Recently there was a clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh, in which reportedly both sides sustained some injuries. This incident has been widely reported in the media, and India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has made a statement in Parliament about it.
In this connection Gen Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired Lt General of the Indian army has tweeted :
“ The entire intent of China is to show us in a poor light, a weaker nation. Incidents are designed to achieve that end. Yet the Indian Army gives it back in equal measure. Soldier to soldier the PLA is a weak indisciplined force “.
I do not know what exactly happened in Tawang, but regarding the tweet of Gen Hasnain, whom I respect, I have some reservations. He has almost made it appear that the Chinese army ( the PLA ) is more a rabble and a mob, rather than a disciplined army, and could be defeated by the Indian army.
The truth is that military strength of a nation comes from its economic strength. There is no doubt that the Chinese economy is much more advanced than the Indian economy, and China is already a super power, next only to USA. China makes all its weapons, including its heavy weapons and military aircraft, whereas India buys its planes, tanks, artillery, etc from foreign countries. How can Gen Hasnain say that soldier to soldier the PLA is a weak indisciplined force ? Gen Hasnain’s statement sounds just bravado and bluster, of the type before the 1962 conflict in which the Indian army simply ran away.
I submit that until India starts manufacturing its own heavy weapons and military aircraft it will not have a strong military. But for having this capacity it will require a highly industrialised developed economy, and that day is still too far.