War is too serious a matter to be left to military men, said a great statesman. That is because their vision is very limited — to fight, to seek glory and prove their importance before the public to be adored. Generally, they do not care to think of the cost of their action to the nation and the future political and economic consequences of the war.
Recently, after a visit to the locations of India-China stand off on the Eastern border, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said India was ready to fight two-and-a-half wars simultaneously. The implication is on the Pak and China front and the half war against Naxalites and other insurgents. If compelled, India has to defend herself, but war cry against exaggerated threats by Generals over the heads of the political power is uncalled for.
In another case, the Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, said “Not enough fighter jets is akin to playing cricket with just 7 players.” He was highlighting the shortfall in the number of fighter squadrons in the Indian Air Force to “dominating a two front conflict.” Mercifully, he did not envisage fighting “the half war” against Naxalites by air attacks in India’s own territory.
Politicians of ruling BJP, to show their patriotic fervour, say “2017 is not 1962” meaning that India has strengthened militarily to take on China now. No doubt Indian armed forces have advanced in numbers and weapons, but China too is not frozen on the level of 1962. Today, China is more powerful than India in all military spheres - number of troops, sophisticated weapons, war planes and above all, mobility by road that reaches to the border.
Anyway, the war talk is mere tactic of threatening or pressurising. Chinese authorities know that fighting for a few square kilometres of barren land is not worth the loss of their market in India.
PM Modi and President Xi know this, so they do not make any aggressive statements on the standoff at Doklam, the trijunction of India, Bhutan and China. The war-mongering statements on both sides are made by the political minions and military brass. In 1962, when India-China standoff took place, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru asked the Indian Army to throw out the Chinese and went to Sri Lanka to attend some conference. The consequence of the Army following his words was disastrous. Today, Modi knows much more about waging war and doesn’t make any aggressive statements. Nor do responsible men like Foreign Secretary Jai Shankar and Security Adviser Doval. Let us listen to what they say and stay calm.