As threats grow, India's military capabilities shrink - Bharat Verma

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by utubekhiladi, May 5, 2011.

  1. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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    http://www.sify.com/news/as-threats-grow-india-s-military-capabilities-shrink-news-columns-lfeopOabiba.html

    Indian military capabilities shrink rapidly while the threats multiply.

    Instead of removing poverty, the politician turned poverty into business of vote-bank-politics. Result: Sixty-two years later Maoists control forty per cent of the Indian Territory and the insurgents in the border states have influence in another ten per cent, both with explicit support of external actors.

    While the Army is battling insurgents for decades in Kashmir and in the Northeast, in all likelihood, it will be drawn into conflict with the Maoists to reclaim territories under their control.

    This is a direct consequence to the demonstrated incompetence of the inept and crumbling Civil Administration. Resources of the Army, Air force and the Navy are already at an all time low and are over stretched, undermining the capability of the Indian military machine to fulfill its primary role of coping with the challenges of external threat.

    Beijing and Islamabad are delighted with New Delhi's clumsy response.

    Couple the internal threat with burgeoning external threat - Beijing boasts of capability to create three-pronged mischief on the Indian Borders. First, China has built elaborate infrastructure and potent military capability in Tibet.

    Second, it not only synergized anti-India activities with Pakistan but has also positioned elements of the PLA inside PoK.
    Third, China quietly propelled their proxy Maoists (Nepal) to the centre-stage in Katmandu. Not to mention the advantage China gained in Sri Lanka while India lost some.


    Beijing now influences almost 7500 km of land opposite Indian borders.

    The Indian Navy - grappling with increasing incidents of piracy, securing the EEZ, the 7500-km of coastline and Sea Lines of Communications - now faces the prospect of confronting the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean. The competitive interests of the two rapidly growing economies for energy and transit can transform the Indian Ocean into an area of bitter conflict in the near future.

    Apart from its wits, the Indian Navy will require a large and modern arsenal.

    New Delhi's indecisiveness, inconsistent and callous approach to modernization of the Armed Forces, ignorance, and enormous bureaucratic red tape keeps the Army, Navy and the Air Force under-equipped and devoid of adequate material and human resources to meet the growing threats.

    In addition, the ill equipped military requires power projection capabilities to safeguard India's strategic interests. Even as New Delhi's weakness allowed India built Zaranj Delaram Highway to slip under Taliban control in Afghanistan, the Chinese lead the great game near Kabul by successfully mining copper.

    The irony is that while Indian taxpayer's money helps rebuild war torn Afghanistan, Beijing walks away with the riches.

    To cope with a two-front war, the IAF requires 60 air-worthy combat squadrons. The professional assessment to tackle the challenge of a single front war and holding action on the other front requires 45 squadrons.

    New Delhi sanctioned 39.5 squadrons, but has indicated intent to raise the squadron strength to 42 by the end of the current decade.

    Of the sanctioned strength of combat squadrons, for the IAF only 28.5 remain air-worthy today. Discounting the obsolescent fleet of the MiG 21 as also other ageing aircrafts, the IAF is left with around 22 combat worthy squadrons.

    At Aero India 2011, apart from the Su30 MKI display by the IAF,rest of it turned out to be nothing more than a vintage aircraft rally!

    When the NDA government was in power, India negotiated for forty Mirages 2000-V. After prolonged negotiations, when the time came to ink the deal, the then Defence Minister decided that he would sign it after the general elections. The NDA coalition lost and the UPA government that came to power scrapped the deal.

    Similarly, a deal for In-flight Refuellers negotiated over three years. When the deal was about to be inked, the Ministry of Finance suddenly declared that the tankers preferred by the IAF were too expensive. The tender was scrapped.

    Moreover, after many years of trials and negotiations, the deal for 197 helicopters was thrown out of the window in the last minute. The tender for 126 MMRCA is languishing for the past eleven years and now runs into problems and complications with the unwieldy offset procedures and Transfer of Technology.

    In the bargain, the vendors have lost millions of dollars on unproductive efforts. Worse, the nation lost credibility in its international dealings and the Air Force its combat power.

