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Contextualizing China's Military Strategy


Rukmani Gupta

CHINA'S MILITARY AND INDIA
Edited by Srikanth Kondapalli
Pentagon Press, New Delhi, 2012, pp. xxxiii 196, Rs. 795.00

VOLUME XXXVII NUMBER 2-3 February/March 2013

China’s military spending, its weapons acquisitions and technological investments have been the subjects of commentaries for many years now. Even though debates on the true value of China’s military budget and the quality of its indigenous defence industry continue, it is generally acknowledged that these issues merit deeper study because the growth in China’s military prowess has consequences for the global international order. Apprehensions regarding the utility and trajectory of China’s military might are even more pronounced among China’s neighbours. This holds true also for India, especially given the border war fought between the two countries in 1962 and the continuing border dispute. At a time when the focus of defence analysts in India has been on numerical analysis of capabilities or the programmes for infrastructure development along the Sino-Indian border, China’s Military and India stands out for its attempt to present a holistic picture with regard to the evolution of the Chinese military. Divided into seven chapters, each written by a well known strategic analyst, the book provides a comprehensive overview of the strategic thinking, military doctrines and force capabilities of the Chinese military. It is the emphasis on locating China’s military strategy within the larger goals set for the Chinese nation by its leaders that sets this book apart from recent deliberations on the same theme. Rather than merely highlighting the threats that China’s military modernization may hold for India by enumerating numerical capa-bilities, a largely successful attempt has been made at explicating the role of the military within China’s grand strategy. It is the first four chapters that identify trends in China’s military modernization, the doctrinal changes that have guided modernization efforts and locate these in the larger strategy of development pursued by China’s leaders. Gurmeet Kanwal in ‘China’s growing Military Power: Implications for India’, lists the three objectives of China’s grand strategy (p.3), namely, preservation of domestic order and well being; defence against external threats to national sovereignty and territory and; the attainment and maintenance of geopolitical influence as a major state. These along with calculations regarding the national strength of China (CNP or Comprehensive National Power) relative to other countries, are seen as guiding the military strategy adopted by China. Srikanth Kondapalli in ‘China’s Grand Strategy’ emphasizes the goal of building a ‘well-off society’ by 2020 that China’s leaders are pursuing (p. 27). ...


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