If 2.6 Billion People Go To War: India vs. China

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If 2.6 Billion People Go To War: India vs. China

Kyle Mizokami
May 27, 2017

A hypothetical war between India and China would be one of the largest and most destructive conflicts in Asia. A war between the two powers would rock the Indo-Pacific region, cause thousands of casualties on both sides and take a significant toll on the global economy. Geography and demographics would play a unique role, limiting the war’s scope and ultimately the conditions of victory.

India and China border one another in two distinct locations: Aksai Chin in India’s north, and Arunachal Pradesh in the country’s northeast. China has made claims on both locations, which from China’s perspective belong to the far western province of Xinjiang and China-occupied Tibet. China invaded both Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh in 1962, with both sides fighting a monthlong war that resulted in minor Chinese gains on the ground.

Both countries’ “No First Use” policies regarding nuclear weapons make the outbreak of nuclear war very unlikely. Both countries have such large populations, each over 1.3 billion, that they are essentially unconquerable. Like all modern wars, a war between India and China would be fought over land, sea, and air; geography would limit the scope of the land conflict, while it would be the air conflict, fought with both aircraft and missiles, that would do the most damage to both countries. The trump card, however, may be India’s unique position to dominate a sea conflict, with dire consequences for the Chinese economy.

A war between the two countries would, unlike the 1962 war, involve major air action on both sides. Both countries maintain large tactical air forces capable of flying missions over the area. People’s Liberation Army Air Force units would fly from the Lanzhou Military Region against Aksai Chin, and from the expansive Chengdu Military Region against Arunachal Pradesh. The Lanzhou district is home to J-11 and J-11B fighters, two regiments of H-6 strategic bombers, and a grab bag of J-7 and J-8 fighters. A lack of forward bases in Xinjiang means the Lanzhou Military Region could probably only support a limited air campaign against northern India. The Chengdu Military Region is home to advanced J-11A and J-10 fighters, but there are relatively few military airfields in Tibet anywhere near India.

Still, China does not necessarily need tactical aircraft to do great damage to India. China could supplement its aerial firepower with ballistic missiles from the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Forces. The PLARF overseas both nuclear, conventional and dual-use ballistic missiles, and could conceivably move up to two thousand short- and medium-range DF-11, DF-15 and DF-21 ballistic missiles into positions adjacent to India. These missiles could be used to blitz Indian strategic targets on the ground, at the cost of making them unavailable for contingencies in the South and East China Seas.

Meanwhile, India’s air forces are in a better position to contest the skies than their Chinese counterparts. While the war would take place on China’s sparsely manned frontier, New Delhi is only 213 miles from the Tibetan frontier. India’s air fleet of 230 Su-30Mk1 Flankers, sixty-nine MiG-29s and even its Mirage 2000s are competitive with or even better than most of China’s aircraft in theater, at least until the J-20 fighter becomes operational. India likely has enough aircraft to deal with a two-front war, facing off with Pakistan’s Air Force at the same time. India is also fielding the Akash medium-range air defense missile system to protect air bases and other high-value targets.


While India could be reasonably confident of having an air force that deters war, at least in the near term, it has no way of stopping a Chinese ballistic-missile offensive. Chinese missile units, firing from Xinjiang and Tibet, could hit targets across the northern half of India with impunity. India has no ballistic-missile defenses and does not have the combined air- and space-based assets necessary to hunt down and destroy the missile launchers. India’s own ballistic missiles are dedicated to the nuclear mission and would be unavailable for conventional war.

The war on the ground between the Indian and Chinese armies might at first glance seem like the most decisive phase of the war, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Both theaters, the Aksai Chin/Xijiang theater and the Arunachal Pradesh/Tibet theater are in rugged locations with little transportation infrastructure, making it difficult to send a mechanized army through. Massed attacks could be easily stopped with artillery as attacking forces are funneled through well-known valleys and mountain passes. Despite the enormous size of both armies—1.2 million for India and 2.2 million for China—fighting on the ground would likely be a stalemate with little lost or gained.

