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China, Pakistan and Defending India

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The blog covers five topics:
  1. Indian Defenses
  2. Threat Perceptions
  3. Defense Postures of Global
  4. Good News India
  5. Bad News India


The blog is complete with references and notes.

Indian Defenses

The overall news about India is encouraging as it continues with annual GDP rates of 8% to 9% on a trajectory to double digit annual economic growth. Economic growth is helping government generate revenues to substantially increase its defense build-up. Indian imports, according to Irfan Husain, accounted for 9% share of international arms sales for 2006 – 10. India is the largest importer and America the largest exporter of arms. The data for 2009 on the top 10 military spenders by SIPRI, (the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) are provided in the references and notes. It shows that America and China occupy first two ranks in the military spending and that India ranks 9 in top 10 with 2.4% world share.

A concern expressed by some political students is if India can survive an attack by China, Pakistan or both in collusion. In real world, this appears to be paranoia, but Indian defense planners should not ignore such a possibility. The following analysis of wars started by Super Powers (1955 to present) is  presented to point out that it may be easy to start a war but not so easy to finish it.

Judging from the experiences of President Lynden B Johnson with his Defense Secretary Robert
McNamara in Vietnam War (1955 – 75) and President George Bush, Jr with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in wars in Iraq (2003 – 10) and Afghanistan (2001 to present) any sane political scientist in his/her right mind would and should conclude that for a super power it is easy to start a war any where in the world against an economically and militarily weak nation. President Nixon and his National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger (1969 – 73) as well as President Obama with Defense Secretary Dr. Robert Gates (2008 – present) has established that finishing the wars started by their predecessors is not easy.

War strategies get more complicated if the attack is against an adversary with a strong economy and a well equipped military power with second strike retaliation capabilities. India is one such example with growing economic power and second strike capabilities.

By any stretch of imaginations compared to America’s economic and military power both China as a stand alone and together with Pakistan are no where close to be a super power at this stage. Judging by the example of another ideological state, USSR, history is that it imploded in 1991 soon after withdrawal  in 1989 from Afghanistan.

In last sixty years (1950 – present) nations engaged in the global supply-chains for consumer products for economic growth have taken to resolving international disputes through peaceful negotiations. Both India and China, as are the US, West, and many Arab and Islamic nations, are major strong links in several such supply-chains for supply of consumer products and raw materials. China is and Pakistan is not a major business partner of India. With a major attack on India ignoring the principle of mutual self-destruction China or Pakistan would be committing suicide as it will not only start mutual destruction but also substantially harm global economic growth and stability.

Pakistan is not a significant link in global supply chains for consumer products or a major source of any raw materials needed by the industrialized and emerging nations. Unlike China, given its penchant for global jihad expressed in the army’s motto it is likely to start a war as a rentier state only if the economic and military aid is offered by nations interested in maintaining the regional hegemony.

Threat Perceptions

India faces threats from two military strategies – ideological states and regional hegemony by a super power. A persistent threat to its security is posed by two ideological states, Pakistan and China. An indirect threat is posed by US and the West, engaged in a sustained regional hegemony by providing military aid to the dictators of Pakistan and Arab nations.

Mr Sadanand Dhume (WSJ) reported that Pakistani army’s motto is “Jihad-fi-Sabilillah, or jihad in the path of Allah,” which is an exhortation to holy war. Pakistan poses threat to regional peace according to the WSJ’s another reporter Ms Mira Sethi. Seasoned policy wonk on Pakistan Dr. Stephen Cohen is sounding alerts, “Coping with a failing Pakistan.”

Pakistani army with its nuclear power poses direct threat to India even though economically it is going broke and it is being ravaged in a civil war in the tribal areas by elements of Taliban. Taliban are the Zia’s children and the army’s extension for jihad. Out of control Taliban forces have precipitated insurgency in the tribal areas and internally placed Pakistan on a self-destructive trajectory.

Pakistan has used Zia’s Children to wage jihad not only in Afghanistan but also in India and spread it to
the West and US. America is paying a heavy price, in men, materials and military losses for its part in helping Dictator Ziaul Haq establish an elaborate infrastructure for training jihadis to counter Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979 – 89). The U.S.S.R. imploded in 1991 eliminating not only the potential communist ideological expansion in to South Asia but also it lost the Cold War (1945 – 91). Pakistan continued to use Zia’s Children to wage jihad as per its motto.

