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India’s defence capabilities vis-a-vis her neighbours

Monday - September 3, 2018 3:06 pm , Category : OPINION & INTERVIEW

WTN- India is one of the largest spenders on defence among countries of the world. A major share of the country’s GDP goes in the procuring of weaponry and upkeep of the military mechanics. The vastness of the country and her vulnerable seas and porous borders compel us to keep our army well oiled and on full alert for any exigency. Our forces need the right wherewithal to take on any enemy attack. No wonder we are much better placed than countries in our neighbour like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Korea and the like.

But China is still way ahead of us and we need to do some catching up to match its military prowess. China has spruced up its defence system only in the last 10-15 years riding on better self-reliant capabilities and technological edge, thereby increasing the gap with India. India’s continuous threat perceptibility makes it imperative for her to improve her technological acumen and tactical skills through more innovation, research and enhanced manufacturing capabilities. With China also assisting Pakistan in strengthening its military, we can be in for some surprises from Pakistan too, should a war happen in future. In nuke capability, Pakistan is a step ahead of India if we go by the numbers and it also has a robust missile system backing which is not much behind India. Against India’s 130 nuclear warheads.

Pakistan has 140 and China has 240 such weapons. Against China’s 1,280 fighter aircraft, we have only around 675 of them. Against India’s 4,000-plus combat tanks, Pakistan has almost 3,000 while China is way ahead with 6,500 tanks. Several of India’s critical logistic developments like ships, planes etc are stuck in the pipeline for years. India’s misfortune is that till today we have to spend huge in importing weapons, planes, ships and tanks from countries like Israel, France, Russia, US or Japan, whereas ideally, we should have been producing these indigenously by now.

This huge loss of money and lack of crucial manufacturing capability do us in. Though India is in the process of bringing in a big overhaul in the army, it is a slow process because of procurement hurdles and to be fully on par with present-day China, we may need at least 10-12 years. The additional woe India faces is that she is terribly short of officers to lead the army, navy and air force. However, sheer numbers may not always do justice to a fair appreciation of a country’s retaliation capabilities. Modern day warfare tactics have changed and a country with more missiles or tanks doesn’t necessarily win.

In an era of localised and covert wars, it is more important to have greater tactical skills— things that need intelligence, alacrity, impeccable coordination and skilful man and resource management more than the power of the gun. We may not have the best numbers yet, but we still can have better communication paraphernalia, faster intelligence gathering capability and better synchronisation of different forces for quick action. We can make great use of the edge we have over our neighbours like our digital prowess, our space technology and our English speaking ability. Instead of competing by being a part of the mad arms race, we need to strategise keeping the 22nd-century warfare needs in mind. We need to locate and work on our core specialities that can keep us ahead of our enemies.

-Window To News
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