The past two years have witnessed some of the deadliest clashes between India and China in recent times. These incidents, mostly an outcome of aggression by the People’s Liberation of Army (PLA) of China are neither random nor are they done by mistakes, to which the Indian military planners have now geared up with precise and effective responses.
Following the 2020 clashes between India and China in Galwan, there have been 17 rounds of military level talks and mostly recently (December 9) after the clash near the LAC in the Tawang sector, Chinese and Indian military commanders met again to defuse any risk of further escalation. However, the Chinese aggression continues and it clearly has prevented any possibility of reaching any plausible terms of disengagements across key areas of dispute along the international border.
These rather tumultuous developments over the past two years have led to different opinions, such as the need for India to prepare for a more aggressive China, or for a war etc. India certainly has been preparing itself and has displayed full military capability to take on the PLA and its strategies to engage. China is clearly an emerging threat unlike how it would have perceived two decades ago, and therefore the need for the Indian military planners to evolve its own strategy to deal with the evolving situation.
All of these finds timely resonance in a book titled, ‘TWO DECADES THAT SHAPED PLA AS WE KNOW TODAY’ written by Lt Gen (Dr) Dinesh Rana, AVSM, YSM, SM, who is also the General Officer in Command (GOC) of the Gajraj Corps or 4 Corps based in Tezpur. The book talks about “myriad reasons” for which India now appears in China’s security calculus.
The book, which is the outcome of dedicated four years of distinctive research which unfolds around the 2003-2004 period, coinciding with the transition of power between Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, was in fact the watershed year in China’s military modernization, is set for release on March 2.
The valuable reference to China’s unique concept of military strategy, the evolution of the defence industrial base, Civil-Military fusion and all other aspects related to China’s defence modernisation. The arguments made in the book are supported by around 500 credible references.
In what is a vast collection of many events and crucial political developments, the book according to a pre-release statement from the author will provide valuable insights on how the PLA started reaping the benefits of defence industrial reforms initiated between 1993 and 1997. It then reflects on the lessons from the Second Gulf War in 2003 which he argues provided the base to evolve a blueprint of reforms for the PLA to tackle the future threat from a hi-tech adversary like the US. As a result, the focus of PLA building shifted from ‘quantitative’ to ‘qualitative’ and from ‘mechanization’ to ‘informatization’ and later to ‘intelligentization’ with Integrated Joint Operations (IJO) capabilities based on the ‘system of system operations’ philosophy with Chinese characteristics.
According to the author, the book would help readers to understand the notable shift to a more assertive and muscular foreign policy under Xi Jinping who has now secured a consecutive third term in power. And how under his leadership the PLA is acquiring capabilities to manifest in the Indo-Pacific region including the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), much to others’ discomfort.
The pre-release statement also talks of how “aligning with the changes in the geo-strategic environment, some modifications have been announced to the initial timelines of reforms and added interim milestones till PLA emerges as a world-class military in 2049, aligned with other CPC objectives.”
Finally, it provides glimpses of a few chapters which promises to provide a deep sense of how the Chinese regime under Xi Jinping, powered by its Civil-Military Fusion National strategy, hopes to become a leader of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ particularly by investing in a big way in various disruptive technologies with handsome military dividends.