Author : Ashish Singh

Occasional PapersPublished on Feb 18, 2021 PDF Download
ballistic missiles,Defense,Doctrine,North Korea,Nuclear,PLA,SLBM,Submarines

Strategies for a Two-Front Dilemma: Lessons from History

  • Ashish Singh

    This paper examines India’s ‘two-front’ dilemma in view of its conflicts with China and Pakistan, and the possibility that these two adversaries could join forces. The author studies historical events that could help outline the strategies that have been undertaken by certain countries to combat the combined power of multiple adversaries, usually exceeding their own. These include the Napoleonic strategy and the Israeli experience. In analysing these case studies, the paper focuses on the key questions that the strategists raised while dealing with the two-front issue.


Ashish Singh, “Strategies for a Two-Front Dilemma: Lessons from History,” ORF Occasional Paper No. 302, February 2021, Observer Research Foundation.


“Gentlemen we are out of money; now we have to think.”

—Winston S. Churchill[1]

The June 2020 clash between the Chinese and Indian armies in Ladakh has increased the probability of a two-front conflict for India. While the public discourse on a two-front scenario usually focuses on relative strengths and defence budgets, a war cannot be won without a winning strategy, based on which, budgets must be allocated to relevant capabilities. Such a strategy must draw on experience while also anticipating the character of the next war, considering the changing contexts. For example, after the brutal trench warfare of World War I, France had poured, by 1935, one-fifth of its defence budget, amounting to 7,000 million francs, into the Maginot line fortified defences. Despite this, it lost World War II[2] to Germany’s superior strategy.

In the context of India’s current situation, the term “two-front” implies conflicts with two countries that flank India in separate directions. The ongoing border tensions between India and China have increased the possibility that a conflict with either Pakistan or China could result in them colluding against India—by either overtly or tacitly combining their resources.

Case Studies

Napoleonic Wars

At the cusp of the 18th century, French Emperor Napoleon revolutionised warfare, capitalising on the changes introduced by the French Revolution of 1789. He formed a different kind of army, raised by conscription and imbibed with a strong sense of loyalty to the state, putting at his disposal greater combat power than his enemies. Napoleon’s genius lay in how he organised and used this combat power.

During the Revolutionary Wars, France was repeatedly attacked by coalitions of other European powers. These attacks were both ideological and pragmatic, to prevent the ideas of revolution from unseating other monarchies and to preserve the balance of power threatened by Napoleon’s successes. From 1804, when Napoleon crowned himself emperor (both king and general), till his final defeat and exile in 1815, he fought what are now called the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon’s obvious ambition was a threat to other powers, which catalysed the formation of coalitions against France. While he did try to use diplomacy to prevent such alliances, Napoleon primarily relied on statecraft and military power to fight these coalitions. Additionally, France too formed alliances; for example, in 1797, Spain and Netherlands fought with France against the British and in 1800, France defeated the Austrians at Marengo and Hochstadt after persuading Russia to withdraw.[3] Where Napoleon could not prevent enemy alliances, he would attack at either the physical junction of their armies or play upon their disadvantages of divided command. Often, he used political machinations to delay the movement of armies to stop them from physically joining forces, attacking and defeating isolated armies one after the other, using the advantage of central position and interior lines of operations. In 1805, he captured an Austrian army at Ulm while a deliberately delayed Russian army was still advancing from the east (See Figure 1).[4]

Figure 1: The 1805 Ulm Campaign

Source: Napoleon, His Army and Enemies[5]

 In 1796, Napoleon interposed his army between that of Sardinia and Austria in mountainous terrain and defeated them sequentially from the central position.[6] To ensure success, Napoleon employed the terrain’s natural obstacles to keep the enemy armies divided. Moreover, he would often block one army using a small fraction of his force for just long enough to defeat the other army using the remaining manpower, and then quickly switch to augment his blocking force to attack.

Figure 2: The Beginnings of the 1796 Campaign 


Much of Napoleon’s military success is due to his innovation in using the army. He frequently used conscription, formed large corps, implemented a command-and-control system to synchronise the movement of these corps (and divisions), gave them additional mobility by living off the land, and increased firepower in the form of horse-transported Gribeauval guns.[8] Increased mobility, both in the range and speed of his growing armies, translated to superior combat power during battle. Napoleon departed from the existing positional warfare paradigm to battles of annihilation, sometimes pushing aggressively to positions where the enemy was challenged to engage his army. Thus, the object of his campaigns became the defeat of the field army of the enemy.

Against coalition armies, Napoleon’s victories were contingent upon speed of movement, allowing him to reach, engage and defeat one army before the other could reach to bolster the first one. Strategically, it was a combination of rapidly raised combat power, swift offensive action, and the mastery of both the diplomatic and military aspects of strategy. At the operational level of war, unified command and utilisation of geographical advantage of the central position allowed Napoleon to prevail over the divided command of multiple enemies.

Napoleon understood the importance of the economy in waging war. With Britain directly funding continental powers, France was kept embroiled on land, and it could not challenge Britain’s mastery of the seas. Thus, while Napoleon did employ the “continental system” to economically limit Britain by constricting its access to European resources and markets, it was only partly effective. Since Britain’s economy was sustained by far-flung colonies, not Europe, it continued to grow, while the French economy increasingly turned inward. To avoid overburdening French citizens, Napoleon’s large armies increasingly depended on war to sustain themselves. He would demand that defeated powers cede territory, pay indemnity for his war costs, and sustain his large armies, which were increasingly positioned outside France.[9] Consequently, a vicious loop was established between Napoleon’s ambition and the need for war to sustain its military tool. Ultimately, he was defeated by the total power arrayed against him due to their fear of his military successes.


Towards the end of the Napoleonic era, Germany (then Prussia) witnessed a revolution in warfare. Around 1806, the military’s General Staff worked as the brains for the military. However, unlike the Napoleonic model, the German model separated the military and political spheres, with the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) working as adviser to the king and the war ministry working as the political and administrative control of the army.[10] In contrast, the Napoleonic staff had functioned only as the eyes, ears, and conduit for the emperor’s orders and was institutionally incapable of generating strategy. To tackle the two-front situation in Germany, three military leaders sequentially devised strategy during the latter part of the 19th century: Moltke the elder, Schlieffen, and Moltke the younger.

