With Abe gone, can Modi lead an Asian anti-China front?

[Abe & Modi]

Just how nonexistent gun violence is in Japan can be guaged from the astonishingly lax security provided the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. There was no security cordon worth the name — with the few tasked with protecting him, apparently standing around the place unconcerned, letting the assasin approach from the most open and vulnerable entirely unsecured area behind Abe. The manifestly unprofessional Japanese security police are blameworthy, of course. But the fact is the use of guns is entirely unknown in Japanese society (except by the yakuza — the criminal underworld, who gun down each other). Even so, there was just ONE gun use-related death in Japan last year compared, say, to some 15,000 deaths in India (and according to CNN, 45,000 in the US)!

The loss to Japan of Abe is immeasurable and on several counts. First, he ended the era of apology, of 70 years of Japanese remorse, for World War Two excesses, which China relentlessly milked. The Nanjing wartime massacre was perennially used as a moral cudgel to beat up on Japan and to extort from Tokyo hundreds of billions of dollars in reparations post-1945 in the form of cash, grant-in aid and assistance, massive investments to build up the Chinese economy, and of technology transfers. Think Shinkansen Japanese high speed rail technology that the Chinese ingested, developed further, and applied to now field, perhaps, the largest high-speed railway network in the world! No more bowing and scraping to Beijing, Abe decreed, leave alone paying China exactions!

Secondly, and with more long lasting effect that had China sweating with fright, he spearheaded the successful effort to get the Japanese Diet in 2014 to reinterpret the non-belligerancy clause — Article 9 — in the so-called ‘peace Constitution’ imposed by the US, which prohibited Japan from arming itself with offensive weaponry, to now permit the government more flexibility in the use of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces, preemptively if necessary and in support of allies and friendly states. Considering the absolute unreliability of its ally US’ extended deterrence, it paves the way for Japan sometime in the future to go in for nuclear weapons. This, from India’s perspective, will be a very good thing to happen.

But most importantly, Abe conceptualized the ‘security diamond’ — later formalised into what is now the Quadrilateral of Japan, India, Australia and the US. He did so publicly in a 2007 address to Indian Parliament, indicating at once just how much significance he attached to having India as one of the four pillars of a collective security scheme he was putting together to secure Asia’s future and blunt China’s coercive edge.

His immense respect, regard, love and warm feelings for India were for intensely personal family reasons. Shinzo Abe was the scion of a powerful political dynasty with pre-War roots founded by his maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who was the economic czar of the Japanese puppet regime of Manchukuo that the imperial Japanese government established in the 1930s to colonize eastern China. Kishi barely avoided being branded a war criminal by the post-War International Military Tribunal in Tokyo — the Asian version of the Nuremberg Trials, which decided to imprison/hang a dozen of the senior most Japanese wartime leaders. Of the eleven judges on the Tribunal, only the Indian judge, Justice Radhabinod Pal, refused to return a guilty verdict on the Japanese leaders, earning for himself and for India eternal gratitude of the Japanese nation. Indeed there’s a monument to Justice Pal at the controversial shinto Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo where the war dead are venerated, and which temple Abe made it a point as PM to visit (as few of his predecessors in office had dared to do). Kishi’s career revived in the 1950s; he founded the Liberal Democratic Party and as Prime Minister led the country for three years, 1957-1960. His father, Shintaro Abe, was a leading member of LDP and foreign minister in 1982-1986 and was among the first to evince substantial Japanese interest in strong ties with India.

The fact is Shinzo Abe was the strategic brain and the driver of the Quadrilateral — the one person most responsible to try and get the disparate interests of the four pillar countries of the Quad to mesh. US President Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and Washington’s interest since in containing China through such an arrangement was in no small measure due to Shinzo Abe’s private and public Quad advocacy and persistence in pitching this arrangement as a much needed strategic and economic counterweight to the emerging colossus in Asia and the world — China. Moreover, the successful policy of Japan joining India to provide quality infrastructure buildup on concessional credit terms but minus potential debt traps to African countries to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, has made inroads and manifests Abe’s foresight.

