Can China’s Army Really Reach Delhi in 2 Days? Nope, Say Experts

How viable are Chinese state TV’s claims that Chinese motorised troops can reach Delhi in as little as 2 days?

Updated
World
3 min read
This is not the first time China has tried to use rhetoric as a deterrence strategy against India, but it comes as probably the first one which is as specific. (Photo: iStock)

“It would take China's motorised troops 48 hours and its paratroops 10 hours to reach India's capital if war broke out,” a Chinese State television channel boldly proclaimed.

This is not the first time China has tried to use rhetoric as a deterrence strategy but it comes as probably the first one that is so specific. Interestingly, this also comes on the back of Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s pointed comment on honing India’s Cold Start strategy for Pakistan.

Does the Chinese state TV’s statement come as nothing more than a deterrence tool, or are the claims viable?

‘A Ridiculous Remark Made Without Any Practicality’

Experts and retired army officers were quick to rubbish this as illogical rhetoric, and questioned the logistics of the provocative claim. The ill-thought-out remark shows the level of understanding of the people who’ve made it, said retired colonel Rohit Agarwal. Speaking to The Quint, he broke the comment down and analysed its impracticality.

For motorised troops to infiltrate the mountainous terrain of the north-eastern border of India and advance further inside is not possible, he said.



Soldiers of Indian Army and Chinese Army undertaking endurance exercises during Indo-China Joint Military exercise in November 2016. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/adgpi/status/800999520091803648/photo/1">@adgpi</a>)
Soldiers of Indian Army and Chinese Army undertaking endurance exercises during Indo-China Joint Military exercise in November 2016. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@adgpi)
If you’re talking about motorised troops, you need to first look at the terrain. Where will those troops come from? All of our north-eastern border is mountainous, so, even if they plan on using that route for their troops, how far can they advance?
Rohit Agarwal, Retired Colonel, Indian Army

As far as the paratroops are concerned, anyone can drop paratroops anywhere, said a former Indian army commander to The Quint. Putting the situation in perspective, he said:

If it takes their paratroops 10 hours to reach Delhi then theoretically it will take even our paratroops the same time to reach Beijing.
Rohit Agarwal, Retired Colonel, Indian Army

Agarwal explained that depending on the flying time and the time taken to prepare, why just 10 hours? One can drop paratroopers anywhere anytime, but what thereafter? What possibilities will they have after landing in foreign territory? Will it be a clandestine operation? If so, what will it lead to? It would then be a full-scale escalation, he added.

You can drop paratroopers in Delhi as and when you like, but what will they do once they reach the ground? So, I think it’s just rhetoric.
Rohit Agarwal, Retired Colonel, Indian Army

Agarwal says it’s difficult to discern what might have prompted the state channel to issue the remark. But China is always looking to send messages and threats to India or even United States, said Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (ret’d).

This claim is beyond ridiculous. It’s saying their motorised troops will reach Delhi in 48 hours – how will they cross the Himalayas?
Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (ret’d)

Further, a former Army commander explained that notwithstanding all the disputes India has with China and Pakistan, the chances of a war are extremely low.

This is nothing but a figment of imagination of the television channel and a matter of who they’re quoting and how. It’s just imaginations running wild and typical punchline reporting by the state channel.
Former Army Commander

The Chinese state TV’s comment was issued without context and, seeing the experts’ views, is being interpreted as mere rhetoric – thus negating any deterrence effect it may have sought to achieve.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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