by E K Badwar

Presently, a lot of analyses and opinions are being shared on social media and elsewhere on the current standoff at Ladakh. Since, Indians are such good debaters not a day passes without some "expert" or the other giving their views on this issue. What is noticed in our country is that every time a Chinese incursion is reported in the media the Government is inevitably pounded on all sides for not "standing up " to the Chinese or not being "tough" enough. In a democracy people have a right to criticise the government. But there are people who go to the extent of publicly demanding that the Chinese be thrown out by force . Personally, I do agree with that suggestion. 

BUT, the question is ARE WE REALLY PREPARED for a showdown with China. Admittedly, in recent years we have witnessed a steady augmentation of our military capabilities. But our asymmetry with China remains. Especially in the realm of airpower. 

At this moment the Indian Air Force is down to about 28 squadrons. This amounts to roughly 500 jet fighters of all types. We may have enough "boots" on the ground. But what if the crisis escalates into a conflagration and the PLA- Air Force joins in. Can we take on China with just 500 fighter planes. Will our Air Force with all it's credentials be able to fend them off. Highly unlikely. 

Our political and military leadership knows this. More importantly the Chinese understand this. The Chinese are far ahead, numerically at least. It is one thing for patriotic Indians to demand military action. It is quite another for the government of the day to actually decide on this. Our Air Force simply does not have the numbers. 

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