Air Superiority in South Asia

7 October 2010


Today India announced plans to purchase 250 to 300 advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter jets from Russia over the next 10 years. The aircraft in question will be some version of the Sukhoi PAK FA. If the purchase goes through, it will be the biggest military deal in India’s history. India has long been a major purchaser of Russian manufactured military equipment, as much during its “non-aligned” phase during the Cold War as it is today as the largest functioning democracy (in terms of population) in the world. Political regimes may come and go, but arms purchasing relationships transcend ideology and changing times.

The contest to watch in South Asia is that between India and Pakistan. The two have been rivals if not enemies since the partition of 1947, so that everything India does in terms of defense is done with an eye on Pakistan, while everything Pakistan does in terms of defense it does with an eye to India. Pakistan developed nuclear weapons not least because India already had the bomb, and Pakistan tested its nukes, thus making itself an “official” nuclear power in response to India’s nuclear tests (in 1998). It is a quid pro quo relationship.

Given Pakistan’s recent turmoil, and its deep engagement (both politically and demographically) with the turmoil in Afghanistan, one might reasonably think of Pakistan as being not much of a rival to India, with the latter’s democratic institutions, its growing economy, and its enormous population, except that Pakistan was a stalwart Cold War ally of the US, and as such received military hardware from Washington DC that not everything country had access to. Many of these sales were controversial and widely reported in the press.

Since Pakistan has been dropped from the list of countries receiving the best US armaments, they have been building a new fighter with the cooperation of the Chinese in Chengdu. The Pakistani air force already operates Chinese fighters, including the Chengdu F-7 Skybolt, which is the largest constituent of their fighters in terms of absolute numbers (192), followed by the French Dassault Mirage III (121). The Pakistanis also have 63 F-16 Fighting Falcons, with another 14 to be delivered this coming December.

The fighter that the Pakistanis and the Chinese are building jointly, the JF-17 Thunder (Urdu: تھنڈر), also designated Chengdu FC-1 Xiaolong (English: Fierce Dragon; Chinese: 枭龙; pinyin: Xiāo Lóng), represents something of a step down from the capabilities of the F-16 (see the accompanying chart), but the JF-17 is something that the Pakistanis can count on, and they know that they can’t count on the Americans. Pakistan has even recently built some of the JF-17s on their own soil with Chinese assistance and expertise, so they need not even wait for them to come from the production facility in Chengdu.

While there is only one squadron of 25 JF-17s flying in Pakistan to date, the plans are to produce between 250-300 total units. We cannot but notice that this is the same number of Sukhoi PAK FAs the Indians hope to acquire from Russia. The JF-17 is by no means an equal to the Sukhoi PAK FA, but in terms of what is possible for the Pakistanis, it is a good choice. Not only do the most advanced military powers face a “death spiral” of increasing costs of production and decreasing number of units produced. Even in Pakistan and India their military hardware has evolved to the point that the same is true for them. The JF-17 was designed to be as inexpensive as possible, and now it is an inexpensive fighter produced domestically.

While India has an edge with the Sukhoi in terms of capability, these are expensive planes produced in Russia with Russian technology and Russian expertise. With these conditions noted, we can see that Pakistan has a different kind of geopolitical edge with a less-expensive fighter that can be produced domestically. If both nation-states buy or build the planned 300 units of each, Pakistan will not be so badly off in a contest as it may appear at first sight, since they certainly don’t have to worry about fighter aircraft from Afghanistan — their other long border — while India is a large country that also has a long border with China. By concentrating its fighters near the Indian border, Pakistan can prevent India from achieving absolute air superiority in South Asia, and there are many instances in which denial of superiority can be decisive in the overall geopolitical context of a military contest.

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49 Responses to “Air Superiority in South Asia”

  1. ulag said

    A good analysis but a crucial point is missing, that of India’s equation with China. In the last ten years, with India’s booming economy and India and China’s new found self-assertion, India is having to keep an eye out for China. Most of its new Sukhoi squadrons are being based in the North East. Pakistan is now of much lesser concern to India than the Chinese. When it comes to air-superiority, even though Pakistan had more advanced fighter jets and tanks in the 1971 war (all US supplied) India still won the war decisively. India going nuclear was in response to the rising Chinese threat. Most of India’s future geo-strategic calculations are based on China.

    While it is true that India has two hostile borders to split its air squadrons, which is advantageous to Pakistan, one must realise the strength of India’s naval fleet which almost matches China. India’s Navy is powerful enough to offset any strategic match in the airforce of India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan face the prospects of limited wars in the future like Kargil 1999. I really doubt the escalation of any war between the two to include the airforces because then the Indian Navy would come into play and that could blockade Pakistan out of essential supplies through sea. Its one of the main reasons which prevented Pakistan from being more adventurous during the Kargil 1999 war.