The war at sea would be the decisive front in a conflict between the two countries. Sitting astride the Indian Ocean, India lies on China’s jugular vein. The Indian Navy, with its force of submarines, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and surface ships could easily curtail the the flow of trade between China and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It would take the Chinese Navy weeks to assemble and sail a fleet capable of contesting the blockade. Even then, the blockade would be hard to break up, conducted over the thousands of square miles of the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, shipping to and from China would be forced to divert through the western Pacific Ocean, where such diversions would be vulnerable to Australian, Japanese, or American naval action. 87 percent of the country’s petroleum needs are imported from abroad, particularly the Middle East and Africa. China’s strategic petroleum reserves, once completed sometime in the 2020s, could stave off a nationwide fuel shortage for up to seventy-seven days—but after that Beijing would have to seek an end to the war however possible.


The second-order effects of the war at sea would be India’s greatest weapon. War jitters, the shock to the global economy, and punitive economic action by India’s allies—including Japan and the United States—could see demands for exports fall, with the potential to throw millions of Chinese laborers out of work. Domestic unrest fueled by economic troubles could become a major problem for the Chinese Communist Party and its hold on the nation. China has no similar lever over India, except in the form of a rain of ballistic missiles with high-explosive warheads on New Delhi and other major cities.

A war between India and China would be nasty, brutal and short, with far-reaching consequences for the global economy. The balance of power and geographic constraints means a war would almost certainly fail to prove decisive. Both sides have almost certainly concluded this, which is why there hasn’t been a war for more than fifty years. We can only hope it stays that way.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.


http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/if-26-billion-people-go-war-india-vs-china-20875

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I have heard "pan wala" rumors that Chinese are behind IAF SU 30MKI crash, a response against Dalai Lama visit to Tawang.



Although i don't believe in conspiracy theories be it some mythical weapon "KALI" (in development) creating Avalanche in Gyari killing 120 ~ Paki soldiers or this rumor from LAC
 

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I have heard "pan wala" rumors that Chinese are behind IAF SU 30MKI crash, a response against Dalai Lama visit to Tawang.



Although i don't believe in conspiracy theories be it some mythical weapon "KALI" (in development) creating Avalanche in Gyari killing 120 ~ Paki soldiers or this rumor from LAC
This conspiracy fart is well a fart... Even if Chinese have this Jinn powered system, it would be very difficult for the system to work effectively against aircraft flying among Himalayas,

Look what vkthakur(ex Jag Pilot) says.. for him it looks like CFIT(controlled flight into terrain) case. I guess pilot were practicing flying among the mountains, valleys (and not at altitude above mountains) as routine sortie. Which also makes sense because that's how the Sukhois or any fighters will ingress into chinese airspace, in order to reduce reaction time for Chinese AD. And it during that routine flght, they might have failed to detect mountain ahead in the path. To which next question is does Indian sukhoi have TAWS(terrain avoidance warning system)?
 

IndianHawk

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If 2.6 Billion People Go To War: India vs. China

Kyle Mizokami
May 27, 2017

A hypothetical war between India and China would be one of the largest and most destructive conflicts in Asia. A war between the two powers would rock the Indo-Pacific region, cause thousands of casualties on both sides and take a significant toll on the global economy. Geography and demographics would play a unique role, limiting the war’s scope and ultimately the conditions of victory.

India and China border one another in two distinct locations: Aksai Chin in India’s north, and Arunachal Pradesh in the country’s northeast. China has made claims on both locations, which from China’s perspective belong to the far western province of Xinjiang and China-occupied Tibet. China invaded both Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh in 1962, with both sides fighting a monthlong war that resulted in minor Chinese gains on the ground.

