Is it possible for the United States to completely defeat (complete annihilation of every standing military unit) India's military within 3-6 weeks with no WMDs on either side and no allies?
Balaji Viswanathan Have been studying US history for a decade.
This is for thought exercise and I hope people don't get offended. Like always the disclaimer is that I have no experience in the military.
It primarily depends on what the US wants to achieve and how much effort it can put. If what US wants to achieve is ruling India, it would be impossible no matter the timeline, leave alone in under 3-6 weeks. On the other hand, if the US wants to make a point and the Indian go nment can give it easily [say ,no relations with Iran or buy our weapons], US can get that thing done easily in weeks [but with a huge cost].
Let's say US indeed wants to capture India, Some quick facts:
1.India's population of 1.3 billion is about 40 times that of Iraq or Afghanistan.
2.India's area of 3.2 million sq km is about 20 times the area of Iraq and 40 times that of Syria.
3.India's coastline of 7500 km is 150 times that of Iraq.
4.The entire West Asian population [Iran to Israel] is only a little more than the population of one Indian state - Uttar Pradesh.
5.India has a nuclear sub, IRBMs and two carriers. Syria, Iraq, Vietnam and others didn't.
You think Middle East is confusing? Break into India and you will see the heterogeneity and chaos. Here is the map of India laid over the middle east [ignore the Kashmir getting cut at the top, as the tool doesn't allow the full map of India]. The continental nature of India's climate means one part the US army would feel like they are in Vietnam, while another part would be like Iraq and a third part might look like Korea. In none of these 3 places, with much smaller challenges involved did the US win, leave alone winning in 6 weeks.
Taking India means you have to take the big, blue Indian Ocean. How many places below can US use for logistical support?
While in theory, there are all these numbers [of jets, bombs, aircraft carriers] and so on, in practice it is hard to win any nation that is not imploding within. That has always been true.
Alexander could win Persia, because Darius III was nearly a puppet ruler placed by his Vizier. Genghis Khan could win China because the Song were busy trying to put the Jin down. Britain could win India because the civil war post the Mughal empire's collapse meant India was imploding within [even that conquest took a century]. No civilization could win an another when both were at the top of their strength.
Iraq is an extremely small nation surrounded by US allies and in the first gulf war whole world was united in fighting the Saddam who was just exhausted fighting Iran for nearly a decade. After six months of the whole world fighting, Saddam was still not toppled. He just pulled out of Kuwait.
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Again, in a total war nations seldom play not dirty. A big chunk of world's trade goes around the Indian ocean and these are not too far for India's missiles. If Somalia can wreak so much havoc to global shipping think of what India can.
No nation can win another nation near the top of its strength in 6 weeks, especially one with 1.3 billion people. US can seriously cripple India's defenses and destroy most of its boats & planes though if it brings all its might and India doesn't use its nuclear option nor call its friends.
Since neither can win a war, we stay in peace. There is so much that could be achieved with peace. India and the US love each other and there is so much to lose.
Let us separate this conflict into three sections: Navy, Air Force, and Army.
NAVY. At present, perhaps the US Navy is the only true blue water navy in the world. Indian Navy is a green water navy. (No offence meant to Indian Navy and its brave sailors - but facts are facts. Let us not get all emotional.) The reality is, a single US carrier battle group packs sufficient firepower to single-handedly defeat most navies in the world. In an Indian Navy versus US Navy battle, perhaps three US carrier battle groups and a few attack subs could decimate Indian Navy in one week. Indian sailors are very good, but could INS Vikramaditya (nee Admiral Gorshkov) take on USS Ronald Reagan? Once the US Navy has control of the Indian coastline, the Hornets would turn their attention towards Indian air force and attack various airfields and hangars - at least those that are on the peninsula.
