Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"India vs. Pakistan: Which Army Would Win?"

In the last week we've seen the Financial Express on May 17 say "War threats from China, Pakistan! India to deploy Rafale fighter jets in Haryana, West Bengal: Report", and from Strategy Page:
May 23, 2017: In northwest India (northeast Pakistan) Kashmir border violence continues to spiral out of control. A local hotline was established, apparently more for publicity than peace, but on the Pakistani side of the hotline the message was the same; we are not at fault. This is mainly about the Pakistani military needing a justification for their wealth (much of it gained via corrupt practices) and power (to overthrow a government they see as a threat to themselves)....MORE
And from dozens of other sources, ditto.

The headline story, from The National Interest (U.S.) dropped out of one of the feedreaders a few days ago and reminded me we haven't seen this recent level of saber-rattling for quite a while.
The quick and dirty answer is India wins but only if China stays out.

From The National Interest:
The Indian subcontinent is home to two of the largest armies on Earth. Not only are the armies of India and Pakistan both larger in personnel than the U.S. Army, but they have stood at alert facing one another since the dissolution of the British Indian Army in 1947. The two armies have clashed four times in the past seventy years, and may yet do so again in the future.

The Indian army is the primary land force of the Indian armed forces. The army numbers 1.2 million active duty personnel and 990,000 reservists, for a total force strength of 2.1 million. The army’s primary tasks are guarding the borders with Pakistan and China and domestic security—particularly in Kashmir and the Northeast. The army is also a frequent contributor to United Nations peacekeeping missions abroad....MORE
...If the two countries went to war, a major clash between the two armies would be inevitable. Outnumbered and under-equipped, the Pakistani army believes it is in a position to launch small local offensives from the outset, before the Indian army can reach its jumping-off points, to occupy favorable terrain. Still, the disparity in forces means the Pakistanis cannot hope to launch a major, war-winning offensive and terminate a ground war on their own terms. As a result, the Pakistani army is increasingly relying on tactical nuclear weapons to aid their conventional forces.

For its part, the Indian army plans to immediately take the offensive under a doctrine called “Cold Start.” Cold Start envisions rapid mobilization followed by a major offensive into Pakistan before the country can respond with tactical nuclear weapons. Such an offensive—and Pakistan’s likely conventional defeat—could make the use of tactical nuclear weapons all the more likely....
A half-decade ago it seemed we had an India-Pakistan war threat every six months or so.
Here's October 2014: "The India-Pakistan Border Appears to Be Heating Up"
January 2013: "In Other News: 'India Warns Kashmiris to Prepare for Nuclear War'"
May 2012: "A Possible (nuclear) Water War Between Pakistan and India"
And even back to 2008: "Pakistan: We're ready for war with India . And: Pakistan, India troops exchange fire at Chakoti sector".

In most of the posts we would embed the Wagah Crossing flag lowering ceremony:

Palin at the India-Pakistan border ceremony - BBC 
And hope his bit never got tested:
Problem Solved: "Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years"

Just this morning Quartz India disagreed on a war outcome but illustrated their story "For all the chest-thumping, India cannot win a war against Pakistan" with a big ol' picture of Wagah: