kargil [ Images ] in 1999 when we realised that the proxy aggression 'used 'the nuclear umbrella while we lulled ourselves.
The 2002 Operation Parakaram in the wake of the attack on Parliament as well as our inability to react to the Mumbai [ Images ] attacks on 26/11 showed the limits of our retaliatory capability.
Through successful use of rhetoric and threats, Pakistan neutralised our conventional response.
Now over the last 10 years it has become an established pattern of behaviour on our part. Our strategy of retaliation with surgical strikes or the new strategy of 'cold start' remains moribund and ineffective for the enemy believes and rightly so, that we lack the will and wherewithal to implement it.
Our conventional retaliation strategy lacks 'credibility' and therefore is no deterrent. The issue is not of mere 'will' either. India lacks the overwhelming technological/numerical superiority to implement this. For instance, Israel has been successfully employing 'threat of retaliation' as a deterrent to proxy or terrorist threats. Israeli technical prowess makes it a credible threat and its past behaviour has established its will to act.
In 1773, the small kingdom of Thanjavur was threatened by the combined forces of the Karnataka [ Images ] nawab and the British. As enemy troops massed outside the city, the high priests of the famed Thanjavur temple assured the king that their 'mantra' was powerful enough to defeat the invaders, and went on to sprinkle the water sanctified by the 'mantra' to stop the invasion! Of course the 'mantra' failed and the kingdom was annexed by the British.
Today we have the high priests of nuclear strategy in Delhi [ Images ] similarly chanting the 'mantra' of no first use and minimum deterrence! Will the result be any different than at Thanjavur in the 18th century?
An analysis of why 'we are like that only' is necessary so that we can rectify this fatal flaw in our national psyche.
The Diagnosis: What ails Indian thinking on defence?
We are a peculiar nation that is obsessed with the 'eternal truth' while we ignore the 'practical' or the realistic world. Carl Jung, the Swedish psychologist visiting India about a century ago, had remarked about this and felt (as a Westerner) as if the whole country lived in a trance or maya or illusion.
Let me illustrate. It is a fundamental belief of Indians that there are no evil beings only evil deeds and fundamentally the atman or the soul is universal and part of the divine in all of us.
While this is so, yet there are evil individuals, for instance the terrorists who mercilessly killed hundreds in Mumbai or have been planting bombs in busy trains and markets. We have to deal with this evil ruthlessly. But what do the Indians do? We question every action of the police/armed forces, we have karuna or pity for the Mumbai terrorists.
The list of our foundational weaknesses is a long one. Here I would just mention it and leave the rest to the reader's imagination.
  • We tend to think that security is the sole prerogative of the armed forces and police.
  • Divorce between theorists and practitioners -- it is politically incorrect to think of national security in academia -- the British implanted a colonial mindset whereby Indians were kept out of this vital area. Even 62 years after independence this persists.
  • The lack of strategic culture -- in case of nuclear strategy we have scientists as strategists -- like asking chemist to prescribe medicines (as many Indians do).
  • Segmented approach to security -- armed forces kept away from decision making on the nuclear issue.
  • Treating low intensity, conventional and nuclear conflicts in isolation and denying the linkages between them.
  • Isolating defence industry/research from mainstream and colossal inefficiency of the bureaucratic structure of the Defence Research and Development Organisation empire.

As usual India is left to fight its own battles

There is no doubt United States President Barack Obama [ Images ] had a difficult task to perform in making his long-awaited Afghanistan speech recently. There has been a clamour of different voices urging him to take every position, from digging in for the long term all the way to an immediate withdrawal, and the only option Obama really had was to take a median position that would certainly disappoint large sections of his voters.

In a sense, the speech turned out to be a bit of a damp squib: It must be extremely unsatisfying to officer cadets at West Point (America's premier military academy) to be told that their nation was effectively in a war it could not win. And that the only thing to do was to find a face-saving exit. Besides, it really didn't say anything new other than the laying out of a time-frame for the exit.