As CGS of Prussia from 1857 to 1887, Field Marshal Helmuth Graf von Moltke laid the foundations of the way of war that Germany would follow till 1945. Moltke was arguably the best practitioner of Clausewitz’s theoretical edifice. He believed that strategy could not be pre-decided but was a “system of expedients,” subject to constant changes. A believer in directive control, against the Napoleonic style of close control of forces, Moltke expected junior commanders to take the initiative within the context of his grand design. This style of leadership would later result in what is now called manoeuvre warfare, which depends on mission-type orders. The Blitzkrieg was a later manifestation of this form of control and utilised another of Moltke’s beliefs of cooperation of various arms of combat power. Sensitive to technology, Moltke employed the power of the railroad to rapidly move armies on a scale and speed hitherto unprecedented, and the telegraph to orchestrate control. Further, he laid the foundations of the enduring concept of the enemy army’s destruction using strategic encirclement—Kesselschlact—first practised on a smaller scale by Hannibal against the Roman army at Cannae in 216 BC.[11] The essence of this fighting style was simple: locate the main enemy force and destroy it “by mobilising national manpower, careful planning, and a highly developed railroad system.”[12] Moltke’s military acumen was complimented by Chancellor Bismarck’s political acumen.

Otto von Bismarck was a master politician,[13] his biggest legacy being the unification of German states on the basis of Prussian power. Amongst German states, Austria was historically dominant and France was the most powerful neighbour that could influence who prevailed. Bismarck first lulled France into neutrality, while Prussia fought and defeated Austria in 1866. This helped him consolidate the support of other German states, whose combined power he then used to defeat France in 1870. In his quest for German unification under Prussian dominance, he was opportunistic about relationships with other powers while appearing to be non-aligned. Thus, he successfully avoided war with all parties while keeping his focus fixed firmly on Austria, the one power Prussia had to supplant.[14] Bismarck was careful to not project any expansionist intentions and reiterated his faith in the existing monarchical order to assuage any fear in other states. He used misinformation by deliberately leaking an altered telegram to the media, to provoke France to attack Prussia. This perceived victimisation resulted in support from the southern German states, a crucial step in unification. Even after this combined power led by Prussia had defeated Napoleon III, following the declaration of German unification in 1871, Bismarck was careful to assure other powers that Germany harboured no more territorial ambitions.[15] Bismarck believed in the utility of power but used in a controlled manner. His principle of self-restraint would later put him at odds with CGS Moltke, who advocated for absolute victory.

As the CGS, Moltke had to plan for the problem of a two- or multi-front war. For Germany, the highest probability was of fighting France in the West and Russia in the East. A France-Russia-Austrian coalition, though less probable, would be more dangerous. Moltke’s operational doctrine relied on using an offensive approach everywhere until 1871. While he won against France in 1870–71, the experience taught him to modify his expectations of a quick victory. Thereafter, he settled on a defensive–offensive strategy in both the West and the East, intending to move in offence in the beginning, occupy defensible positions, prevent enemy mobilisations, and have the enemy exhaust themselves against his defensive firepower. Moltke allocated roughly equal forces in both directions but later tilted to allocating more troops in the West, coupled with faster mobilisation plans, since France too later reformed its military, created border fortifications, and could potentially mobilise faster and raise more combat power.[16] In his initial intent in 1878, Moltke modified his evenly balanced posture to be more defensive against France and increasingly offensive against Russia.[17] However, he continued to envision diplomacy as the final tool, to end the conflict on amicable terms. By 1888, Moltke had shifted to an offensive approach in the West, with two-thirds of the combat power committed against France. At the same time, he unsuccessfully attempted to reach an agreement with Austria–Hungary for a military alliance against Russia. Towards the end of his tenure, increasing military capabilities of his enemies once more necessitated a quick victory against one, but the increased firepower of the entrenched infantry made this impossible. He was now faced with a two-front problem, unsolvable by available military means.[18] Had Moltke shared a better relationship with Bismarck, they might have come up with a combined politico-military strategy.

In February 1981, Albert von Schlieffen took over as CGS. Schlieffen differed from Moltke in several significant aspects. On the subject of strategy, he believed that the “essential element of the art of strategy is to bring superior numbers into action,”[19] i.e. an offensive strategy of annihilation. Schlieffen’s strategy, Kesselschact, became the theoretical basis for the Schlieffen Plan used in World War I. He believed in the close control of forces and the rigidly predefined schemes of manoeuvre. Operationally, Schlieffen felt that the defensive firepower of an infantry could be overcome by artillery, especially mobile heavy artillery. While Moltke, keeping in mind political imperatives, believed in the separation of political directions from military operations once a war had commenced, Schlieffen took this a step further by ignoring political context and concentrating on purely military solutions, never going back to the war ministry even in case of a disagreement.[20] This separation would later contribute to the stalemate of World War I.

Under Schlieffen, the General Staff formulated 19 war plans for a two-front war.[21] The most crucial problem was the relative weight of allocation of forces, i.e. which side to attack and which side to defend against. Despite the advantage of interior lines, planners realised that the initial movement of forces would decide the course of the war strategy, with little scope for alteration thereafter. In boxing parlance, the Schlieffen Plan would be the equivalent of “a left jab and a right hook.” The plan rested on a sweeping thrust into France from the north through Belgium and the southern Netherlands, while a small blocking force held up the expected French thrust through Alsace and Lorraine in the south. This made operational sense in light of the various fortresses France had built on their common border in the south, and the ambiguous defensibility of neutral Belgium and the Netherlands, where France had created minimal defences. After defeating France, the German army was to be rapidly switched East, to assist the small ‘holding’ force defending against Russia.[22] However, considering the rates of mobilisation of all countries, the distances involved, and the time it would take to defeat one country, the concept of switching forces after defeating one force was impractical. One analyst claims that Schlieffen realised this impracticality, and in his final plan, he almost ignored Russia to concentrate on his offensive against France.[23]

Figure 3: Schlieffen Plan

Source: Willmott, World War I[24]

Schlieffen was succeeded by Helmuth von Moltke, a nephew of the earlier Moltke, who also inherited the Schlieffen Plan in 1906. The younger Moltke not only inherited the plan but was also forced to use it in World War I, albeit with some modifications, i.e. strengthening the centre and not violating the northernmost Dutch territory for his right advance, hoping that this would reduce international political reactions. However, even the modified plan had significant drawbacks: a) not factoring in international politics by assuming that violating neutral Belgian (and Netherland in the original plan) territory would not affect outcomes, and b) being too operationally ambitious, hoping that the plan would unfold like clockwork, with the fighting advance of 1,300 km and the marching rate of 32 km per day, winning a battle of encirclement at the end of a long communication tether.[25] The plan ignored Clausewitz’s observation about the fog and friction of war. This was especially true given the increased power of the defence due to the arrival of machine guns in 1884; lethal artillery; and increase in the total combat power of all belligerents post the 1870–71 French defeat, by copying the German system of mobilisation and organisation of General Staff.[26] In any case, the right advance stalled into a stalemated north-south trench warfare line, consuming soldiers in unprecedented numbers. Thus, the basic premise of the Schlieffen Plan, i.e. a quick victory against the first adversary, had failed.