His keenness to make India a hefty maritime power eventuated in his offering India the US-2 multi-role flying boat — inarguably the finest such fighting machine in the business, complete with its manufacturing technology and processes that included the shifting of the entire Shinmaywa design and production capacity and plant to India, to set this country up as the sole producer of this aircraft in the world. In a pinch, Abe would have gladly arranged the funds to subsidize this entire deal. But then the Indian Navy stepped in, rejecting the aircraft deal in a mindboggling show of such utter shortsightedness as to make the decision reckless, bringing into question that Service’s basic intent and institutional mindset. No explanation was available from the Defence Ministry other than that the deal exceeded the Navy’s requirement of 12 such aircraft!!

This when there’s no better weapons and transport platform anywhere with potential for immediate strategic impact in the Indian Ocean region, and good for all sorts of maritime ops ranging from island defence, anti-piracy action, dropping Indian Navy’s marine commando on a dime in the vast oceanic expanses for any purpose, shutting down contraband trade by interdicting smuggler vessels/dhows, to anti-ship strikes besides the more mundane roles ferrying crews to oil rigs, search & rescue missions, etc.. As the sole manufacturer of this plane, moreover, the prospect was for all countries with seaward exposure lining up to buy ithe US-2.

The point to make is the Modi government could have reversed the Navy/MOD’s idiotic — there’s no other word for it — decision and plonked for the Shinmaywa transaction as a readymade building block of an indigenous arms industry that the Prime Miister has been talking about from his earliest days as PM. But there was no one, not a single person anywhere in the extended Indian government’s security apparatus and in the military or even the Coast Guard, with a small fraction of the strategic sense of Shinzo Abe to see the merit in this deal and to seal it! (Instead, the billions of dollars in Japanese funds are being invested in Modi’s vanity project — the Shinkansen high speed Mumbai-Ahmedabad rail link, which after all these years of construction is stuck, unable to acquire some piece of land.)

Indeed, the rejection by the Indian Navy of the US-2 available on the most favourable terms imaginable ranks with the Indian Air Force’s even more incomprehensibly foolish rejection (first detailed in my 2002 book — Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security) of the Tu-22 Backfire strategic bomber that was offered by the Soviet Union as far back as August 1971 to top off, as it were, the Treaty of Cooperation and Friendship signed at the time that made the unhindered prosecution of the Bangladesdh War possible, notwithstanding the US attempt at military coercion (USS Enterprise aircraft carrier Task Group in the Bay of Bengal). If the legendary Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Navy, and Defence Minister, Sergei Gorshkov, was the man who failed in his efforts to gift the Tu-22 longrange strategic bomber to the Indian Air Force — think how this would have beefed up the Indian nuclear deterrent vis a vis China, it was Shinzo Abe’s proffered gift of the US-2 the Indian Navy turned down earlier in the new millennium. Talk of spurning gift horses!

And this is the Indian military that aspires to be strategic, and wants to be taken seriously as a strategic force? And this is the Modi government that hopes to carry strategic weight in international councils, make India a power of strategic consequence? Really?

Little wonder then that the Indian government under Modi, as under previous prime ministers, remains as stubbornly unstrategic as the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force, and has simply not risen to the scheme that Shinzo Abe articulated and, other than bilateral and multilateral naval exercises (Malabar) and endless jaw-jawing at ministerial and foreign ministry official levels, has done nothing of note in operationalizing the Quad or, over the years, realizing a hard Indian and collective Asian response to China’s interminable provocations and acts of belligerance. This trend is something Abe no doubt regretted to his last day.

What to speak of military countermoves, the Modi government refuses to curtail Chinese exports to India touching Rs 7.02 trillion in 2021-2022 — a 45% increase over the previous year! And Chinese firms operating in India are repatriating profits totaling billions of dollars without much let or hindrance. So, the situation is Beijing, military-wise, slapping India silly but below an all-out conflict threshold, and is rewarded with letting its companies make outlandish profits! How could things be any better for Xi? Why would China want to change the situation even a bit?

