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Books of the Week - Saturday, 20th August, 2022

The Last War: 
How AI will shape India's final showdown with China.
by - Pravin Sawhney

About the Book
If India and China were to fight a war shortly, India would face the prospect of losing the war within ten days. China could take Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh with a minimum loss of life, and there is very little that India could do about it. This is because the Indian military is preparing for the wrong war. In this eye-opening and disquieting book, a military expert and bestselling author Pravin Sawhney explain how this alarming scenario could play out.

China’s war with India will be reminiscent of the 1991 Gulf War. The US military’s battle networks connecting sensors to shooters and guided munitions with support from space assets had induced shock and awe in militaries worldwide. Similarly, China’s war with India will stun the world with artificial intelligence, emerging technologies, multi-domain operations, imaginative war concepts, and collaboration between humans and intelligent robots. China has been preparing for this since the 2017 Doklam crisis, after which it permanently augmented its troops across the Line of Actual Control.

The author argues that China’s superpower status will only grow, and the ‘capabilities lag’ between the two countries will expand. And if there is outright war, the Indian military will be no match for China’s AI-backed war machines. In such a war, traditional conventional forces will be at a huge disadvantage, nuclear weapons will have no role to play, and the valour of individual soldiers will be of no consequence. India is honing its strengths to fight a war in the three physical domains of land, air, and sea. In contrast, the PLA is working on becoming the overwhelmingly superior force in seven domains—air, land, sea (including deep-sea warfare), outer space, cyberspace, the electromagnetic spectrum, and near space (aka the hypersonic domain). The PLA’s disruption technologies will overwhelm India within the first seventy-two hours of hostilities commencing, leading to the quick end of India’s resistance. The primary battleground will not be on land but in cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum.

About the Author
Pravin Sawhney has been the editor of FORCE (a news magazine on national security and defence) since August 2003. The author of three books—Dragon On Our Doorstep: Managing China Through Military Power (co-authored with Ghazala Wahab), The Defence Makeover: 10 Myths That Shape India’s Image, and Operation Parakram: The War Unfinished—he has been visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, United Kingdom and visiting scholar at the Cooperative Monitoring Center, United States. After thirteen years of commissioned service in the Indian Army, he worked with India’s leading newspapers—the Times of India and Indian Express—and with the UK-based Jane’s International Defence Review.
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