Two decades later, a version of the Schlieffen Plan would partly succeed via the concept conceived as Sichelchnitt, “Sickle Stroke,” which later became known as the Blitzkrieg. The Blitzkrieg was the reverse of the Schlieffen Plan. Anticipating a British–French attack via Belgium, the Germans planned to outflank them using a southern thrust through the Ardennes, with the mass of combined armour and air assault, which had previously not been practised by any belligerent.[27] The German case in World War II differs from the 19th century in terms of the multi-front situation. While Moltke’s primary concern was the threat on two fronts, Hitler’s Germany harboured expansionist aims. The political aim of the war was driven by the National Socialist Party’s ideology, of Lebensraum[a],[28]  in the east and racial purification. The party additionally capitalised on the unjustness of the Versailles Treaty to garner public support.

In getting the military to execute his vision, Hitler had to seduce a reluctant and conservative military, altering its strategy-making process. The military had continued the German tradition of separation of the military and political establishments until Hitler gradually replaced what he called “timid commanders” (e.g. the army C-in-C Werner von Fritsch, the Minister of War Blomberg) with officers whose operational plans and styles agreed with his own. These included C-in-C Army Group A, von Rundstedt; his Chief of Staff, von Manstein; and tank expert Guderian. Most importantly, Hitler created a new organisation at the apex of the military, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), responsible for the highest strategic planning, making himself its head.[29] The military strategy formulation process was institutionally corrupted by the process of “competition” between personalities and war plans that Hitler encouraged. The military became technocratic and managerial in its approach to solving problems and stopped independently assessing political and economic ramifications, blindly accepting Hitler’s ideology-based assessments.[30]

This form of political-military synergy was responsible for Germany’s initial successes against multiple countries as well as its later defeat. The success of the German campaigns into Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Scandinavian countries owe much to Hitler’s accurate political assessments, including the sound non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union in 1939. Through the 1930s, Hitler managed to prevent enemy coalition against a weak but militarily ascendant Germany. To this end, he had to “create peacetime schisms amongst the potential members of a coalition against him, and, finally, defeat such coalitions piecemeal.” To prevent Britain and France from joining forces, Hitler created the image of a fierce military, made his political aims appear limited, and structured Germany’s rearming. For example, he delayed Germany’s naval armament to avoid alarming Britain, the dominant naval power.[31] Repeated easy successes created an appetite for further military victories within the military. The rearmament programme and the operational innovation of using “armour” en-masse instead of using it as “barbed-wire breakers” for the dominant infantry arm as in all other militaries, contributed much to operational success.

However, these synergetic successes eventually led to the military higher command to concentrate solely on implementing the military aspects of political directions, and they stopped offering objective advice. This was partly responsible for the gigantic blunder of Operation Barbarossa, the attack on the Soviet Union in 1941. While Hitler did identify Germany’s Lebensraum, in the East, it was militarily inadvisable to open another front while its victory over Britain was not yet assured. There are two possible explanations for Hitler’s decision. First, his belief that the Soviet Union was planning to attack Germany and a pre-emptive attack was needed (as Hitler conveyed to his officers). Second, an economic concern, since “Hitler was told that it would be possible to carry on the war only by the seizure of Ukraine, the Donetz basin and, above all, the oil of the Caucasus.”[32] Historian Adam Tooze supports the latter theory. Germany knew that a war was looming with an economic giant, the US, and that it would primarily be aerial warfare because of geography, for which it would require oil from the Caucasus. Already, Germany relied heavily on Ukrainian for wheat and Soviet for coal, iron and metal ore. With the country’s dependence on Soviet imports on the rise, Hitler wanted direct control over the resources.[33] As with Napoleon, the war machine needed fresh conquests to feed itself.

However, Operation Barbarossa was dependent on a quick victory, before winter set in. The German military did not question this assumption of a quick victory, focusing instead on the military aspects of the campaign, including where the main thrust should be.[34] Barring a few exceptions such as Guderian, most of the OKW and OKH (Oberkommando des Heeres – Army High Command) staff questioned neither the strategic aspects of simultaneously opening a new front nor the assumption of quick victory upon which the plan was contingent.[35] This hubris was a result of excessive domination of the strategy-making apparatus of the military by political will, the military’s eagerness for military success, disregard for the economics of a multi-front war and, above all, the lack of objectivity in its analysis. For Germany, this became the beginning of the end.


Since its inception, Israel has faced threats from multiple directions. It has consciously avoided external alliances, choosing instead an image of “autonomy … to convince enemies and allies that on critical matters she is capable of acting on her own.”[36] The military has been its primary tool in tackling these threats. According to military historian John Keegan, Israel has “a very strong operational doctrine … of the unrelenting offensive, led from the front.”[37] Since the country has had no defensive depth, its chosen strategy has been to fight “offensive battles outside its borders,”[38] to deter adversaries through decisive military victories.[39] Consequently, the Israeli military invested fairly early in airpower as an important component, but adopted armour as its complementary tool only gradually, instead preferring paratroopers and infantry. By 1956, half the Israeli defence budget  was allocated to the air force, after much debate between aircraft and armour.[40] The decision was possibly influenced by the fact that the air force was not an independent service but under the control of the General Staff. Thus, budgetary debates focused more on the allocations for different arms of the army, rather than the service—something that brings out the “us versus them” mentality.

The Israeli state has always relied on its citizens to generate wartime combat power. It is a nation of reservists, relying on one of the fastest mobilisation schedules in the world to raise combat power in times of war. This has been done within the context of the anticipated reality of short wars, since Israel does not have the reserves for extended fighting or sustaining long mobilisations. Its air force has been the only arm where Israel has relied on largest-standing numbers and the least proportion of conscripts and reservists. Table 1 shows the figures for 1979.

