by Brigadier Arun Bajpai (Retd)

When India got independence in 1947, WW II had just finished. It was 19 lakh strength Indian Army which brought victory to Allied forces, be it Africa, Italy or jungles of Myanmar. India was main hub of allied efforts against Japan. We had huge war making industrial base created by UK & US. If our Indian Netas had any sense they could have retained this industrial weapon making base and would not have demobbed this 19 lakh trained and war veteran soldiers. At least a big chunk of them could have been retained. However thanks to Nehru & Gandhi who wanted Ahimsa , not realising that world does not want Ahimsa but was very much involved in Hinsa .So our arms factories instead of taking off from here and making world foray, creating Make in India for keeps, were junked . Army was reduced to barest minimum. Actually Nehru would have been happy with just the police force.

Then came Krishna Menon as our Def Minster. He felt that instead of rigorous training for war, Army should be made to make their own barracks and living accommodation .Even in promotions and placing of Generals at important appointments, there was Bhai-Bhatija Vaad. So when 1962 came upon us, 4 Div which was moved to East was making houses in Ferozpur Cantonment a la Vietnam and not training. 

In Nov 1959, Dalai Lama finally migrated to India much against Chinese wishes. Mao-se-Tung had then only made up his mind to teach India a lesson .To attack India in Nov 1962, for next three years China concentrated on building roads and supply dumps in Tibet for this attack. Instead of India doing the same and rearming its Army with Modern weapons, which US was ready to give, Nehru Chacha was trying to become world statesman by leading Non Aligned Movement .So when China attacked us in Nov 1962 we were caught pants down . China threw our so called diplomacy in waste paper basket. Chacha Nehru was so rattled that he rushed to President Kennedy of US requesting for 350 American fighter planes flown by Americans only. (Tibet, CIA and Sino-Indian War by Bruce Riedal). Our Intelligence on Tibet was so bad that we did not know that China had no airbase in Tibet which can take on a loaded fighter plane. China attacked us without air cover. Had we used our air force, Chinese would have been badly defeated. Most of Our Netas became cry babies at that time. 

Yes it is laudable that after five decades of 1962 defeat in the hands of China, for the first time under PM Modi India took a firm stand at Doklam and Made China Blink. However we must be clear in our minds that China blinked at Doklam because of the 19th Communist Party of Chinas once a decade convention was to be held at Beijing in Oct, where Chinese President Xi Jinping was to get his second term. Xi Jinping has come out of this convention powerful like an emperor. . That convention is over and Xi Jinping is as powerful now as Mao-se-Tung was earlier. Be rest assured Doklam was not a stand off by China but a continuum. Now we will face more problems like this in near future. Question is are we prepared? 

I am sorry to say despite political parroting by Army Chief and IAF Chief that we can take on both China & Pakistan , we are ill prepared like 1962 days .The great Army Chief wants troops to clear garbage left behind by tourists in High altitude areas and build Railway Bridges in Mumbai . IAF Chief says that with just 34 fighter squadrons against the authorisation of 45 and just two more than Pakistan, he will be able to deal with combined China-Pak Threat? Naval Chief is more prudent as he did not make such bombastic statements. Truth is that we have wide gaps in our defence wherewithal. For our top netas defence is not an important subject. For a full decade when Congress led UPA ruled the country there was hardly any activity in weapon up gradation. All that Mr Anthony then Defence Minster did was to ban any foreign weapons making firm on charges of corruption. In the bargain in the world market there were hardly anybody left for us to buy weapons from.

Time has come for people of India to be more knowledgeable about their security and defence of the Country. Do not leave this responsibility to Netas and the Civilian Babus straddling MOD .truth is that for ten years Cong led UPA government and last three years Modi Government had neglected Armed Forces. In Modi Government it is after three and half years that we now have got a no nonsense & capable Def Minister in Ms Nirmala Sitaraman. Till now we had either a part time Def Min or disinterested Def Minister. India must now hasten its reforms in higher def Management pending since 2003. It must implement CDS system and integrate three service Hqs with MOD. We must buy or produce critical weapons systems of which we are deficient. We must go all out to ensure success of Make in India in Defence. Netas must understand power comes from the Barrel of a gun. If you are not militarily powerful then no diplomacy will succeed.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same