Also Published @ 

Aims of War

I was in IMA,  Lt Col Shankar Roy Choudhry (later a General and our COAS) taught us Principles of War, twirling his moustaches.  The first and foremost principle he taught –  ‘Selection and Maintenance of Aim’. He also introduced the Clausewitzan postulate – “War is continuation of politics by other means”. As I grew professionally, it dawned on me that ‘Selection and Maintenance of Aim’ also meant that war between nations must be prosecuted with a political aim, desired end state, conflict termination and exit strategy – all with fall back options. If you do not use this strategic toolkit – you lose.  

In the current Sino-Indian context what are the respective national aims? The Indian aim is straight forward.  India aims to maintain its territorial integrity, altered at the LAC unilaterally by Chinese aggression. How about the Chinese aim? In the past four months many have speculated about it. No clear answers.  Have  they maintained it or has it changed? What is it now? What are the repercussions? It will tell us where we are heading.   

Aim Analysis

In an inscrutable, complicated and ambitious country like China nothing is singular or definitive. Hence a broad range of likely aims need consideration.  

Territorial Aim. Settlement of the LAC in own favor before Indian border infrastructure improves to a level beyond which China might not be able to force the issue on its terms. This aim is linked to abrogation of Article 370, threat posed by DSDBO road to CPEC, ‘Doklam revenge’, regional dominance and putting India in its place through a massive military embarrassment. 

Dominance Aim. Demonstrate and assert that China is the most dominant power – virus or not. Regional and global messaging that India is no competitor or leader, breaking the QUAD and targeting India’s growing links with USA, Australia and Taiwan are all connected.    

Economic Aim. Prevent decoupling and economic relocation. India is the chosen target due to being at the forefront of decoupling and relocation drive, resistance to BRI, CPEC and RCEP, declaring intent for self-sufficiency and attracting investment. India as a competitor had to be destroyed.  

Domestic Aim. The aim could have also been to cater for hyping nationalism or diversion from internal problems due to the then prevalent virus-related geopolitics. 

Most Likely Aim.  Analyze.  The Territorial Aim is the most plausible. Others are inherent sub themes. However, to achieve this, the operation had to be on tight timelines. The shock of surprise had to be exploited to present a fait-accompli to India quickly. USA, after recovering from the initial shock of the Wuhan Virus, would retaliate due to concurrent events in the South China Sea. China had to exit fast to avoid the current two-front situation.


am now even more convinced that the Chinese targets were the DSDBO Road at the Galwan-Shyok Junction and the Gurudongmar Road, through Naku La. These incursions, if successful, would have enabled China to achieve its aim while presenting a nightmare scenario for India. Others at Depsang, Gogra, Pangong Tso and Demchok were supporting actions. However, Naku La was blocked by alert Indian action. The weight shifted to Eastern Ladakh. By early Jun, China was dictating terms. Indian response was hesitant and unsure. Chinese appeared ten-foot-tall and India was grasping at straws due to slick influence operations. The Galwan-Shyok junction eluded China.

At this stage if China had stepped back, they would have achieved most of their fall back options and some territorial advantage. However they were myopic  and changed track.  China opted for tactical gains to maximize territorial grab despite agreeing to disengage at the Corps Commanders level meet.  Then Galwan happened.  It unshackled India. It broke Chinese invincibility, roused India, instilled belief in the Army and hardened the nation. after that the Chinese lost the plot. War entails conflict termination once political goals (even partly) are achieved, before the enemy recovers. Any idiot who reads history would tell you that India’s forte is counterattack – 1947, 1965, 1971 and Kargil. True to form, given time, India has turned the tables. It is now fighting classic mountain warfare. Hold the tops – Finger 4 and South Pangong Tso heights. China is plain bound, and will hereafter be dominated. China is fighting with the hills while India has taken to the hills. 

The Residual Chinese Aim

China might have started with an Aim but has not maintained it.  Today its ‘Aim’ seems to be a ‘face-saving exit’. However, their concept of face saving involves – inflicting a blow on India, make India vacate the heights and retain its territorial gains.  Does it have the capability to do so? I doubt. If things freeze as they are – it is advantage India. A headline in NEWSWEEK says so – ‘The Chinese Army flops in India. What will Xi do next’? Status quo ante is passe. Holding the heights South of Pangong Tso up to Rezang La virtually closes most avenues to Leh while opening own offensive options. This ridge line should never be vacated. PLA can keep sitting on the Fingers and open up tourist activities there.  Those in power will be historic villains if these ‘Strategic’ gains are given away just as those are, who gave Haji Pir back to Pakistan.       

