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If 2.6 Billion People Go To War: India vs. China

Discussion in 'China & Asia Pacific' started by lca-fan, May 28, 2017.

  1. lca-fan

    lca-fan Captain FULL MEMBER

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    If 2.6 Billion People Go To War: India vs. China
    [​IMG]
    Kyle Mizokami
    May 27, 2017

    A hypothetical war between India and China would be one of the largest and most destructive conflicts in Asia. A war between the two powers would rock the Indo-Pacific region, cause thousands of casualties on both sides and take a significant toll on the global economy. Geography and demographics would play a unique role, limiting the war’s scope and ultimately the conditions of victory.

    India and China border one another in two distinct locations: Aksai Chin in India’s north, and Arunachal Pradesh in the country’s northeast. China has made claims on both locations, which from China’s perspective belong to the far western province of Xinjiang and China-occupied Tibet. China invaded both Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh in 1962, with both sides fighting a monthlong war that resulted in minor Chinese gains on the ground.

    Both countries’ “No First Use” policies regarding nuclear weapons make the outbreak of nuclear war very unlikely. Both countries have such large populations, each over 1.3 billion, that they are essentially unconquerable. Like all modern wars, a war between India and China would be fought over land, sea, and air; geography would limit the scope of the land conflict, while it would be the air conflict, fought with both aircraft and missiles, that would do the most damage to both countries. The trump card, however, may be India’s unique position to dominate a sea conflict, with dire consequences for the Chinese economy.

    A war between the two countries would, unlike the 1962 war, involve major air action on both sides. Both countries maintain large tactical air forces capable of flying missions over the area. People’s Liberation Army Air Force units would fly from the Lanzhou Military Region against Aksai Chin, and from the expansive Chengdu Military Region against Arunachal Pradesh. The Lanzhou district is home to J-11 and J-11B fighters, two regiments of H-6 strategic bombers, and a grab bag of J-7 and J-8 fighters. A lack of forward bases in Xinjiang means the Lanzhou Military Region could probably only support a limited air campaign against northern India. The Chengdu Military Region is home to advanced J-11A and J-10 fighters, but there are relatively few military airfields in Tibet anywhere near India.

    Still, China does not necessarily need tactical aircraft to do great damage to India. China could supplement its aerial firepower with ballistic missiles from the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Forces. The PLARF overseas both nuclear, conventional and dual-use ballistic missiles, and could conceivably move up to two thousand short- and medium-range DF-11, DF-15 and DF-21 ballistic missiles into positions adjacent to India. These missiles could be used to blitz Indian strategic targets on the ground, at the cost of making them unavailable for contingencies in the South and East China Seas.

    Meanwhile, India’s air forces are in a better position to contest the skies than their Chinese counterparts. While the war would take place on China’s sparsely manned frontier, New Delhi is only 213 miles from the Tibetan frontier. India’s air fleet of 230 Su-30Mk1 Flankers, sixty-nine MiG-29s and even its Mirage 2000s are competitive with or even better than most of China’s aircraft in theater, at least until the J-20 fighter becomes operational. India likely has enough aircraft to deal with a two-front war, facing off with Pakistan’s Air Force at the same time. India is also fielding the Akash medium-range air defense missile system to protect air bases and other high-value targets.

    While India could be reasonably confident of having an air force that deters war, at least in the near term, it has no way of stopping a Chinese ballistic-missile offensive. Chinese missile units, firing from Xinjiang and Tibet, could hit targets across the northern half of India with impunity. India has no ballistic-missile defenses and does not have the combined air- and space-based assets necessary to hunt down and destroy the missile launchers. India’s own ballistic missiles are dedicated to the nuclear mission and would be unavailable for conventional war.

    The war on the ground between the Indian and Chinese armies might at first glance seem like the most decisive phase of the war, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Both theaters, the Aksai Chin/Xijiang theater and the Arunachal Pradesh/Tibet theater are in rugged locations with little transportation infrastructure, making it difficult to send a mechanized army through. Massed attacks could be easily stopped with artillery as attacking forces are funneled through well-known valleys and mountain passes. Despite the enormous size of both armies—1.2 million for India and 2.2 million for China—fighting on the ground would likely be a stalemate with little lost or gained.