Defense Postures of Global Powers

The nature of armed forces determines the kind of defense posture a country presents. The US and the West maintain large navy with several aircraft carriers and huge air force to support its regional hegemony. Mark Helprin of the Claremont Institute, according to George Will noted that “40 percent of the world’s population lives within range of modern naval gunfire and more than two-thirds within easy reach of carrier aircraft.” Both the US and West are well equipped to carry out surgical strikes and prematurely declare victories as President George Bush did after initial successes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The later events revealed that chances of total victory diminished as the occupations lasted for a decade or longer.

America augments its dominance of South and Central Asia by supporting dictators not only in Pakistan but also that of Arab lands along the Gulf of Arabia and Red Sea. As the world’s largest arms exporter it arms both sides and potential adversaries. It provides the dictators with military aid. It encourages regional military build ups by extending arms sales to regional powers: India in South Asia, Israel on the Mediterranean Sea and several Far East nations along the mainland China.

China over last four decades has amassed huge financial reserves by becoming the manufacturing hub of inexpensive consumer products for US, Europe and most of the world. It now allocates an estimated $100 billion a year on its armed forces. China has developed blue water navy, fifth generation fighter aircrafts and substantial nuclear forces supported by long distance missiles. China’s navy patrols Indian Ocean and according to George Will recently a Chinese warship sailed through Suez Canal to be stationed near Libya. China is already challenging American navy in the Pacific Ocean.

Good News India

India by any reasonable analysis does not pose a military threat to any nation anywhere as long as it is not attacked. Compared to the US the West and  China India’s defense posture is modest and designed to protect its borders and economic interests from threats posed by the ideological states and the regional hegemonies.

The good news is that the annual $36 billion investments in upgrading armed forces are making it prohibitively expensive for its traditional regional enemies to engage in arms race. With modest blue water navy it is patrolling and protecting Indian flag merchant’s international ship-lanes for commerce – the passage of imported raw material supplies to India and exports of India goods to the world – from India to Africa along the Indian Ocean, to the nations of Gulf of Arabia and South China Sea.

By strengthening its air force India is able to project a degree of air superiority against its South Asian neighbors in any regional military crisis. Its navy and air force complements its conventional military power. With Indian manufactured missile and nuclear weapons its army presents defenses that would force any enemy to rethink twice before the invasion of its land.

Good news also is that both India and China are racing to catch up economically with the West, Japan and US. Mr. Fareed Zakaria reported that Professor Hans Rosling at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute is a statistician best known for astonishing moving graphs. Hans founded Gapminder, which uses moving bubbles to highlight the world’s most important trends. The story Hans tells highlights the central idea we need to understand, which is that this new world is less about America falling behind than about the rest of the world catching up to America. If Hans’s dynamic modeling is correct then in 2 to 4 decades economically both India and China will be as strong as the US and the West.”

Bad News India

The bad news is that by allocating a good chunk of its resources to military build-up it is unable to allocate necessary funds for empowering its 410 million poor who are suffering from generational cycle of poverty. Its educational infrastructure is poor in rural areas and slums of urban centers. For schools in the rural and slum areas the education curriculum beginning in elementary school needs to be improved up on, promoted and be a part of the mandatory system that incorporates practical technologies initiatives incorporating modern sciences, math, philosophy, logic, arts and languages.

The British and Islamic models of education for their colony – India and that since independence for several decades (1947 – 90) were designed to keep masses ignorant and dependent on the rulers; see references and notes for explanations. Dr Manzur Ejaz has correctly identified the reasons for low literacy rates in South Asia by analyzing history of Muslim India. At the core same reasons explain why India’s 410 million in particular and even higher percentages of people of other South Asian nations in general are impoverish.

In democratic India, poor are defined as earning less than $2 a day (Rs 100). Educational empowerment is responsible for upward mobility of more than one-half of 80% poor. The upwardly mobile youth are earning more than $2 a day ($80 to $2,200+ per month) by being employed in the wealth generating industries in many urban industrial centers.

Rural development lags as rural masses are not provided education geared to practical technologies needed for development projects in improving agricultural productivity, water harvesting, local power plants, and PURA (providing urban amenities to rural areas) initiatives. Mostly uneducated rural adults continue to depend on government handouts and politicians, who cultivate vote banks with promises they are unable to deliver. Educated rural youth tend to migrate to slums in the urban centers where better paying jobs are available.

Irfan Husain quoted Dr Amartya Sen to amplify bad news India.