Let me illustrate the problem. The Modi government has got up the gumption, finally, to at least do innocuous things that Manmohan Singh regime didn’t do because Beijing frowned upon them. So recently HH the Dalai Lama was felicitated on his 87th birthday by Modi, and his trip to Ladakh is being facilitated by the government. This is fine. But Beijing studiously takes no notice of Indian concerns about Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism and is bent on easing that country out of the Financial Action Task Force’s Grey List, and will likely succeed the next time FATF meets in Paris. It continually burnishes Pakistan’s military capabilities with top-end advanced radar and avionics suites for its PAF’s JF-17 fleet, and augments the Pakistan Navy with Type 054 frigates (Taimur and Tughril) with sophisticated sensors and anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons. It is also hellbent on somehow completing the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) to take a stranglehold on the Baloch coastline radiating east and west from the Gwadar port. Further, despite the Pakistan army’s reluctance, one hears Beijng has succeeded in armtwisting Islamabad into stationing a Chinese security force in Pakistan to protect Chinese engineers and expat CPEC labour force. This force can become a nucleus of an expeditionary Chinese formation inside Pakistan that India may have to contend with, and is a troubling development. And in eastern Ladakh, it launches taunting aircraft sorties that have repeatedly flown over Indian posts and deep into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control. This is the context in which Beijing publicly berates Delhi for bilateral relations taking a dive.

The Modi regime. meanwhile, rather than instructing the Indian forward air defence units to shoot down any intruding aircraft as warning to China and to show India’s willingness to escalate, swallows these insults, and is content with the army and IAF’s inaction. On the diplomatic front the Modi dispensation is just as passive. It hasn’t reacted by, say, the PM inviting the Taiwan ambassador (passing off as trade representative) for tea at 7, Race Course Road, and the external affairs minister S. Jaishankar or even the NSA Ajit Doval initiating a chinwag in Taipei as an incentive for Xi Jinping to order the PLA to vacate the 1,000 sq kms of Indian territory it has occupied on the Galwan and in areas northeast of the Y-Junction on the Depsang Plain. So India’s image in the Chinese mind as an easily intimidated dormouse around a snorting and stomping dragon, is cemented, motivating still more outre Chinese behaviour.

The irony is the strategic space in southern Asia is daily becoming less receptive to Chinese interests — a situation Delhi should speedily exploit. Consider Sri Lanka – not too long ago a leading Chinese outpost. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s fleeing from his official residence in Colombo in the face of protesters breaking through the security cordon means an end to the Rajapaksa family government that over the last decade reduced Sri Lanka to penury, not little owing to the debt racked up with China to fund rank unprofitable projects in the Rajapaksa home ground around Humbantota, including modernizing the port that sees little traffic. Wisely, the Modi government has been generous in routing energy supplies to that country and opening multi-billion dollar lines of credit to enable essential purchases of foodgrains, etc. But Jaishankar & Co. in MEA have to ensure that whatever the agreement signed with the new Colombo government, it should ruthlessly require the ditching of accords with China that permit Chinese naval and other forces to access Sri Lankan bases or to stage out of them, and to begin zeroing out the Chinese economic presence from that country. The question is will Delhi move rapidly and with great resolve to help Sri Lanka become independent of China for good to India’s strategic benefit?

The despiriting reality, however, is that while India has been presented with ample opportunities to strategically discomfit China, Modi has not availed of them because, for some unfathomable reason, whenever Beijing hoves into view the Indian government seems to get cold feet. The sturm and drang that Modi so effortlessly summons to beat up Pakistan, rhetorically and otherwise, turns to jelly when confrontng China.

In the event, is it even fair to expect that Modi will suddenly shake off his apprehensions and the deep down unwarranted fear of China to tackle Beijing boldly, for a change donning Shinzo Abe’s mantle, and taking up where his good friend left off, as leader getting up an Asian coalition to pin China down?

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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20 Responses to With Abe gone, can Modi lead an Asian anti-China front?

  1. Amit says:


    Based on what I see on how India has handled China so far, it is clear that China is enemy #1 or its biggest adversary. I just hope that India continues to view the Chinese in this manner and not be fooled by any overtures they make towards India given the resistance India has shown towards the West after Ukraine. That would be a strategic blunder.