Both countries’ “No First Use” policies regarding nuclear weapons make the outbreak of nuclear war very unlikely. Both countries have such large populations, each over 1.3 billion, that they are essentially unconquerable. Like all modern wars, a war between India and China would be fought over land, sea, and air; geography would limit the scope of the land conflict, while it would be the air conflict, fought with both aircraft and missiles, that would do the most damage to both countries. The trump card, however, may be India’s unique position to dominate a sea conflict, with dire consequences for the Chinese economy.

A war between the two countries would, unlike the 1962 war, involve major air action on both sides. Both countries maintain large tactical air forces capable of flying missions over the area. People’s Liberation Army Air Force units would fly from the Lanzhou Military Region against Aksai Chin, and from the expansive Chengdu Military Region against Arunachal Pradesh. The Lanzhou district is home to J-11 and J-11B fighters, two regiments of H-6 strategic bombers, and a grab bag of J-7 and J-8 fighters. A lack of forward bases in Xinjiang means the Lanzhou Military Region could probably only support a limited air campaign against northern India. The Chengdu Military Region is home to advanced J-11A and J-10 fighters, but there are relatively few military airfields in Tibet anywhere near India.

Still, China does not necessarily need tactical aircraft to do great damage to India. China could supplement its aerial firepower with ballistic missiles from the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Forces. The PLARF overseas both nuclear, conventional and dual-use ballistic missiles, and could conceivably move up to two thousand short- and medium-range DF-11, DF-15 and DF-21 ballistic missiles into positions adjacent to India. These missiles could be used to blitz Indian strategic targets on the ground, at the cost of making them unavailable for contingencies in the South and East China Seas.

Meanwhile, India’s air forces are in a better position to contest the skies than their Chinese counterparts. While the war would take place on China’s sparsely manned frontier, New Delhi is only 213 miles from the Tibetan frontier. India’s air fleet of 230 Su-30Mk1 Flankers, sixty-nine MiG-29s and even its Mirage 2000s are competitive with or even better than most of China’s aircraft in theater, at least until the J-20 fighter becomes operational. India likely has enough aircraft to deal with a two-front war, facing off with Pakistan’s Air Force at the same time. India is also fielding the Akash medium-range air defense missile system to protect air bases and other high-value targets.


While India could be reasonably confident of having an air force that deters war, at least in the near term, it has no way of stopping a Chinese ballistic-missile offensive. Chinese missile units, firing from Xinjiang and Tibet, could hit targets across the northern half of India with impunity. India has no ballistic-missile defenses and does not have the combined air- and space-based assets necessary to hunt down and destroy the missile launchers. India’s own ballistic missiles are dedicated to the nuclear mission and would be unavailable for conventional war.

The war on the ground between the Indian and Chinese armies might at first glance seem like the most decisive phase of the war, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Both theaters, the Aksai Chin/Xijiang theater and the Arunachal Pradesh/Tibet theater are in rugged locations with little transportation infrastructure, making it difficult to send a mechanized army through. Massed attacks could be easily stopped with artillery as attacking forces are funneled through well-known valleys and mountain passes. Despite the enormous size of both armies—1.2 million for India and 2.2 million for China—fighting on the ground would likely be a stalemate with little lost or gained.

The war at sea would be the decisive front in a conflict between the two countries. Sitting astride the Indian Ocean, India lies on China’s jugular vein. The Indian Navy, with its force of submarines, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and surface ships could easily curtail the the flow of trade between China and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It would take the Chinese Navy weeks to assemble and sail a fleet capable of contesting the blockade. Even then, the blockade would be hard to break up, conducted over the thousands of square miles of the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, shipping to and from China would be forced to divert through the western Pacific Ocean, where such diversions would be vulnerable to Australian, Japanese, or American naval action. 87 percent of the country’s petroleum needs are imported from abroad, particularly the Middle East and Africa. China’s strategic petroleum reserves, once completed sometime in the 2020s, could stave off a nationwide fuel shortage for up to seventy-seven days—but after that Beijing would have to seek an end to the war however possible.