– Dr Amartya Sen puts the India-China race in perspective:

– “Life expectancy at birth in China is 73.5 years; in India it is still 64.4 years. Infant mortality rate is 50 per thousand in India, compared with just 17 in China… China’s literacy rate is 94 per cent, compared with India’s 65 per cent, and mean years of schooling in India is 4.4 years, compared with 7.5 years in China… Almost half our children are undernourished compared with a very tiny proportion in China. Only 66 per cent of Indian children are immunized with triple vaccine (DPT) as opposed to 97 per cent in China. Comparing ourselves with China in these really important matters would be a very good perspective, and they can both inspire us and give us illumination about what to do – and what not to do, particularly the glib art of doing nothing.”

– Dr Sen makes some telling comparisons between India and Bangladesh, a country with less than half of its giant neighbor’s GDP per capita. Life expectancy in Bangladesh is 66.9 years compared with 64.4 years in India. The proportion of underweight children is slightly lower (41.3 per cent) in Bangladesh than in India (43.5 per cent), and the female literacy rate in Bangladesh is higher than in India. In terms of under-5 mortality rate, immunization, and overall infant mortality, Bangladesh fares better despite its low GDP per capita. Dr Sen proceeds to hammer home his point: “To be sure, there are large numbers of people for whom growth alone does just fine, since they are already privileged and need no social assistance. Economic growth only adds to their economic and social opportunities… But the exaggerated concentration on their lives, which the media tend often to display, gives an incomplete picture of what is happening to Indians in general.

India has yet to help impoverish people brake the cycle of generational poverty. There is progress but it is at a much lower percentage rates than that for the economic or GDP growth. A hope is that as economic growth continues to reach a double digit mark, and India’s makes its defenses formidable India will be in a position to divert more of its resources to uplift is social indicators to match that of China, West and US.

References and Notes:
  1. Irfan Husain, “India’s shopping spree in the arms bazaar,”
  2. The top 10 military spenders, 2009;

($ b.)