It was common knowledge all along that the Obama Af-Pak plan was simple: 'Surge, bribe, declare victory and run like hell.'

The bribery plan has taken more concrete steps now. Hillary Clinton [ Images ] announced that there were 'non-violent Taliban' [ Images ] (isn't that a contradiction in terms?), and therefore one has to presume the Americans are busy figuring out which are the 'good Taliban' (hint: Those not attacking the Pakistani army). These are the ones to bribe before the part about declaring victory loudly and heading for the exit.

One has to sympathise with Obama, who is in a bit of a spot. Two unwinnable wars are draining his treasury. The financial meltdown and related fallout has hit his economy hard. His hard-core supporters are wondering when he will deliver on his campaign rhetoric of change and hope, because so far there has been little change and not much hope. The fence-sitters are beginning to desert him, as the results of mid-term elections and opinion polls suggest. For someone who is in permanent campaign mode, this is altogether disturbing.

The timing of the pullout from Afghanistan, naturally, is intended to give Obama sound-bites for the mid-term elections in 2012.

Afghanistan is, alas, looking more and more like Vietnam; even the blame game, where suddenly the Americans seem to have discovered that their hand-picked man, Hamid Karzai [ Images ], is the fount of all corruption, is like Vietnam. The generals in Afghanistan are not filing enthusiastic and breathless forecasts like Westmoreland did in Vietnam, however: they are, perhaps because of more widespread information, less optimistic and probably more realistic about what can be achieved.

The root cause of the problem in Afghanistan, unlike in Iraq, is simple: The Americans are labouring mightily to ignore the elephant in the living room, Pakistan's agenda. It is as clear as daylight to the casual observer that Pakistan has no interest whatsoever in bringing stability to Afghanistan, in preventing the Taliban from coming back to power there, or in capturing Osama bin Laden [ Images ] and other Al Qaeda [ Images ] operatives: And these are the alleged reasons why the Americans are in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has clearly articulated its pursuit of strategic depth which, for instance, involves having a Plan B even if its major cities such as Karachi, Lahore [ Images ] and Rawalpindi, close to the India [ Images ]n border, are obliterated in a possible Indian nuclear second strike (after Pakistan has wiped out Delhi [ Images ] and Mumbai [ Images ] in a first strike). They want to regroup from Afghanistan and continue their jihad against India from there.

The Taliban, of course, are Pakistani army and ISI soldiers dressed in baggy pants and beards for the occasion. The fact that alleged seminary students (who the Taliban are supposed to be) suddenly started driving tanks and flying planes is indirect evidence that they were trained soldiers. Therefore, Taliban rule in Kabul means Pakistan has achieved its strategic depth.

Clearly, they have no desire to fight or eliminate the Taliban, despite the fact that some factions (such as the one from the Mehsud tribe) have begun to inconvenience Pakistan through a campaign of suicide bombings.

Dead Pakistani civilians are considered acceptable collateral damage by the ISI, but their attacks on the military apparatus is a big no-no. They are clearly 'bad Taliban', and will not get any share of the spoils.

The fact that the Americans condone Pakistani support for the Taliban was made most evident during the siege of Kunduz some years ago. It was evident to observers then that the massive airlift of besieged Taliban -- allegedly hundreds of senior officers were rescued from the advancing Northern Alliance with the full knowledge of the CIA -- was an effort to hide the evidence about ISI involvement with the Taliban. They allowed the alleged Taliban to escape to Islamabad [ Images ] and resume their day jobs as brigadiers and colonels in the Pakistani Army and the ISI.

If the Northern Alliance, then in full cry, had been able to capture or liquidate these officers, it would have broken the backbone of the Taliban war effort.

A recent report from the US Senate accused the then-leaders of the war effort, Donald Rumsfeld and General Petraeus, of a signal failure in late 2001: Apparently the Senate has found that it would have been entirely possible to capture Osama bin Laden in the Tora Bora mountains then, if only a large force of American troops had been deployed in search operations, instead of the few hundreds.

