The Chanakya Dialogues | China: Pushing The World To The Edge |


Controversy has been triggered mostly in air force circles by my last post regarding the IAF leasing the upgraded and advanced ‘White Swan’ variant of the Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber, specifically over whether Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha actually said India would be going in for this aircraft.

I leave it to the readers of this blog to see and hear the former Air Force Chief’s mentioning the need for a “bomber” in his keynote address at the First edition of the Chanakya Dialogues and, in the interaction session, his response to my direct question about the leasing of the White Swan from Russia, and decide if he indirectly confirmed that such a deal was in the works.


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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19 Responses to The Chanakya Dialogues | China: Pushing The World To The Edge |

  1. Mandar Karnik says:

    I have seen both videos on Youtube, a good panel discussion and you are vindicated by your demand for a strategic bomber force to free up fighter aircraft.


      Dear Mandar
      Are you the same person who regularly comes to the PGurus channel asking tough and intelligent questions to Abhijit Iyer Mitra ?

  2. Ayush says:

    Tu-160 is too little too late,unfortunately.Dr karnad, what’s your opinion on the Chinese spy ship docking in sri lanka.This obviously is another tight slap on the face of the “brilliant” “diplomat” jaishankar.

    • To be fair to Jaishankar, nothing any Indian govt can do will sway Beijing from doing what it wants. Unless, and this is a point I have been making for some 40 years now, Delhi reciprocates and hard in precisely the same and specific ways to China’s policies. Starting with the nuclear/”strategic” arming of all states on the Chinese periphery.

      • Deepak says:

        Sir, We are not able to handle even small bankrupt failed state neighbor like Sri Lanka which is not even having enough money to buy fuels.
        Sri Lanka is again allowing Chinese control over them and they are not learning lesson from Chinese dept trap which pushed Sri Lanka to this worst economic crisis since the time of Sri Lankan Independence.

        I think India should first teach a lesson to backstabber Sri Lanka which is taking all help from India even today to come out of bankruptcy and fuel shortage but then doing things against the India like allowing this Chinese spy ship.

        What is your opinion on this?How India should handle all these backstabbing neighbors which is using India in crisis time then dumping India for China ?

      • As press reports suggest, Colombo has asked the Chinese ship to switch off all radars, and other sensors and surveillance systems whilst in Humbantota port.

    • Gaurav Tyagi says:

      @Ayush- Jaishankar made a brilliant statement to shut up the West when it questioned India buying oil from Russia. The guy is good in his international dealings.

      What about the NSA of India? Why did he meet the Chinese Foreign Minister when he visited India sometime back? What kind of association his think tank is having with think tanks in China? Why is still at this post at the age of 77 (BJP’s often repeated statement of no important post/portfolio to anyone past the age of 77)

  3. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    @Bharat Karnad- As if the Chinese will pay any heed to what Sri-Lankan establishment says.

    Beggars are not choosers. Sri Lanka’s current status is a state with a begging bowl, nobody will take them seriously.

  4. Amit says:

    I don’t understand why people are getting excited over the Chinese ship in Sri Lanka. Look at what happened in Taiwan. China huffed and puffed and Pelosi went ahead with the visit anyway. That’s what strong powers do. No amount of huffing and puffing will make a China stop doing what it wants to against India. No need for India to behave like the Chinese. Ignore these things and focus on developing real military strength and national power. After that, instead of huffing and puffing, things will be different.

    • Ayush says:

      @ Amit
      Comparing US-China with India-sri lanka is farcical , to say it mildly.The Chinese made frankly , UNBELIEVABLE threats of shooting down the plane carrying the US speaker.Even the Putin regime hasn’t dared to even think about that.This is when the CCP regime is fully aware the US will respond to such an outrageous provocation with a massive Trident D5 salvo, reducing all of china into molten radioactive slag.It’s a completely different matter that they failed to detect a military transport plane .
      Pelosi was traveling in a regular military transport plane not a F-35.So much for PLAs overhyped “type 55”, “j-16d” , “AESA radars”.
      Even the CCP brass is fully aware that they don’t have the capability to invade taiwan.

      Coming to SL; it’s a tiny , bankrupt ,powerless
      Nation.What’s more is that we gave them $3-4 billion as “aid” without strings attached.In fact, we handed them over THREE recon planes exactly a day before the Chinese ships arrival.We need to threaten preemptive strikes and follow up on the threats if we are to prevent SL from becoming a “Chinese guam”.Unlike UKR, SL is thousands of miles away from china.there is no chance of there being a “Ho chi Minh trail 2.0”.