    With its overall capability severely eroded especially during the last decade, the IAF today no longer spearheads national military power. There is hardly any strategic or tactical airlift capability worth the name. The air defence cover supported by obsolete systems, is porous and there is only a token representation of force multipliers.

    The state of the IAF prompted the Chief of the Air Staff to state publicly that fifty per cent of the equipment in the IAF was obsolete. Clearly, the IAF is in no shape to support power projection by the nation or to confront its two main adversaries that are rearming and modernizing rapidly.

    On the other hand, DRDO and the indigenous aerospace industry continue to devour precious resources that the nation can ill afford but have proved totally incapable of making the nation self reliant in respect of contemporary military hardware.

    Global tenders for even desperately needed military equipment remain bogged down in the complex bureaucratic labyrinth of the Defence Procurement Procedure.

    Ineptitude and apathy of the government is usually cloaked in fiery rhetoric that routinely emanates from the top echelons of national leadership and genuine modernization programmes continue to remain a distant dream.

    For the past twenty-five years Ministry of Defence has found itself incapable of finalizing the induction of 155 mm guns for the Regiment of Artillery. The Kargil war was barely managed through extensive cannibalization just to have a few guns firing.

    MoD floats tenders and cancels them with an unbelievable regularity.

    The Indian Army's Combat Arms are in a state of crises because of obsolete equipment that was not replaced in the last sixty years.

    Tanks and ICVs are night blind without night sights.The MoD is unable to decide between import of Thermal Imager Fire Control System (TIFCS) and Thermal Imager Stand Alone System (TISAS).

    Pakistan forces equipped with night vision devices will be sitting behind blind Indian mechanized forces since modern wars will be fought largely at night.

    The bewildering variety of antiquated artillery guns-120 mmmortars, 105 mm Field gun, 130 mm Medium gun, 155 mm Gun, 122 mm Howitzer, 122 mm Multi-barreled Rocket Launcher and now Pinaka and Smerch Long Range Systems are a logistician's nightmare.

    Ground based air defence practically is non-existent and devoid of Control and Reporting(C&R) System. Further, air defence is in shambles as L-60 and L-70 guns are of WW II vintage.

    On the other hand, the Schilkaself propelled guns, SAM and OSA-AK missiles are of early 1970s vintage. Not a single gun and missile has been acquired since then.

    The Infantry soldier fights with a WW II carbine while the terrorist is equipped with AK-47. DRDO has been kept in business by funneling taxpayer's resources but INSAS rifles and LMG have not proven successful.

    FINSAS (future infantrysoldier as a system) is yet to take off. DRDO continues to copy ideas from the brochures of the western firms, guzzling huge defence budgets, but is unable to produce a simple CQB weapon like a carbine!


    Communications systems remain antiquated. Fifty per cent of the infantry is yet to be equipped with Individual Combat Kit (ICK).

    The Navy will be left with nine operational submarines by 2012 against the stated requirement of thirty.

    Keeping in view the precarious position, I wonder what stopped New Delhi from ordering in a single stroke twelve submarines from the French and simultaneously opening a second submarine manufacturing line with another vendor.

    The laborious and complicated process of vetting tenders and negotiations provided adequate data to replenish the dwindling submarine resources at one go. Once again, we start this time-consuming tedious process to appoint a second vendor.

    MoD's legendary inefficiency extends battle-winning advantages to the enemy!

    Meanwhile, without pausing for the mental lethargy of New Delhi, warfare technology has rapidly moved to pilotless or remote controlled vehicles and weapon systems on sea, land and in the air.

    One can practically look inside the enemy's house sitting in New Delhi and neutralize the emerging threat by firing a missile with the help of a remote controlled pilotless drone.

    We are nowhere near use of such magnificent technologies in spite of the favorable opportunities that exist in the new geopolitical environment.

    Technological innovation earlier took a decade to develop.Warfare technology now can be out of date within a year. It is a distinct possibility that with the rapid pace of technological advances in warfare, by the time 126 MMRCA deal is finalized, much of the technology offered by OEMs may be out of date.

    With diminishing or ageing population, the West perforce depends more and more on technology. However, as in Libya or Afghanistan, unless cutting edge technologies are employed together with sufficient boots on ground, the situation is likely to result in a stalemate.

