Skip to comments.Why India's military needs an urgent update
Posted on 02/09/2010 11:37:40 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
When I heard the India Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik admitting last year that India lacks the air power to meet the myriad terror threats facing the country, I didn't blame him. He was and is still right.
When you have identified adversaries in all geographical directions and just 29 operational squadrons in your air force, how can you claim to be a strong and sovereign nation?
Can you protect all of your borders let alone airspace, cities and strategic installations? Can you even contemplate using the air force to launch a counter strike and a 2nd strike?
These questions have to be constantly asked and answers sought from the Indian leadership.
Today, India's only deterrence lies in the (under-development) INS Arihant and the (over-tested) AGNI missile. For a country and civilization that boasts of the Vimanika Shastra, Chandrayaan [ Images ] missions and numerous wise and dedicated missile men, having so few strike options is indigestible.
Advisors, researchers and strategists have all lamented the lack of military industrial complexes in India. When you are a country of 1.2 billion and aspiring to be at the high table of world powers, the least you can do is to produce atleast half of your military equipment indigenously.
(As always) after my initial round of critiquing, I am unable to stop myself from recommending the following long term steps for the Indian Air Force (since the Indian Navy and Army seem to have taken the lead in the race to stay ahead of our adversaries):
Stop buying old junk from world markets: The aircraft that are being offered to the IAF today by outside countries are older technologies. Only the Su-30/35, Tu-Blackjack, F-22/35, B-1/2 type aircraft can be worthy of procurement and that too under transparent technology transfer
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Last I checked, the fighters they have in the running in the MRCA competition, after they strayed far away from the original intent of the competition, are considered front-line fighters by most folk (although the F-16, MiG-35, and Gripen represent “older” options than their competitors. Far as strike options go, I’d think their Su-30-MKIs could serve admirably in that role, and Russia’s sure to offer them the Su-34. Far as indigenous programs go, things look a bit more dismal, though I eager look forward to the adoption of the Tejas as the long needed Fishbed-replacement. India maintains a qualitative edge over every possible adversary with the possible exception of the ChiComs.
I really do not like them purchasing munitions from Russia. When they purchase from Moscow, they are fueling the Russia war machine. They are supposed to be “allies” to the United States. The U.S. needs to make more of an effort to sell them arms.
Well, India is hobbled by their dependency on Foreign arms suppliers.
In a real shooting war, they have roughly 1 week of advanced munitions to expend. If foreign suppliers refused to sell them additional missiles/smart bombs...etc, their modern war effort grinds to a halt after that period, and they would have to rely on their own 1960s era level of armament technology.
Which is why they insist on the products being manufactured at home. From the Sukhois to the Bofors shells. Even Boeing and Lockheed-Martin will end up doing the same, if they win any contracts.
Note that they are also an ally of Russia, and for quite some time. With the rise of China as a regional giant, and an anticipated (if all does not go off the rails for Beijing) future superpower, then their inter-relationship gets all the more robust (e.g. the T-50 is being touted as a F-22 killer ...it is not ...or a F-35 killer ...it could be but that's not the target either ....when its main advantage would be ensuring total supremacy over anything the ChiComs may have, such as their proposed JXX).
For the US to become a better ally a couple of things need to happen. First of all India needs to be assured that every change of administration will not lead to a change in the relationship Washington has with N Delhi. Second of all the capriciousness of US state policy needs to change ...i.e. no strings attached, with the risk of support being cut off (or even what happened to Pakistan where their F-16s simply got impounded and were not delivered for quite some time). Having a veritable sword of Damocles hanging over your head is never an attractive option.
In my opinion India will always have a strong relationship with Russia, as well as a strengthening relationship with the US. Neither is a bad thing, since the drive for both relationships is China. If China continues to strengthen you can bet good money that Russia and the US (if BOTH nations get leaders who do not think it is 1965) will also start to get closer.
I agree that we have to be more aggressive in courting the Indians. That said, the Indians have to do what’s best for India. If they get the most value using Ruskie weapons, then that’s what they should go for. Plus, with their aircraft, much of their infrastructure remains Soviet/Russian. That said, I thought the Israelis recently beat out the Russians for sales to India. Plus, I think they’re coming around to the better quality of American arms. I also don’t think they like how we’re allied with Pakistan.
In an ideal world, India would be best served if they could manufacture all of their own military equipment. That frees them up from spending huge amounts of money for down-graded models, not to mention having to defer to the interests of supplier nations all the time.
It is of course in the interests of both the U.S and Russia to continue supplying India with arms. But it is NOT in the interests for either country to supply India with the knowledge of building their own arms.
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