    • geopolicraticus said

      Thanks for your informed and intelligent comment on the strategic situation in South Asia. I did mention that India has a long border with China, and while I said that every thing India and Pakistan do is done with an eye on the other, this does not preclude their also keeping an eye on China and elsewhere. If, as you say, India will be basing its Sukhoi squadrons in the NE, this makes Pakistan’s fighter deterrence all the more powerful in relation to what India will make available on its western border. But your point is well taken.

      I never even thought about the role of the Indian Navy when I was writing the above, so I didn’t take that into account. If India’s Navy has an air service, this will definitely tilt the balance of the equation. I will need to do some research here; while developments of the Chinese Navy are widely reported of late, there is little in the press about the Indian Navy. I will look into this.

      Whether Pakistan is as vulnerable to blockade by sea as you suggest is a very interesting question. I am sure that the Pakistanis have not been blind to their Iranian neighbor’s naval developments immediately to the west, especially around the Strait of Hormuz. If I were a Pakistani naval commander, and I felt vulnerable to blockade by sea from India, I would be developing inexpensive asymmetrical counter-measures such as those in development by the Persians.

      Best wishes,


      • mitchell said

        Iran is Shia and Pakistan predominantly Sunni. They are not on the best of terms. In fact, India is on better terms than Pakistan is with Iran. That equation maybe factored in??!!

        • geopolicraticus said

          Dear Mitchell,

          In the big strategic picture, there is no question that the split in the Ummah between Shia and Sunni must be figured in, just as in Christendom one must always make the calculation of loyalties based on Christian denominations (and this has figured recently in the Balkan wars in which Orthodox Russia supported the Orthodox Serbs, and many Western powers supported the Catholic Croats even while Muslim powers supported the Bosniaks).

          In terms of air power, Pakistan is dependent upon China, which lies entirely outside its religious tradition, even while India is dependent upon Russia, which also lies entirely outside its Hindu tradition. However — and this is an important detail not always recognized — China’s aerospace industry has not yet mastered the technology of producing jet fighter engines, and so continues to be dependent upon Russia for the most advanced engines.

          This means that Pakistan is dependent upon China, which is dependent upon Russia, upon which India is also dependent. This in turn means that, in the big strategic picture, India is in the stronger position since their are fewer levels interposed between it and its most advanced jets.

          This probably does not affect production of the JF-17, but it does not bode well for Pakistan in the longer term, and if one assumes that the strategic rivalry between India and Pakistan will continue into the future, then this is a problem that Pakistan will have to address or face Indian command of the air.

          Best wishes,


    • Blackbirdz said

      bro one can do is only laugh at yr comment Pakistan has won every air n land battle with india in 1971 u had lost 114 aircrafts n in Pak they were merely 50 yr airforce had out numbered us by 6:1 but still we denied yr air superiority by a long margin yrs was a advanced equipment more then us, it was from Soviat Union who had the best of arms of its times n yr country is still v hostile to Pak n yr focus point is still Pak bcoz of yr theory of Akhand Bharat yr 80% army is in our borders u have 33 infentry div. 26 r in Pak border u have 3 armour n mechanized div. all r in our borders these r the offencive forces n u have got just 4 infentry div against Nepal n China

    • Zohaib CH said

      1948 war Pakistan successfully freed 1/3 part of kashimir known as Azad kashmir…1965 war..its said that war was level no one won but I personaly belive that Pak won that war Pak was fighting against 5 time big power and defended their country…1971 war that was APNO KI BEWAFAIYA that was not indian army braveness…Kargil war I cannot stop my laugh when indians say that thy won the kargil know how Pak army slaughter indian army..then indians wents to the america MAI BAAP HUMEIN BACHA LEIN that was biggest mistake by Paki PM that they call back the Pak army and Mujahdeen thats why Nawaz shareef kicked out from Pak…

      • angel said

        First do some research before commenting or giving your so called precious thoughts to us. The cowardly way you sneaked into our territory tells it all. If you have the guts then challenge us to an all out fight rather than again falling back to your “cowardly” ways of sending in jihadis across the border. And go read up something on the net on kargil conflict and on how India decisively pushed the aggressors from our land. Work on your GK as it seems that most of your brothers lack in this front and rely heavily on your paki dreams and your fantasy land… hope point taken… but as it always happens nothing goes through your bag of bhoosa…

