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World

India ‘cannot win a war’ against Pakistan, says former Indian officer in latest book

  • N.C. Asthana writes that India has no clarity about its military and strategic objectives.
  • India would be better served by finding solutions to the security challenges both Pakistan and China present by strengthening itself internally and pursuing non-military solutions, including diplomacy', Asthana writes in his book.
30 Dec 2020

Former Indian police officer N.C. Asthana has said that India cannot win a war against its neighbor Pakistan.

In his new book National Security and Conventional Arms Race: Spectre of a Nuclear War, Asthana writes that India has no clarity about its military and strategic objectives vis-à-vis its stated adversaries, Pakistan and China. He says India cannot defeat either Pakistan or China militarily, The Wire quoted him.

The former Indian police officer, who has authored 46 books, thinks that exploiting enmity with Pakistan for electoral benefits has made Indian leaders victims of their own rhetoric. "In any case, the moment Pakistan feels that it is going to lose a conventional war under the weight of a bigger Indian military, it will feel compelled to go nuclear immediately,"
Asthana writes.

The author suggests that instead of pouring vast sums of money into expensive weapons imports, 'India would be better served by finding solutions to the security challenges both Pakistan and China present by strengthening itself internally and pursuing non-military solutions, including diplomacy'.

Asthana writes that India has spent $14 billion on arms imports in the five years since 2014. However, this sum is nothing compared to $130 billion which India is projected to spend on arms imports in the next decade, including on 100-plus even more expensive fighter jets.

Asthana argues that the import of conventional weapons will never guarantee a permanent solution to the military problem posed by Pakistan or China. He says both the countries are nuclear-weapon states and cannot be decisively defeated on the battlefield.

“While conventional weapons can provide a tactical advantage in limited theatre conflicts short of war, the danger lies in escalation — which is hard to control at the best of times but especially so when the public discourse has been vitiated by the politics of warmongering," he writes.