All this brings into sharp focus the nexus between the CIA and the ISI. (The more recent story of Daood Gilani alias David Headley, who has been charged with criminal conspiracy for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, also suggests unholy connections between the two).

There are some seriously opaque things going on between the Americans and the Pakistanis, and the billions paid by the Bush and Obama administration have vanished without a trace. (With their friend Robin Raphel now in charge of disbursing funds, the ISI must be breaking out the champagne -- such incredible good luck!)

So long as the Americans are willing to subscribe to the fiction that Pakistanis are serious about fighting terrorism, there is no way that Pakistan can lose. As a result, the planned departure of the Americans in 2011 should be welcome news for Indians.

Presumably, once they leave, as they did after the Soviet debacle in the 1980s, Americans will lose interest in Pakistan and cease to write them blank cheques (which usually end up killing Indians).

However, as General McChrystal suggested recently, chances are that the US is going to lean on India to 'make concessions on Kashmir' [ Images ], to stop its humanitarian operations in Afghanistan and to close its consulates there. Pakistan has alleged that Indians are interfering in Baluchistan -- which I hope they are, but it is unlikely: a former prime minister, in a burst of misplaced enthusiasm, gutted the RAW counter-intelligence operations there.

The first sign of this pressure is already evident in the UPA government's announcement of large troop withdrawals from J&K, leaving it to the local police, whose sympathies are not necessarily with the Indian nation.

The reality of American sentiment was demonstrated by Richard Holbrooke [ Images ] who held a cringing press conference to assure Pakistanis that there was no tilt towards India. Clearly in Afghan War 2.0, America is going to be ever more dependent on the tender mercies of the ISI.

Obama concluded his speech with the mantra -- regarding Pakistan -- of 'mutual interests, mutual respect, and mutual trust.' The cynic in me thinks Obama better lock up the family silver, as he is deluding himself regarding Pakistan's fundamentalist kleptocrats.

Besides, the exit timeline -- even though it does not mean all troops leave then, and there has been a lot of 'clarifications' that even the date is not cast in stone -- implies that the Americans have no stomach to fight on any longer in Afghanistan beyond 2011. This, in effect, means they have been defeated.

The essence of military strategy is to demoralise the enemy by all means possible, and from that perspective Taliban psy-ops have won. This will be a significant morale-booster to the jihadis: they can legitimately claim to have defeated both the Soviets and the Americans. This will embolden their triumphalist attacks on US targets, and on India.

The Americans have a difficult choice, caught as they are with no really attractive options. Add to this Obama's personal preferences, wherein his tendency is to be an internationalist, and to jaw-jaw where Bush may have gone for war-war.

It is not clear that these are bad things per se, but it remains to be seen whether they are the right things for this war, or for the colder war against China. There is an element of 'paralysis by analysis', and some have begun to call Obama the 'Great Ditherer'.

There is a worst case scenario: The possibility that, given the deadline of 18 months that Obama has outlined for the beginning of the exit, there will be a headlong and ignominious retreat from Kabul. I remember the photographs from Saigon in 1975 with the last helicopters taking off from the American embassy with people desperately hanging on. Vietnam scarred America's soul, but Communism did not win, and the Domino Theory turned out to be wrong: Communists are susceptible to the charms of the market.

The Afghan game is altogether different: It may crush America's soul. If the jihadis gain sustenance from the American defeat there, there will be no respite: They will keep on attacking, as they are not easily distracted from their goal of global dominance, which they believe is within their grasp. Indeed they may be right, because there is a short window of opportunity when vast petro-dollars are at their disposal. The near-default of sovereign debt in Dubai [ Images ] shows that the petro-dollars may well be ephemeral, and that they had better strike when the iron is hot.

America is clearly suffering from imperial overreach. Not that America is a ruined country, but compared to the can-do and supremely confident nation it was a few years ago -- the sole hyperpower proclaiming the end of history -- it is suffering from serious self-doubt, and it is beginning to see the shadows of decline everywhere, even in its crowning glory, the civil engineering marvels that span the nation.