    Luckily, India boasts of young demographic profile in abundance that is sufficiently tech savvy. Yet there is huge shortage of young officers as the government is not willing to give that extra incentive to lure them for a spell of short service commission. This creates vacuumin cohesion at the junior level, so vital to lead the troops.

    When one adds equipment shortage to it, the Indian Army, the Navy and the Air Force are unequal to the task the nation expects them to execute in case push comes to shove.

    China and Pakistan's support to insurgents, Maoists, and dissident groups within India is well documented. Therefore, internal and the external threats are interlinked and require seamless integration between the Civil and the Military.

    Despite the grave threat posed by external forces against the Union, the Civil Administration is unwilling to swiftly equip the military with requisite young human resources or the latest technology to cope with the growing security challenge.

    Nor the Civil Administration is eager to beef up its own weakening sinews by lateral induction into the civil segment forty thousand highly skilled young soldiers (and officers) released each year by the Armed Forces.

    Induction of trained manpower from the military and merger of the military skills with the Civil Administration can be the game-changer effecting increased efficiency.

    Induction of personnel equipped with military skills will not only boost the ability to reclaim territory lost but also help to hold the ground subsequently, lest Maoists or insurgents attempt to stage a comeback.

    Simultaneously, it will dramatically lower the ageing profile of Army, Navy and the Air Force, which is an operational necessity.

    This arrangement is a win-win for Civil and the Military.

    The shambles in which the Army, Navy and the Air Force find themselves today tantamount to dereliction of duty by the State, which in turn poses threat to the unity and integrity of the Union.

    Surrounded by authoritarian regimes, and located within the arch of Islamic terrorism, the Union of India is possibly the largest social experiment in diversity in the 21st century. To keep the Union intact, therefore, necessitates reversing the swiftly shrinking military capabilities but also a degree of militarization of the pacifist Indian mind.

    Bharat Verma, a former Cavalry Officer is Editor, Indian Defence Review. He frequently appears on television as a commentator, and is the author of Fault Lines and The Indian Armed Forces
     
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  3. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    SOURCE : TNN

    It could have proved much worse but defence minister A K Antony was fortunate enough to escape with just a mild sunstroke. Two Mi-17 helicopters deployed to ferry Antony and his high-level entourage to forward areas in Rajasthan developed technical snags, one after the other, on Monday.

    Already grappling with a resurgent crash rate, with close to 50 fighter and helicopter accidents being recorded just since 2007, the fact that technical problems can dog even VVIP flights has come as a major embarrassment to IAF.
    “Fortunately, the rotor and power-pack problems took place while the helicopters were on the ground. If they had occurred in the air, it would have been curtains for the passengers…helicopters, after all, drop like stones,” said a source.

    IAF, however, tried to downplay the episode, holding that there was “no need to order a full-scale inquiry” since they were “just some minor technical problems in starting the helicopters”. Added another officer. “Sometimes in hot weather, the battery does not give optimal power… it does not mean there is something wrong with the helicopter.”
    The Antony episode, however, comes in the backdrop of a spate in helicopter crashes around the country, including the one which killed Arunachal Pradesh CM Dorjee Khandu. Incidentally, Antony’s entourage included Army chief General V K Singh and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar, among others.

    The two main reasons for crashes in IAF, both for fighters and helicopters, are attributed to “human errors” and “technical defects”. In other words, “inadequate” training to pilots, ageing machines, shoddy maintenance practices and lack of adequate number of spares all come together to form an explosive mix. Just last year, IAF recorded a dozen crashes, which killed five pilots, 11 military personnel and four civilians.

    Sources said while the flight of the two Mi-17s from Jaisalmer to Tanot went off fine, the problems began on the way back. First, one of the helicopters developed the technical snag, leaving the “less important” among the passengers to take to the road back to Jaisalmer.

    Then, the second Mi-17, which was supposed to take Antony and the other VVIPs to the airport from the Jaisalmer military station also refused to start. This time, Antony and the others had no recourse but to travel by cars to the airport to take the plane back to New Delhi.

    Antony did not attend office on Wednesday as he was “slightly indisposed” after his hectic Rajasthan tour, which took place in blistering heat. The 71-year-old minister also has to conserve his energy for his three-day visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar beginning Saturday.
     
