ISLAMABAD: India has no clarity about its military and strategic objectives vis-à-vis its stated adversaries, Pakistan and China, and can defeat neither of them in a war, said NC Asthana, a former Indian police officer, in his book ‘National Security and Conventional Arms Race: Spectre of a Nuclear War.’
In a review by The Wire, a YouTube channel of famous Indian journalists, on December 29, Siddharth Varadarajan, the editor of the news and opinion website quotes Asthana’s book as saying: “India has no clarity about its military and strategic objectives vis-à-vis its stated adversaries, Pakistan and China, and can defeat neither of them in a war.”
The review further quotes the book as seeing “a huge mismatch between the militaristic official and media rhetoric, on the one hand, and the reality, which is that India cannot defeat either country militarily”.
“Instead of pouring vast sums of money into expensive weapons imports, India would be better served by finding solutions to the security challenges both Pakistan and China present by strengthening itself internally and pursuing non-military solutions, including diplomacy,” The Wire stated, quoting Asthana.
The author of the book also puts an emphasis on India’s ‘warmongering politics’ that has consumed the Indian public over the past six years.
“Under the delusion that India has somehow, magically become invincible and how a large number of Indians seem to be itching for a war,” The Wire quotes Asthana. “Exploiting enmity with Pakistan for electoral benefits has made Indian leaders victims of their own rhetoric where they are left with a one-dimensional policy — one which is unrealistic in view of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”
India’s ‘invincibility’ narrative had been fuelled and strengthened by relentless arms imports. The author of the book has put an estimate of $14 billion on it since 2014. However, the undisclosed cost of the 36 Rafale jets purchased from Dassault Aviation was not included in the estimate.
“This sum pales before the $130bn India is projected to spend on arms imports in the next decade, including on 100-plus even more expensive fighter jets to make up for the shortfall caused by the Modi government’s decision to scrap the earlier deal for 126 Rafales,” The Wire stated.
“As the fanfare over the arrival of the first Rafales showed, each of these purchases is hailed and sold to the public by the media as weapons that will flatten India’s enemies. But of course, this is far from the truth,” Varadarajan quotes Asthana.
Asthana further argued in his book that the frenzied import of conventional weapons would never guarantee a permanent solution to the military problem posed by Pakistan or China because both the countries are nuclear-weapon states and could not be decisively defeated on the battlefield.
“Given the myth of Indian invincibility, the futility of warmongering should be obvious. Yet, as the past few years have demonstrated, jingoism in India is at an all-time high,” The Wire stated, quoting Asthana’s arguments.