share (%)
1 USA 661 43
2 China [100] [6.8]
3 France 63.9 4.2
4 UK 58.3 3.8
5 Russia [53.3] [3.5]
6 Japan 51.0 3.3
7 Germany 45.6 3.0
8 Saudi Arabia 41.3 2.7
9 India 36.3 2.4
10 Italy 35.8 2.3
World total 1,531
[ ] = SIPRI estimate. The spending figures are in current (2009) US
  1. India becomes world’s top weapons importer; US largest exporter, says SIPRI
  2. “25 yrs in the making, Army inducts Akash SAM (Surface-to-Air Missiles)”;
  3. India and weapons of mass destruction;
  4. The Bharat Rakshak Missile Site at
  5. The Myth of Moderate Pakistan; The supposedly tolerant country has run out of easy options for weeding out Islamist fundamentalism by Sadanand Dhume at
  6. The Taliban manages illiterate and ignorant Muslims in the Islamic the ‘Bible’ Belts of the AfPak region. Islam’s ‘Bibles’ are Koran and Sunnah. Masses are deprived of modern education and guided with a distorted version of Islam. For an analysis of the education conundrum of the political Islam see Dr. Manzur Ejaz, “At the core of the matter,”\16\story_16-3-2011_pg3_3
  7. Economically, Pakistan is broke. Pakistan, with 340,133 square miles is about twice the size of California, With an estimated population of 187,342,721, in 2010 it ranks sixth most populated in the world. The highly inflated literacy rate is 49.9%; males at 63% and females at 36%. Expenditure on education was 2.9% of 2008 GDP but it is lower now.
  • Military expenditure officially stands at three percent of the GDP. The GDP is $451.2 billion, the GDP growth rate is 2.7% and the per capita GDP is $2,400. The unemployment rate is 15+% and poverty is at 54%. Poverty is defined as intense deprivation of basic human needs like education, health, sanitation and good standard of living!
  • In the latest (2010) UNDP Human Development Index of 135 countries Pakistan in was ranked 125 based on observations, “one of the poorest, deprived, starved, sick, illiterate and filthy countries in the world.” Zia’s
    Children 0311 0317 2011 by Kishan Bhatia (1,263 words)
  1. U.S. Has Helped Fuel Pakistan’s Increasing Problems. Mira Sethi, “Pakistan’s Army Is the Real Obstacle to Peace – It shelters jihadists and cows liberal civilian politicians.”
  2. Dr. Stephen Cohen is sounding alerts, “Coping with a failing Pakistan,”
  3. Anatol Lieven, “A Mutiny Grows in Punjab,”
    describes why Punjab as the “Prussian Bible Belt” may contribute to Pakistan as the failed state.
  • In this `belt` live and increasingly thrive the militant groups of the religious right; they are far more organised and efficient than their counterparts up in the frontier areas. And they have ties and links of various and varied natures with the mighty army that is the child of Punjab. Pakistan is the brain child of Punjabi Muslims Bible Belt. Lieven speculates if American drone attacks in tribal areas and successes in Afghanistan splits Punjab
    dominated army then Pakistan may fail.
  1. The prepartition India was colonial India for 1,000 years. Muslims ruled India from 950 – 1857 and British until 1947. This is how things generally worked in India colonized by Muslims and Europeans. The majority consisted of uneducated masses living in poverty, suppression, and with little hope of an end to their miseries. In colonial days religion was usually their only source of solace. However, most Muslims were not as aware of the teachings of Islam as they ought to have been. They knew Islam the way it was presented by the local cleric, who blindly followed a certain senior cleric or his mentor and benefactors.
  • Most Muslim clerics were semi-literates and not sufficiently educated to consult the Quran and the Sunnah, in order to know the actual Islamic position on different issues. They preferred to follow the interpretations given by a particular scholar or school, including the Darul Uloom Deoband (1866 – present), Aligarh Muslim University (1875 to present) and Osmania University (1918 to present). Mostly, the interpretations are regarded as binding in nature. The people were kept ignorant of the real Islam. They remained totally dependant on the cleric, who could drive them in any direction he wanted or as instructed by his seniors and benefactor King, Zamindars – landlords, political opportunists, warlords, etc. The clerics and pseudo Muslim scholars were at the core of the movement for partitioning of India as they felt in Hindu majority democratic India their chances of ruling India were remote.
  1. George F. Will, “America’s Navy and the rise of China,”
– China has no foreign bases, but myriad ocean-borne needs: It is ravenous for imported raw materials — oil, coal, minerals — and its economic dynamism is built on exports. It has huge domestic constituencies — oil refiners, shippers and shipbuilders, among others — utterly dependent on certainty in global
– Today, China is a free-rider on a global maritime order built upon a network of treaties enforced by the U.S. Navy. The Chinese frigate that came through the Suez then entered the Gulf of Sidra, which Libya no longer claims to control. It does not because of President Ronald Reagan’s forceful insistence in 1981 that the gulf is international water.
– The arrival of U.S. ships off Libya’s coast underscores the primacy of the Navy for projecting power.
  1. Hans Rosling shows the world catching up to America at
  • In the new video produced for CNN, Hans shows us how the world has progressed in the last hundred and fifty years.
  • America is indisputably #1 by some key measures. But it is falling behind in many other keys areas. For example:
–     The United States is the 4th most competitive country in the world.
–     We’re only the 5th best country in which to run a business.
–     Our infrastructure ranks 23rd, as compared to other nations.
–     We’re 41st in the world on infant mortality…and 49th on life expectancy.
  • Perhaps most worrying, America is no longer a place where anyone can make it. In a 2005 study of social mobility across generations – basically how likely is it that you can move out of the economic class you were born into – the U.S. came last of the six countries examined, behind Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Canada and even Britain.
  • There is one important place where we’re #1: On our total debt to other countries.
  • Now, of course there are many positive places where we’re still #1, too. The U.S. is still the world’s largest economy, we are the world’s largest market for goods, we’re still #1 in innovation.
  • So…the picture is more mixed than the rhetoric about America as #1 suggests. The question addressed in the special is what it would take to keep America comfortably at # 1. Tune in at 8PM ET this Sunday.
For more videos by Hans, check out the viral video, “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes” and his TED talk on Asia’s rise.
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3 Responses to "China, Pakistan and Defending India"

  1. Well analysed article with clear views.

  2. Kishan Bhatia says:

    In my blog I quoted data recited by Prof Amratya Sen on literacy rate at 64.8% for India. These data are for 2001.

    Latest 2011 census data show that India”s literacy is now at 74%. This is the latest news.

    In comparing statistical data, one should be mindful of dates data was applicable for.

    This is one more sign that India is making some progress in the area of education.

  3. Ardeshir Cowasjee says:

    Visited, read, digested – in agreement.

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