Modi’s Worst Nightmare: Clash with China

On December 12, the news of the clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers broke out. The recent clash happened in the Tawang sector of India’s Arunachal Pradesh on December 9, 2022. According to the version of the Indian army, soldiers from both sides sustained injuries during the clash. However, the matter did not prolong, and local commanders of the Indian army held a meeting with the Chinese counterpart. The most conspicuous element in this news was that the Indian Foreign ministry and the defence ministry even declined to comment on the situation. When it comes to China, the Indian government, even Modi, remains dead silent.

They do not try to threaten China as they try to threaten Pakistan and adopt an escalatory and offensive posture. Indian leadership remained silent even on the incident where 20 soldiers died. It showed that Modi understood that the Indian army was not ready to face China. Secondly, facing China will puncture Modi’s narrative of a strong nationalistic leader; threatening security. It will threaten Modi’s rule because even though the Indian economy is booming but it’s not presenting an accurate picture of the whole of India.

India’s army is unable to face China and its army. After 2020, India reoriented its six-division army from its northern borders with Pakistan to Chinese borders. This army was reoriented to stop any embarrassment and loss of territory. To pursue its aggressive agenda, India had already increased 50 per cent in its defence spending. According to International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Indian defence budget increased from $49.6 bn in 2011 to $76.6 bn last year. It passed the UK and Russia to become the third-largest country that spends on the military. However, this defence spending could not show substantial results due to corruption in the Indian army.

According to International Peace Research Institute, the Indian defence budget increased from $49.6 bn in 2011 to $76.6 bn last year.

In 2012, India’s army chief General VK Singh was offered a bribe and revealed that a lobbyist offered him a hefty bribe for the approbation of a deal. Middle man always existed in the bulwark deals, and India’s bulwark contracts were always mired with corruption. Moreover, in March 2021, their news of corruption in the recruitment process of the Indian army. Many officers from different ranks accepted bribes from the candidates coming for a cull. In addition, in 2019, a significant General was involved in a corruption case.

Furthermore, corruption cases emerged in a house project for the military. The antecedent Indian army Chief Bipin Rawat acknowledges this corruption in a military housing project. In August 2022, Indian Lieutenant Colonel Rahul Pawar was injunctively authorizing 7-8 per cent, and Subedar Major Pardeep Kumar asked for 45-55 per cent of the total value of contracts awarded to contractors Dinesh Kumar and Pritpal Singh. In May 2022, a lieutenant colonel of the Indian army and his five other partners were involved in corruption of procurement of ration for the armed forces. With these corruption cases in the army and defence procurement, India’s weapon indigenization process has become a disaster.

India is striving to indigenise the military industry, but its domestic industry has empty slogans to show. They are unable to provide weapons systems that are required to compete with China. The Indian air force was even unable to compete with the Pakistan air force. It lost an orchestration, and a pilot was apprehended in Pakistan. By 2023, the Indian air force will have 30 air force squadrons; however, according to IAF, it requires 42 squadrons to bulwark India. Indian bulwark industry is unable to engender quality products. Recently, India’s helicopters, indigenously built in India, have crashed many times. Consequently, facing China can expose a hallow version of India’s nationalistic vision of the Indian Prime Minister, and the people can fixate on his domestic susceptibilities because, despite the pomp and show of the Indian economy, it is not authentically growing for the impoverished people.

Many commentators point out that India’s economic magnification and India’s GDP remained a huge factor in India. Indian GDP faced contraction after the pandemic. Relative to 2019, India’s GDP is just 7.6 per cent larger, while China’s GDP is 13.1 per cent larger and 4.6 per cent in the US, which has slow economic growth. Furthermore, India’s annual magnification rate over the past three years is just two and a half per cent. Like the debacle of bulwark indigenisation, the promulgation of incipient projects has decelerated after the magnification of the post-pandemic bounce.

In integration, there needs to be more evidence that peregrine firms are genuinely locating the business in India. Overall, foreign direct investment is stagnant in India. Many firms that commenced investment in India had many unsuccessful experiences.

Amazon commenced closing three ventures in India. With these economic realities, convivial designators withal remained poor in India.

India has an indigent edification system. In 2018, a few rural children in India in class fifth could not read and study. More than a third of children under the age of five were stunted. Other human development designators additionally worsen in Modi’s era. There is massive inequality in India. The top ten per cent hold 57 per cent of the national income.

Hence, poor economic performance, corruption in the army and failure of the indigenisation initiative leaves Modi to sell his image of being nationalistic and tough on security to the public. Clash with China completely exposes this strong man image of Modi and can become a challenge to his rule in India.

The writer is Research Officer in the CISS AJK. He is working on Nuclear Politics and Disarmament, Emerging Technologies and New Trends in Warfare.


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