Capability Analysis

The PLA has a  ‘Stability – Instability’ paradox’. The PLA might have great equipment, sophisticated infrastructure, and faster communications. Their Command and Control structure at Theatre level must be great. Very stable at the top. At the lower levels, lack of battle experience and operational adaptability is palpably apparent. The widely reported ‘peace disease and micro corruption’ have taken their toll. There is instability at the bottom evidenced at Galwan and the Karakoram Ridge Line. Why is the PLA less than  the sum of its parts is a question which is  propping up. The PLA has grown politically. It might not have grown militarily.    

The video clip showing off PLA capabilities of air dropping, rocket and SP Artillery firing is impressive. Watch it again critically. Will it be effective? Tactically well dispersed and deployed Infantry and Artillery in mountains as well as Armour tucked into folds in defensive positions in high altitude plains will not be affected by rocket ammunition spraying all over.  On the other hand, Chinese positions, concentrated in plains, near permanent bases / non tactical staging areas are sitting ducks for own direct firing weapons, Artillery and Air Force. Their bases can be dislocated. Aim for that clinically. 

Rockets firing is a dead give-away  from 30-40 km away. A systematic appreciation of hides, routes and firing positions will enable their accurate location and decimation by IAF.  The Rockets can shoot once only.  The IAF should not allow them to scoot. Nothing lowers morale of Infantry than Guns being lost. It needs joint planning between Artillery and IAF. Need I say this at all? I am sure the commanders on ground will do better than my old age babbling! Oh BTW, I have always loved direct firing. Kargil proved its utility. A few guns on the South bank of Pangong Tso with latest direct firing night sights will provide adventure to tourists on the fingers. At the core. Our infantry is pure hardened ESR steel. PLA beware.  

 As per Clausewitz, ‘Strategy is about picking the right battles. Tactics are about successfully executing those battles’.  The Aimless grey zone strategy of ‘Belligerent War Avoidance’ has led Chinese to pick the wrong battle. Their tactics? Medieval at best. The fighting morale is apparently not high.  War is a two sided blood sport. Not an unilateral firepower demonstration. Do the Chinese have the stomach for body bags? So far they have hidden them. In the ultimate analysis Morale determines outcomes. Indian battlefield morale is high. 


The Chinese spokesperson Zhao Lijan and that comic strip, Global Times, have repeatedly spoken of winter. PLA might not be prepared for it.  Appears to be a weakness.  They have pumped in Motorized Divisions. Heavily mechanized formations even if reinforced will struggle in winter. Logistically and operationally. Their troops will not be that battle effective. On the other hand, we just need to remember that we initially occupied and held on to Siachen Glacier with normal boots and clothing. Arctic equipment started pouring in later. All our Infantry and Artillery units have had 2-3 tenures on the Glacier/ high altitudes over the past two decades. Also, they are battle hardened after fighting all kinds of ideologically committed insurgents and terrorists who would never give a quarter. This advantage must be driven home ruthlessly.  We just need to consolidate and hold on now. Stave off any PLA attempt to retrieve their situation. Let things cool a bit. As winter sets in give the Chinese another ‘gray zone knock’. That will bring them to senses. It is high time we also make the PLA look back. The Tibet card must be flashed brightly. It will add to their confusion and consternation.  

Larger Picture

Whatever China set out to do with India, the opposite has happened.  China is now entangled in its secondary theatre when the primary one in South China Sea is frothing. Any major action on this front will have repercussions there. Already China is getting hyphenated with India. Internally there appears to be some political instability. The floods have created havoc. Food is short. Their Non-Han rimlands are having unprecedented problems. The Tibet issue has flared up again. The economy is misfiring. Their diplomacy is failing.  Any major offensive action by China is a high-risk gamble with unpredictable outcomes. If it goes wrong and the chances are high, the Leader for life will have to start looking for a new job or there will be ahuge purge. Even if things go China’s way to some extent, it will not end. I am sure we will continue with grey zone operations and start an insurgency against Chinese illegal occupation of Tibet. 

What Should We Do? 

The Foreign ministers have met and issued their statements. The Chinese have already started twisting things even before the ink is dry. Untrustworthy they remain. We have an historic opportunity to get rid of the ghosts of 1962. Hold on to our positions. Do not let the Chinese go back. Xi’s face-saving is not India’s concern. Do not lose nerve. Comprehensive National Strength has no value in battle. Conserve strength. Fire for effect. Play the Gray Zone. With time India will grow stronger. Economies will recover. Morale once lost takes time to recover. Instigate Tibet and Xinjiang.  Talk of an alliance with USA. Never trust the Chinese. Snakes and Viruses are better. Have faith in the Indian Armed Forces. They will deliver the goods. They have never failed India after 1962. The world, except stupid Pakistanis is with us. If we show down the Chinese, they will flock to us.  A stalemate is victory for India. Just achieve that. Anything more is gravy.