American's involvement in Afghanistan, if it had been a whole-hearted war against the forces of terrorism, would have been positive for India. But given that it merely enriched the Pakistanis while retaining intact the entire infrastructure -- both the ISI and the radicalised army -- the Afghan war has not really helped India.

Indeed, the Northern Alliance -- assuming that its tactical genius Ahmed Shah Massoud had not been assassinated -- may well have driven the Taliban out or at least fought them to a standstill. In hindsight, the American intercession in Afghanistan has been a net negative for India.

As things stand, it now appears that it is better from India's perspective for the Americans to leave. As usual, India is left to fight its own battles. Unfortunately, the two parties that will benefit the most from the American debacle in Afghanistan are India's sworn enemies: China and Pakistan.

China, because the loss is likely to turn America inward, and in any case they have now been convinced by Chinese bluster that there has to be a G-2. Pakistan, of course, is richer by some $25 billion some of which is in numbered accounts somewhere, and the rest in nuclear and other weapons pointed at India.

For China, the Vietnam analogy is apt again. There, a Chinese proxy defeated the Americans; in Afghanistan, another Chinese proxy, Pakistan, may defeat America. In Korea, China fought America to a standstill. Score: China -- 2.5, America -- 0.5. No doubt this, along with Obama's kowtowing in Beijing [ Images ], will embolden further Chinese adventurism.

India is already seeing the beginning of this, as Chinese are building 27 airstrips in occupied Tibet [ Images ], and just ordered Indians to stop building a road in J&K, explaining that it was their territory.

Obama should learn from India's experience: A vacillating, dithering and appeasing nation gets no respect from those who have a a clear long-term intent.

How China views India's new defence doctrine


China experts feel Indian defence strategy treats China, not Pakistan, as priority target, which they also believe provides for a partial border war, writes D S Rajan. 

Reports on India's revision of its defence doctrine to meet the challenges of a 'two front war' with Pakistan and China have of late received media focus. Pakistan has been prompt in its response, describing India's reported move as 'betraying hostile intent' and reflecting a 'hegemonic and jingoistic mindset'. 

The People's Republic of China does not appear to have come out so far with any official reaction on the subject; interesting however is that the same theme of India's 'two front war', worded a bit differently as 'two front mobile warfare' has figured in an in-depth authoritative Chinese evaluation of India's defence strategy, done as early as November 2009; it raises a question whether or not Beijing [ Images ] already knew about India's reported revision of its defence strategy. This apart, it would be important to have a close look at what has been said in that analysis, for drawing meaningful conclusions. What follows is an attempt in that direction.

Titled 'Great Changes in India's Defence Strategy -- War objective shifts to giving China importance, while treating Pakistan as lightweight', the analysis contributed by Hao Ding, a researcher of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, published in the Party-affiliated Chinese language organ, China Youth Daily, on November 27, 2009, identifies following five shifts that have taken place in India's defence strategy: 

'In terms of goals, India now aims at becoming a global military power in contrast to its earlier objective to acquire a regional military power status.' (The author's comments say in this connection that prior to end of the cold war, India followed an expansionist and hegemonic policy in South Asia, dismembered Pakistan, annexed Sikkim kingdom and dispatched troops to Sri Lanka [ Images ] and Maldives [ Images ]. 

In the 21st century, India's national interests are expanding and accordingly, it is striving to protect its strategic superiority in the South Asian sub-continent as well as the Indian Ocean region. Simultaneously, India is actively projecting its power into the Asia-Pacific region, attempting to gradually become an Asia-Pacific power instead of being only a South Asian power. It is taking efforts to emerge as 'a major and positive geo-strategic player' in the Eurasian political chessboard. For this, India would require to work towards achieving strategic balance of power with countries outside like the US and China, operate beyond South Asia and Indian Ocean region and develop as a world military power. 

'From the point of view of strategic guidelines, India has shifted to a line of 'active and aggressive defence', as a departure from the past position of 'passive defence'. (The analysis views that India has realised that in the 21st century, security threats to it are coming from 'three evil forces' -- the low intensity conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir [ Images ] which can trigger a large scale conflict, the risk of a nuclear confrontation among the two nations and terrorism in South Asia. 