      • Reena said

        Date May–July 1999
        Location Kargil district, Jammu and Kashmir
        Return to status quo ante bellum[1]
        Pakistani military retreat from Kargil
        See aftermath
        changes None
        India India Pakistan Pakistan
        Commanders and leaders
        Ved Prakash Malik Pervez Musharraf
        30,000 5,000
        Casualties and losses
        Indian official figures
        527 killed[2][3][4]
        1,363 wounded[5]
        1 POW
        1 fighter jet shot down
        1 fighter jet crashed
        1 helicopter shot down
        Pakistani claims
        Pakistani official figures
        357–453 killed[7][8][9]
        665+ wounded[7]
        8 POWs[10]
        Other Pakistani claims
        1,000 to 4,000 killed[11][12][13]
        Indian claims
        700+ killed[14][15][16][17]
        Kargil War
        [show] v t e
        Indo-Pakistani conflicts
        The Kargil War (Hindi: करगिल युद्ध kargil yuddh, Urdu: کرگل جنگ ‎ kargil jang), also known as the Kargil conflict,[note (I)] was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LOC). In India, the conflict is also referred to as Operation Vijay (Hindi: ऑपरेशन विजय, lit. “Operation Victory”) which was the name of the Indian operation to clear the Kargil sector.[18]

        The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the LOC,[19] which serves as the de facto border between the two states. During the initial stages of the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan’s Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces,[20][21][22] led by General Ashraf Rashid.[23] The Indian Army, later on supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LOC infiltrated by the Pakistani troops and militants. With international diplomatic opposition, the Pakistani forces withdrew from the remaining Indian positions along the LOC.

        The war is one of the most recent examples of high altitude warfare in mountainous terrain, which posed significant logistical

  2. Ron said

    Hi Nick,

    The Indian Navy does have an air arm. It operates an aircraft carrier and is going to add 2 more in this decade (one on order from Russia & one indigenous carrier being built in the country).

    Moreover with the recent induction of a new 4th generation indigenous fighter aircraft (Tejas-LCA) the balance is surely tilted towards the Indian side. Plus the growing economy means more defense budget that translates into better pilot training, state of the art simulators, better auxiliary support and an ability to sustain any war/conflict for a longer time with a significantly less effect on the general economy when compared to its neighbor.

    • geopolicraticus said

      Dear Ron,

      You’ve made several excellent points. In the long run, the economic growth will be the most telling. Unless Pakistan does something about internal stability and pragmatic economic growth, India will steadily pull ahead for the reasons you mention: more money will mean better training and better equipment. In the long term, more economic power will also mean the emergence of a society in which the military becomes a voluntary career, which means in turn that the people in the military and motivated to be there.

      However, I was surprised when I started looking into comparative figures for the Indian and Pakistani Navies. Although Pakistan has only 14.4 percent of the population of India, and it has a coastline of 1,046 km compared to India’s 6,100 km coastline (7,517 km if you count the islands), the Pakistani Navy has about 24,000 sailors, while the Indian Navy has about 56,000 sailors. I would have expected twice as many Indian sailors. This means that India has 9.18 sailors per kilometer of coastline, while Pakistan has 22.94 sailors per kilometer of coastline. However, the Indian Navy has 150 ships to Pakistan’s 11, so this is more in line with their overall population proportion.

      It would be interesting to look into this more deeply and gain a better appreciation of the security milieu in South Asia.

      Best wishes,


      • messenger said

        Hm, since you seem to like fractions, I’m going to add something funny based on your information… According to you Pakistan has 2181 sailors per ship, whereas India has 373 sailors per ship. Some pretty big ships operated by Pakistan…


    I have read all of the above comments very carefully.

    This is true that the IAF has more resources and the Sukhoi 30 MKI fighters will give any aircraft in the world a tough time. But what we need to remember is that PAF JF-17 is at best a 4th generation fighter, hence there are limitations to what it can and cannot do against better equipped fighters in the IAF Inventory.

    I hope PAF will buy the J-10 from China as this will help maintain real equilibrium in terms of military balance and air-power in the region.
    The Indian Navy is way too powerful and definitely has the capability to give the PN a tough time. I hope the JF-17 naval versions armed with Harpoons and Exocets will provide some sort of interdiction and deterrence capabilities at sea.

    • geopolicraticus said

      Dear Mr. Hussain,

      Thanks for your comments. I had not previously heard about the Super-10 FC-20 (J-10), but looked into it after receiving your comment. Apparently this is an advanced version of the J-10 being built by the Chinese with Russian assistance and expertise. Some sources referred to this as a 4.5 generation fighter. This certainly would be a good option for the PAF, except that, like the Sukhoi PAK FA, it cannot be produced domestically. Any fighter produced outside the nation-state of its use is a vulnerability.

