February 23, 2014
By- DEEPA M
China’s increased defence budget and its implication for India-
There is surge increase in china’s defence budget notably when china faces no credible military threats from any quarter. China’s defence budget touched $148 billion in 2014 which is 2nd to US and outstripping combine defence budget of Germany, France and U.K. It also outstrips the combined defence budget of Japan & India. Japan’s defence budget amounted $56.842 billion and that of India it was $46.183 billion in 2013.
Why china requires such big budget when it faces no threats from major powers like US and Russia?
China is engaged in reducing the differential in its military power relative to US with its aim of emerging as dominant Asian military power. China’s multiple strategic aims are focused on expansion of Chinese navy and Chinese air forces and its emphasis on its nuclear arsenal. Chinese maritime conflict in South China Sea against Philippines and Vietnam and in East China Sea with Japan is clearly visible. China’s force in manpower is not increased but it is in terms of increased firepower systems, helicopter and airborne forces capabilities and emphasis on integrated warfare in china’s C41 capabilities.
China’s increasing military profile does not show china’s peaceful rise instead it shows hard power strategies which is noticeable in 9 dotted line issue against Vietnam, Philippines and even India on Himalayan borders with Tibet and equally concerns leading military power US and Russia.
What are the military implications for India of china’s increase in military expenditure?
China’s defence spending increase may not be India-specific but in strategic terms it is diminishing India’s Asian and global image of being serious contender for emerging as ‘Asian power’. Even Japan aspiring for the same has responded to its china threat with fast track military increase.
India rather than attempting to reduce differential in its military power to china India shall consider its serious challenges in all 3 domains of land warfare, air warfare and sea power.
India’s Himalayan border with Tibet is matter of serious concerns as china has amassed overwhelming military power, air power and strategic nuclear missiles. China has developed extensive defence infrastructure by way of roads, railways and airfields to support Chinese military power threatening India. China’s focus in terms of military spending in Tibet is focus on air mobility and helicopter borne military operations for swifter operation against Indian army by under developed defence infrastructure and limited mobility in counter offensive operations.
India’s artillery being deprived of modernized inductions for last 30 years due to political leadership and its inefficient ministry of defence civilian bureaucracy which seriously handicapped Indian army military operations in Tibetan borders. Indian air force operation in Tibet are seriously deficient of more than 126 fighter aircraft and inventory hanging due to political indecision and processing paralysis by the ministry of defence bureaucracy. This void would impair Indian’s air defence on its Tibetan border and deprive Indian army of critical needed air support and also burdened with outdated weapon systems.
The Indian Ocean is in danger with Chinese navy already established its presence in Gulf of Aden on pretext of joining international effort to combat piracy.
India’s business in terms of coping with china’s growing intrusive strategies will likely to affect India’s look east policy implementation. India’s look east policy requires strong naval posture besides a strong political will.
At last measuring up to facing the china threat squarely dictates imperatives for India for complete restructuring of India’s national security apparatus, its ministry of defence and re-casting of India’s civil-military relations template.