The Indian defence strategy has been revised in such circumstances; The 'active defence' concept has replaced the old line of passive defence, the basic 'regional deterrence' principle has been given a new meaning with 'punishment deterrence' concept taking place of the old principle of 'only deterrence'. India is stressing on taking initiatives so as to be able to conduct a hi-tech 'limited conventional war' against the enemy 'under conditions of nuclear deterrence'. 

'Looking from the angle of war objectives, India is now laying emphasis to giving China importance while treating Pakistan as lightweight, as compared to the past equal emphasis to China and Pakistan.' The write-up says that in 21st century, India has done a reassessment of the military threats coming from Pakistan and China. It considers that in Pakistan, the internal situation has become unstable, economic development has slowed down, development of military faces restrictions and the overall national strength and military capabilities show a downward trend, in comparison to the situation in India. India believes that as such, there is a weakening of real threat to it from Pakistan. 

On the other hand, in China, there is stable political situation, a fast developing economy, a continuously accelerating military modernisation drive and growing comprehensive national strength. India thinks that therefore, the potentials of 'China threat' to it are on the rise. It wants to correctly treat the dialectic relation between the changes that have occurred in military threats posed by Pakistan and China and prepare for all types of military struggles. Based on such reasoning, India has proposed the doctrine of 'two front mobile warfare'.

'In matters of strategic deployment, India has shifted to a strategy of stabilising the western front and strengthening the northern front as well as giving equal emphasis to land and sea warfare, in contrast to the earlier stress only on land warfare.' 

The Chinese scholar elaborates this theme under three points (1) in recent years, India has carried out adjustments in its defence system to suit to the new needs. 'Stabilising the western front and strengthening the northern front' is a step in this direction. India has already made plans to dispatch additional forces- two mountain divisions- to the Sino-Indian border and deploy Su-30 fighter aircraft as well as missiles there in order to further strengthen its 'partial military superiority' vis-à-vis China, sufficient to fight a 'middle or small-scale partial border war under hi-tech conditions', (2) India is increasing its deployment of mobile warfare-capable troops. Some units, on 'double combat missions', can launch mobile operations in both China and Pakistan fronts and (3) India's past attention only to land warfare is now getting shifted in the direction of the Indian Ocean, creating a deployment position capable of paying importance to both land and sea. A part of Indian troops so far located in the rear of the borders is being diverted for coastal defence purposes and a new naval fleet has come up in the south to increase strength in respect of the Indian Ocean.

'India is making efforts to create long-range mobile operational strength and gain capacity to launch cross-combat missions.' The Chinese military expert comments that structural adjustment of the Indian military is in progress with focus on building Indian Navy and Air Force as well as rapid action troops, leading to building up of global combat capability of Indian armed forces. The expert cites in this connection the war doctrines of the Indian Army [ Images ] (2004), Indian Navy (2005) and Indian Air Force (2007).

The analysis above needs to be examined together with a very recent Chinese assessment. Given under the title 'Panoramic View of International Military Situation in 2009', the analysis contributed by Ma Kang, deputy director, Institute of Strategic Studies, National Defence University, Liberation Army Daily, December 29 highlights the defence budget increases in the US, Russia [ Images ] and India. It points to India's '24 percent defence budget increase' in 2009 as compared to previous year as well as efforts to build an aircraft carrier of its own, launch of first home made submarine Arihant and goals set towards possessing 'three dimensional nuclear strategic capability.'

What stand out are the unmistakable adversarial tones with which the two highly placed Chinese experts have talked about India. Especially, the evaluation of Hao Ding runs contrary to the officially declared perceptions of India and China that each nation is not a threat to other. Observers in India have reasons to raise their eyebrows on the reappearance of the terminology 'partial border war' after some gap, more so in a contribution made by an academician close to Chinese hierarchy (the last such reference figured in an unofficial strategic affairs website in November 2008). 