AIR FORCE. A lot depends on which countries allow the US to use their air bases against India. The US long range bombers could be used from various bases in Europe, Diego Garcia, Pakistan, etc. But until there is air superiority they are vulnerable. Until then, the Hornets would have to duke it out with the Indian Sukhois and MiGs. That won’t be easy. IAF pilots are very good. The USAF could sustain some serious losses. But replenishments would be far easier for the US than for India. It would be hard to gain air superiority over northern parts of India if no nearby country allows the US to use its airbases to operate its bombers from there. (Long range bombers can be used mainly for surgical strikes but not for large scale carpet bombing.) So, through a combination of long range conventional missiles and bombers, the USAF will have to fight it out for air superiority over northern parts of India. Assuming use of overwhelming force, it would take them 2–3 weeks to achieve total air superiority.
ARMY. Let us not even talk about attacking a country with the landmass and population of India. Attacking an army from the sky is not easy and has minimal impact. The Indian Army can easily hide its tanks and personnel carriers and the Army personnel could disguise themselves as civilians. The lessons of Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are anyway too fresh, too raw. Why the US would even want to consider a land attack on India, is beyond me - even though this is a purely hypothetical question. The Indian army is very good, and on home turf where they know the terrain, local language and customs, etc. how could any invading army take them on? Can any foreign army completely defeat Indian Army in 3–6 weeks on Indian soil? Very, very hard to do if not impossible. (If China which has a land border with India were to attack India by land, they might be able to win a few battles on the border and push inwards but hard to sustain an attack force deep into Indian territory. Once they are cut off from their supply lines they are sitting (Peking) ducks.)
My conclusion is, in 3–6 weeks it would be possible to destroy most of India’s offensive, and air- and naval-defensive capability but not land-defense capability.
Kevin Flint, I've traversed the American continents a few times
The United States could, if properly motivated, inflict enormous damage to the Indian military, industry, economy, infrastructure, and civilian populace, far out of proportion to what could be returned. This in the event of the US going into a "total war" mentality, as it did in World War II (and has not done since.)
The Indian navy would be quickly eliminated, giving the US total control of the seas. It can position 11 Super carrier task forces in the area if it desired, as well as another 10 smaller helicopter carriers (and their support vessels.) These vessels would support an enormous quantity of combat, bomber, and intelligence gathering aircraft, as well as considerable cruise missile launching capability.
The Indian air force and air defenses are fairly capable, but the US is well prepared to eliminate much of it on the ground. The enormous US advantage in satellite, drone and AWACS aircraft surveillance coupled with precision cruise missile capabilities would make it very difficult for the IAF to hide their aircraft. The most capable aircraft in the world mean little when they never get to lift off. Those that made it airborne would have considerable challenge making a real dent in US Air capability.
With the waters secured and the skies controlled, the US could begin to destroy communication, power, and road networks. Bridges, power plants, satellite relays, cell towers, highways, train tracks, airports. As communication and transportation became impossible, command and control would break down. Ground units would become increasingly isolated and unable to track enemy action.
Remember when I said "total war?" That doesn't mean selective targeting of individual units. That means carpet bombing of cities. That means killing tens of thousands of civilians to reach one small unit of soldiers. That means destroying crops and irrigation and fresh water supplies and sanitation systems. That means creating starvation, thirst, and filth and a massive refuge crisis as people flee fire bombed cities, choking already damaged roads.
Smit Dagli, Humour runs in my veins.
Please note - this is just my personal perspective, and I am not saying that I am right. I am assuming no nuclear weapons are used. This is a long and detailed answer. Excuse the length, but I am taking every possibility here.
There are certain scenarios and objectives on which the result of this war depends. It also largely depends on how the people of each country react.
I am assuming that India is not the aggressor, as India doesn't have the logistics to overpower USA.
Also, the question mentions that no allies will take part in direct war. But I am sure covert help is fine.
1-overthrowing modi go nment and putting in a puppet go nment to prevent India 's rise. (not too possible)
2-complete anarchy over India
3-complete destruction of every person of india (not too likely).
Now, the Americans can attack either by land, air or sea. Land is not a viable option. So it has to be either air or sea.
I think it would have begin with a sea invasion, supported by the enormous US navy. Although the IAF is the second biggest in Asia, it isn't too much of a match. So Indian navy and Indian navy is gone. Due to heavy Indian resistance, I am sure 40% of US navy and airforce is wiped out. Now remains the indian army.
