India's military build up may be too little too late

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Oracle, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

    Mar 31, 2010
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    Bangalore, India
    NEW DELHI: India's 1.3 million-strong armed forces, hobbled by outdated equipment and slow decision-making, are undergoing an overhaul as defence priorities shift to China from traditional rival Pakistan.

    And like a refit of the imposing but dilapidated defence ministry on Delhi's grand South Block, it's a plodding process.

    Defence chiefs are hurrying to modernise ageing weaponry as China reinforces a 3,500-km (2,200-mile) shared but disputed border through the Himalayas.

    It took 11 years to select France's Rafale as the favoured candidate for a $15 billion splurge on 126 new combat jets to replace a Soviet-era fleet of MiGs dubbed "flying coffins" for their high crash rate.

    At the same time, feeling encircled as China projects its fast-growing naval power from Hormuz to Malacca, India is rushing to firm up friendships the length and breadth of the Indian Ocean.

    India is the world's largest arms importer with plans to spend $100 billion on weapons over the next decade.

    "The Indian military is strengthening its forces in preparation to fight a limited conflict along the disputed border, and is working to balance Chinese power projection in the Indian Ocean," US Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper told the US Senate this week.

    That "balance" includes a strategic alliance with Washington that in turn has stoked Chinese fears of containment. It is due to test-fire its nuclear capable Agni V rocket in the next few weeks, with a strike range reaching deep into China.

    In 2009, the air force reopened a high-altitude, landing strip in Ladakh last used during a 1962 border war with China. Along with other Himalayan bases, it is now upgrading the strip for fighter operations.

    About 500 Indian MiG-21s have plunged to the ground since the 1960s, yet the jet is still in use, raising the question of whether painfully slow defence procurement procedures can come up with new hardware faster than old equipment is sent to the scrap heap.

    According to Indian media, Russia delivered the nuclear submarine INS Chakra on a 10-year lease at the end of last month, eight years after India first asked for it.

    A shortfall of about 200 planes means the air force is operating at its lowest level in decades - just 33 squadrons against a goal of 45. By the time all the Rafales are delivered, more MiGs will have been decommissioned.

    "It's taken too long," said Jasjit Singh, a retired commander and director of the think tank Centre for Air Power Studies. "Can we live with a certain shortfall in the force, and for how long?"

    India is developing a fifth-generation fighter with Russia and aims to fly it in 2015, as well as a fleet of 272 Sukhois, half of which have already been built.

    From a defence perspective, India has traditionally had the upper hand over China's numerically superior air force, but rapid modernisation over the border may have flipped the balance.

    Both forces are now smaller than 20 years ago, but China's has a fast-growing core of 350 advanced combat jets, including its own Sukhois. It also has a stealth fighter programme.

    India's military modernisation plans are focused on the navy and air force, more than the army, which has traditionally squared off with Pakistan. But with Pakistan's air force also modernising fast, India risks losing its edge on two fronts.

    In the 1980s, a scandal engulfed the government of then-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi over millions of dollars in kickbacks on artillery contracts for Sweden's Bofors.

    Weapons purchases have since been a tortuous process, with rules rewritten several times to avoid graft.

    "There has been a tremendous shortage of artillery systems acquisition after the Bofors scandal," said Rahul Roy Chaudhury, a South Asia expert at London's IISS security think tank.

    Defence minister AK Antony is known to be very cautious, with no desire to be caught up in corruption scandals that have in recent years returned to haunt the government.

    On Tuesday, he made clear no deal would quickly be signed for the Rafale or any other fighters.


    The relationship between India and China is complex, involving as much cooperation as competition. But while the generals and admirals rarely say as much publicly, India fears a repeat of a brief, humiliating 1962 border war and wants to be prepared for surprises.

    Seafaring officers from 14 countries from New Zealand to the Seychelles have gathered on remote Indian islands in the Bay of Bengal this week for exercises and a "meeting of minds" about maritime security.

    It is one of the largest such gatherings of maritime allies that India has organised, but China and Pakistan were conspicuously not on the guest list.

    Predictably, since China is also a major trading partner, India's assistant chief of naval staff, Admiral Monty Khanna, was at pains to play down China's absence.

    "There are many nations that have not been invited," Khanna said in New Delhi, adding China would not be discussed at the meeting. "India and China might share a land border but we are quite distant by sea," he said.

    Distant they may be, but increasingly the world's fastest-growing major economies find themselves jostling as they compete for resources, sea lanes and allies. A lack of friendly engagement increases the risk of misunderstandings.

    This week's exercises are being held on the Andaman Islands, where India is spending $2 billion to set up a military command and from where the contested and congested South China Sea is only a short hop away.

    Last year, India's INS Airavat, an amphibious assault vessel that sailed from the Andamans was challenged in the South China Sea by a radio caller identifying himself as an official of the Chinese navy. Both sides later played down the incident.

    "The Indian navy is coy about formally engaging with the Chinese navy because it feels that, if it does, it legitimises the Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean," said Roy Chaudhury.

    "There needs to be much more communication, especially navy to navy, because they are bumping into each other more and more."