Table 1: Ratio of Regulars to Conscripts and Reserves

  Regulars Conscripts Reserves
Army 18,000 120,000 237,000
Air Force 19,000 2,000 4,000
Navy 4,000 1,000 2,000

Source: Keegan, World Armies[41]

This reliance on the latest technology of aviation bore fruit during the 1967 war. On 5 June 1967, starting at 07:45 a.m. and continuing till 10:35 a.m., the Israeli Air Force (IsAF) neutralised most of the Egyptian Air Force. Thereafter, until noon, the IsAF deliberately paused to assess the intentions of the other Arab nations. When it became apparent that Jordan and Syria too had entered the war, the IsAF neutralised their air forces too, followed by revisiting Egypt. This was the only form of combat power where it could take 1.5 hours to evaluate and decide which country to strike next, or whether to strike at all. Thus, total control of the air allowed the Israeli army to capture Sinai, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.[42]

However, the 1973 war put the Israeli offensive doctrine to test. At the military level, the Egyptians had found a defensive counter in ground-based air defence and anti-tank weapons. They decided to retake the Suez Canal, fighting a war for limited military gains but eventual diplomatic victory. When Israel attempted to use its air force on the Suez battlefront, it recoiled from the heavy casualties. According to Air Force Commander (and later, President) Ezer Weizman, “[T]he missile bent the aircraft’s wing.”[43] On the ground, too, infantry-borne Egyptian anti-tank weapons inflicted heavy casualties on Israeli armour.[44] Consequently, Egypt successfully re-captured the Canal. An important reason for Israel’s relatively poor performance was an increasing divergence between Israeli political constraints and its military doctrine of pre-emption. After 1967, Israel had started to rely increasingly on US support. Despite intelligence about an impending Egyptian attack, the military could not forestall due to political considerations regarding the loss of US’ material support. This was especially applicable to the air force, which needed no mobilisation to attack. Thus, the military ceded the initiative,[45] which eventually led to a significant political shift. Having realised that the Egyptian military threat was now militarily impossible to tackle, Israel not only agreed to peace with Egypt but also gave away territory equivalent to almost half its country’s size to buy this peace.

So far, the political-military structure for Israel has been ill-defined but effective in generating strategy. The cabinet has held command authority, which it delegates to the minister of defence. While there is no formal division of responsibility between the minister and the Chief of Staff (COS), the chiefs of General Staff expect the minister to restrict himself to “organizational questions and not include operational matters.”[46] Against terror incidents, the IDF had considerable autonomy for retaliatory strikes without political consultation. However, the three “army area commanders,” responsible for geographical areas, and the air force and navy commanders cannot act autonomously in the case of regular wars.[47] With minimal exceptions, the political leadership has served in the military and often played leading roles in war, which has eased the formation of an effective strategy-making process that allows considerable leeway to the military. Further, the open relation between the ministers and the COS, along with the military consciousness of the entire society, has helped Israel strategise effectively.

Patterns of Strategy: An Analysis

Single Nation vs. Combined Powers

In each of the case studies discussed in this paper, the power of the single nation faced by multiple adversaries was lesser than the sum of power arrayed against it. Thus, the first significant question of strategy is: How is a country to match or surpass the combined power of its enemies? As political scientist Kenneth Waltz argues, there are two methods for a nation to increase its security: strengthening one’s alliances (or weakening the enemies’) and growing one’s economic and military power.[48] Napoleonic France and Prussia/Germany relied on the former. Their alliances provided either direct military support by increasing total troop strength or helped by opening new fronts, as Japan did for Germany in World War II. On the other hand, following the 1956 war, Israel elected to not form any formal military alliance, choosing instead to rely on its internal combat power. However, material support by allies, such as the US in 1973, allowed the country to replenish losses from the war. This form of support is easier to commit to than pacts, which promise troops, since its domestic and international political costs are lower.

At the same time, alliances often prolong the duration of wars, adversely affecting the single nation. In all three case studies, the outnumbered militaries banked on short wars for success: their doctrines emphasised speed and they could not sustain long wars against combined larger powers. Napoleon had to move swiftly and win against one army before another could arrive; the Schlieffen Plan depended on a swift decision in the West; Israel does not have the economic capacity to keep its reserves mobilised for long. However, whenever the country in question has relied on the assumption of a swift victory, it has fared badly, e.g. the defeat of the German military in the Soviet Union. Once embroiled simultaneously on the second front, Germany exhausted its resources to fight the military and economic might of the US. Consequently, the length of World War II eventually defeated Germany. “Coalitions meant that even if one belligerent was heavily beaten in a campaign, or saw that its resources were inadequate to sustain further conflict, it was encouraged to remain in the war by the hope- and promises – of aid from its allies.”[49] Historically, such aid has been either direct combat power or indirect material and economic assistance. For example, the US provided emergency military supplies to Israel in 1973, and to Britain and other allies via the “lend-lease” programme in World War II, allowing a besieged Britain to hold off Germany until the US entered the war. Similarly, against Napoleonic France, Britain funded France’s enemies to sustain their armies.[50] This significantly foils the expectation of short wars, upon which weaker single nations often rely when facing multiple adversaries.

Increasing Military Strength

In increasing a nation’s military strength, an important question is how a nation can defray the costs of these efforts. One method is to pass the cost of maintaining larger armies to defeated countries. Both Napoleon and Germany did this. However, this method created a vicious cycle of needing war to sustain larger armies, which then needed more conquests. An alternate method was to rely on conscription, and later reservists, to keep a relatively small army in peacetime but raise it to large strengths in times of war. Started by the French, this innovation was gradually adopted by other militaries. This strategy works especially well for countries constrained by small economies and working populations, such as in Israel. Israel’s method has been to keep a small exceptionally potent military but rely on rapidly raised strength of adequately trained personnel in times of war, especially for the army. The more specialist technical arms, such as the air force and the navy, rely on full-time personnel. The result is a calculated balance between military need and economic constraints.