Also odd is the timing of such comments when India-China bilateral defence, political and economic ties are progressing steadily -- senior Chinese military officers including the Tibet [ Images ] commander have visited India recently, the Indian defence secretary is scheduled to visit Beijing for talks, both India and China have coordinated their actions in the conference at Copenhagen on climatic change, preparations are being made by both sides for the scheduled visit this year to China by the Indian President and lastly, India-China trade volume is slated to touch $60 billion by this year.

A basic question would therefore be what is the real meaning of the latest Chinese assessment of Indian defence strategy as above, which, judging from the affiliation of the analyst concerned, can definitely be considered as reflecting official views, especially that of the military. First comes the apparent dichotomy in the thinking of the civilian and military apparatus in China on relationship with India. However, when looked carefully, the reality looks different. 

China has always been encouraging expression of strategic opinions and treating them as inputs for decision making at appropriate times. It has at the same time been taking care to see that the required diplomatic options, whether relating to India or other countries, are not prejudiced by such opinions. Specifically, this premise explains the rationale behind China's support to holding diplomatic initiatives, like talks between special representatives, to solve the boundary issue with India, while at the same time allowing hostile articulations on the subject by its strategists. 

Beijing's such two-track mindset may also be seen as setting a context for understanding the opinion expressed by the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [ Images ] during his recent visit to the US regarding China's 'assertiveness' vis-a-vis India of late. 

Secondly, it is probable that the analysis clearly bringing out the 'India threat' theory, albeit after a gap, has something to do with the US factor. No doubt, it makes no mention of the US, but its appearance subsequent to the issuing of US-China Joint Declaration of November 17, 2009, may have its own meaning. Undeniably, reasons seem to have arisen for Beijing to feel that a qualitative change in its favour has occurred in the triangular China-US-India relations consequent to the opening of a new foreign policy course based on a 'smart power' concept (said to be a mix of hard and soft power) by the Barack Obama [ Images ] administration. 

The US imperative towards China has undergone a shift to encompass a wider vision -- from one seeking China's emergence as a responsible stake holder in the international system to that aiming to establish a 'positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship' in the 21st century. In addition, the US has chosen to adopt a 'pragmatic' approach on human rights issue in China. If China thinks that it has as such come to occupy a superior position in the Sino-US equation at this juncture in the background of it having emerged as America's biggest creditor, the same may not be misplaced. 

For Beijing, the same reason may hold good in believing that the US will be inclined to tone down its support to India on sensitive issues like the boundary problem and that the time is opportune to intensify its strategic pressure on India. 

Its readiness to agree with Washington to 'cooperate' on India-Pakistan issues, which touched Indian sensitivities, may relate to such thinking. It may at the same time be not wrong to assume that some Chinese pronouncements (official journal Liaowang, December 1, 2009) considering China-US and China-India relations not as a zero sum game, are only for public consumption.

Lastly, China can be expected to factor the latest views of experts in formulation of its own defence strategy vis-a-vis India. The assessment that China, not Pakistan, is India's priority military target is not going to be missed by the defence policy planners in China. But China may not need to make fresh responses. It has already consolidated its troop strength in the border, established firm defence ties with Indian ocean littorals and stepped up military help to Pakistan; On the last mentioned, Beijing's recent justification of its military aid to Pakistan as a response to India's getting arms from the US and Russia, unveils what could be in store for future. 

China's occasional talks on partial border war with India need close attention of New Delhi [ Images ] as they could be in conformity with the need expressed by China to 'win local wars under conditions of informatisation' (China's latest Defence White Paper). In a broader sense, trends in China towards enhancing its extended range force projection capabilities and establishing overseas naval bases, may have implications for the entire region, especially for countries like Japan [ Images ], India and South China sea littorals, all having territorial problems with China. 

One has only to take note of the US position that China's military modernisation is changing the balance of power in East Asia. 

China is giving mixed signals, but it would be in India's interests to continue 'engaging' China. It should at the same time take all necessary steps to protect its strategic interests; India's revised defence strategy proves that it is prepared to do the same.