  3. spikey360

    spikey360 Crusader Senior Member

    Jan 19, 2011
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    The Republic of India
    So, what's your point? Were there a war today, we wouldn't be able to give a fight?
    So, is now war being fought on a one to one basis?
    By this line of analysis, the soviets would have never overpowered the superior german war machine, superior in every aspect, save perhaps numbers. I think there is more to war than just machines and equipments. You do not put the men into consideration anywhere? So is it like that the machines will operate themselves and neutralise each other on a one to one basis?
    This piece of writing above is laughable. At least, we can give china a fight of its life time, that I assure you.
  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Mar 10, 2009
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    EST, USA
    Old weapons, new threats fuel India's military buildup - By Giles Hewitt

    Old weapons, new threats fuel India's military buildup - By Giles Hewitt

    NEW DELHI, Feb 2, 2012 (AFP) - India's planned purchase of 126 fighters from France's Dassault marks the latest stage in a huge military procurement cycle that has turned the world's largest democracy into its biggest arms importer.

    The final Dassault contract is expected to be worth $12 billion and India is preparing further big ticket purchases over the coming years, including of helicopters and artillery.

    In a report to be published next week, Jane's Defence Weekly forecasts that India's aggregate defence procurement spending between 2011 and 2015 will top $100 billion.

    What is less clear -- and the subject of some heated debate -- is why New Delhi is so hungry for costly modern weaponry and where the country's strategic priorities lie.

    Some argue that India is simply playing catch-up and using its growing economic wealth to effect a pragmatic, and long overdue, overhaul of a military arsenal still loaded with near-obsolete, Soviet-era hardware.

    But others sense a more combative impulse, driven by the military modernisation efforts of its rivals and neighbours Pakistan and China, as well as the need to secure energy resources and supply lines outside its borders.

    In testimony Tuesday to a Senate Select Committee, the director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, said India was increasingly concerned about China's posture on their disputed border and the wider South Asia region.

    “The Indian military is strengthening its forces in preparation to fight a limited conflict along the disputed border, and is working to balance Chinese power projection in the Indian Ocean,” Clapper said.

    In order to secure the modern weaponry it needs to buttress its defence imperatives, India has little choice but to spend big in the global arms market.

    Its long-stated ambition of sourcing 70 percent of defence equipment from the home market has been hampered by weak domestic production -- the result of the stifling impact of excessive bureaucracy.

    Consequently, statistics from the Ministry of Defence show that India still imports 70 percent of its defence hardware.

    “Where India has had some success is in joint ventures, and building foreign equipment under license,” said James Hardy, Asia Pacific analyst at Jane's -- a respected industry publication.

    “The licensed production route seems to be working and at this point in India's development is a good way of overcoming the bureaucratic challenges of indigenous production.”The proposed contract with Dassault envisages the purchase of 18 Rafale aircraft, with the remaining 108 to be built in India.

    India's need for a multi-combat fighter is, in part, based on its geographical size which spans several operational theatres with wildly varying topographies.

    “The aircraft they have just get worn out,” said Hardy. “They want aircraft that can fly, land and take off anywhere from the Himalayas to the deserts of Rajasthan.”While the Indian Army has traditionally taken the lion's share of the national procurement budget, the focus has begun to shift in recent years toward the air force and navy.

    In December, Russia handed over a nuclear-powered attack submarine to India on a 10-year lease -- a deal greeted with alarm and anger by Pakistan.

    The Akula II class craft is the first nuclear-powered submarine to be operated by India since it decommissioned its last Soviet-built vessel in 1991.

    India is currently completing the development of its own Arihant-class nuclear-powered submarine and the Russian delivery is expected to help crews train for the domestic vessel's introduction into service next year.

    India is particularly keen to strengthen its maritime capabilities, given China's pursuit of a powerful “blue water” navy which Delhi sees as a threat to key shipping routes in the Indian Ocean and Indian energy assets in the South China Sea.

    But many Indian observers reject suggestions that India is even thinking of getting into an arms race with China.

    “The Chinese have a huge, huge lead. They are in a different league,” said strategic analyst Uday Bhaskar.

    “The gap in conventional terms and WMD (weapons of mass destruction) is so wide in China's favour, that it's just not valid to say India is trying to catch up or seek any kind of equivalence.

    “India is simply seeking what it sees as a level of self-sufficiency, and is being constrained by its modest outlay and a decision-making process that drives everyone up the wall. That's why we top of the list of arms-importing nations,” Bhaskar said.

    China, meanwhile, seems content to gently mock what the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, in December described as the “persecution mania” driving India's military modernisation.

    Source: Old weapons, new threats fuel India's military buildup - By Giles Hewitt
  5. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    I laugh at how certain countries always play the China card. I am sure India knows how to handle the situation.
  6. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Nov 16, 2009
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    If Indian defense buildup was too little, there would've been some other flag at Red Fort today.

    TOI is working with cheap authors.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
    Dovah and spikey360 like this.

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Feb 16, 2009
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    With a population that can fuel a war for thousands of years if necessary ;we don't need to rush the buildup.
    spikey360 likes this.
  8. Folk hero

    Folk hero Regular Member

    Jan 23, 2012
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    this is a great opportunity for us to build an army that would capable to invade at lest US (what i mean is what should be our army capable of) like building anti-sat missiles and ICBMs we also should increase our armor air force and navy by at lest 7000 armor 6000 air force 4000 navy by 2018 or 2020, if increase our armed forces with this pace in any other time world will call us war mongers but now thanks to china we call it self defence.:devious

    i guess this might be my wishful thinking.:pray:
  9. debasree

    debasree Regular Member

    Feb 7, 2011
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    Calcutta, India, India
    i take it as a joke mate:pound:
  10. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 15, 2010
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    Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh(INDIA)

    We have to be grateful for our political babus as at least they are doing something now...........
  11. Folk hero

    Folk hero Regular Member

    Jan 23, 2012
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    joke great now people starting think our capability to build a large Military as a joke, yes it's a joke a very sad joke.:laugh::sad:
    sesha_maruthi27 likes this.

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