Conscription and universal military training to generate reservists results in a crucial social effect: the militarisation and politicisation of civilians. This was one reason that other European dynasties opposed revolutionary France and initially did not want to adopt its military recruitment system. Its changes promised egalitarianism, threatening the social order and power relations between the ruling class and the ruled. This social effect is especially visible in Israel, where “when fully mobilized, the Army includes within its ranks virtually all able-bodied men and many women,”[51] equipping most member of the society to fight. This in turn affects war doctrine, shifting it from limited wars to total war, aligning it with Clausewitz’s idea of the total destruction of the enemy. This was evident in both the French and German armies in the 1800s. As  German historian Gunter Roth says of Bismarck’s leadership: “The great reform of the army in 1860, with the introduction of general conscription, initiated the politicisation of the whole nation … this became a people’s war, a total war.”[52] This further explains the widespread internal support for the shift towards offensive doctrines in Napoleonic France, unified Germany, and modern-day Israel.

Achieving Political-Military Balance

At the military level, in all three cases, the single nation turned to offensive doctrines.[53] In the case of Napoleon and Hitler, this was personality and ideologically driven. However, even before Hitler, the German school found this the only way to not cede the initiative to the enemy and suffer reactive defeat, aiming instead to defeat their enemies piecemeal. In Israel, too, a reactive strategy posed an existential threat. Like Napoleon, the Israeli government pushed across enemy borders, throwing a challenge that could not be ignored and using the provocation to destroy the concentrated mass of the enemy. When both the people and military turn to offensive doctrines, increasing political involvement is needed to maintain balance by directing and controlling violence.[54] Bismarck’s deft handling of politics during the German unification best demonstrates this. Left to himself, Moltke would have attempted to conclude every war with the total destruction of the enemy, rejecting all political oversight once war had commenced. Bismarck provided a counterbalance with his view that it was his task “to conciliate the opponents as soon as he could and, in that way, to establish a peaceful order as durable as possible.”[55] Thus, while Moltke wanted total victory through total defeat, Bismarck aimed for lasting peace by preserving a balance of power. When this civil-military balance was upset as in Napoleonic France and Hitler’s Germany, the military tool started to dominate international political intercourse, overshadowing other tools and leading to prolonged (and often pointless) conflict.

At the same time, political oversight, while essential, must not stifle military initiative, which could result in defeat due to delayed decision-making, especially in a multi-front threat. To prevent such a scenario, “Israel [has] made [a] provision against ‘defeat through debate’ by accepting the necessity for a direct, unsupervised relationship between the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Staff,” much like the “right of personal access (Immediatvortag) to the ruler won by the Chief of the Great General Staff in nineteenth-century Germany, which was justified by similar anxieties about the security of the frontiers.”[56] In sum, a multi-front threat demands a close civil-military relationship to balance political guidance and oversight with sufficient military autonomy regarding how and when to use its power when the time to confer is unavailable. For the successful execution of such a model, the military must understand political imperatives and be educated in political matters.[57]

The importance of increasing political-military synergy implies the need for a two-way conversation. It is not enough for the political leadership to set a Clausewitzian policy and expect the military to deliver. The military must engage with the process, identifying policies that are not implementable. Both Napoleon and Hitler made military strategy slave to their political ambitions, leading to overreach and ultimate defeat. Von Moltke, a more mature strategist, correctly sensed that the two-front problems did not have a purely military solution; however, his belief in the subjugation of the military to political will did not allow him to advise on policy. The increasing separation of political and military operations from Moltke to Schlieffen caused the implemented policy to become increasingly unreal. Schlieffen failed as a strategist when he seemed “to have taken the technician’s view that his duty was fulfilled when he did his utmost with the means available, and ‘made the best of a bad job’ in compliance with the customs and rules of his profession.”[58] By World War I, the political aim was impossible to achieve through available military means, but the extreme political-military separation did not allow the latter to express this. Similarly, in the years between 1967 and 1973, the Israeli military did not resolve the divergence of political imperative of no pre-emption against its doctrinal reliance on pre-emption, resulting in Israel’s poor performance in 1973.

Thus, a sound political-military relationship is critical in tackling multiple enemies. The right balance allows the two forms of power to work together in tackling the various combinations of threats and opportunities presented by an increasing number of enemies. Furthermore, the political and military establishments must share a common vision of peace for the regional system as a whole, something on which Bismarck and Moltke could not agree.

Improving Infrastructure

An important aspect of increasing a nation’s power to match multiple enemies is infrastructure, both the indigenous arms industry and the infrastructure to support military doctrine. The importance of the arms industry came into sharper relief in the 20th century. Warfare changed from marching to make physical contact to mechanised mobilisation with battles involving non-reusable projectile warfare. While artillery and rifles had arrived well before Napoleon’s times, it was the subsequent mechanisation, massed firepower, and the new tool of aviation that increasingly needed industrial production. The German military’s expansion in World War II was fuelled by a war economy that channelled increasing amounts of labour and material into its military industry. While it was ultimately out-produced by the US, it could sustain a war for so long not simply because of its total economic stamina, but because economic power was channelled into military production.[59] In addition to exploiting the resources of conquered states, this defrayed the costs of a foreign policy that used war as its tool of conquest.

Comparatively, a nation as small as Israel that relied on deterrent strategies could not afford to produce everything that it needed, to fight war simultaneously with multiple nations. Until 1967, it relied heavily on imports, which provided the best value for money. However, the French embargo on arms during the 1967 war brought home the critical vulnerability of foreign dependence. Consequently, from 1967 to 1987, Israel produced the items most critical to its offensive doctrine, especially fighter aircraft and tanks. After 1987, realising that economies of scale would make self-reliance too expensive in the long run, Israel turned to imports again and combined it with “focused self-reliance,” researching only unique weapons systems that did not exist elsewhere or were not available for sale.[60]

Furthermore, from 1979 onwards, the US supported a large portion of the cost of supplying Israeli military. As compensation for signing the Camp David Accords and agreeing to keep peace with Egypt, the Israeli military became the biggest recipient of US military aid in the world, at US$2 billion per year. While this aid can only be used to buy American equipment, thus increasing Israeli dependence on the US, it sustains Israeli stamina to prosper in the face of multiple enemies. Not only does it provide Israel with free weapons, but it also guarantees that the biggest armed threat has been detached from the 1973 coalition against it, since Egypt is the second-largest receiver of such aid from the US (at $ 1.3 billion each year).[61] Egypt’s withdrawal from the equation reduces the possibility of Israel being attacked, since the potential coalitions against it will now be much weaker. Moreover, the US’ involvement since 1979 has ideologically weakened the collective Arab identity, with each state pursuing individual interests, allowing Israel to improve bilateral ties with the states.[62]

In all three cases, the endeavour to increase geographical flexibility of force application led to solutions dependent on mobility. In France, between 1763 and 1767, Jean Baptiste Vacquette de Gribeauval “succeeded in creating a powerful field artillery, able to keep up with marching infantry and capable therefore, of playing a major role in battle.”[63] Napoleon, an artillery officer, would capitalise on the mobility of this new form of firepower. His organisation of the Corps, too, helped mobility. Von Moltke relied on railroads to provide mobility to move armies faster as well as switch forces before the enemies could raise their armies. Under the Blitzkrieg, armour and mechanisation, coupled with airpower, provided this mobility.

