India China Relations | 5 Reasons why China can’t Attack India | Doklam | Strategic Analysis

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  • The standoff between India and China in the Doklam area has snowballed into a crisis of sorts between the two Asian powerhouses. Such confrontation have not been witnessed between the two nations since the 2013 standoff.
  • Read Full Analysis of the Doklam Standoff here – Read in ENGLISH , Read in HINDI.
  • The Chinese media has been quick to reference the war of 1962, when the Chinese Armed forces were successful in inflicting severe damage to the Indian forces, prompting Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley to say that the ‘India of 2017 is very different from the India of 1962’.
  • The statement, however, failed to end the posturing from Beijing. Chinese State News Agency, The Global Times said that “There could be a chance of war if the recent conflict between China and India is not handled properly noting that China will resolutely defend its territory and safeguard the border”.
  • Are these just plain empty threats? Is China really gearing up for a war against India?

This brings us to the 5 Reasons why China can’t dare to attack India.


For decades now, the Chinese Communist Party has been diverting significant resources to expand and modernise the Chinese military. Although late, the Indian government too, has stepped on the gas when it comes to military modernisation.

So how do the two forces, two of the largest in the world, stack up against each other?

  • The Defence Budget for China has been way above India’s budget. For China, It was 151 Billion Dollars in 2017 whereas it was 51 Billion Dollars for India in the same year.
  • This is evident from the fact that the Peoples Liberation Army of China has 23,35,000 Active Personnel compared to 13,25,000 of the India Army. The Reserve Component of the Chinese Army stands at 23,00,000 whereas for the Indian Army it is 21,43,000 which makes the count at 46,35,000 for China and 34,68,000 for India.
  • China has 2955 aircrafts to power it’s air defence whereas India has 2102
  • China has 6457 Tanks, 1710 Self Propelled Artillery, 6246 Towed Artillery & 1770 Multiple Rocket Launchers for combat on land whereas India has 4426 Tanks, 290 Self Propelled Artillery, 7414 Towed Artillery & 292 MultipleRocket Launchers
  • When it comes to the Navy, China has 1 Aircraft Carrier, 51 Frigates, 35 Destroyers, 35 Corvettes & 220 Patrol Crafts whereas India has 1 Aircraft Carrier, 14 Frigates, 11 Destroyers, 23 Corvettes & 139 Patrol Crafts.
  • In the Sub-Surface Fleets, China has 7 Nuclear & 60 Conventional Submarines whereas India has 2 Nuclear and 13 Conventional Submarines.
  • China has 260 Nuclear Warheads compared to India’s 110.
  • Now, China has 3000 Cruise Missiles and 13000 Ballistic Missiles whereas India has 400 Cruise and 5000 Ballistic Missiles.

Some might think that these numbers show China’s superiority in Defence and this could give nightmares to Indian Armed Forces. So Is it true? The answer is NO.

  • China has over 2000 fighter and bomber aircrafts belonging to categories such as Jian, Jianhong, Chengdu, Hong 6, FC-17, Sukhoi 27 and Sukhoi 30 MKK. (It has to be noted here that over 60% of these aircrafts are second and third generation aircrafts and a large number of those may not even be combat ready. The Sukhoi 30 MKK aircraft which is the premier fighter craft for China is technologically much inferior compared to the Sukhoi 30 MKI version that Indian Airforce operates. Sukhoi 30 MKK can actively engage two targets simultaneously whereas the Sukhoi 30 MKI being a generation 4.5 aircraft that can actively engage upto 20 different targets simultaneously
  • Besides these, India also operates over 380 UAV’s that can perform various roles including missile attacks and bombings.
  • Even though China has a larger number of Nuclear weapons, the stockpile of both nations is enough to almost wipe out the other from its existence. So do they even get the chance to use all of them? Think about it.
  • Experts say that If India and China were to come to blows, the real war would be fought at sea. China imports large amounts of foreign oil, and two thirds of that must pass through the Indian Ocean. India sits astride the sea lanes providing China with energy. In the event of increased tensions the Indian Navy could impose essentially a blockade on China of vital shipping from the Persian Gulf and Africa.
  • India has multiple entry points into Chinese territories through Afghanistan, Indian air bases at Farkhor and Ayni in Tajikistan along with Ladakh, Chumbi Valley (near Sikkim), Arunachal Pradesh and through it’s naval presence in South-China Sea.
  • Very recently, Indian Army General announced that Indian Army is now ready for a two and a half front war i.e a simultaneous war on both it’s border against China and Pakistan along with dealing with internal threats.
  • He said that a new strike corps known as the 17 Strike Corps is being raised specifically for mountain warfare.


  • India is a huge market for Chinese Goods with bilateral trade in 2016 of about US$ 71.18 billion.
  • China exports more goods to India than India does to China. The Chinese Economy is heavily dependant on it’s exports and degrading relations with one of it’s key trading partner could prove detrimental.
  • If these two giants get involved in a war, most of the countries would be forced to take sides. India over the last few years has engaged it’s diaspora to great effect and has strengthened bilateral relations with most of the powerful nations of the world. Too bad for China.


  • In 2016, China grew at its slowest pace since 1990. In the first quarter of 2016, the country recorded a GDP growth of 6.7%. What happened? There was a strong decline in manufacturing and construction output, the main drivers of China’s growth until now. But a few other issues came into play, considering the three main ingredients for long-run growth.
    1. Firstly, LABOUR which is now declining as China has already peaked it’s population in 2012
    2. Secondly, PRODUCTIVITY, as China is catching up economically with the rest of the world and is approaching the innovation frontier, leaps in productivity can no longer stem from knowledge transfers but must increasingly be driven by domestic innovation.
    3. Third is CAPITAL, China’s already high investment levels of around 50% of GDP will be difficult to sustain in light of total debt having reached 237% of GDP, up from 148% at the end of 2007.
  • China due to it’s trade surplus over the years collected a whopping 3 trillion dollars of Forex Reserves which it invested in the US Treasure Bonds. Due to the low returns China had started diverting it’s Forex Reserve into projects like One Belt One Road and Maritime Silk Route instead of the US Treasury Bonds.
  • Under the One Belt One Road initiative, China is expected to invest up to $1.3 trillion in infrastructure projects, which will connect China’s industrial heartland to Western Europe via both land-based as well as maritime transportation and communication networks.
  • With a slowing economy and huge amount of money already invested in development projects, it is highly unlikely that China would dare to engage in a full-fledged war as it might either push China one step ahead towards bankruptcy or halt the projects in between for years to come.


India over the last few years has strengthened strategic bilateral ties through Prime Minister’s State visits to various countries such as USA, Russia, Israel, Mongolia, Japan, South Korea, Gulf Countries and the South East Asian Countries which is enough to surround and pressurise China whenever needed.


  • China is very possessive about it’s claims over the South-China Sea where it is already facing resistance by Taiwan and the South-East Asian Countries especially Philippines over Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal.
  • The Hague Tribunal recently ruled against Chinese claims of the South China Sea and asking it to follow the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • China’s involvement in a war with India will only escalate the South China Sea issue with many countries joining India to contain China and stopping it’s meaningless claims over the waterbody which is a key route for world trade.

These were the various factor that would force china to think twice before attacking India. India cannot be underestimated for it’s military and diplomacy for sure.

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