India world's No. 1 arms importer

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by LETHALFORCE, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-worlds-No-1-arms-importer/articleshow/7697182.cms

    NEW DELHI: India has emerged as the largest arms importer in the world, overtaking even China, claims a report by a Swedish think-tank.

    The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), in its report to be released on Monday, said India accounted for 9% of all international arms imports between 2006-2010, making it the world`s largest weapons importer.

    China was relegated to second place, notching 6% of global arms imports, Siemon Wezeman of Sipri told international news agencies. The US remains the largest arms exporter, followed by Russia and Germany, as per the report.

    This is not the first time that India has topped such an international list. As reported by TOI earlier, US Congressional Research Service's reports on conventional arms transfers placed India right at the top in 2004 and 2005, with agreements worth $5.7 billion and $5.4 billion respectively.

    China, however, hides more than what it reveals. Beijing`s military expenditure figures as well as its acquisition of advanced weapon systems and platforms remain shrouded behind a thick iron curtain, which global monitors cannot penetrate easily.

    Unlike India, China has rapidly built a robust domestic defence-industrial base (DIB) over the last couple of decades, which often also revels in reverse-engineering top-of-the-line weapon systems developed by other countries.

    "China does spend staggering amounts in importing weapons from countries like Russia, often displacing even India as Russia`s largest defence customer,`` said an Indian defence official.

    If India`s defence budget for the coming fiscal is pegged at $36 billion, China is "officially`` going to spend $91.5 billion. Experts, however, reckon that it will spend almost twice the amount on its 2.5-million strong People`s Liberation Army.

    But all this does not take away from the fact that India has certainly cranked up the modernization of its armed forces since the 1999 Kargil conflict, inking arms deals worth over $50 billion since then, the majority of them with foreign armament majors from Russia, Israel, France, UK and now, increasingly the US, as tracked by TOI.

    With limited private sector participation, coupled with DRDO, eight defence PSUs and 39 ordnance factories largely failing to deliver, India remains saddled with a poor DIB. So, with the armed forces continuing to import almost 70% of their requirements from abroad, India will remain a big time arms importer for the foreseeable future.

    There are several mega defence projects in the pipeline, which will see also tie-ups with foreign companies for technology transfer for indigenous production. The gigantic $10.4 billion project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft, for instance, is in the final lap now, with commercial negotiations slated to soon begin with the eventual winner among the six aviation majors in contention.

    Two major deals on the verge of being inked are the over $2.1 billion deal for the Mirage-2000 fighter upgrade with France and the $4.1-billion one for 10 C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift aircraft with the US. India, incidentally, is likely to order another six C-17s after the first 10.

    Then, the armed forces are looking to induct over 600 helicopters, ranging from VVIP and heavy-lift to attack and light utility ones, many of them from abroad, for well over Rs 20,000 crore.

    Navy, in turn, is all worked up about launching its Project-75India to acquire six new-generation stealth submarines as soon as possible. The submarines, equipped with tube-launched missiles for land-attack capabilities and air-independent propulsion (AIP) to enhance operational capabilities, will be built in a project worth over Rs 50,000 crore.

    The "granny`` of all defence projects will be the joint Indo-Russian project to develop the Sukhoi T-50 fifth-generation fighter aircraft. With IAF looking to induct 250 to 300 of these stealth fighters from 2020 onwards, India will eventually spend over $35 billion on this project alone.
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Unfortunately, India does not have the wherewithal to source items from domestic manufacturers. There is this malignant and perpetual debate about indigenous vs imported weapons. While we need to get the best, and if we cannot get them domestically, we need to import them; but, when are we seriously going to setup a base for domestic manufacturing at a level that is at par with the rest of the world? When are we going to start exporting our weapons?

    India is not doing enough to cultivate young budding scientists who will grow up to design major weapons systems. I have always maintained that India lacks an institute like the TsAGI. It will probably be another 70 years before India sources upto 70% of its defense hardware domestically.
     
  4. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    "India world's No. 1 arms importer" is nothing to feel proud of. It's actually a nutkick on DRDO and similar agencies, and those who still believe India should keep private players out of the high-end manufacturing in the defence industry.

    On the other hand, we can use it to our advantage, as foreign bids will be even more competitive here on. To keep sellers' confidence in the Indian market, MMRCA deal should be settled as soon as possible.
     
  5. pi314159

    pi314159 Guest

    To speed up indigenous manufacturing, I am tempted to offer my humble suggestion, and I know you guys are going to kill me for this: encourage copycatting and reverse-engineering. Anyway you just cannot reinvent everything from scratch and even you can, it may not be necessary, so you should focus your effort on key issues, for the rest just copycat. You are doing catch-up, aren't you? I know copycatting is close to evil in this forum, so you may call it “standing-on-giant’s-shoulder” or something similar:)
     
  6. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    π, I simply love your posts. While you are advocating the same copying that is like sacrilege in DFI, the way you presented it makes it more palatable. :)

    It is not that we Indians are Saints. You could look up the RFI Kalashnikov clone or RFI SLR/FN-FAL clone here in DFI or elsewhere, and we have done our bit, but in reasonably small numbers. Personally, I like the idea of cloning under license, just like we make Sukhois and Aérospatiale Alouette IIs here in India and the Russians or French don't get upset because we have paid them for ToT/license.

    We do not have a very elaborate defense manufacturing base in India and we cannot afford to upset the foreign suppliers by blatant copying without license. However, when we are paying so much for all the deals, GoI is trying to bring as much knowledge transfer as possible from these deals. We are going slow, but we are headed in the right direction.
     