The second-order effects of the war at sea would be India’s greatest weapon. War jitters, the shock to the global economy, and punitive economic action by India’s allies—including Japan and the United States—could see demands for exports fall, with the potential to throw millions of Chinese laborers out of work. Domestic unrest fueled by economic troubles could become a major problem for the Chinese Communist Party and its hold on the nation. China has no similar lever over India, except in the form of a rain of ballistic missiles with high-explosive warheads on New Delhi and other major cities.

A war between India and China would be nasty, brutal and short, with far-reaching consequences for the global economy. The balance of power and geographic constraints means a war would almost certainly fail to prove decisive. Both sides have almost certainly concluded this, which is why there hasn’t been a war for more than fifty years. We can only hope it stays that way.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.


http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/if-26-billion-people-go-war-india-vs-china-20875

@IndianHawk @Willy2 @roma @Krusty @Defcon 1 @Ghanteshwar @raheel besharam @raja696 @Amr @AnkitPurohit @Akshay_Fenix @aditya10r @airtel @aditya10r @ancientIndian @Bahamut @Berkut @Bornubus @Bengal_Tiger @ersakthivel @FRYCRY @Gessler @HariSud @hit&run @hardip @indiandefencefan @IndianHawk @JayPatel @Kshatriya87 @LETHALFORCE @Mikesingh @NavneetKundu @OneGrimPilgrim @pmaitra @PaliwalWarrior @Pulkit @smestarz @SakalGhareluUstad @Srinivas_K @ShashankSharma @Superdefender @Screambowl @TacticalFrog
Quite balanced analysis actually.
It's true that in a strictly defensive mode India can not only hold itself but seriously erupt the Tibetian platue. Indian ocean theatre will obviously be dominated by India.

Better relations with Japan and USA could really be very valuable if a conflict breaks out . But like the analyst said there is nothing much to be gained by either side while both stand to loose a lot. A war then becomes an unlikely scenario.
 

roma

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smart thing for hcina to do is to make friends with india and stop trying to pit packland against us ......even doing nothing by india, chinese people are gonna rebel against the system ....china faces v serious internal problems even if india does nothing ....their system is self -implosive
 
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no smoking

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smart thing for hcina to do is to make friends with india and stop trying to pit packland against us ......even doing nothing by india, chinese people are gonna rebel against the system ....china faces v serious internal problems even if india does nothing ....their system is self -implosive
I guess this is "the coming collapse of China" 2017 version, right?
 

IndianHawk

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I guess this is "the coming collapse of China" 2017 version, right?
The Communists take over china and installed autocracy on twin premises.
A) Chinese are uneducated illiterate and hence democracy is not suited.
B) Chinese are too poor for democracy.

Majority of chinese bought the program and with CCP focus on ruthless economic development since 1978 an uneasy peace has prevailed. (Uneasy with things like tianmein etc ).

Today both these excuse are invalid so what is gonna happen next.
 

mendosa

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I have heard "pan wala" rumors that Chinese are behind IAF SU 30MKI crash, a response against Dalai Lama visit to Tawang.



Although i don't believe in conspiracy theories be it some mythical weapon "KALI" (in development) creating Avalanche in Gyari killing 120 ~ Paki soldiers or this rumor from LAC
Don't believe in those conspiracy theories which give too much credit to Chinese capabilities. Have faith in the IAF. They crash one fighter jet every month. It's a monthly ceremony for them.


smart thing for hcina to do is to make friends with india and stop trying to pit packland against us ......even doing nothing by india, chinese people are gonna rebel against the system ....china faces v serious internal problems even if india does nothing ....their system is self -implosive
The West loves coming up with these narratives. Every year they come up with a 'China is dying because..' report. In 2015 they were showing a report on Chinese ghost towns, and how China has so many buildings and no one lives there, and apparently that is supposed to be an indication that the economy is collapsing. #ThanksObama. What's the big deal, it's just a loss of a few trucks of cement for the Chinese. The west has no intellectual depth, their population is dumbed down with pop culture, they buy any theory peddled to them.

