Who is best in mountain warfare? India or China?

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Aathithya2, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. Aathithya2

    Aathithya2 Regular Member

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    As war is in the backyard, try to understand the strengths and capabilities of India and China in the area of mountain warfare., Seniors please post your thoughts.
     
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  3. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    It depends. Who do you want to be the best?

    If you want you can consider the Chinese to be the best or Indian.
     
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  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Are we talking about a <insert word here> measuring contest or are we talking about likelihood of winning battles in the Himalayan heights or the Tibetan Plateau? If it is the latter, PLA has a slight edge, thanks to their (1) deployment of troops, (2) capability to move troops quickly, and (3) better infrastructure.

    Now, introduction of air-power could tilt the balance in India's favour.
     
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  5. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Isn't the biggest factor the state of training in mountain warfare for both countries, and the number of troops trained?

    I just ask the question because I don't know the answer.

    Also, is China more willing to accept casualties than India? Perhaps a relevant question for any environment.
     
  6. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I don't have real numbers here, but I am guessing we have more mountain ready troops. Acclimatization is the biggest factor, no matter how well you are trained.

    I believe the Chinese can deploy better technology suited for mountain warfare while we have better acclimatized troops.

    As for the last question I am willing to bet the Chinese are willing to accept higher casualties. But this is something the Brigadier can answer. An expert China watcher suggests any Indo China war will be fought mostly on Chinese terrain. If the war is fought on plains then the Chinese will walk all over us, so the Himalayas is a great equalizer.
     
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  7. ace009

    ace009 Freakin' Fighter fan Elite Member

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    Did you mean "Best" or "Better"?

    Also, which mountain? Where? The Northeastern Himalayas? The craggy passes of Sikkim? The Tibetan Plateau? The heights of Leh/ Ladakh? Each is a very different environment and require very different kinds of troops, training, equipment and tactics.

    If you can specify what you mean, we can answer better.
     
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  8. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I have been to both Nathula Pass and Rohtang Pass, one in the Eastern Himalayas and the other in the Western Himalayas. I do not see why there should be any difference when it comes to temperature, terrain or height. Perhaps you can tell us what the differences are?
     
  9. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    While the relative capabilities of India and China in moutnain warfare are up for debate, it cannot be denied that when it comes to Downhill skiing, no one can beat the Pakroaches!!
     
  10. ace009

    ace009 Freakin' Fighter fan Elite Member

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    Well, the comparison would not be between the Nathu la (4310 m) and the Rohtang Pass (3978 m) - the Rohtang only connects Kullu valley to Lahul and Spiti valley. The passes in that area which connect to Tibet are the Passes in Pithoragarh District like Lampiya Dhura- (5,530 m);` Lipu-Lekh pass - (5,450 m); Lowe Dhura- (5,562 m); Mangshya Dhura- (5,630 m); Nuwe Dhura- (5,650 m) - all of which are a thousand meters or higher than the Nathu la, making them even less accessible than the Nathu la both in terms of time and materials. Rohtang Pass is open from May to November, while Lipu-Lekh is open from June to September only.

    These passes in the northwestern Himalayas are also considerably more difficult to navigate than the Nathu la, which was a part of the ancient Silk road.

    The passes in the arunachal are far less in altitude than the Nathu la and are considerably more navigable.

    I am sure I do not have to talk about passes in Ladakh - the very meaning of the name is :high passes".
     
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  11. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    So it will be easy for PRC to invade from Arunachal than from Himachal? Conversely, it will be the same for India as well?
     
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  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    In 1965 when Pak was close to Akhnoor, Indian army opened a front on the IB.
    In the Chinese context, in the plains if the Chinese make gains because of theim being better, does India have the capability to do what we did against Pak and open fronts in mountain where we are superior in terms of training and with newer equipment coming in?
     
  13. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  14. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  15. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  16. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    The question is can we get our equipment up there? If yes, how much and how quickly? Remember, from Indian side, it is a steep rise. Not quite on the PRC side. What I would think of is establish air superiority along the Indo-Tibetan border and then airlift our light and medium armour like this:



    [If short on time, see from @1:58.]

    We can drop enough armour and troops on the Tibetan side and then occupy as much territory as possible. We should have it easy getting more armour, equipment, bullets, rations in less sorties up to the Tibetan Plateau and support our troops than PRC. Of course, we have to involve the local Tibetans as well.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  17. ace009

    ace009 Freakin' Fighter fan Elite Member

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    More or less yeah. The passes in Arunachal are also more numerous - I am not sure if all the information is even available in public domain. Till very recntly (read before Remote Sensing satellites became common in Asia), the Arunachal border was not well surveyed by either side. Most of the terrain knowledge was only known to the locals.

    Also, if PRC gets through Arunachal, they can gain rapid access to the oil fields of northern Assam and the plain lands there - it would be easier for them to setup forward airbases if they get a foothold there.

    Which is why IA should focus more on Arunachal border to contain PLA.

    As for invading Tibet through Himachal - remember that the passes there are open only for about 4 months in the year. Comparatively Arunachal passes are open 7-8 months a year. Which means if PRC starts to break through in September / October, then India may not have enough time to open up a second front through Himachal. You can airlift a couple of companies through himachal, maybe a Brigade at most, but certainly not a division of armor across the Himalayas to Tibetan plateau. To do that you will need the passes to be open to foot traffic.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  18. Aathithya2

    Aathithya2 Regular Member

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    I am trying to understand here that which side is having better experienced soldiers and equipments. As i aware success of mountain warfare depends on logistical support and numerous factors like local people support and terrain, environment knowledge and so on.., If the war happens, it could begin in AP but due course of time the whole Himalayan range and adjacent passes get involved, therefore it is no localized war as China will try to win the initiated war at any cause to prove the supermacy.
     
  19. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Guys India has the experience of Kargil AND Siachen

    NO army has EVER Achieved this feat ie RETAKING Kargil like peaks

    Indian Army has fought FOUR wars in the Mountains 1962 1965 1971 1999 Kargil war

    In 62 we were not prepared BUT in 1965

    WE TOOK Haji pir pass and Bugina Bulge from Pakistan and returned it for Akhnoor
    because they had come very close to AKhnoor

    China has only fought one war 1962 in mountains as Compared to India

    Chinese have ONLY one strength . MISSILES

    NOTHING ELSE

    Their waves of infantry attacks and cutting off Indian posts will NOT work again

    Our supply lines are much shorter

    If we can get sufficient artillery and missiles we will massacre the Chinese

    The Indian army also has enough EXPERIENCE of Artillerry duels in Mountains because of LOC battles
    and Kargil war

    This is an invaluable asset .

    How arty is to be deployed and how to accurately target the enemy and
    also SATA ( survelleince and target acquisition ) in war

    LAC or the China border is tranquil

    China's last war the plains of Vietnam

    We will also deploy offensive units which will sneak behind the Chinese and destroy their supply lines

    Chinese can do nothing We are quite strong today RELAX
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China has one advantage over India.

    They don't care how many die for their Revolution!

    They have enough under the category of 'Manpower' and is catered for in their WWR.
     
  21. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    India's doctrine against China was to strong Multi layered defences which has worked well for 50 years now
    ie after 62

    Now we are adding offensive units like Mountain Strike corps and offensive weapons like SU 30 and Brahmos
    in ADDITION to further strengthening our defensive capabilities

    The ONLY thing which has changed is the infrastructure in Tibet which allows RAPID mobilisation
    This means China can bring more soldiers quickly

    So we have to match this aspect that is all by making our roads so that we too can deploy our troops quickly
    and bring supplies to them ASAP
     

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