      Pakistan has both Harpoon and Exocet missiles in its inventory, but these are not likely to be the latest versions. Some controversy in recent years was related to Pakistan’s modification of harpoon missiles to strike targets on land. Given the fact that a modification of this kind is considered controversial, it is not to be expected that Pakistan will be getting the latest and greatest Harpoon technology. It is more likely (in my judgment) to get the newest MM40 Block 3 Exocet, or even some version of the Chinese Yingji-82.

      I will reiterate that Pakistan’s best opportunity is to seek inexpensive counter-measures to India’s air and naval superiority. Asymmetry is here a winning strategy; pursuing peer-to-peer competition is probably a losing strategy for Pakistan. India, on the other hand, will be pressing its financial and technological advantages to their limit, and, as another comment suggested, looking toward China as its primary regional rival.

      I am presently working on a more comprehensive assessment of air power in Asia, though this will require some research and therefore will take some time.

      Best wishes,


  4. mooooooo said

    hahaha look at the latest news, paf f16s beat raf eurofighter typhoons

  5. John the Zombie said

    Even though the J20 Chinese 4.5 Generation aircraft is a new development it has been revealed that it still will not match the American F22 Raptor.

    People should not forget the PAK FA is actaully been built in India. The agreement between India and Russia is that they shall jointly build in India the PAK FA and the Hindustan Aeronautical will be in charge of building the engine for the fighter. Note also the PAK FA has been built for the purpose of been a hunter killer of F22 and F35.

    Last note is the US is already looking at moving in the direction of a 6th Generation fighter The biggest hold up was CIA director Gates who believed that the new technology should be developed before undertaking this project even though the new technology that made the F22 so advanced was created while building of the project rather then waiting for it.Since he will be leaving and General who was incharge of Afghanistan operations is taking over (his name slips my mind) we may see a new position on this. On top of that boeing is already upgrading it fighters specially its legacy F18 Super Hornets. Word is the block three will have a diamond wingspan making it more of a veritile fighter. It has alo introduced a newer F18 model that can be modified to have a greater stealth capability and also are looking forward to designing a 6th Generation fighter.

    The future of fighters looks interesting in the next number of years and also with the US, China and Russia also amping up production on unmanned aircraft we will see a new array of manned and unmanned aircraft arriving on the market.

    • Adrian said

      Even though Indian air force has superiority in numbers they can not match the quality and training of the Pakistan air force. In all previous wars india has had the upper hand with numbers however Pakistan has never lost except from the Bangladesh war 1971.

    • geopolicraticus said

      Dear John the Zombie,

      It is no surprise that the Chinese cannot yet build a fighter to match the F-22, but F-22 production has recently ceased.

      Recent budget cuts, austerity measures, and financial woes suggest that the future of fighter is not as bright as you suggest. Also, the emergence and rapid development of unmanned drones is also a challenge to the resources previously allocated exclusively to fighter wings. People now openly speak of the fifth generation fighters being designed and built today as the last generation of piloted fighter aircraft.

      Respectfully Yours,


  6. Rath said

    When the USSR dissolved, two countries had the greatest gain in space research: China and India. We can see the sudden bloom in the Indian space industry and China. China started with its famous reverse engineering and was accused by Russia’s Sukhoi for copying their technology for the J11. India’s first nuclear attack submarine was the Charlie class Russian submarine they leased in the late 80’s. China’s is in a way superior in its own weapon system.

    India is in second place in this race with their own Arihant class nuclear submarine and the only country in Asia to build two indigenous carrier ships (45000 tonnes and 65000 tonnes). They started their own 5th generation project already. Pakistan is working with China for its fighter jets.

    Pakistan too must be in the same way but unfortunately it doesn’t get any technical assistance from Russia or the US and moreover its economical growth rate is not as steady or comparable with China or India.

    Pakistan can give tough resistance to India and its weapon systems are enough advanced to defend itself for now, but the situation is changing so fast. India is a bit ahead of Pakistan in technology for now but most of its production are home made with Russian assistance.

    • geopolicraticus said

      Dear Rath,

      Thanks for your contribution!

      It is mildly ironic that Russia’s Sukhoi should point fingers at China for reverse-engineering its planes, since Russia’s aeronautics industry has been largely based on reverse-engineering and industrial espionage. A B-29 forced into an emergency landing in the USSR after WWII was copied down to the last detail on Stalin’s orders, while the TU-144 “Konkordski” was based on stolen Concorde plans.

      It is, I admit, impressive that India has been able to build indigenous carriers, missile boats, and fifth generation fighters. What I see as the danger here is the China and india will build weapons systems like carriers more for their prestige requirements than for their utility as weapons systems. The submarines will be useful for some time to come, but I have doubts about the carriers.