  4. tprop988

    tprop988 Regular Member

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    I think it would have been quite nice that the Mi-17 chopper would have crashed. Serves them right and this would have send the right message across to the MoD of the deteriorating condition of our Defence establishment. Our Indian leadership is too incompetent comprised of old, lethargic politicians. We deserve someone better. Our political leadership isnt concerned in our well being and the security of the country. They are only interested in filling up their pockets by targeting high level corruption in defence deals.
     
  5. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    You buy from foreign vendors and you wonder why your equipment is going obsolete! Typically it takes couple of years for the MoD to put forth an tender for any equipment like tanks, then the negotiations begin and that lasts for years then we have the problem of off set of technology and manufacturing here which typically takes more time by then 10 years have gone and the original manufacturer has gone through more than half of his life cycle for the product. Then Foreign vendors close the supply chain after a decade and they move on to new varieties.

    Just like the MMRCA by the time it comes its already 15 years old and the west who supplies it are moving towards 5th generation aircraft.

    This is why even if stuff like our missiles or tanks are late it is better to use them because we can upgrade fast like the Arjun Mk-2 or Tejas MK-2 compared to sending it to Russia or bargaining with France for 2 billion Mirage upgrade. In times of war would you be bargaining?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
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  6. ace009

    ace009 Freakin' Fighter fan Elite Member

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    This is another aspect of India's defense procurement that I have failed to understand. GOI does not spend enough resources to develop weapons in the country. DRDO has a $2 - $3 Billion budget and all the private defense contractors (in India) have maybe another $500 million budget. That $3.5 billion in defense R&D is inconsequential when compared to the other large players like US ($147 Billion for government R&D and $300 billion for private companies) or other countries (France, Germany, UK, Italy etc - ~$ 30 billion: "NATO European research and development spending is about 25% of that of the United States"), Russia ($16.3 bn), China (~$15 billion). As a result most Indian defense projects take way longer than necessary and are too late for the military.
    As a result, GOI and MoD is perpetually buying foreign weapons for "short term needs" for huge sums of money - like the T-90S, the MMRCA, the Scorpene submarines or the Gorshkov. Even then, the evaluations and negotiations take years and the delivery happens even more years later (10 years for the T-90s, 12 for the MMRCA, 8? years for the Scorpene and 6+ years for the Gorshkov).
    The puzzling question is, how many years and how many governments will it take before the GOI and MoD understand the need for home-grown weapons industry and products coming off from there for Indian military use?

    References:
    nsf.gov - NCSES Proposed Federal R&D Funding for FY 2011 Dips to $143 Billion, with Cuts in National Defense R&D - US National Science Foundation (NSF)
    AIAA - Aerospace America Online - INTERNATIONAL BEAT - Turnaround in European defense expenditures?
    Russia to Triple Defense Procurement Spending by 2013 | Defense Update - Backup
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  7. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    One reality based article that the current government will deny...
     
  8. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    even if indian govt and forces are good in building up there arsenal there are many discrepancies in training them. according to my friends in IAF there very few people in the forces who even know how to operate the AWACs. just flying it wont make them getting utilized in war front. equipment handling is very poor. the very first objection and the most insulting one was that the soldiers of indian paramilitary forces didnt even knew how to use and atleast hold their weapons( during cwg inspection-security). also many of the agencies are understaffed. many agencies are not used in the time of their dire need. not only equipment but also the men and that too trained capable men are not there.
     
  9. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    LG india have $2billion R&D budget. jab sara paisa pradhan mantri sadak yojna main jaega toh bandook kaha se banegi?? soon our soldiers will be made road and construction labourer by this GOVT.
     
  10. Sikh_warrior

    Sikh_warrior Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    traditionally india has been attacked and attacked for centuries after centuries...

    and we indians have learned and got used to these invasions and attacks.

    we have always fought within ourselves and it was british who consolidated the current boundries or union of india.

    we still have regional parties fighting within india and gives a DAMN about our external threats. our military has become obsolete and our system have become corrupt.

    i think we indians are too many (more than a Billion) in india and even few of us die, wont really affect any one!

    strong nations need strong military to support the economic growth of the nation!
     