Before I continue, there is something I would mention. USA contains a large number of Indian Americans., and they give loads of money as tax to USA govt. Every year. I am sure they won't be too pleased by a full scale invasion. I can confidently say that there will be lots of protests, and tax evasions. The USA will receive at least 15% less tax. Then how will they sponsor this attack?
Even if they do, every Indian, irrespective of their religion will unite and fight. Someone mentioned that they won't, but that would have been during times when kings ruled India.
1.They could develop much more weapons by diverting large parts of budget to military, and if worse comes to worse, the common man can be armed with rudimentary weapons.
2.Not to forget the special forces of india, like Marcos, who can easily top a navy seal exam.
3.Indian army is trained to fight in all different territories, ranging from swamps to deserts to mountains to valleys, which the US army can't.
4.Pakistan or China won't do anything, but we can expect some help from Afghanistan in form of terrorists against USA.
5.Russia can aid us with extra weapons.
6.Most oil producing countries, like iran are against the USA. They simply stop oil supply, for India is their ally. USA does have its own oil, but how much will it last?
7.No Indian would provide Americans with food. Most patriotic Indians, like punjabis would burn down their crop.
8.Indian army can do guerrilla attacks on US army, as Indian army is always in a state of readiness against Pakistan and China.
9.India could have continued energy, with the help the extensive deposits of plutonium/uranium(not sure) they are the largest producers of.
10.Americans will eventually run out of supplies.
11.They might destroy the infrastructure, telephone lines, railway stations etc. But it won't mean the end of india.
12.Sure cities like Mumbai, and Delhi won't be there, modi won't be there, but India will survive.
13.US will be hit by enormous debts of trillions, riots etc.
15.The world will go into depression.
India can't be annexed, certainly not within a few weeks. It would take many months and years.
By the way, one of us said that US has awacs, so they can detect India planes. But even India has awacs.
But if US allies come into play, India will be decimated.
Experts on military-feel free to correct any wrong details.
Please upvote if you find the answer good. Thanks
Dude! If all the Indian engineers and doctors in US know this, US will be another Afghanistan. But lets ignore such kind of assumptions and let me answer your question.
Short answer.. Can't say, but there would be greater chance that US would give up. You would agree with me. Read further.
-> If USA and India decides to have a war, then I bet it should be US who are expected to make the move and hair towards asia the obvious reason is india don't want to spend money in hailing to USA with all the arms.
-> Its going to take a while for US to get used to the Asiatic territory and land. Most of the India war zones are at high altitudes and it takes some ample amount of time to understand the territory and get used to it. India will have advantage here.
-> Technically US military is having greater number of weapons and are advanced compared to India and India seldom prioritises advancement in armed forces. That being said, it doesn't define a win or loose. US must be prepared to spend fortune in hailing them to surrounding islands.
-> Skill of the soldiers. US can afford in developing the skill of the soldiers. While its good, in a way its bad. A good example, you have zero account balance, I give you 1 millions dollars. What do you do? You spend it and you don't realise the value of it. But if I give you 100$ you would spend sparingly and you better develop the skill of spending. Same way, In a way Indian soldiers are better deterministic and learnt better. This is not my words, you can see the statistics of india/pakistan war and compare it with USA/Iraq you know how smart is India.
-> The war would bring great economic drop for both the countries and its bad.
For USA its a different ball game all together. And finishing in 3 - 4 weeks is a complete joke. But lets say we brought both forces in to one no mans land, and if the war happens USA could finish the war in 3 - 4 weeks. But in reality its a joke. So, yes USA would be giving up considering the financial damage and life loss. But as I said, Indian technical expertise in USA (doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs) will further cause a severe damage to USA.
对美国来说，这是一场完全不同的战争。在3 - 4周内结束简直就是个笑话。但是如果战争发生，假设我们把两支部队都派到一个无人地带，美国可以在3 - 4周内结束战争。但实际上这只是个玩笑。所以，是的，考虑到经济损失和生命损失，美国会先投降。但正如我所说，美国的印度技术专家(医生、工程师和企业家)将进一步对美国造成严重损害。