    In the meanwhile, India should continue to build its economy, address the structural flaws in it and bolster indigenous defence industry. Strategically, India is doing all the right things. How openly it opposes China on the border, Taiwan, Tibet etc. is a matter of tactics. Strategically, India should make the US take the bulk of the load in opposing China. Frankly, the US is already doing this and wants India to do the same. But there will be a cost for India to doing this too soon. My take is that India is keeping its head low in openly opposing China until such time it acquires real economic and military heft.

    • That’s fine. But India’s acquiring “real economic and military heft” may take forever. Then what?

      • Amit says:

        Well, if India takes forever to build its economic and military heft, then it will lose the completion with China. However, what is more likely IMO is that India will be economically much stronger in five years, allowing it to spend $100B-$150B annually on defense. Then it can be more open in opposing China. Till then let the US do the heavy lifting. It’s not like India is not opposing China now. It’s doing it more discreetly than you would like.

  2. By email from Col. Ajai Shukla (Retd)
    Sat, 9 July at 5:18 pm

    Well said, Bharat. And your prose is as elegant as ever.

  3. Email from Dr V Siddhartha (Former science adviser to Defence Minister)
    V Siddhartha
    bharat karnad

    Sat, 9 July at 6:48 pm


    >> “And this is the Indian military that aspires to be strategic, and wants to be taken seriously as a strategic force?”

    No, it cannot have such an aspiration: So long as The Apparatus does not have the gumption to do what you are advocating India must do in SL. India will need to suffer the consequence of being seen among the ruling elites of some postcolonial anglo-phone nations as the lesser of two neo-colonial evils, vis-a-vis China. Not that the Chinkos don’t know that they may be seen as the greater evil: So, in SL all C. diplos speak in Sinhala, while all ours speak in English.

    >> “And this is the Modi government that hopes to carry strategic weight in international councils, make India a power of strategic consequence? Really?” “…. for some unfathomable reason, ….”

    Nope. There are very many fathomable, JNU indoctrinated Ramachandra Guhas who say, explicitly, “India should not try to be great power, even if she could be one”


    • In fact, Sid, I alluded early in my 2015 book — Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet), to the very same Guha statement that went mainstream fast as the reason for the government’s confused national vision with nary a hint of India as Geat Power. Modi’s propagating India as ‘vishwa guru’, I concluded in my 2018 book — Staggering Forward: Narendra Modi and india’s Global Ambtion, hasn’t helped either.

  4. Ayush says:

    I don’t understand why you always mention the US-2 whenever Japan is talked about.The p8I is going to be armed with brand new LRASM very soon.Besides,a 1500km range Brahmos is expected to test in a short time.Also, the RUS-UKR war has demonstrated just how useless non stealth strategic bombers are(Tu-22). UKR stopped the supposedly “mighty” VKS with its Soviet era S-300 regiments.To penetrate the awesome SAM network across the LAC or even the Radcliffe line we need B2 type bombers.But hey, isn’t this exactly what HAL Ghatak and AMCA are.The former’s TD has already been tested.

    https://www.indiatoday.in/amp/india/story/chinese-aircraft-comes-close-indian-positions-lac-ladakh-1973355-2022-07-08.Do you think the Chinese are searching for a potential false flag operation to justify war?I do really think so.The problem is that the Chinese are fully aware that any thought of forcibly settling the border will become a wishful fantasy by the end of the decade given our current awesome pace of modernization/indigenization.I would take pre emptive measures if I were them

    • Ayush@ — The latest Tu-22M3 variant that would have naturally replaced the original complement of the Backfire in the IAF had the service gone in for it, is far stealthier — reason why the PLAAF has secured a Tu-22M3 fleet which, in fact, is the manned bomber option for the Chinese, until the unproven indigenous Hong-9 bomber is deemed battle-worthy.
      Re: the other issue: the problem is China will not allow India “peacefully” to recover the territory in eastern Ladakh lost to the PLA.

  5. Email from Admiral Arun Prakash, former Chief of the Naval Staff and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee:
    ARUN P
    Sat, 9 July at 11:05 pm

    Dear Bharat,
    Intrigued by your amazing, hyperbolic panegyric about the ShinMaywa US-2 amphibian, (“inarguably the finest such fighting machine in the business”???) and the vitriolic diatribe against the Indian Navy, I thought a small clarification is called for:

    Prima facie, there are two major problems which face flying machines required to operate in the maritime environment. A generic problem is that of relentless marine corrosion of airframe and engine components. All aircraft/helicopters, whether airborne or parked on a ship/carrier deck, continuously gather salt deposits due to wind and sea-spray. IN regulations, therefore, mandate that airframes and engines of shipborne machines be periodically washed with precious distilled water. Now imagine the kind of exposure that an amphibian hull would experience and the amount of sea water its engines would ingest when the aircraft actually lands and takes-off from the sea, several times a day, and the penalties it would impose on airframe & engine life.

    The second challenge relates to actual take-off and landing operations in anything other than a fairly calm sea. The Arabian Sea experiences the south-west monsoons, for 4-5 months and the Bay of Bengal (in addition to frequent tropical storms) sees both the SW and as north-east monsoon for 6-8 months of the year. During these periods, Sea States 5-6 prevail, and the aircraft would encounter waves of 15-20-foot height during landing and take-off. While sitting on the water, it would experience violent rolling and pitching motions. Regardless of what manufacturers say, a wing-tip or propeller-tip touching a wave during landing or take-off could lead to severe damage or aircraft cartwheeling.

    Other than picking up a survivor in the water– for which we have perfectly good helicopters – I see no reason why an aircraft should need to land on the sea, in this day and age. That is why, navies have stopped buying seaplanes!!!
    I have no idea why the Japanese are persisting with this Quixotic aircraft project and why they offered it to India, when the JMSDF has acquired only 6-8 machines for itself. But I am sure glad that the IN and MoD showed the good sense to reject this hugely expensive “lemon,” – even if it meant missing out on making “India a hefty maritime power.”

    Arun Prakash

  6. My dear Admiral,

    You are a naval aviator of renown, and I cannot but defer to your take on the US-2 amphibian. But my more detailed analysis of the Shinmaywa plane deal in my 2015 book — Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet), was based on discussions with senior naval persons, who referred to the aircraft’s ability to handle sea swells. But, I confess, the matter of the cartwheel contingency, etc. did not come up. Perhaps, my interlocuters accepted the brochure performance a little too readily — I don’t know.

    The fact, however, is the seaplane, far from extinct, is back in vogue. DARPA in the US is working on the ‘Wing-in-Ground’ concept (Pelican) — an originally Russian idea, to develp a seaplane whose comparative merits were laid out thusly by the DARPA Tactical Technology Office: “Conventional strategic airlift platforms provide high speed, but require long prepared runways and have limited capability to support maritime operations. Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) and other maritime aircraft have limited range / payload capacities and are dependent on shipboard or shore-based servicing and launch and recovery infrastructure. WIG vehicles achieve increased aerodynamic efficiencies and address many of the operational limitations of traditional sea and air lift platforms in maritime theaters, but they are unable to operate in high sea states and have limited capability to avoid collisions in congested environments. DARPA is interested in the design of a new class of vehicle that addresses the major operational limitations of traditional air and sea lift platforms.” [ See https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2022/05/ussocoms-amphibious-mc-130j-seaplane-concept/ ] The US Special Operations Command sees the seaplane as an appropriate vehicle and is supposedly separately funding a secret “black project” to obtain a sea landing and takeoff variant of the C-130J — the MC-130J. [Refer https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2022/05/ussocoms-amphibious-mc-130j-seaplane-concept/ ]

    The 6-8 aircraft requirement of the JMSDF has no particular relevance to India’s needs in part because the sea area the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have to cover is many times larger than Japan’s. While Japan has to worry, in the main, about just the Senkaku Island chain, India has, as you know, over 247 islands — 200+ in the Andaman Sea, the rest off the west coast in the Lakshadweep chain. This island total is still larger — in fact 800+, if one considers islets and rocky outcroppings, which last cannot be ignored. China turned precisely such islets and rocky outcroppings into synthetic island bases mid-channel in the South China Sea as a means of claiming all of it.

