India’s response to China’s PLA reforms

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India's response to China’s PLA reforms

Source: The post India’s response to China’s PLA reforms has been created, based on the article “Chinese armed forces have been upgrading. India must keep up” published in “Indian Express” on 12th June 2024

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 3 – Internal Security

Context: The article discusses China’s military reforms, focusing on the PLA’s Western Theater Command (WTC). It highlights the WTC’s combat training, air superiority efforts, and transportation capabilities in harsh terrains. India needs to assess and counter these developments. India’s response to China’s PLA reforms

What is the China’s PLA recent reforms?

  1. Joint Network-Centric Force: Since 2015, China’s PLA has been focusing on integrating its services, arms, and systems into a joint, network-centric force tailored for the Information Age. This includes training and operational strategies that reflect modern warfare technologies and tactics.
  2. Combat Training and Simulations: The PLA heavily invests in realistic combat training and simulations to improve their readiness. For instance, in August 2018, an anti-aircraft artillery unit from the Xinjiang Military District conducted a live-fire exercise in the Tian Shan mountains to test and refine their integrated combat capabilities.
  3. Air Superiority and Transportation: Building air superiority is a central focus, demonstrated by their continued development of air defense systems and the introduction of advanced aircraft like the Xi’an Y-20 “Kunpeng.” This aircraft enhances their capability to quickly transport essential supplies to troops stationed in remote high-altitude areas.

How is India Responding?

  1. Integrated Theatre Commands (ITCs): India is working towards creating ITCs to promote joint military culture, not service-specific culture. This is seen as a response to the PLA’s jointness efforts.
  2. Defense Minister’s Priority: Rajnath Singh, re-appointed as defense minister, prioritizes military modernization and ITCs creation. He acknowledges that theaterization in some countries has taken over two decades, indicating a long-term approach for India.
  3. Chief of Defence Staff’s Role: General Anil Chauhan positions ITCs as essential for India’s combat preparedness, mirroring the PLA’s jointness efforts.
  4. Air Defence Investments: India invests in Very Short-Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORADS) and Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) to bolster its Army Air Defence capabilities.
  5. Aerial Superiority: As of 2020, Indian fighter jets outnumber Chinese jets 250 to 157, underscoring India’s emphasis on aerial dominance.

For detailed information on India’s Defence Modernisation read Article 1, Article 2

Question for practice:

Discuss the recent military reforms undertaken by China’s PLA and India’s response to these developments.

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