The 'problems' of China aren't any larger than other nations. Even Europe faces an aging population, many other nations are facing economic crunches. A nation doesn't collapse because of it. Look at Belgium, it's a de facto failed state, but even they have not collapsed.

The whole narrative of 'if India goes to war with China/Pakistan' is a western construct to belittle rising powers and to show them in poor light by only playing up the 'end of times' scenarios and by portraying the rising power of Asian nations as an undeserving toy in the hands of an immature kid. It allows the US to create a premise for intervention by branding themselves as a more responsible power. Whatever issues we have with our neighbors, we have the capacity to resolve it without taking the world down in nuclear winter. We pounded the Pakis for 3 months in Kargil and 6 months in 2003, no nuclear missiles were fired on Delhi, so we know which buttons to press and how to get things done. The Americans are welcome to have their wet dreams about total destruction of Asian powers, and what better scenario for them than to imagine 2 Asian powers neutralizing each other.
 

s002wjh

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I guess the real winner would be US after indo-china war
 

no smoking

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The Communists take over china and installed autocracy on twin premises.
A) Chinese are uneducated illiterate and hence democracy is not suited.
B) Chinese are too poor for democracy.
No, democracy was never part of their promise and the majority of Chinese public doesn't ask the democracy for now. In other words, democracy is never a subject to public discussion except few university students.

Majority of chinese bought the program and with CCP focus on ruthless economic development since 1978 an uneasy peace has prevailed. (Uneasy with things like tianmein etc ).

Today both these excuse are invalid so what is gonna happen next.
Well, unlike what you think, the majority of Chinese public still think that China is a poor country, economic development is still on the top of their priority list. In today's China, you can find protests, rallies and even riots for all kinds of reasons, wages, unemployment, job, environment, public project, corruption, except one thing: democracy. That tells you what is the next: still economy.
 

prohumanity

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It will never happen......the chances of this war happening is 0.0000001% and if it happens, there will be no defense forum..no body to write these messages and no weapon salesmen anywhere...because they will be dead or cancer stricken...stock price of Lockheed Martin will become 0.0001 penny a stock.
Global economy will collapse and world will go back 200 years .
If some people survive...they all will become healthcare professionals to treat remaining humans.
Chill...Indians and Chinese are not that stupid . They will be fine with little bickerings off and on...but no major war.
 

Kshatriya87

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Here are a few of my doubts

The trump card, however, may be India’s unique position to dominate a sea conflict, with dire consequences for the Chinese economy.
Dominate the sea? How? What about chinese naval submarines? Just because we have a aircraft carrier advantage does not mean that our entire navy is strong enough to dominate china.

it has no way of stopping a Chinese ballistic-missile offensive.
India has no ballistic-missile defenses and does not have the combined air- and space-based assets necessary to hunt down and destroy the missile launchers.
No BMDs? I thought some BMDs were already deployed at strategic locations.

India’s own ballistic missiles are dedicated to the nuclear mission and would be unavailable for conventional war.
No Indian ballistic missiles are locked and loaded with conventional warheads? I find that hard to believe. The article also doesn't mention the brahmos at all. Without brahmos, this war scenario is incomplete.

It would take the Chinese Navy weeks to assemble and sail a fleet capable of contesting the blockade.
Weeks to assemble? I don't get this. Atleast half of chinese navy should be ready for war at any given point of time.
 

cw2005

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The battle ground is in the market, not military. Big guys do not fight each other in battle field. Big guys kick little guys' ass just like what American did to so many of them. Wars between big guys like EU, Russia, Japan, USA, UK, India, China etc. would never happen. Talking of this type of war is strictly confined in forums and generals wanting to have more new toys. Fighting is with money these days.
 

no smoking

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Dominate the sea? How? What about chinese naval submarines? Just because we have a aircraft carrier advantage does not mean that our entire navy is strong enough to dominate china.
I think what he means is that India can lure Chinese fleet into Indian Ocean by blocking Chinese sea transportation, where Indian navy certainly enjoy a big advantage.

