India's Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta set the cat amongst the pigeons recently when he hinted in a speech that India could not match China military force.
Delivering a powerful speech on 'National Security Challenges' at a conference organised by the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi on Monday, Mehta said, "India's annual defence expenditure (approximately $30 billion for 2008-2009) is less than half of what China spends on defence. China's official figure is under $40 billion, but it is widely believed that China actually spends more than twice as much. Studies by US think-tanks peg China's defence spending to be anything between $70 billion to $200 billion."
"Whether in terms of GDP, defence spending or any other economic, social or development parameters, the gap between the two is just too wide to bridge (and getting wider by the day). In military terms, both conventional and non-conventional, we neither have the capability nor the intention to match China, force for force. These are indeed sobering thoughts and therefore our strategy to deal with China would need to be in consonance with these realities."
"Our strategy to deal with China must include reducing the military gap and countering the growing Chinese footprint in the Indian Ocean region. The traditional or 'attritionist' approach of matching 'division for division' must give way to harnessing modern technology for developing high situational awareness and creating a reliable stand-off deterrent."
What do you think are the reasons that China has moved so far ahead of India militarily and on social indiacators? And what does India need to do to bridge the gap? Tell us
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