Investing in Tools of War

An important issue in multi-front threats is to determine the forms of military power that would serve as the primary tools of war. Since all commanders relied on offensive doctrines, requiring either swift movement or quick switching between multiple fronts, they needed the most mobile and versatile forms of combat power. However, despite this logistical need, the predominance of an infantry mindset (or any other established doctrine) has historically acted as an impediment to investment in other forms of mobility and firepower. Before Napoleon’s time, artillery had to struggle to prove its worth.[64] It was the same with armour in the German army.[65] Later, airpower had to make its case in the Israeli military.[66] Believers in the existing paradigms do not easily accept the emergence of new ones. Yet, it was the adoption of these innovations that resulted in the military successes of all three countries against the larger numerical strengths of coalitions.

Israel presents the closest temporal example for the Indian context. Almost since its inception, Israel decided to invest the bulk of its budget in airpower as its most important military tool. There are three aspects to this investment. First, it allocated the majority of its budget in the artefacts of this form of power.[67] Second, it invested in human resource in this area, raising a large, highly trained standing air force which, unlike the army, did not rely on reserves but was always available to take the fight to the enemy.[68] Third, this force was not raised in a doctrinal vacuum but had clear guidelines regarding its role in wars and how to fight it. While it was not seen as the primary striking arm, this force was considered indispensable to success. Implicit here was the IDF’s recognition that the enemies’ air forces posed the biggest threat. Thus, as with Germany, armour was only gradually seen as the primary striking arm, and its proponents had to press to establish this doctrine.[69] However, excessive reliance on only one tool eventually backfired in 1973. The 1973 war drove home the limits of military power in Israel. After the 1967 success, its reliance on the forward Bar-Lev Line defences made its doctrine increasingly defensive. At the same time, Egyptian investment in controlling the air medium via a coordinated air defence–ground manoeuvre provided mobility advantage to the Egyptians. As D.K. Palit notes presciently while writing the history of that war, the biggest ramification of Egypt’s successful limited aims was that Israel realised it would have to accommodate politically.[70] The result was the Camp David Accords, an event that brought both Egypt and Israel unprecedented prosperity. More importantly for Israel, it removed from the equation its most potent military threat.

Successful Strategising

When faced with multiple enemies the single nation must first decide between an offensive and defensive stance. Would it be better for it to attack on all fronts or hold one country at bay while swiftly defeating the other? The most important variable in this is time, i.e. which enemy was a more impending threat and which could be defeated first. It was because Russia had greater depth and would take longer to raise and generate combat power that von Moltke decided to tackle it after defeating closer France. Israel in 1967 decided to first address the biggest threat, Egyptian military—and within that, its airpower. The increasing tempo of war and the use of airpower compressed the time between sequential blows at different points. For the offensive blow, two opposite military options were to either defeat the weaker force first or the stronger.

The single nation that has outfought multiple enemies has relied as much on how it generates strategy as on the technological means it has applied, with grand strategy aligned with military strategy. In all cases, the national politico-military strategy has had the institutional ability to direct war effectively and strategy was driven top-down. In France, it was Napoleon who “primarily concerned himself with strategy, sensibly leaving tactical matters to his field commanders.”[71] For the Germans, the General Staff, an organisational innovation for the times, controlled this strategy. During the start of World War II, Germany’s most successful phase, the OKW provided political guidance to the General Staff. In Israel, the IDF’s General Staff is responsible for generating strategy.

Questions for India

A nation that faces the threat of collusion amongst adversaries must itself ask crucial questions to strategise successfully. The following questions are derived from analysing the three case studies. These may also apply against a single adversary, but become increasingly important in a multi-adversary scenario.

1 What are the forms of overt and covert collusion possible? How can collusive strategies be divided at the political and military level?
2 Are civil-military relations balanced enough to generate effective strategies? The civil-military-bureaucratic  relations in India, according to military scholar Anit Mukherjee, have been marked by an absence of dialogue.[72] However, a defence reform process has commenced in December 2019.
3 Is there a General Staff or person that formulates and recalibrates military strategy? Does it work in harmony with foreign policy/strategy? Its military possesses no permanent General Staff or national Commander-in-Chief to formulate and direct unified tri-service strategies. One Foreign Service officer is posted in the Ministry of Defence for International Cooperation.[73]
4 Would the nation go for alliances or/and self-arming against superior adversary strength? India has always prized its non-aligned policy and never entered any military alliance. Towards self-arming it remains the second-largest arms importer in the world.[74]However, an “Atmanirbhar” (self-sufficient) policy implementation has been started.
5 Should deterrent strategies be offensive or defensive? Historically, India has been reactive (except in 1971, and recent punitive strikes against terrorist camps).
6 What are the predominant tools of combat power? Is combat power organised to be flexible and mobile?

Largest standing army in the world[75] (a predominantly  defensive tool, least flexible or mobile).[b]

7th Largest Navy in the World[76] ( more offensive tool, increased mobility and flexibility)

4th largest Air Force in the world[77] (most offensive tool, maximum mobility and flexibility)

7 Does infrastructure support mobility?

Border terrestrial infrastructure being created.[78]

Air Force has seen a recent increase in heavy lift capabilities.[79]

8 How is combat strength raised in times of war? Large standing forces with retired personnel serving as reserves.


When a nation is faced with multiple threats, it must formulate appropriate strategies. The following points summarise the strategies employed by France, Germany and Israel, in various points of their history, to handle two- or multi-front conflicts.

