How do they stack up?
How India Plans to Win a War Against China or Pakistan
Commissioned in November 2013, INS Vikramaditya is India’s newest aircraft carrier and the only aircraft carrier that calls the Indian Ocean home. In the event of war, Vikramaditya will be used to blockade Karachi, Pakistan’s largest port, or sever China’s economic lifeline to the Persian Gulf and beyond.
India occupies one of the most strategically important locations in the world. A short distance from the Persian Gulf, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, India has been an important hub for ideas, trade and religion for thousands of years.
That geographic positioning has its disadvantages. India is faced on two sides by powerful, nuclear-armed countries it has fought wars with—China and Pakistan.
India’s most formidable rival is China, with whom it fought a short, sharp border war with in 1962. China’s growing military has transformed it from a mainly ground-based threat to a multifaceted one with powerful assets in the air, at sea and even in space.
(This first appeared in August 2015.)
India’s second most powerful rival is Pakistan, which was also part of the British Raj. India and Pakistan have fought four wars since 1947, and frequently appear on the verge of a fifth.
Complicating matters for India, the two countries are allies. Advances in military technology mean India’s large reserves of manpower are no longer as useful as they once were, and India will need to favor the former over the latter if it wants to match—and deter—Chinese and Pakistani forces.
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