    The war at sea would be the decisive front in a conflict between the two countries. Sitting astride the Indian Ocean, India lies on China’s jugular vein. The Indian Navy, with its force of submarines, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and surface ships could easily curtail the the flow of trade between China and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It would take the Chinese Navy weeks to assemble and sail a fleet capable of contesting the blockade. Even then, the blockade would be hard to break up, conducted over the thousands of square miles of the Indian Ocean.

    Meanwhile, shipping to and from China would be forced to divert through the western Pacific Ocean, where such diversions would be vulnerable to Australian, Japanese, or American naval action. 87 percent of the country’s petroleum needs are imported from abroad, particularly the Middle East and Africa. China’s strategic petroleum reserves, once completed sometime in the 2020s, could stave off a nationwide fuel shortage for up to seventy-seven days—but after that Beijing would have to seek an end to the war however possible.

    The second-order effects of the war at sea would be India’s greatest weapon. War jitters, the shock to the global economy, and punitive economic action by India’s allies—including Japan and the United States—could see demands for exports fall, with the potential to throw millions of Chinese laborers out of work. Domestic unrest fueled by economic troubles could become a major problem for the Chinese Communist Party and its hold on the nation. China has no similar lever over India, except in the form of a rain of ballistic missiles with high-explosive warheads on New Delhi and other major cities.

    A war between India and China would be nasty, brutal and short, with far-reaching consequences for the global economy. The balance of power and geographic constraints means a war would almost certainly fail to prove decisive. Both sides have almost certainly concluded this, which is why there hasn’t been a war for more than fifty years. We can only hope it stays that way.

    Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/if-26-billion-people-go-war-india-vs-china-20875

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  2. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Nailed it. Open the Coke and the pop corns. I want more fanboy stuff to come for me to have a 'blast'. The fanboy posts from other forum are making their way here too :D
     
  3. YarS

    YarS Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Interesting opinion.
    In this potential conflict nor India, neighter China can achieve decisive victory - capturing of capital and occupation of territory.
    So, it will be something like battle with pillows (may be nuclear pillows, of course). Result of war will depends largely from endurance and fortitude.
     
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  4. Ved Mishra

    Ved Mishra Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Niether of them stand to gain anything and will only lose men and economy.

    Don't fight a war you cannot win is the philosophy of Chinese. India anyway is a peace loving country.

    Case is adjourned sinedie...
     
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  5. Pundrick

    Pundrick 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    There are few countries which can't be either invaded or decimated, India & China are one of them.

    And when India & China go to war "hypothetically", its not 2.6 billion people at war rather it will be 1.2 billion Indian vs 1 billion Han will be at war.

    For me following are countries which can't be invaded now :
    USA
    Russia
    PRC
    India
    Iran

    Because these are nation-state, not just a country.
     
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  6. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Iran could be invaded. Iran isn't even as strong as a 1990 Iraq. I doubt anyone would though.
     
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  7. sunstersun

    sunstersun 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Iran?
     
  8. A_poster

    A_poster Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Define invaded. Is it a hit and run operation in which an armies go in, achieve their objective like destroying nuclear infra, and get out; or is it classical holding operation in which you stay in and try to establish your authority on a country?

    First is easy and possible for US and Russia (not for Arabs though), but second is beyond reach of even these two countries, as political, human, and monetary costs of occupying Iran ,for a stretch of time, are too high.



    Iran may be weak in air and water, but it has very good army, and its army (and to some extent navy too) is geared towards fighting a guerrilla war. An invader could do a Blitzkrieg and occupy cities, but like Russians in First Chechan war, would have to pay the Iron price for that.

    + Iranians are much more united than Iraqis ,who were feuding on Shia-Sunni-Kurd lines. Persians is the dominant ethnic group of Iran, and the rest small ethnic groups are united by Shia Islam ideology. None of its potential invaders have enough human resource to subjugate a population of the size of Iran without major inside help, which would not come as easily as it came in Iraq, where Saddam was unpopular (Mullahs are not because of their religious authority) among Shias and Kurds; and Sunnis ,who were minority, were oppressing Shias who were majority (In Iran, Majority religious and racial group is in power so that card would not be played). Also, Iraqi army was way inferior ,technologically, and way outnumbered by invaders, and yet tried to fight in field. Iranian army too is way inferior, but it would not give invaders a field battle.

    + Arabs Sunnis,without help of USA, would lose a ground war with Iran, and get occupied themselves.



    It depend on cost that a country is willing to pay. In current scenario, Iran could not be invaded due to the cost that a successful invasion of Iran would entail.

    But if someone has stomach to take heavy losses or use WMDs, than Iran is quite squishy target. Even Japan, which was much more formidable in its days than Iran was invaded and subjugated, when allies were willing to accept costs associated.
     
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  9. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Staying is always unlikely to work because no one can afford to do that long-term, at least not if they're sticking to human rights. But I certainly think it would be possible to wipe out a regime and then pull out.

    Iraq had a very good army too. 10,000+ armoured vehicles were destroyed by air in weeks.

    Saudis would beat Iran in the air. Modern western gear vs old western gear and some reasonably new Russian stuff but still old. Sunnis have AESA radar, Iran does not. If you can't win the air war, you can't win the ground war. Once air superiority is achieved, the rest is a turkey shoot. Tanks and artillery vs Hellfire, Brimstone and CBU-105. No contest.
     
  10. A_poster

    A_poster Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    Not possible because supreme authority of Iran is also supreme authority of 12ver Shia Islam. Unless whole of Shia sect ,worldwide, is wiped out; current Iranian regime could not be wiped out.

    All type of armored vehicles, with majority of tanks being Chinese rust cans. 10,000+ armored vehicles is not that much, if you count anything with even 3mm steel as armored.

    Saudi Airforce is not USAF.

    It is doubtful whether Arabs would even be able to win an airwar (Their Pakistani trainers have very low opinion of them). Then the question is whether they would be able to win with a good enough margin to have enough planes left to be effective. Even after both conditions are achieved, Iran could still advance under Anti-Air battery cover.

    Another thing should be noted is that Air Power is overhyped. An aircraft could carry limited amount of playload, and could at max make 3 sorties (probably 4 if you push it) each day. It would be useless when facing an army with millions of soldiers and thousands of tanks and artillery pieces. Not every airforce is USAF which could put enough volume on battlefield to affect outcome of war in a major way. Even in Gulf War, majority of Tank kills against Republican guards were achieved by M1A1s, and Airforce only slaughtered routing conscripts.
     
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  11. randomradio

    randomradio Mod Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Saddam had more tanks, more guns and more aircraft and still couldn't beat the Iranians.
     
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  12. sangos

    sangos Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    Seems these national interest guys have run out of porn to pass time.
     
  13. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    He never lost either though. And arguably he did more damage after 8 years. Yet 6 weeks against NATO and his military was crippled.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran–Iraq_War
     
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  14. SrNair

    SrNair Captain FULL MEMBER

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    You are wrong in there .
    Iraqi Army under Saddam was one of the finest in ME .Even though Iran was a big country they were only reduced to defensive due to onslaught of Saddam .
    Saddam Armed Forces were trained by Indian forces .There was a good relation between Saddam and India.
     
  15. BMD

    BMD Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    You would be surprised, just by removing key people, all a sudden reformists begin to have space to breathe. It would probably end in a civil war bloodbath, but the regime would be gone.

    Actually most of the tanks were Soviet T-72s/62s/55s. There were 3,700 MBTs destroyed, 2,400 APCs and 2,600 artillery pieces destroyed. It was the 4th largest military in the world at the time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War#Invasion_of_Kuwait

    KSA have a lot of US aircraft though and spend quite a lot on defence.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Saudi_Air_Force#Current_aircraft_inventory
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Republic_of_Iran_Air_Force#Current_inventory

    So basically that's 20 MiG-29s, 42 F-4s and 24 1970s F-14As and a few dozen MiG-21 knock-offs, F-5s and Mirage F1s vs 386 F-15s, 72 Typhoons and 80 Tornado IDS strike aircraft. The Saudi have 1,300 CBU-105 sensor fused cluster bombs.

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE97J0ZF20130820?irpc=932

    As well as UK Paveway IV, Brimstone and Storm Shadow and AIM-120C

    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/saudi-tsp-adding-storm-shadow-steath-strike-to-tornados-06201/

    The Iranian AF would not stand a cat's chance in hell, especially since NATO would likely back RSAF.

    AF is only over-hyped in asymmetric warfare but against regular armies it's completely lethal. And that many CBU-105s and Brimstones would eat through an army very quickly. A Tornado can carry 12 Brimstone, so 4 missions a day in 48 tanks down for each of 80 aircraft. I.e. 3,840 tanks. Now you know why in the first 24 hours of Desert Storm they destroyed more targets than during the whole of 1942 and 1943 in WWII. Air superiority was attained in days and after that it was just 'tank plinking'. Iraqi Army didn't stand a chance.
     

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