Despite India’s strategic and psychological victory in Doklam over China, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) remains a formidable force that India cannot deny. From 1985 onwards, the consistent policy of China has been to gain superiority against the immediate adversaries and the potential state threats emanating from the Chinese rim land. China, in this front, has largely been successful as no other nation, with the exception of USA and Russia, and none in the Chinese rim, can match the firepower of Chinese armed forces.
The PLA as understood the technologically intensive nature of the warfare of the 21st century, which paved the way for them to place demands to multi-service operations from the single-service missions.
From the onset of 1990s, PLA and its supporting naval, air, conventional and nuclear armed ballistic missile forces have made notable strides.
For last two and a half decades, the military strength of PLA has achieved quantum jump. This expansion was looked upon as deterrence measures against, China’s formidable foe, United States of America. However, in trying neutralizing the military strength gap with United States; China has been able to surpass their regional adversary of India. In fact, the threat of a war comes more from India than United States, as there is persisting border dispute with the former and nothing of that sort with the latter.
China’s strategy is more of a defensive one than being aggressive. It does not want war, the reason for which, it created enough deterrence so that event of war does not arise. PLA wants to intimidate its potential adversaries so that they don’t dare to wage war against China. If the history is delved, it can be seen that China never went for a war in last several decades. This also raises another important question. Is China’s military power is as good as on paper? The military prowess of PLA has not been tested for several decades, and there is no guarantee that its power can actually eclipse their expectations and what they want the world to expect.
The double digit economic growth of China have permitted the military wherewithal of PLA to inflict the heavy losses at the minimum and outright defeat of its adversaries to the maximum. With these developments of China’s military preparedness, it can keep winning the psychological battles with regional foes such as Japan and India. For India, it would be difficult to match the arms race with China as India’s much smaller economy does not permit the expenditure required to keep up with its much superior (militarily) neighbor.