      The intrinsic problem with prestige-driven weapons systems is that they look good on parade and in maneuvers, but their catastrophic loss in combat (or even, we ought to keep in mind, due to terrorist action by non-state actors) is inversely proportional to their prestige. That is to say, if such weapons systems on display are a source of pride, their loss is an equal source of humiliation.

      With south and east Asia becoming major theaters of competition between nation-states with growing economies, rivalry and military competition will quickly escalate the technological stakes, which means that anything less that a state-of-the-art carrier will be a white elephant, and enormous resources will have been invested in a virtually useless weapons system that could have been spent on innovative developments like drones (both naval or aerial) or asymmetrical systems.

      Best wishes,


      • sam said

        What makes you think India is building it for prestige. It has used these systems most recently in the Yemen crisis, Every country appears benign at first, then their imperialistic agendas come to light. Most Western authors unfortunately patronise India thinking it is some paper tiger. India has in may ways already achieved parity in BMD, However due to missile control regime in place this will be difficult and will play against all future gains if applied. Europe has its imperialistic agendas in Africa, India and China have just entered the game. America was built by slaves, Britain was built on scottish labour. Every western country has done the same over and over again while citing benign reasons. For a minority to bask, majority will suffer, that my unknown friend is the European way.

  7. Ballamurugan said

    Hi Nick,

    It was a nice read.

    I would like to point out one info which you have not factored for the comment above.

    If the weapons that are displayed are produced to meet the pride, I guess you forgot that the weapons that are on parade are tested and have undergone similar tests as any western weapon has undergone.
    If you would agree with me, India tested its indigenous MBT (Arjun) and all the test reports after each tests had some or the other dissatisfaction. If we need to go by you comment, the Indians would have kept the test results under carpet and could have prepared a report highlighting the Tank performance to any other best tank in the world.

    There were reports that the missiles that were bought were duds and even that was exposed. If pride was important then these reports would not have surfaced.

    -Indian Patriot

    • geopolicraticus said

      Dear Ballamurugan:

      My comments were not intended in any way to cast doubt about the testing procedures of Indian weapons systems. I have no doubt that these testing procedures are as rigorous as are to be found anywhere in the world. That being said, it is important to always keep in mind the difference between exercises and actual deployment in combat. I have been meaning to post an analysis of the nature of combat exercises, but I haven’t been able to finish the post in question. However, here is an interesting quote from George Friedman of Strategic Forecasting:

      “The incident reflects the inherently political nature of military exercises. They are both a demonstration of and a process for refining military capability. The perception of a military’s capability is at the core of both warfare and international relations.” (Iran’s Deterrence Strategy in the Strait of Hormuz)

      This is true not only for exercises, but also for weapons systems. And it is true not only for India, of which you are writing, or Iran, of which Friedman is writing, but also for every other nation-state on the planet.

      Exercises are routinely conducted, and weapons systems are routinely built, for strategic purposes, and we never know how well they will fare as tactical weapons systems until they are deployed under actual combat conditions. Both engineers and military commanders will want tests that are as realistic as possible, but there is still a difference between exercise and engagement.

      Moreover, a nation-state that is willing to be honest about its weapons testing programs gains credibility, since the experts who read these reports can usually tell what is fake and what is real. Reporting errors and failures gives greater credibility than an unblemished test, because a perfect test is unbelievable. If a nation-state releases doctored photos in an attempt to fool the public, as Iran did with one missile test, this will not inspire confidence in that weapons system whether at home or abroad.

      Best wishes,


      PS – I really appreciate all the comments I have received from the Indian subcontinent, which have helped to educate me about the Indian and Pakistani defense industries. From what I have subsequently learned, I understand the inadequacy of what I wrote above, and I hope to return to this topics.

  8. Armughan Sajid said

    Although India’s technology is ahead, in nuclear and missiles’ terms Pakistan is just a little further after successfully developing advanced short range missiles. Economically Pakistan is much weaker then India and might even decrease even more as the nation might suffer a revolution (Baluchistan asks for partition and expect aid form NATO). This might result in fewer Fighter jet production. China would need to help significantly too get back on track.
    I am sorry if i have made mistakes. I and only in year 8 (8th grade).

    • geopolicraticus said

      Dear Armughan Sajid:

      Thanks for your contribution.

