Strategic Drift: India's Conventional Military Strategy Lacks Purpose
India’s military threat landscape today consists of territorial and resource-related disputes with Pakistan in its west and northwest and with China in the east and northeast. The nature of the threats India faces from Pakistan have morphed from conventional to asymmetric warfare over time, whereas China poses a conventional challenge supplemented with other modes of warfare and competition over maritime control across the Indian Ocean. This comes amid the advent of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as well as deepening China-Pakistan defense ties that have blunted some of the outright conventional advantage that India has historically enjoyed over Pakistan. As both countries seek to intensify their military cooperation with a series of joint military exercises and patrols, some in proximity to disputed Kashmir territory, Indian analysts and policy experts have argued that the two territorial threats of Beijing and Islamabad are converging into a single military threat.
Indian conventional military strategy, however, does not seem to be a function of these threats, because the Indian strategic community lacks concurrence on how the threat landscape exists today or is evolving. In fact, India’s conventional military doctrines, postures, and modernization trends are not oriented towards a coherent strategy.
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