    Yes, the corrosion from salty seawater is a problem. But the JMSDF has developed techniques to deal with the problem, which would be shared with the Indian Navy as part of any deal.


    • ARUN P
      bharat karnad
      Sun, 10 July at 11:48 am

      Dear Bharat,
      Thanks for your prompt response/riposte.
      I think we can ‘agree to disagree’ on this one.
      However, before declaring ‘cease-fire,’ just a few parting shots to ponder over
      on a rainy day:

      (a) For all India’s maritime pretensions, Japan is one of the world’s largest archipelagic nations. It has 6852 islands, extending over 3000 km from the sea of Okhotsk to East China Sea.
      (b) Japan has the world’s 4th largest EEZ of 4,480,000 sq km. Versus India’s 18th largest EEZ of 2,305,143 sq km.
      (c) The JMSDF aims to patrol an ASW ‘sanitization zone’ of radius 1000 km around Japan. For this task, it deploys over 100 P-3 Orion & Kawasaki P-1 MRASW aircraft.
      (d) Interestingly, the JMSDF has inducted 23 (of 80) brand-new Kawasaki P-1s into service, but has acquired only 5 US-2s.
      (e) Even more interesting is the fact that while Japan has offered the highly capable 4-jet P-1 to New Zealand, France & UK, only the exotic US-2 has been pressed upon India.
      (f) The Ekranoplan/WiG concept has been around for decades, but hasn’t made much headway because of its multiple limitations at sea/over land.

      • Can’t resist a few quibbles here, Admiral.
        But (1) re: the 6,852 islands, this number, perhaps, includes the islands in the Kuril chain that are unlikely ever to be returned to Japan by Russia;
        (2) the Indian Navy, as far as I know, never formally showed interest in the Kawasaki P-1 — a standard, land-based, MR aircraft, or did it? And if it did, that interest surely fell away once the US offered the less capable Boeing P-8I. The question, in that case would be:: Why did that happen?
        (3) The offer of the Kawasaki item to New Zealand, etc is irrelevant; and
        (4) In any case, the Kawasaki P-1 cannot pull the sea-based roles/missions DARPA, for instance, has listed, that the US-2, even with its many limitations, can.
        Warmest regards,

  7. whatsinitanyway says:

    Abe is a great loss. Unfortunately, US would probably take over the whole project with their shared values BS which actually means align yours to mine. ASEAN which has skin in the game is never invited even as a non member. As far as the politics goes it is has to be ‘positive instant and certain’
    ( like addictive substances) which wins elections, with Pakistan there there is no risk, even they know the outcome, with China however, the result is uncertain and it may take months. Some say that difference between Manmohan and Modi government can be measured in decibels. However about gumption, with nearly 70 percent of population dependent on government grain, and the huge chunk of revenue that goes into feeding them, can we afford more than just talks, a conflict? And its not about morals and principles about sovereignty, state’s external policy should be governed by material interests only, some Chanakyan wisdom. Moreover its imposible to move in now as they are well entrenched. But I agree that Taiwan card could should be played.

  8. Ayush says:

    I agree with what the venerated admiral said over here.Besides,whatever the DARPA or the pentagon for that matter ,does is not always flawless.They are certainly the greatest warfighting machine in history but not always .They are great only because of their still unmatched 5th gen jets.

    As far as the TU-22m3 is concerned, i haven’t yet seen a single PLAAF propaganda video featuring that or satellite images for that matter.Besides,the RU VKS themselves have been unwilling to bring any of their fixed wing assets within a 100km range of UKR S-300s which shows how much confidence they have in their weapons.This fact along with most other US-UKR claims has been acknowledged by russian sources.And by the way,this also includes the so called “fifth gen” su-57.Going by their own claims its got an RCS of 0.2m2-1m2.With this farcical RCS, it will get detected at a 200 km radius by their own s-400 and by the israeli ELM-2084/MF STAR radars which are a part our MRSAM/SPYDER MR complexes.Also,this is where PAFs recent acquistions come in.They have been seriously scammed by both china and turkey via jf-17 block iii/j-10ce and tb2s respectively.These jets and drones will frankly get shot down like mosquitoes by our extremely formidable multi-layered,integrated SAM network.And i am not even talking about the IAFs fighter fleet.Only USAF has both the tech and skill to penetrate our SAM A2/D2 firewall


    Thanks for your wonderful commentary Dr Karnad. As usual your mighty pen continues to produce gems which should be implemented by our policy makers.