      It would seem to me that India now decisively holds the lead in missiles, as since you wrote your comment India has successfully tested the Agni-V long-range missile, with an estimated 5,000 KM range. It has been widely reported that the Angi-V will be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. (cf. India test launches Agni-V long-range missile)

      It would be interesting to compare the acceleration of respective Indian and Pakistani missiles, in so far as one of the few ways in which short range missiles can have an advantage is if they are very fast and have only a short burn so they are harder to detect and more difficult to counter (if indeed either side is operating anti-missile batteries).

      Pakistan is, as of this writing, much weaker than India, as you point out, but India has a long tradition of the “Permit Raj” holding back development, while Pakistan’s economy tends to be more “loosely coupled” and open to rapid revision. Just this week the Financial Times printed a page long story about the stalling of economic reform in India (India: Direction uncertain), which I suppose is to be expected in the wake the backlash against open markets after the financial crisis.

      As I often say, no one knows what the future holds. While it is likely India will retain its technological and economic edge, there is nothing that guarantees this into the foreseeable future.

      Best wishes,


      • Mehmood Syed said

        I read all of your valuable analysis about South Asian defence and engagement in equipment preparation and the others respectable defence studies experts.

        It is the fact that war can’t be fight without equipment but the most important aspect of war is intelligence information, and the strategy through which a war will be fought. War can’t be turned into success without any auxiliary help of secret info of enemy. In this regard history is the witness that Pakistan has much better intelligence and strategists in comparison to any nation of world. If a weak strategy to fight is implemented even you have world best war equipment, you can’t be successful. I think you are missing a very important aspect of war i.e. strategy and intelligence.

        • geopolicraticus said

          Dear Mr. Syed,

          Thanks for your comment, and I appreciate your careful reading of the analysis.

          If you’ll read some of my other posts you will see that I do in fact write about strategy and intelligence, though I haven’t written much about South Asia recently.

          For some posts on intelligence, please look at my category Spooks, Spies, and Espionage. For posts on strategy, please look at the category Geopolitics and Geostrategy.

          I agree with you that a weak strategy executed by the best hardware is likely to be less successful than a superior strategy that must make use of marginal weaponry. This summarizes the rise of unconventional and asymmetric warfare since the end of the Second World War.

          In the particular case of Pakistan, however, it is not clear the extent to which intelligence resources are made available to the state apparatus. The ISI has a fearsome reputation (as does, I might point out, the Mossad) but the ISI has become so powerful in its own right that it is not clear that it is at the service of the civilian rulers of Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan’s excellent intelligence apparatus might explain how Pakistan has survived despite its weak state institutions.



      • Neutron said

        India should spend money on education and industry. Weapons are for thugs!

      • History suggests that your strategy was poorest otherwise how did you fail in capturing Kashmir in 1965 and 1941.Find out in net how your whole Karachi port was destroyed by just a few Indian missile boats without even a scratch.Also find out how your best US supplied Submarine during 1971 was destroyed by a wonderful Indian strategy.After reading this if you still believe your country can make the greatest strategy then you are a great fool.

    • Neutron said

      I think your knowledge ……..indicates that you are an agent!

      • geopolicraticus said

        Once when I was in South America I was asked if I was an intelligence agent. I am sorry in retrospect that I did not have the presence of mind to say, “The CIA? Never heard of them!”

        Best wishes,


      • Man I am not an agent but a proud Indian citizen ready to die for my country and hate papistan(land of sins;sounds better than Pakistan)more than anything

      • The sinking of the Ghazi was actually the result of strong planning,deceptive tactics equated to a pre-set plan to lead this mighty submarine to it’s doom. Much of the credit for the tactics used go to Vice Admiral N.Krishnan.From his point of view, it was pretty clear that the Ghazi would deployed to stalk and possibly damage and sink the aircraft carrier vikrant whose loss would be of outstanding magnitude.The deployment of the Ghazi to the Bay of Bengal was revealed to the Indian Navy when a signal addressed to the naval authorities in Chittagong in East pakistan was intercepted requesting information on a special grade of lubrication oil which was used only by submarines and minesweepers.

        As minesweepers and the Daphne class submarines did not have the range to operate in the Bay of Bengal,it was assumed that the submarine Ghazi was stalking the Vikrant.The Ghazi was the only means by which the pakistan Navy could interfere in the Indian Navy’s Eastern theatre of operations.

        The Pride of the Pakistani Navy, PNS Ghazi which was sunk off the Visakhapatnam Coast on the night of Dec 3rd.
        So,it was decided that a number of deceptive measures would be put in, in order to fool the enemy into the thinking the Vikrant was where she was not and hence deploy the sub to a region where she could be attacked.

