India is ill-prepared for war with China, says expert

Chennai/ New Delhi: Eminent defense journalist Mr. Pravin Sawhney, editor of Force Magazine, is of the opinion that India is ill-prepared for a war with China. 

Talking at a webinar titled “Stocktaking of the current situation in Ladakh — The way forward,’ Mr. Sawhney said the failure of the military-level talks is due to the question of sovereignty as China does not recognize India’s sovereignty over Ladakh and calls it a disputed territory.

India’s topmost defense expert on boundary disputes with China, Mr. Pravin Sawhney was speaking at the webinar organized by the Center for Peace and Economic Prosperity in South Asia. 

Taking a contrarian view about talks as the only way forward, Mr. Sawhney was of the view that talks would never succeed because China would never give India what it wants. He said the issue is not about the differing perceptions of the boundary but a matter of territory and national sovereignty.  

To a question, regrading nothing tangible emerging even after 13 rounds of talks, and in such case will there be a war, Mr. Sawhney, said, India may achieve a semblance of military parity with China only by 2023. A conventional war can be thought out only after that. However, in the case of the India-China war, this war will be totally different from the conventional war, and for that kind of war, India totally lacks preparedness.

To another question, in absence of talks not being successful and the war yet to be fought, what would be the future scenario, Mr. Sawhney, said, the LAC has already been converted into the LOC  and this will continue to be the dominant scenario for time to come.  

The current situation on the India-China Ladakh border is really bad. The military stand-off between the two countries is continuing since May 2020. That year saw a violent clash in June when Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a fistfight at the Galway Valley leading to several fatalities.  

The India-China standoff at Ladakh has led to the growing political tension between the two countries. The strained relationship also has economic fallout, as China is one of India’s biggest trading partners. The simmering tension entails the risk of a devastating impact on both countries as they are nuclear power states.

The speaker gave a realistic assessment of the current situation in Ladakh and its implication on India’s national security.

Center for Peace and Economic Prosperity in South Asia is a nonprofit nonpolitical forum.  Dr. Syed Ali Mujtaba, is an expert on South Asia based in Chennai, and Dr. Rahul Kumar, based in New Delhi and an expert on international relations are the President and Secretary of the Center.  

The center had organized its first webinar on Taliban Rule and Its Impact on South Asia with Dr. Syed Ali Mujtaba as the speaker. The recording of the event is available on YouTube. The current program will also be made available at the same place soon. 

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

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