International

Could be in a full-scale war with China within a month: Desai

New Delhi: Meghnad Desai, on Saturday, said that India is very likely to be facing China in a full-scale war very soon.

Meghnad Jagdishchandra Desai, Baron Desai is an Indian-born, naturalised United Kingdom economist and Labour politician. He has been awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India, in 2008.

With India, the US and China forming a “very combustible mixture right now”, the fate of the ongoing Doklam standoff would largely depend upon events in the South China Sea, noted commentator on international affairs, Meghnad Desai said.

“I cannot say what day or date but I think at this time it is very likely that we will be in a state of full-scale war with China very soon. And mind you, on several fronts, not just Doklam. It is just one frontier, they will start from all places, across the northern Himalayas,” Desai said.

“Even today, nobody is contemplating that the whole Doklam thing could break anytime. We could be in a full scale war with China within a month. At that stage it will not be controllable. It may come as a surprise, but that is when the defence co-operation of India (with various countries) will bear fruit,” Desai told IANS, a news agency, in an interview.

When asked specifically on the expected reaction of the United States in case there is a war between India and China and whether Washington would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with India, Desai responded: “Absolutely”.

“Ultimately, you have to understand that India cannot stand up to China without American help and support. America cannot stand up to China without Indian help. That is the symmetry in this relationship,” he elaborated.

“I am sure we are not told everything that is going on. But my worry is even though India will not openly become militaristic but have we got the preparedness for it?” Desai said.

“All things that follow now will have a lot to do with what happens in the South China Sea. The US has sent out enough signals. If there is war, it will be a US-China war, with India on the US side, in the South China Sea and in the Himalayas. This trio is a very combustible mixture right now,” he contended.

He said that it is important to understand the Chinese thought process because they are “much more nationalistic, militaristic and aggressive” this time.

 

“I think, from past experience, we always assume that we are well prepared but you will be fighting one of the finest armies in the world. It is a very powerful army and I think they also have (much) training in mountain warfare. So, according to me, it will be a very tough fight for India. Don’t be mistaken that this will be easy. It is not Pakistan. The Pakistani Army is the same set of people. They come from the same army traditions and they have the same thinking but the Chinese are very different,” he reiterated.

For more than a month now, the two countries (China and India) have been involved in a stand-off along a part of their 3,500 kilometres shared border. Since both the countries are populous and have very robust economies, and have fought a war over border disputes in 1962, the stand-off has attracted global media attention.

Both India and China have rushed more troops to the border as the divide between the two neighbouring countries is turning out to be one of the longest since the India-China war of 1962.

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