  7. Tronic

    Tronic Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    'pi', India has no need to reverse engineer, as it is able to get into tie ups with foreign companies to design products with technical assistance from aboard. Reverse engineering and 'copy-catting' so to say, becomes only necessary when foreign countries refuse to tie up with you, or you are under arms sanctions, as in the case of China. Reverse engineered products are nowhere close to the actual as it is intended to be. I still recall when the IAF chief kept complaining about the reliability of India's Migs, the PAF air chief telling him, and I paraquote, "if the Indians are having so much trouble with Russian acquired MiGs, just imagine what we are going through with Chinese copies".
     
  8. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Good post. Only when you want to buy something by legitimate means and are refused can you justify reverse engineering. This is the same story with the Tupolev-4 'Bull', which is a copy of the Boeing B-29 'Superfortress'.
     
  9. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    India needs to develop her defense industry quickly, by the next two decades. We cannot win wars with imported weapons alone. We need to become self-sufficient. Truth is that Indian armed forces are in romantic relationships with foreign sellers, they won't accept "Made in India" systems even if those are superior to foreign systems, like it happened in case of "Arjun MBT vs T-90 MBT". They are hell-bent at discarding the INSAS assault rifles as well.
     
  10. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    If the private institutions and companies are given more oppurtunities then we would be importing instead we would be exporting arms. Our system is such that if at all a person designs a good and perfect model then he must get an approval for his design before he starts manufacturing it and getting the approval is one hell of a task were the person must pay bribe and go through all steps and finally our babus who are to accept the design finally will ask for his or her share in it and if the person rejects it then he will not be able to get the approval. Then the person rather making the weapon in INDIA shall go to countries like America who encourage everybody and wan't the weapon not the money which they will get from selling it. I am not saying that they won't make money, but they are not as foolish and greedy like our babus. Our babus on the other hand are interested in the ratio of share which they get by eignbuying weapons from foreign firms like the much popular bofors scandal. If INDIA had invested money in indigenous guns than going for foreign it would have been good for our DEFENCE INDUSTRY and INDIA.

    "GREED GREED AND NOTHING BUT GREED OF MONEY MORE THAN THE SECURITY OF THE NATION AND PEOPLE WHO VOTE THEM TO POWER". Until this GREED FOR MONEY goes away, we still are and will be living under the rule of foreigners and they will not allows us to develop.

    HISTORY is repeating it self. The EAST INDIA COMPANY took all the raw materials and people who are skilled in all fields to their country and manufactured the goods at ENGLAND and again brought those goods into INDIA and sold those goods for high prices.
     
  11. pi314159

    pi314159 Guest

    This is inevitable in the beginning, but no one stops there.
     
  12. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    The goal is to decrease the import percentage right? Because it keeps going up FYI.
     
  13. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    We are actually spending even more than this. We are spending to buy foreign weapons and we are spending to develop our own platforms ;which must also be a high number??
     
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.livemint.com/2011/03/14210642/India8217s-missing-weapon-m.html?h=B

    India’s missing weapon makers


    Unlike most parts of the world, India’s defence requirements are acute. A challenging neighbourhood and the country’s geographic spread ensure that it remains a big buyer on the global arms bazaar. The latest data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) shows that between 2006 and 2010, it was the world’s biggest importer of conventional weapons, accounting for 9% of global arms imports—much ahead of its rivals in South Asia.

    What this trend shows is the failure of the country to indigenize defence production, let alone create a defence industrial complex that almost all major powers have done in their history. While there has been abundant lip service to the idea of self-reliance in defence systems, in reality the country’s inabilityis painfully visible.

    Admission of this failure has been slow. Almost a decade after the Soviet Union broke up, India permitted 26% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector. It did not work. Even after permitting FDI in defence production, the country’s planners continued to demand that foreign suppliers of hardware invest/spend a percentage of their contract value in India. This so-called “offset” policy was a thinly disguised effort to piggyback on foreign providers of equipment to give a push to the domestic defence industry. The idea was flawed in principle: how could outside sellers create a local industry when decades of government investment and pushing did not do the trick? The mistake was to assume that money could clinch the issue while the problem of the “missing” industry lay elsewhere.

    FDI flows were expected to solve another problem: that of diversifying the country’s supply basket. Until 1991, India had been heavily reliant on the Soviet Union for almost all its weapon purchases. The Sipri data shows this continues even now. In the 2006-10 period, Russia accounted for 82% of conventional arms supplies. This may change in the years ahead as the US begins edging into the space occupied by Russia. This, however, has little to do with permitting FDI in the sector and has more to do with the political proximity between the two countries.

    Any country’s need for weapons has to be evaluated rationally in response to its requirements. This requires not only year-by-year purchases, but also multi-year, if not decadal, perspective planning. Instead of being dogmatic about how it procures weapons, the focus should be on projecting future requirements, their potential suppliers and much better inventory management.
     
  15. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Yes indeed. That is our goal, but exceptions may be made in case of emergencies. For example, we purchased C-130J, it was an outright purchase directly from Boeing.

    I doubt if import percentage is going up. Overall, maybe, but if you look into particular segments, say helicopters or tanks, I think it is going down. Of course, you can cite that many components of the HAL ALH are foreign sourced, but that is a different discussion altogether.
     
  16. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    India imports over 70% of its arms now, it was 65% 5-6 years ago. With the heavy purchases coming down the road like MRCA, FGFA, more subs, more C-17s, tankers, artillery, helicopters that is just going to go up. They are going to dwarf the small buys of Arjun, LCA, and Dhruv. Not to mention the heavy foreign components of those systems.
     

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