      • Amit says:

        @Ayush, while all that maybe true, this was a contest of wills between India and China. India does not match China currently and the Indian Govt. Knows it. While China does not match the US, and the Chinese know it, India need not huff and puff like China does. It will only embarrass India. The Chinese can pull whatever manoeuvres they want against Taiwan, but frankly the gap between the US and China is likely less than the gap between India and China. No point getting into a pissing match. And note that India has gotten tough on China wrt to Tibet, Dalai Lama etc.

  5. nileshko says:

    Any discussion of countering China(or US) that doesn’t include the following is inadequate.
    1.Economic policy/ Industrial policy/ Creating manufacturing base.
    2. Massive funding for universities and labs to do R&D in high technology (A.I, Microchip, Space, Biotechnology etc)
    3. Establishing digital sovereignty by substituting foreign Social Media, telecommunications equipments and computers with domestic ones.
    4. Creating MIC through the visible hand of government.

  6. Sankar says:

    I could not make head or tail of what is going on in this particular session.

    Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma (?) mentions “modern war”, but does not specify what he means. by “modern”, presumably any war fought in present time should qualify for this. He struggles to decipher what the Chinese intentions are, but sweeps under the carpet “salami slicing” of Indian sovereign territory by China over decades now, as well presented by Professor Karnad in many of his presentations as well as those by Professor Chellaney. Obviously, he is least interested in standing up to China and defend India, amazing bravery of a miltary general of the Indian Army.

    Air Marshal Raha is full of technical jargons well advertised in glossy military magazines on Air Warfare, obviously for marketing purposes.

    I could only conclude that this meeting has been a waste of time for the organisers of this forum.

    • Amit says:

      @Shankar, if you are so opposed to China’s salami slicing and so incensed by the Indian response, please propose your alternate strategy to counter it. Don’t say on the one hand that China is far superior to India militarily and insist that India should be more aggressive with China, as that is a sure path to defeat.

  7. Amit says:

    Looks like China is making conciliatory noises about India, what with this revived talk of the Asian century. This is in response to the EAM’s speech in Thailand which pretty much criticised the Chinese stance in the Indo-Pacific. He also laid out India’s vision of a multi polar Asia, which goes against China’s Middle Kingdom and all under heaven approach. For China to be conciliatory in spite of a relatively hard hitting Indian speech is something to note. I expect this kind of detente behaviour as long as the US keeps up its pressure on China and we are in a no war situation. And if Mr. Modi meets with XI Jinping at the SCO, you can expect the US to kiss and make up with India more.

    India should exploit this kind of a situation to continue building its military might. China is its main threat and the Indian ethos is more in line with the US than with China. In fact, it seems more and more likely that the US and China will clash. India should position itself such that it does not have a direct confrontation with China, but supports the US, as that would be in its long term interests. And try to wean Russia away from China even though Russians abhor the Americans (and vice versa). This is a tough act to accomplish, but that’s what will be in India’s best interests.

  8. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    The CBI has arrested a Lieutenant Colonel and a Subedar Major along with two contractors in connection with a case of bribery in Ambala Cantonment Sunday, said officials.

    The Army officers had allegedly taken the bribe in lieu of promising that most tenders/orders from Ambala Cantt would be awarded to the said private contractors.

    The CBI laid a trap and caught both the public servants and the said contractors (bribe givers) in the course of a transaction of Rs 22.48 lakh.

    A few excerpts from the following;

    These sort of corrupt scams were/are happening and will continue to take place in the future as well across all military cantonments in India.

    Defense services in the country are unnecessarily over hyped. They are as corrupt as every other government department in India.

  9. Ruskin says:

    Good discussion. Curious to know what you think of Vice AdM. Arup Singh’s talk. It seems that Lt.Gen Syed Ata. Hasnain wasn’t too impressed. It looks like the Admiral put him to sleep. Screenshot here:

  10. john doe says:

    I was surprised to hear your cavalier suggestion about dropping NFU against China. Both countries have a minimum credible deterrence nuclear posture with NFU. The reason is at the outset neither country desired to possess thousands of nukes because of the expense which is what your suggestion of dropping NFU against China entails. Neither country has any tactical nukes and there are no plans to change this posture that I know of. Your suggestion of atomic demolition nukes is pure fiction.

    The defence minister back in 2016 hinted that NFU against Pakistan could be diluted which I also disbelieved for the above reasons and my doubts were confirmed when at the UN in Sept 2020 the PM confirmed that our nuclear posture remained unchanged.

    Neither India nor China has a nuclear option against the other. Nuclear does not make sense in an India – China context. Conventional is the only play available should it come to that. China and India are not warfighting powers like Russia & the US. Those powers can deter conventional conflict because they have the numbers to back up their threats. India nor China cannot replicate this feat. All either can do is deter nuclear blackmail or a nuclear strike on their respective countries. This is by design.

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