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  11. tprop988

    tprop988 Regular Member

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    What India needs here is a little competion. Needless to say, Indian defence manufacturing firms are having absolute monopoly over our indegenious defence projects. So what happens in the long run, is that our projects suffer from time and money overruns. Indians have one of the highest IQ levels in the world. And now Indians have the money(India spends a staggering 37 billion USD in defence procurements annually). What we are lacking is a healthy competition in the defence sector. These sole firms gets the unacceptable chance to sit it out lightly. The result - HAL Tejas, Arjun MBT. Even in the erstwhile Soviet Union, there were numerous departments competing for their defence projects (as for example: Mikoyan, Sukhoi or the Ilyushin and the Tupolev, etc.). A little development of the private sector might be able to solve this problem. We need a healthy, competetive tendering process where even the private Indian firms gets a chance to cement their place in the defence sector. Indian defence market is one of the most lucrative markets in the world and this will result in the private firms working their heart out to get such projects. The result - world class defence products within the stipulated timeframe. Look at the US and other western countries. For example, the US have multiple defence firms most notably the Lockheed Martin and Boeing. For any of the US Airforce projects, these two companies go through a vigorous tendering process in which they both develop prototypes according to the USAF requirements and present it before the USAF representatives within the stipulated timeframe to win their contracts. The result - F-22 Raptor, B-2 Spirit and most notably the F-15 Eagle (the most successful combat aircraft in aviation history) and many more. What they have now is a fully indegenious capability to develop weapon systems according to their requirements. They tender it out and the best design wins. What I want to see is a similar development of the Indian defence sector by including Indian private firms in the tendering process. This in turn will create thousands of jobs in the country as the private firms will develop manufacturing and R&D facilities and thereby result in the over all developent of the Indian economy. Only then we may hope that someday we will achieve full indegenisation of our defence sector like the western nations. It is not the same world anymore. The world has changed and its high time that we should too.
     
  12. ace009

    ace009 Freakin' Fighter fan Elite Member

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    Could have agreed to most of what you said, except for the fact that IQ levels are pretty much the same world over. They are not dependent upon countries - genetically intelligence is similar across ALL human races. Technological development it is more a product of culture, education and geographical locations (read "Guns Germs and Steel" if you care to know).
    As for competition - it is true - Indian defense industry needs much much more competition. $37 Billion is a good start, but nothing staggering - for a country the size of India with two prominent enemies on two sides, the spending should be $100 Bn or so ...
     
  13. tprop988

    tprop988 Regular Member

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    Before demanding a spending of a 100billion USD you need to first understand the strength of Indian economy. India spends 2.5% of its GDP on defence. Even the US does that (2.5%). India is 4 trillion dollar economy whereas the US is a 14.25 trillion dollar economy. The difference is that their economy is enormous and they end up spending 660billion USD in defence. India cannot compete with the west with its developing economy. The question is not how much we spend coz we definitely have a quite decent spending for a developing country. But the question is why is the private sector not allowed to enter the fray of defence development. Our projects have always been suffering from cost and time overruns. The Tejas took decades to be cleared by the IAF, the Arjun MBT was cleared by the IA by only 248 were ordered (124 mk1 and 124 mk2), the Nag ATGM after being leared for serial production..the IA made last minute changes to its requirements of the Namica thereby delaying production by another year. Even our missile development forming the core of our land based Nuclear Delivery systems is a lot behind schedule. At present our second strike capability is only composed of the short range Prithvi ballistic missiles and free fall nukes being carried by the mirages and the mig-27s. With this state of readiness our country is left practically defenceless in case the Chinese decides to launch a full scale invasion for Arunachal Pradesh. Our IAF is suffering from aging systems with only the Sukhois upto the mark. The mirages, migs and the jaguars are undergoing upgradation but that too is quite time consuming. The MMRCA deal has taken nearly a decade to materialize. The IAF is well below the sanctioned strength of 39.5 squadrons. The IAF needs atleast 45-50 squadrons in order to conform with the present two front war doctrine of the MoD. The state of our armed forces could be vastly improved if we gain self sufficiency in defence products.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011

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