        Vikrant had already sailed away to an unknown location,10 days before the Ghazi began searching for her near Vishakapatnam. Not only did the navy give away many indications that the eastern fleet and the Vikrant were actually in Vizag but also intentionally breached security by making an unclassified signal in the form of a private Telegram allegedly from one of Vikrant’s sailor’s asking about the welfare of his mother who was “seriously ill.” These measures were expected to be picked up and relayed to the enemy and that’s exactly what happened.The Navy decided to use the destroyer INS Rajput as a decoy in order to complete the Trap.

        The INS Rajput sailed out of Vizag a little before the midnight of 3/4 december and obtained a sonar contact.The captain noticed a disturbance in the water and evaluated it to be a submarine diving so he promptly delivered depth charges.Finding no immediate reaction,the INS Rajput sailed on, unaware about the unique prize she had bagged. A little while later, two tremendous and simultanoeus explosions were heard which smashed several windows near the coast and the INS Rajput got a heavy jolt.A command diving team was brought to the scene in the early hours of 4th december and a combined effort with cooperating fisherman resulted in the retreival of a number of debris and objects,all with american markings on them.

        The Divers identified a large black object lying dead at a depth of about 150 feet which is now confirmed to be none other than the deadly Pakistani tench class submarine Ghazi. Apparently,the Indian Navy’s plan to kill the Ghazi worked only too well. The Ghazi, 2415 tonnes submerged,311 feet long was on lease from the United states where she served as the “USS Diablo”. She had an incredible range of 11,000 miles cruising at 10 knots and a patrol endurance of 75 days and was pakistan’s only means of interfering with the Indian Navy’s eastern theatre operations. Efforts are now being made to retrieve some more objects from the submarine itself. The sinking of the Ghazi will not only serve as a morale booster for the Indian Navy but will also help teach pakistan a valuable lesson in not challenging forces far superior and more professional.

      • This is how Pak’s pride PNS Ghazi was destroyed by Indian Navy by “India’s poor military strategy” in 1971 isn’t it Mr geo…….?

  9. that is very true indeed. The thing is that Pakistan is working hard to get out the turmoil that it is facing, but still, the way it is advancing is very impressive. Pakistan is also working on MIRVs, and new missile systems are announced from time to time. Indeed economically it is weak, but I tell you sir, in the wars of 1965 and 1971, the unity of whole nation caused an unusual stability, as corruption, theft, etc., etc., had a drastic decrease, ironically the Pakistani nation unites only when facing trouble, but even then, my homeland Pakistan has a lot of good friends, even relations with India are only bad due to their occupation of Kashmir and the violation of Indus water treaty, otherwise and still, both country’s people love each other watch their movies and stuff, although
    Iran, China and other Muslim and non-Muslim countries would stand with us, I feel even Russia as they are like allies to China and the Chinese to us, war with India is becoming less of a concern as the relations are improving steadily. Who we might become good friends, even allies if the issues are solved, thanks.

    • Believe me man India don’t want war with Pakistan.But its your country who wants war.Find in wikipedia about the wars and find who is the first aggressior.Kashmir was ceceded to us by the Maharaja of Kashmir when your country invaded it.You have been kept in darkness for long by Pak government.When Taliban attacked Peshawar India too held 2min silence as we all prayed for your children.But next day your country released Lakhvi,chief 26/11 plotter.Your country had been using terrorists for long.Pak People who tries to show Pak-terror involvement dies misteriously.So after all this would India be your true friend.Give off terror and we will give our hands towards you.

  10. Fahad said

    With due Respect, I am a Pakistani, love my country, apart every bad thing in it.

    I think the weapons play a very vital role for the self satisfaction but not guarantee the victory as we have the current examples of US in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    My proud is PAKISTAN, anyone from anywhere in this world put a bad eyes on it, we will take them out. You are seeking the technology but we don’t.

    Kafir Hai To Shamsheer Pe Karta Hai Bharosa
    Momin Hai To Be-Taeg Bhi Larta Hai Sipahi

    He depends on the sword if he lacks in faith:
    If he has faith he may need no weapons in the fight..

    We have unpaid army in Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan & NWFP , you built yourself economically, we have build our faith 1400 year ago.

    I have read all the posts carefully; please get a copy 1965 War: The Inside Story by an indian R.D. Pradhan,R. Pradhan “the wars not won by the weapons as it is reflects in it, it is also requested, before we discuss any one we should see mirror.


    • da said

      I would share Fahad’s views, whether I have a weapon at hand or I don’t have, I will fight till my death to protect my homeland and Islam.

      • geopolicraticus said

        Dear da,

        While this is an admirably patriotic and religious sentiment, in the context of contemporary industrialized warfare, and especially in the context of a discussion of air power, the question of fighting with or without a weapon doesn’t really even come up.