Battles are not linear. Vietnam defeated France, USA and China with almost nothing. Afghanistan defeated UK, USSR and USA with less than nothing. India is better trained, equipped and prepared than Vietnam or Afghanistan were ever were. PLA is not half of what USA, UK, USSR, France or the Old China was. So where is the doubt? I have never had one. 

Our economy is down. The Chinese Virus is devastating our people. We are not that well equipped due to our own inadequacies. We are fighting with our backs to the wall. We have a clear aim. That  is a recipe for victory. We can pull this off and stop this juggernaut. If we do that and I do not see why not, we will see a different India emerge.

The past two weeks have indicated that wars can be won only by fighting. Enough of SunTzu. That is why I got back to Clausewitz. 


Sino Indian Logjam – A Review


No Go For China in the Logjam


Sino Indian Logjam : Facts, Risks, Options and the Sum of all Fears @




What we need to realise is that HAN tribe of China are no warriors. 

They are slimy and will use every dirty trick to gain advantage.

Old Indian temple sculptures show Chinese stabbing Indian traders in the back.

They have never won any war other than some local ones.

We have given them too much respect after Nehru’s folly.

HAN community got rapped by Koreans and Japanese

The only war they won was against India.

Thank some … idiots for that.

We can DEFEAT them any time




  1. Excellent analysis PR, we have the opportunity now and we shouldn't let go. They will try to sound sweet but we shouldn't fall for it. We always have fallen short after a war victory due to bungling at the political leadership level. Let's hope this time we sail through. We shouldn't be in a hurry to resolve the issue. Make them winter over. Where we need to be careful is in Oct Nov where they might try a quick stroke pre winter to turn the tables.

  2. Excellent and logical as always. As you said at present our only weakness is …..Our political class giving in the advantage which we have . Hijipir ,90000 POWs and we just give in everything.

  3. Excellently covered sir only concern is that the politicians should not buckle down as they have on number of occasions earlier. Army will deliver when ever asked.

  4. Sir, an extremely well written piece with accurate analysis, without any signs of the wishy washy ramblings of the external affairs bureaucracy. Being what our democracy and governance system is, it is imperative that ministers and politicians undergo an accelerated course on our geopolitical affairs and how best to use their best resource, the Indian armed forces. An incentive to motivate them to come round, is to introduce them to the possibility of getting their names in history as the one who put India's detractors in their place.Also, once they understand 'Selection and maintenance of Aim', the importance of adequately kitting and provisioning the fighting forces to deliver the goods, should also be driven home. At the moment, only one thing is in abundance; the high morale of a highly motivated and professional Indian fighting force, waiting to write out a new page in history. Dilly dallying at this stage would result in a great opportunity lost….Lt Col Shreesh Kumar.

  5. Sir it's an excellent analysis of PLA capabilities, overhyped by their SM display of forces in action. One action at Galwan by IA has changed the narrative now. The script is being re-written for future. The opaqueness of Chinese intentions are naked now. The belief in ourselves will provide the much required ammo for the impending long haul.

  6. I totally agree with the General. Chinese use propaganda & our inner Jai Singhs to defeat India.We r the best Army of the world & will defend our country with grit & determination.Our Army is not mercenaries but a dedicated lot defend our motherland.Patience & China will crumble. Jai Hind

  7. Ravi….again a great analysis…..aim….anchor in

  8. 'The world, except stupid Pakistanis is with us.'Had a good laugh for almost 30sec!Honest and straightforward analysis.Much appreciated, Sir!Jai Hind

  9. Well Said Sir!! You're SPOT ON 👍👍

  10. True we have the best forces in the world. Men not machines win war…..but this time even our machines aren't so bad.

  11. Besides well prepared and battle experienced armed forces,India too has focussed political leadership which has Empowered Military leadership,which is added plus to what Author has enumerated.

  12. Wait will be upto 20 Oct, D day of 1962. After this, Chinese will develop cold feet and pull back. Doubt if they can sustain hardships that Indian soldier withstands merrily. By turn of the year, xi should hope to get out of his deep self annihilation.

  13. As indicated, if we have got them where we want let us not release them till they bleat. Chinas face saver is not our concern.

  14. We have to hold the heights and interdict the Lhasa highway and occupy Gilgit Baltistan and the rest of PoK. The brave rule the earth and the meek rule only inherited the moth eaten subcontinent and not Ma Barthi of our prayers.

