In a recent article, former Indian Army officer Dr. Anil Athale warned that China is carefully orchestrating security-related incidents against India. Such incidents include Chinese military incursions into Indian territory in the Western and North-Eastern border regions of India, recent mistreatment of Indian diplomats and businessmen in China, recurring disputes on the issuance of visas, and diplomatic rows involving Chinese attempts to question Indian sovereignty in Jammu & Kashmir.
Colonel (retired) Anil Athale, who is an author of the official history of the 1962 India-China conflict and now coordinator of the Indian Initiative for Peace, Arms Control & Disarmament (a think tank based in the city of Pune), warned that the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is failing to prepare the country's armed forces to fight a likely war against China, which he warns could come as early as June/July 2012. He said that such a war could be like Pakistan's Kargil war, the 1999 conflict which originated after Pakistani troops and jihadists marched into Kashmir.
"It is time India woke up. Luckily, we do have some time. At the moment the Himalayan passes are frozen and no military operations are possible. The likely threat will only emerge in June/July 2012. It must be made clear that one is not talking of an all-out war. What we must accept is a short, sharp, attack by the Chinese, more in the nature of a slap!" he wrote in a recent article.
The article, titled "Expect a Chinese attack by June/July", was published by rediff.com, a leading Indian news and community portal.
Following are excerpts from the article:
"On December 14, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Told Parliament That His Government Does not Share the View That China Plans to Attack India"
"Last year when this author wrote about a Kargil-style foray by China in the near future, the idea was more in the realm of speculation. But the events of the last few months seem to move the likelihood from the speculative to the possible.
"But it seems that New Delhi is in deep slumber or has no time to pay attention to such 'minor' issues like national security when all attention is focused on the upcoming assembly election in [the northern state of] Uttar Pradesh…."
"This is an attempt by a student of history to give a wake-up call."
"What makes matters even worse than 'normal' in Delhi today is the inefficiency that has crept in all decision-making due to the 'Diarchy' that prevails in Delhi [i.e. a reference to decision making led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Congress party's boss Sonia Gandhi in whose hands real power resides]. For those unfamiliar with the term – this was the system in British India when the rulers of the princely states had all the trappings of power but the British resident exercised the real power…."
"[The ruling] United Progressive Alliance resembles that model with real power in the hands of the Gandhi dynasty while the prime minister has all the trappings of power. What this has done is the pivotal position of the Prime Minister's Office and its job of co-ordination and enforcement of the will of the government on the State machinery is severely compromised.
"In case of vital decisions on security issues, this can lead to disasters.
"The portents indeed are ominous. On December 14, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament that his government does not share the view that China plans to attack India.
"Exactly half a century ago, another Indian prime minister [Jawaharlal Nehru] stuck to a similar view, until November 21, 1962. Broadcasting to the nation that day, that prime minister lamented that in this hour of peril, our heart goes to the people of Assam! [the northeastern region which faced a Chinese attack]
"As Jawaharlal Nehru spoke to the nation, the civil administration in Tezpur had begun to burn documents and currency in the government treasury, prison doors were thrown open, and everyone made a beeline to get across the Brahmaputra [river] by whatever means. The stage was being set for surrendering all territory north of the Brahmaputra to the Chinese.
"To the people of my generation, the memories of that day give goose pimples even today. The unfortunate similarities do not end there…"
"One of the Horror Stories of the 1962 Conflict with China was the Way India Made a Frenzied Effort to Arm the Soldiers with Modern Weapons [without Ammunition and Training]"
"[The] morale of the army was badly affected. As someone who has studied that conflict, including the famed Henderson Brooks Report [a classified report on India's defeat], one can say without any contradiction that 'loss of morale' was the single biggest cause of our debacle in 1962 [in the war with China]…."
"One of the horror stories of the 1962 conflict with China was the way India made a frenzied effort to arm the soldiers with modern weapons. The insistence on 'indigenous' production of arms and inability of the local R&D[Research & Development]/factories starved Indian soldiers of tools of war."
"So, what do we do?
"Brand new rifles (the 7.62 SLR) were airdropped at Dirang Zong, of course without ammunition! As if the soldiers are robots who can instantly master new weapons and begin using [them]!
"Our army's modernization is stuck in red tape of the deepest hue. Import of the critical lightweight howitzer, so important to provide artillery support to infantry in the mountains, is stuck in the courts/CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation] clearances and what not.
"Anyone familiar with the armed forces remembers the phrase often used by superiors while giving orders, 'I do not care whether you beg, borrow or steal! I want this done!'
"It is time to remind the defense minister [A. K. Antony] that the country expects him to deliver security and efficiency. His primary job is to ensure honor and safety of the country, and not his honor, that must come last, always and every time.…"
"The Likely Threat will Only Emerge in June/July 2012; What We must Accept is a Short, Sharp, Attack by the Chinese…"
"It appears that China is carefully choreographing incidents … [against] India. First, there were several instances of Chinese troops crossing the border, marking their presence. We have dismissed these as 'minor' incidents.
"Then there was the verbal spat and exchange of notes over the Indian foray into oil exploration in Vietnam waters. The New Year saw ill-treatment of an Indian diplomat. Earlier, there were cases of Indian diamond merchants being imprisoned in China. All these could well be dismissed as minor incidents that involve local officials.
"If similar incidents were to take place on the India-Pakistan border, they are not to be taken seriously because in Pakistan nobody is in control of the armed forces or civilian officials.
"But China is NOT Pakistan – the People's Liberation Army [PLA], the media (including the Internet) are all under tight party/government control in China.
"India would be making a grave error of judgment if it considers these incidents as non- serious. There seems to be a design behind these orchestrated events, especially the forays by the PLA.
"It is time India woke up. Luckily, we do have some time. At the moment the Himalayan passes are frozen and no military operations are possible. The likely threat will only emerge in June/July 2012. It must be made clear that one is not talking of an all-out war.
"What we must accept is a short, sharp, attack by the Chinese, more in the nature of a slap!
"To those who claim that Indo-Chinese trade is too big – one needs to remind them that as a proportion of overall Chinese trade with the world, it is of very little consequence! It is time the ministry of defense cleaned up its act [and] got cracking in building up the Indian Army's military capability to face the Chinese threat."
 www.rediff.com (India), January 9, 2012. The text of the article has been lightly edited for clarity.
Courtesy: The Middle East Media Research Institute