        In a discussion of air power, the weapons in question are airplanes and the weapons that can be used against airplanes. If you choose to fight, or continue to fight, without weapons, or even with inadequate weapons, you will simply be defeated, however noble your sentiments.

        Moreover, air warfare requires a considerable industrialized infrastructure to wage, and that industrialized infrastructure in turn requires a considerable civilization economy of prosper. Thus the engagement of the individual concerned to defend the honor of his homeland and his religion comes down to a (sometimes uncomfortable) question: are you prepared to take the pragmatic steps to build and to operate an industrialized infrastructure capable to carrying out sustained air power operations?

        I say that this is a “sometimes uncomfortable” question because it is likely that the same individuals who make explicit professions of patriotism and faith are often those people who hesitate to fully back the unimpeded development of advanced technological industries of the sort that are required to build a contemporary air force, to keep in flying the midst of an air war, and to provide the ongoing technological expertise and scientific advancement that is necessary to gain the fighting edge in technological warfare.

        Best wishes,


      • Neutron said

        pakistan does not need defending…………people think it does!

      • Neutron said

        Islam and Pakistan do not need defending……………….people think they do!

    • Aga Majid said

      It is very difficult to a secularized, Western mind to understand the strength of Faith. Faith is a protective armor which keeps civilized societies together, it used to be the strength of West, but, they have all but lost it. In the West, there is skepticism and utilitarianism. Faith to them is “hokey.” Therefore, Pakistanis, who in their innocent purity reflect their faith will hear a secularized response from Westerners. To Westerners, “miracles” of Jesus (PBUH) are hard to swallow. But, Faith is what has kept Islam, the Deen (not Mullaism), alive for 1400 years. In the Battle of Badr, it was the Prophet’s (PBUH) faith which gave him victory against heavy odds. So, it is useless to give a faith based argument to people who have no faith. It is like playing a flute in front to a cow, as the Urdu saying goes. Or throwing pearls before a swine.

    • YasirIfan said

      Bhai Jaan…aap bilawaja main jazbaati ho rahe ne tou sirf comparison kiya hai …

  11. SYED ADEEL said

    Feel this is an acceptable analysis, however we must note that Pakistan is hedging its bets by acquiring the much superior J-10B/FC-20. If his plane is worth its salt , than PAF can put up a reasonable defense against IAF and even deny the enemy superiority in the early days of any future war.

  12. Neutron said

    I think people are too clever to ruin their country…………only foreign agents do.

  13. Ha you call us uncivilized!No faith!Surprisingly Its you uncivilized,who had no faith in god,”Anti Muslim” country, have defeated you 4 times.Though in 1947 and 1965 there was ceasefire but it was our victory cause then being an American ally you failed severly in capturing Kashmir inspite of the fact that your country was many times superior to India.The your ultimate surrender in 1971.Would you call this a “miracle of Jesus”,or a hindu god,or Abraham of Jews or the Buddha itself or you Allah I dont know but I will say that your Allah didn’t support your “pure heart”.Man We are not like your country who doesnot know to respect religion.In Bangladesh you killed millions of people who was protesting for their freedom of speech.Bangladesh refugees who came to India talked of you “pure heart”in killing and torturing them.I am a hindu but I have many muslim friends in school.We had Muslim president,Prime Minister,CM,etc and your if you really believe in Allah then also believe that you lost the wars because Allah never supported your rather 100%impure heart who is the murderer of Humanity .

  14. Pakistan can’t even sent an astronaut in space and they talks of defeating India.Well maybe Pak gets good weapons to fight India but it should be also kept in mind that Pak’s is many times lower than India.In that case a blocade in the Karachi port by Indian navy will severly affect its economy leading to their surrender(just like in 1971 war in which 4-5 small missile boats destroyed the whole Karachi port without even getting a scratch and now Indian navy is much more stronger).Even if it doesnot happens then frequent clashes between Pak and Indian navy for will scare pak merchant ships from sailing.Besides India is now USA’s great friend and so the greater support will go for India.So if a full scale war breaks out 3 things can happen1}Cease fire(which is most likely to happen)
    2}Surrender of Pakistan
    3}A Nuclear war.
    But still the most probability is that the war will not happen as India is a peaceful nation.It also have signed an aggreement(Panchsheet) by which it will never be the first aggressior (History also suggests that in 1947 Pak invaded Kashmir which was then ruled by a Maharaja.He then seceded Kashmir to India facing Pak invasion.Again sudden failed invasion in 1965.In 1971 Pak bombarded indian bases 10 days before starting the full scale war.Again the same in 1999.So you see India is never the first aggressior)Again Pak would also avoid war due to America’s pressure.So lets hope the bloodshed don’t happens.

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