But whether or not Chinese fleet will come as Indian expects is another story.

No BMDs? I thought some BMDs were already deployed at strategic locations.
So far, India's BMD is still in development. If you have any new or report that Indian BMD is deployed, please share.

No Indian ballistic missiles are locked and loaded with conventional warheads?
India's ballistic missile force has never been required to perform as a conventional tactic strike force. They were never trained to undertake full scale conventional attack. Their training, their equipment are designed to work in nuclear war.

I find that hard to believe. The article also doesn't mention the brahmos at all. Without brahmos, this war scenario is incomplete.
Forget Brahmos, its price/range make it unsuitable for land attack. It is more expensive than most of short range ballistic missile, slower than ballistic missile. Russia had the similar weapon for decades, but it was never included in her land war plan.


Weeks to assemble? I don't get this. Atleast half of Chinese navy should be ready for war at any given point of time.
No, it is probably true considering 2 of 3 Chinese fleet will need at least one week sailing from north. Only South Sea fleet is deployed nearby. But Chinese can only keep maximum 50% of this fleet battle ready at any time.
 

prohumanity

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The battle ground is in the market, not military. Big guys do not fight each other in battle field. Big guys kick little guys' ass just like what American did to so many of them. Wars between big guys like EU, Russia, Japan, USA, UK, India, China etc. would never happen. Talking of this type of war is strictly confined in forums and generals wanting to have more new toys. Fighting is with money these days.

Agreed. The big guys know who to not pick fights with.

Think of biggest Bully on the block...he only picks fights with little, weaker, fearful kids...When the bully sees an assertive, ready to fight back kid...he backs off.

Bully knows that ....yes.. he might kill this courageous ready to fight kid...but is at risk of his leg broken....so he decides to leave this kid alone.
Major military powers will avoid war with each other....but they will use pawns like Pakistan, Taiwan, Ukraine etc. to poke fingers in opposite major power's a*ss. But such wars only diminish those pawns .

The other purpose is to keep these weaker nations afraid and paranoid so they can be controlled and made profits of by selling weapons to them.
 

IndianHawk

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Dominate the sea? How? What about chinese naval submarines? Just because we have a aircraft carrier advantage does not mean that our entire navy is strong enough to dominate china.
I think what he means is that India can lure Chinese fleet into Indian Ocean by blocking Chinese sea transportation, where Indian navy certainly enjoy a big advantage.
Advantage is in terms of Indian landmass supporting naval fleet across Indian ocean. Indian anti ship missile from peninsular tip and islands can provide defensive , offensive cover over most of the Indian ocean. Same is the case for aircrafts even without aircraft carriers India can still dominate Indian ocean with fight aircrafts flown from South india and andmaan.
 

IndianHawk

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No, democracy was never part of their promise and the majority of Chinese public doesn't ask the democracy for now. In other words, democracy is never a subject to public discussion except few university students.
Yes democracy was not the promise. Back in 1949 Communists sold the utopia of equality to Chinese and killed millions in failed forward leap / cultural revolution.

Only after 78 did Communists took pragmatic route and promised economic growth.

Today china is one of the most unequal countries.gini index 46.

As people prosper they are going to demand more freedom and more rights against the state it's inevitable.
 

IndianHawk

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Forget Brahmos, its price/range make it unsuitable for land attack. It is more expensive than most of short range ballistic missile, slower than ballistic missile. Russia had the similar weapon for decades, but it was never included in her land war plan.
Bramhos is not a tactical weapon. It's not a replacement for ballistic missiles either. It's precisely for in between scenarios.

In a tactical theatre where India is facing adverse situation bramhos will be used against enemy column to alter the dynamics.

About land attack if India has developed a land attack version of the missile then it will be used for the land attack. Otherwise they wouldn't have developed it. India has sufficient short range rockets , missiles in arsenal already .
 

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