  1. The nations ensured a nimble politico-military synergy, which involved controlling and assessing international relations. The structure of civil-military relations had to be just right, with no dominance of either.
  2. Military success needed an apex body or a person to generate a strategy for war. The single nation always had one such person or staff organisation working to split the seams of the enemies’ strategy.
  3. The single nation worked hard to invest in the raising, movement and application of wartime combat power, at a speed faster than the enemies’. The technological and organisational means of implementing this might have varied with time, but continuous thought went into effecting this application. Enhanced mobility was a common capability that each successful military depended on.
  4. In all three cases the single nation’s strategy turned more offensive in an endeavour to either destroy one enemy before switching to the next, or to deter aggression. This Clausewitzian aim of destroying the enemy is not an automatic measure of victory for every military; it is only one amongst many potential measures of victory. However, switching was not always possible.
  5. Outnumbered militaries put effort into developing operational concepts to even the odds. These depended greatly on asymmetric usage of new technologies in combined arms warfare.
  6. Militaries consciously invested in a few key infrastructures such as railroads and the indigenous arms industry, or elite arms such as armour, paratroopers, and airpower to provide exponential combat power at affordable costs.
  7. To raise combat power, the nations rapidly raised forces by mobilising a large part of the population, thereby keeping costs down during peacetime.
  8. The militaries depended on short wars for success and were hard-pressed when wars extended beyond their expectations.
  9. While leaders rarely realised the limits of military power, when they did, the country benefitted. For instance, unified Germany under Bismarck and post-1979 Israel used politics to solve what was militarily unsolvable.

This paper has discussed the most important challenges to three nations that faced multi-front threats in history, and analysed their attempts to solve them. In solving its two-front dilemma involving China and Pakistan, India must learn from these challenges and responses. While India’s solutions and answers will be unique to its context, the broader questions remain the same.

About the Author 

Ashish Singh is an Indian Air Force officer. He has a PhD in military strategy from the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.


[a] Literally, “living space.” Between 1921 and 1925, Adolf Hitler developed the belief that Germany required Lebensraum to survive.

[b] Armies measure strength in terms of personnel, while navies and air forces use numbers of ships or aircraft.

[1] Brian K Sperling, “Gentlemen We are Out of Money …Now we Have to Think: Prioritization of Objectives in a Resource Constrained Environment,” (Research Paper Air University, 2012), pp. 22.

[2] John Keegan, The Second World War, (1989;repr.,London:Pimlico, 1997), pp. 52.

[3]Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000,(London: Fontana Press, 1988), pp. 160,162.

[4] Peter Paret, “Napoleon,” in Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, Peter Paret, ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), pp. 130.

[5] Adapted from “ Napoleon, His Army and Enemies,” at

[6]Paret, “Napoleon,” pp. 130. He used this stratagem in the 1796 campaign by first defeating the Sardinians and then the Austrians.

[7] Adapted from and

[8] David Gates, The Napoleonic Wars 1803-1815, (1997, Arnold, repr. London: Pimilco, 2003), Kindle Edition, Loc 271, 349. By 1790 the French Army was using brigades and divisions. In 1800 Napoleon formed the Corps.

[9] Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, pp. 167-172.

[10]Hajo Holburn, “The Prusso-German School,” in Makers of Modern Strategy, pp. 283-284.

[11] Helmuth Graf von Moltke, Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings, Daniel J. Hughes, ed. Daniel J. Hughes and Harry Bell, trans., (New York: Ballantine Books, 1993),pp. 44-47,107-114,123-125,130-133,178,257. For Cannae, see Christer Jorgensen, ed., Great Battles: Decisive Conflicts That Have Shaped History, (Bath: Parragon, 2011), pp. 34-41.

[12] Gunther E. Rothenberg, “Moltke, Schlieffen and the Doctrine of Strategic Encirclement,” in Makers of Modern Strategy, pp. 303.

[13] Kissinger, Diplomacy, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), pp. 103.

[14] Kissinger, Diplomacy, pp. 103-122.

[15] Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, pp. 234-244, 274-275.

[16] Rothenberg, “Moltke, Schlieffen and the Doctrine of Strategic Encirclement,” pp. 306-307.

[17]Rothenberg, “Moltke, Schlieffen and the Doctrine of Strategic Encirclement,” pp.307.

[18] Rothenberg, “Moltke, Schlieffen and the Doctrine of Strategic Encirclement,” pp.308-310.

[19]Rothenberg, “Moltke, Schlieffen and the Doctrine of Strategic Encirclement,” pp. 312.

[20] Rothenberg, “Moltke, Schlieffen and the Doctrine of Strategic Encirclement,”, pp. 310, 313-316.

[21]Rothenberg, “Moltke, Schlieffen and the Doctrine of Strategic Encirclement,” pp. 310.

[22] Donald Sommerville and Ian Westwell, The Ultimate Illustrated History of the First & Second World Wars, (Leicestershire: Hermes House, 2012), pp. 24.

[23] Rothenberg, “Moltke, Schlieffen and the Doctrine of Strategic Encirclement,”, pp. 317-318.

[24] H. P. Willmott, World War I, ( London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2003), pp.31.

[25], Willmott, World War I, pp. 16-17.

[26] Willmott, World War I, pp. 18, 19.

[27] Keegan, The Second World War, pp. 49.

[28] Jeremy Noakes, “Hitler and ‘Lebensraum’ in the East,” BBC, March 30, 2011.

[29] Keegan, The Second World War, pp. 30, 46-48. The origins of Sickle Stroke lay with Manstein.

[30] Michael Gayer, “German Strategy in the Age of Machine Warfare, 1914 -1945,” in Makers of Modern Strategy, pp.581-589. However, for operations, the OKW was not supposed to exercise control, which was to be done by the army high command, the OKH. However practically, Hitler’s interference in operational and tactical matters kept increasing, especially after the reverses started. See Gordon A Craig, “The Political Leader as a Strategist,” in Makers of Modern Strategy, pp.491-492,497.

[31] Barry R. Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine: France, Britain, and Germany Between the World Wars, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984), pp. 180.

[32] Guenther Blumentritt, Von Rundstedt: The Soldier and the Man Captain Cuthbert Reavely, trans. (London: Odhams Press Ltd., 1952), pp. 97,103.

[33] Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, (New York: Penguin Books, 2006), pp.  420,425,452.

[34] Craig, “The Political Leader as Strategist,” pp. 494-495. Also, Heinz Guderian, Panzer Leader), Constantine Fitzgibbon, trans. (1952, repr. Dehradun: Palit & Dutt, 1970) pp.  192. Even Chief of Staff of the OKH General Halder believed that victory would take 8-10 weeks. Guderian, while not part of these organizations, disagreed.

