Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brahma Chellaney and the stupid 'disarmament' proposal

Brahma Chellaney is that rare breed of strategic experts, one of the few world-class professionals in that area that we currently have, who embodies the bold perspicacity of Herman Kahn with Orwell's ability "to see in front of one's nose," and say as much.

There's plenty of information floating around which makes it incumbent that we've trustworthy sources disseminating the same. The quantity and time restraint can otherwise simply sweep you off your feet. For strategic affairs purposes, Brahma usually fits the bill. If you decide to trust and verify he'll most often, if not always, pass muster. (One might quip that Indian media presents neither the qualitative nor the quantitative dilemma when it comes to sifting reliable news, but that's for lighter moments e.g., when they allow Bidwai et al. to entertain us all.)

Chellaney has his own blog, and gets published very often(sometimes even in Chindu!). Witness here. With the Tibetans trying desperately to untether themselves of China's yoke, Brahma obviously has had plenty to say, and it shows up on his blog.

Anyway, his article here talks about the feckless "nuclear disarmament" issue that has recently occupied the op-ed pages of Nehruvian english papers.

Quite jocularly, Brahma even lets this little wisecrack slip through: "Pursuing nuclear disarmament is a good pastime for retired men."

The substantial argument that he makes: India’s priority today should [be] its security, given that it still does not have a minimal, let alone credible, nuclear deterrent against China, which is rapidly modernizing its arsenal.

(To toot my horn, something along those lines by myself.)

China is indeed leaping forward with its burgeoning economy and its ever expanding military might. It helps that the communist dictators who rule China with an iron fist are nationalistic, unlike the homegrown Marxist inveterate veterans, who have spent the better part of their life prostrating before this or that extraterritorial dictatorship. Recall their apoplectic sounding petulance after Pokhran tests.

The extent of Chinese preparations can be gauged from the umpteen books on Taiwan crisis which lay out in detail the possible scenarios involving weapons that China can, and will, put to use during any such military engagement. Just look for books by Michael O'Hanlon, Richard Bush, Joshua Muravchik, David Shambaugh and the likes for some shocking details.

We've to inevitably conclude that, for an economically smaller country like India, there is no alternative but to pursue the development and deployment of nuclear weapons. Since bombers are expensive and vulnerable, the delivery has to be through mobile ballistic missiles. This is deterrence to put it plainly.

Now, if we're going to rely on nuclear weapons they better be credible, and ensure a minimal retaliatory capacity, withstanding an attack if necessary. On top of that, the political authorities should be seen as possessing unflinching ability to use the weapons if and when needed, howsoever inconceivable the though. Else the deterrence is toothless. Rapid escalation can be reliable towards defending Arunachal if carried with conviction. Unfortunately, we've been so sluggish on this count that the only missiles deployed don't even reach Beijing or Shanghai--or, barely reach (the latest Agni) but from our Himalayan tops, where they're too close to Chinese monitoring posts for our own comfort. They take hours to load, have questionable accuracy and are not enough in number.

The deterrence is 'neither minimal, nor credible' as Chellaney accurately observes. The nuclear deal with US threatens our deterrence capability since it proscribes further testing. Our hydrogen bomb was a dud by most accounts. (Read Richard Rhodes's Dark Sun which discusses the working of thermonukes.)

China's advantage in traditional troops(2 million to our million), compounded with their superior infrastructure that is essential in establishing supply lines, advanced weaponry etc., make it difficult for us to rely on conventional warfare. Then there's the historical evidence as to what Europe, US and China itself did with the deceased Soviet Union--Mao wouldn't even trust the Soviets when it came to nukes. And the Chinese didn't spare their own, machine-gunning them using tanks in the infamous Tienanmen square massacre. They're maintaining restraint in Tibet, if at all, only because of olympics. If the Western countries boycott those games to protest for Tibetans' human rights, as they should, all Maoist hell will break loose.

India can ignore the threat of Communist China only at its own peril. We have the moral obligation to secure ourselves. And we've the moral obligation to ensure that most of the decent Tibetans who live within our country are able to do so, in their own land. 'Nuclear disarmament 'is the sort of delusion that will push us into another millennium of slavery. 'Disarmament' ain't gonna happen, not now, not ever.

PS- The fake secularists who cheer disarmament won't relinquish their own power for a second, still they lecture us on giving up whatever shards we have. Let not a few senile pacifists barter away our security, yet again.

1 comment:

RM said...

Remember the hue and cry after George Fernandes(former trade unionist and socialist turned human) rightly remarked that China is the biggest threat to India's security.