    With regards to your position on Sri Lanka :

    1. Let us think it from a Sri Lankan perspective. We see that both India and the US are recording huge trade deficits with China. Even Japan is still partnering with China under RCEP. Given the huge trade surplus that China continues to enjoy. Given the dependence of the 3 major powers US, India and Japan over Chinese imports (which all these three major powers need in order to tame inflation in their countries) how can they advise Sri Lanka to completely curtail her ties with China given the historical connections between China and Sri Lanka that goes back to the times of the Ming dynasty ?

    2. Another interesting sub-plot in the whole paradigm of Quad is the serious fallout between Japan and Russia over the Kuril islands. How are we in India will go into deal with this situation if an war-like scenario emerges between Japan and Russia due to the US machinations ? We need to remember that Japan historically have strong antipathy towards Russia and historically Japan has always sought Western (and Indian) help to attack Russia whenever Russia is perceived as weak and perceived. The road to World War 2 started with the Japanese attack on the Russian naval fleet on 1905. I wonder what type of posture we will take when Russia and Japan again emerges as antagonists.

    • SL and India face the same unbalanced trade problem, but the former cannot sustain it. And that’s the big difference. In any case, Colombo will need help to right itself and only India can really assist, better with preconditions.
      The Japanese naval victory in the Tsushima Strait did not start WW-I, let alone WW-II. The strike on Pearl Harbour merely brought the US more fully into the war.

  10. Sankar says:

    “.. Modi government has got up the gumption, finally, to … do innocuous things that Manmohan Singh … .So recently HH the Dalai Lama was felicitated on his 87th birthday by Modi, and his trip to Ladakh is being facilitated by the government” –

    I am not in full agreement here. Last year, and before then, under Modi Dalai Lama was virtually reduced to the level of “persona non grata” in India. Tibetans (including DL) had to celebrate their occasions in their Dharamsala in the Himalayas – not in India’s capital Delhi in contrast to what went along every year before Modi came to power. Furthermore, no Indian government officials were allowed to attend Tibetan celebrations. Maybe under pressure from some quarters Modi is realizing his mistaken policy on Tibet so far and the Army needs Tibetans’ vital support to fight China.

    When Modi was first elected, he invited Xi to come to Gujarat as his personal friend and tried to ignore that PLA was at the same time intruding in Arunachal as well as in Ladakh. As the PM of Gujarat, he has visited Beijing eight times for cultivating bonhomie forgetting 1962 history.

    In my reading, Modi is basically a Hindu and lacks the “killer instinct” in his gene as the vast majority of Hindus do. A glaring example of this is his recent caving in apropos the Islamic nations’ “blasphemy” charge brought against Nupur Sharma although this was for India to stand firm and rebuff them as a sovereign nation’s internal matter. Amazing how Shah and Modi have thrown Nupur under a bus for a television debate.

    • Deepak says:

      @Sankar, Modi is a Gandian Hindu indulging in mindless appeasement without any sense like his Guru Gandhi number 1. He wants to be Mahatma Modi giving preaching to whole world without properly doing his duty as Prime minister of India. He always betrayed his voters and party workers when they needed his support be it in Bengal,Kashmir or else where.
      He remembers Hindus only during elections and once he wins back stabs them and starts indulging in appeasement politics.

  11. Gram Massla says:

    Despite Abe the Japan remains an American vassal state with no signs at present that the jackboot on Japan’s neck has been cast off. As such defense agreements mad between Japan and the India will be sabotaged by the Americans. Modi and the Indian navy were correct in rejecting the aptly named US-2.

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