Posted: Sat Nov 27 2010, 23:56 hrs
According to a recent KPMG report, India is likely to spend up to $100 billion on the purchase of military equipment over the next 10 years. During the last decade, India acquired T-90S main battle tanks, the USS Trenton, an amphibious warfare ship that can lift an infantry battalion, and weapon-locating radars, and signed deals for six Scorpene attack submarines and for the upgrade of Mirage 2000 fighter-bomber aircraft. Admiral Gorshkov, a Russian aircraft carrier, will soon be on its way after a prolonged refit and INS Arihant, an indigenously designed, nuclear-powered submarine, is undergoing sea trials. India also acquired a host of low-end equipment for counter-insurgency operations and for upgrading the infantry’s combat efficiency. Besides these purchases, the acquisition or manufacture of 126 MMRCA fighter aircraft, almost 1,500 155mm howitzers, about 250 light helicopters, P8I Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for Special Forces, C-17 Globemaster heavy lift aircraft and many other items of defence equipment are in the pipeline.
Are these defence acquisitions part of a carefully structured strategy for military modernisation or are these piecemeal purchases that will only replace obsolescent weapons and equipment with more modern ones but will not add substantially to India’s comprehensive military power? In Arming Without Aiming: India’s Military Modernisation, Stephen P. Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta carefully analyse the plans for and the thought process behind India’s ongoing military modernisation and aver that the process lacks political support and guidance, is haphazard and bereft of strategic direction and is not in consonance with evolving doctrinal and organisational changes. They conclude rather pessimistically: “We believe that this state of arming without aiming will continue into the future.”
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