In a recent article, former Army Chief General MM Naravane premises that India does not have ‘strategic depth’ against China, tacitly suggesting that if a country has neither strategic depth, nor a friendly neighbour, then it should “create this depth by occupying territories”.
He cites examples of how strategic depth is utilised militarily, but without mentioning the tremendous security costs that Pakistan is suffering on account of its involvement in Afghanistan, or Israel is incurring by occupying Palestine.
Surprisingly, in spite of India’s superior military capacity versus Pakistan, he accedes that the Indian Army may “trade space for time in the desert sector” to allow “the enemy offensive to run out of steam”; and accepts that such trading may not be possible on our eastern borders; and concludes, “India ….. [must] be forward deployed almost everywhere to thwart any pre-emptive surprise attacks, which … can only be done by having adequate boots on ground.”
Overall, this premise, pegged on archaic constructs, does not cognise some basic geographical facts, along with an evolved military and geopolitical realities.
Also, is it about “strategic depth”? Or justifying a larger standing army?