[35]Guderian, Panzer Leader, pp. 142-143.

[36]Yoav Ben-Harin and Barry Posen, Israel’s Strategic Doctrine, (Santa Monica: RAND, 1981), vii.

[37] John Keegan, World Armies, (London: Macmillan Press Ltd, 1979), pp. 363.

[38] Edgar O’Ballance, The Third Arab Israeli War, (London: Faber & Faber, 1972), pp. 49. Till 1955 Israel’s main threats had been Jordan and Syria, after which time Egypt became the most powerful enemy.

[39] Ben-Harin and Posen, Israel’s Strategic Doctrine, vii.

[40] O’Ballance, The Third Arab Israeli War, pp. 50. As per another source, between 1957 to 1967, a sum of $ 385.7 million, equaling approximately 66 percent of the overall acquisition budget was allocated to the Air Force. Itai Brun, Israeli Air Power,” in Global Air Power, John Andreas Olsen, ed (Dulles: Potomac Books Inc. 2011), pp. 142.

[41] Keegan, World Armies, pp. 361.

[42] O’Ballance, The Third Arab Israeli War, pp. 62-72, 269.

[43] Itai Brun, Israeli Air Power,” in Global Air Power, John Andreas Olsen, ed., (Dulles: Potomac Books Inc. 2011), pp. 154.

[44] Insight Team of the Sunday Times, The Yom Kippur War, (New York: Andre Deutsch, 1975), pp. 172, 195.

[45] Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine, pp. 27-29.

[46] Keegan, World Armies, pp. 362.

[47] The actual relationship between political and military leadership has been constitutionally ambiguous for Israel. The time pressure for fast reaction has ensured a conscious attempt to not paralyze the initiative of the IDF and lead to ‘defeat through debate.’ Practically the degree of involvement of the Defense Minister or the PM has varied as per personalities. At the operational level Field Commanders have considerable autonomy to exploit success as per unfolding circumstances. Keegan, World Armies, pp. 362.

[48] Kenneth N. Waltz, The Theory of International Politics, (Long Grove IL:Waveland Press Inc., 1979), pp. 118.

[49]Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, pp. 330.

[50] Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, 177.

[51] Edward Luttwak and Dan Horowitz, The Israeli Army (London: Allen Lane, 1975), xii.

[52] Gunter Roth,” Field Marshal von Moltke the Elder His Importance Then and Now,” Army History, No 23 (Summer 1992):  5, at

[53] This is also predicted by International Relation’s Balance of Power theory or Structural Realism theory; “States that face several adversaries may prefer offensive doctrines.” Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine, pp. 78.

[54] Violence here is used in context of Clausewitz’s theory that war theory lies suspended between the three forces of violence (people), chance (military) and reason (politics). Carl Von Clausewitz, On War, Michael Howard and Peter Paret, ed and trans(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), 89.

[55]Roth,” Field Marshal von Moltke the Elder His Importance Then and Now,” 6.

[56]Keegan, World Armies, pp. 362.

[57] General Andre Beaufre, 1940: The Fall of France, Desmond Flower, trans. (1965, repr. London: Cassell & Co., 1967), pp. 17. Beaufre felt that the “absence of any political education,” for the officer Corps was a lacuna which contributed their poor strategic thinking and so to the rapid fall of France in WW II.

[58] Gerhard Ritter, Schlieffen Plan,(London,1958),v, vii cited in Rothenberg, “Molkte, Schlieffen and the Doctrine of Strategic Encirclement,” pp.311-312

[59]Tooze, The Wages of Destruction.

[60] Uzi Rubin, “Israel’s defence industries – an overview, Defence Studies, 17:3, (2017),:228-241.

[61] Melissa Rossi, What Every American Should Know About the Middle East (New York: Plume,2008), pp. 12.

[62] For example the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum ties Egypt and Israel in a common institution along with Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy. Meanwhile in 2020 Israel started supplying natural gas to Egypt that possesses the needed liquefaction plants to convert and then export it further.

[63] William H. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force and Society since AD 1000, (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1982), pp. 170.

[64] McNeill, The Pursuit of Power, pp. 172-173.

[65] Guderian, Panzer Leader, pp. 26,32. Guderain faced challenges from both infantry and cavalry. With the infantry it was a tussle between doctrines; would armor be used to support infantry or function as an independent effecter. With the cavalry it was about replacement of the horse and lance with the motor and cannon.

[66] The first and third IAF commanders both resigned due to under allocation of budget. However, compared to earlier mentioned artillery and armor struggles, the Israeli military and political leadership accepted airpower’s importance faster. Luttwak and Horowitz, The Israeli Army, pp. 120.

[67]Between 1957 to 1967 the Air Force was allocated 66 percent of the acquisition budget with the Army at 28.5 and Navy at 5.3 percent.  Brun, Israeli Air Power,” pp. 142.

[68] See table. The Air Force had a larger standing strength than the army, and catered for the least ratio of reserves.

[69] This investment in armor doctrine happened almost parallel with airpower investment i.e. between 1956 and 1964. Luttwak and Horowitz, The Israeli Army, pp. 186.

[70] D K Palit, Return to Sinai: The Arab Israeli War 1973, (Dehradun: Palit and Palit, 1974), pp. 172. Writing a year after the war, Palit concluded in this 1974 publication that Israel would now have to accommodate, anticipating the Egypt-Israel 1979 peace treaty by almost five years.

[71] David Gates, The Napoleonic Wars 1803 -1815.

[72]Anit Mukherjee, The Absent Dialogue: Politicians, Bureaucrats and the Military in India, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020).


[74]Rajat Pandit, “2nd biggest arms importer, India 23rd on importer’s list, Times of India,  March 10, 2020.

[75] Snehesh Alex Philip, “Indian Army now world’s largest ground force as China halves ground force,” The Print,  March 17, 2020.

[76] Christopher Woody, “These are the 10 Biggest Navies in the World, Military and Defence, April 12, 2018.

[77] Hemant Singh, “Comparision of the Air Forces of India, China and Pakistan, Jagran Josh, October 12, 2019.

[78] Nikunj Deep Singh, “Strong border infrastructure and bolder strategic policy, Observer Research Foundation, October 24, 2020.

[79] Lift Capabilities of IAF”.

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Ashish Singh

Ashish Singh

Ashish Singh is an Indian Air Force officer. He has a PhD in military strategy from the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.

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Ashish Singh

Ashish Singh