  15. Xi Jinping has staked his reputation and by extension that of the CCP in the 18th National Congress in November 2012 when he was appointed the General Secretary to the Chinese Dream which includes resolution of all boundary disputes. CCP will be celebrating its centenary on 23 July 2021. Could that be why Xi appears to be a man in a hurry? Mobilization of forces in the Tibet sector shows that what happened was a well planned operation. The fact that he grossly underestimated his adversary's response was his greatest undoing. Similarly his bungling in the South China Sea has brought him no glory. It's time that we maintained our military gains and allowed him no credit. We have an opportunity here to shorten the tenure of this leader for life and possibly his party too!

  16. Excellent article . Two aspects that the author has highlighted stands out as lessons for any army. These are, “why is PLA less than the sum of its parts” and “The PLA has grown politically. It might not have grown militarily”. It exposes the dilemma of the Chinese. Components will not make the equipment till the time they are assembled properly. One can sense the Chinese groping for a new “aim”, so eloquently explained by the author. Congratulations. Compliments to you.

  17. A different yet complete perspective. Analysed it thread bare , virtually a SWOT analysis. I only pray that our politicians don't let us down.

  18. The firepower demonstrations remind me what Bruce Lee said to his opponent in the movie Enter the Dragon after he had demonstrated his skill in breaking bricks and boards. He said “BOARDS DON'T HIT BACK”

  19. Excellent annalysis Sir ! You have nailed it. I hope people at levels concerned take note, learn and act. The Indian Armed Forces have changed their attitude and I guess the political direction at the higher level has given the due impetus! Hats off to you once again for enlightening us with your very rational views ! We will come out victorious as the men and leadership in the Armed Forces are top class. Jai Hind !!

  20. As usual you are so incisive and entertaining both. An analysis only a veteran could make in the language all will understand. Really loved it. This political leadership will not repeat Haji Pir as the intentions about Akshai Chin are out in the open. Please continue your writing. One starts missing it if there is a longish gap.

  21. Fantastic Analysis. Bang On. We just need to hold ONLY ONE WINTER.

  22. Very positive article. Change from the usual nitpicking. Agree with the General that perhaps our time has come to emerge from the shadows of 62.

  23. Very well analysed.The political set up is to be taken on board.Diplomatic efforts will call the shots.This time Armed Forces are well poised.

  24. Sir, an excellent analysis. The armed forces will never let the Nation down. I also grant it to the ruling political dispensation for having stuck thier neck out with our forces with a clear tactical prspective..The chinese are mired in a military conundrum….we should expect a stupid face saving action in october…else it is a swan song for Xi.

  25. Let enthu not override realism. Remember the Russian winter brought out Logistics inadequacy of the mighty German Army viz Stretched L of C. People need to do their sum's.

  26. I agree with you PR, as always. This has been the best….logical and defining. God Bless India! Bash on regardless…..our sums are right. We do have the knowledge, the expertise, the experience and the wherewithal for fighting in the mountains.

  27. Never in doubt all said above by experienced ***. Sustenance now and through….

  28. Very well articulated sir. Spot on. As a military man very easy to understand your analysis, otherwise also a sensible mind can infer adequately

  29. An outstanding realistic analysis. Here on is the time to build up and threaten baltistan, Giltiistan, xinziang, and support freedom movement in Tibet and Balochistan.

  30. Excellent analysis sir.. I’m sure our military hierarchy has read it. Positions attained on the Kailash range should not be bartered under any circumstances. It should be the new LAC after all the line is not deleanated.

  31. It is evident that a relative calm on the Ladakh borders will exist till the time comes to choose the next Dalai Lama. We should play our cards very carefully at that time with the aim of settling the frontier issues with China once and for all

  32. Spot on The analysis is the the best I have come across on the subject so far.. Hope our MEA and Hon RM ,and HON PM alongwith our own CDS go through this and act accordingly Tomorrow is Corps Cdrs Meet? Sir Thanks for this article true to itscore and ground realities. rrgards col sudame retd.

  33. A very sound analytical appreciation on ground as well as in the minds of political and military leadership. Considering all aspects including state of Indian economy and spread of Corona virus, it is strongly felt that INDIA Should go on the offensive and liberate Aksai chin now that will break the backbone of PLA and myth about its invincibility. China would be compelled to either settle the border dispute or be foolish enough to escalate the conflict in conjunction with Pakistan. This would be God sent opportunity for India to totally destroy GWADAR port and other important infrastructural project on CPEC TO INFLICT crippling economic damages on China and Pakistan.

  34. An excellent analysis. Our master stroke has been to occupy hts South of Pangang so. Chinese have already shown great concern by issuing statement that India vacate these hts and our response has been right clearly stating that these are within Indian side of LAC. Winter should be the time for us to take certain steps to be proactive and probe whether Chnese can withstand limited fighting in such weather with our limited offensive to make gains in areas where we are now vulnerable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: