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Defense Preparedness of India

Defense Preparedness of India


  • India is the world’s sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the third largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).
  • Despite the fastest growth rate in the world, India’s defence outlay has been 1.58 % of the GDP (lowest since 1962 war) among its adversaries – China and Pakistan.
  • The defence outlay of China is 3 % and Pakistan 2.5 % of the GDP. This has severely affected the modernisation of Indian defence forces, however, some of the adhoc strategic weapons purchases like Rafale multi role combat fighter jets from France, S-400 missiles system from Russia and indigenously build Arihant submarines are a ray of hope for defence modernisation. 
  • In order to dominate its adversaries India has to allocate its defence outlay to around 3 % of its GDP to make the army strong to face any two-pronged attack in the future.
  • The year 2019 was marked by some remarkable achievements for the defence establishment even though the situation across the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) remained tense due to repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan. But skirmishes along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China were not allowed to escalate due to mature handling of the relationship by the leaderships of the two countries.
  • In a landmark decision to bring in reforms in higher defence management in the country, the government approved the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in the rank of a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief. 
  • Former Army chief, Gen Bipin Rawat, who has been named as the country’s first CDS, will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.

Expenditure On Defence Services

  • The Committee noted that defence expenditure as a %age of total central government expenditure has declined from 13% in 2014-15 to 12% in 2017-18.  
  • Defence expenditure as a %age of GDP has ranged between 2% in 2014-15 to 1.6% in 2017-18.  
  • The defence expenditure at 1.6% of GDP in 2017-18 was the lowest since 1962 when the India-China war was fought.  
  • The Committee stated that in the current geo-political scenario, India cannot afford complacency with regard to defence preparedness.  
  • It recommended that adequate financial resources for defence preparedness should be allocated, both for current needs and future expansion and modernisation plans.


Two Front Force Ratios with China and Pakistan

  • As India’s relations with both China and Pakistan continue to deteriorate, the country’s policy-makers must contemplate the unpleasant possibility of a ‘two-front’ war with both countries. 
  • Whether or not such a war would be overtly collusive between China and Pakistan – that is, whether they would pre-plan a joint attack on India or it would be a case of strategic opportunism – it is clear to many in positions of authority that the Indian military remains fundamentally unprepared for such a challenge.

Main Battle Tank Ratio

  • In terms of the ratio of Pakistani main battle tank (MBT) to India’s, India has steadily lost its advantage. 
  • In 2007, this ratio stood at 0.61, which by 2016 had risen to 0.85.  
  • The same pattern reappears when it comes to China, where the MBT ratio has risen from 1.89 in 2007 to 2.23 in 2016.
  • For the total number of combat capable aircraft, the situation is marginally better. In 2007, this ratio for Pakistan was 0.64, which ten years later decreased to 0.56. 
  • The total aircraft ratio between China and India has also decreased in the same period, from 3.12 to 2.87.  Nevertheless, the Chinese superiority in these two metrics is striking.

Frigate fleet ratio  | Defense Preparedness of India 

  • The Pakistan/India frigates ratio increased between 2007 and 2016 because while the strength of the Pakistani frigate fleet has remained constant in that period, the size of the Indian fleet has decreased by two vessels, from 16 frigates in 2007 to 14 in 2016. 
  • As expected, China enjoys dominance over India in the size of its frigate fleet. In 2015, the ratio between the two fleets was 4.07. The ratio dropped the following year due to a decrease in the Chinese fleet by four ships. 
  • What is, however, quite striking is the overall decrease in the size of the Chinese fleet: from 68 ships in 2011 to 53 ships in 2016. T
  • his is most likely the result of Chinese naval modernisation that puts a premium on technological quality over quantity.

Artillery ratio

  • Even at 20 % Chinese deployment, the artillery two front force ratio (TFFR) increased from 0.69 in 2007 to 0.73 ten years later. 
  • It suggests a move away from artillery pieces and into short- and medium-range precision-strike missiles in order to have the same tactical effect. 
  • In India, some limited moves in this direction have been made with the deployment of Brahmos missiles to the border with China.
    However, it is the serious depletion of the Indian Air Force’ strength – from 870 to 803 combat capable aircraft, between 2012 and 2016 – along with a more than 21 % increase in the number of such People’s Liberation Army – Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft in that period that explains the plot. 

Tactical submarines ratio

  • The TFFR for tactical submarines went up from 1.24 in 2007 to 1.33 in 2016, with a peak of 1.44 in 2010 and 2011 (assuming 20 % Chinese deployment). 
  • Assuming 30 % Chinese deployment, the TFFR in 2016 stood at an alarming 1.71. 
  • However, both India and China’s total number of tactical submarines have fallen: India’s fell from 16 in 2007 to 14 in 2016, while China’s fell from 59 to 53. 
  • The latter is, again, a reflection of China decommissioning older equipment in favour of more and more lethal submarines, including Type 093 (Shang-class) nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs). 

China- Pakistan Future Strategy  | Defense Preparedness of India 

  • China plans to operate five aircraft carriers in the near future, including two nuclear-powered ones that would be launched around 2025 to meet the evolving strategic shifts, according to Chinese military experts.  
  • China officially confirmed that it is building its third aircraft carrier which is stated to be “bigger and mightier” than the other two warships, a move by Beijing to bolster its blue-water navy capability to operate far from its shores.
  • Officials say the rapid acquisition of aircraft carriers by China is of concerns to India too, as the Indian Navy, which is operating aircraft carriers since 1961, is currently operating only INS Vikramaditya. The homemade INS Vikrant expected to launch sea trials in 2020.
  • Pakistan despite its poor economy is purchasing 600 T-90 tanks to fill the gap of its combat efficiency with that of India, which is a cause of worry for India.

Challenges for India  | Defense Preparedness of India 

  • PM Modi’s government wants to build up its defense industry through its “Make in India” programme, hoping to create jobs and cut huge import bills. But India often prioritizes price, awarding contracts to state-owned defense firms that invest little in research and development, over-promise to score contracts and abandon many projects halfway, according to a report from Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
  • After three decades spent developing its own fighter, India put out a tender for 126 warplanes, which morphed into an order for 36 Rafale aircraft from Dassault Aviation SA that will start arriving in 2019. Until then, India’s air force is heavily reliant on Soviet-era MiG-21s that fall from the sky so often some call them “Flying Coffins.”
  • Last year, the Indian Army rejected an Indian-made rifle for the second year in a row after it reportedly failed quality tests. Locally made products like Arjun tanks, light combat aircraft (LCA) and even bulletproof jackets often can’t be used on the sensitive China or Pakistan borders because of performance issues.
  • Part of the problem is procurement overseen by “non-expert” generalists of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), said Manoj Joshi, a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) think-tank who was on a government task force recommending national security reforms.
  • Experts suggest India could resolve some issues by appointing a single person in charge like Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) which is still not seen light of the day by the Modi Government

Shekatkar Committee  | Defense Preparedness of India 

  • The committee was established with a mandate for Enhancing Combat Capability and Rebalancing Defence Expenditure.
  • The military reforms committee – under Lt General (retd.) DB Shekatkar – was set up by then Raksha Mantri Manohar Parrikar in 2015.
  • Shekatkar Committee had made recommendations on enhancing the combat potential of India’s three armed forces, rationalizing the defence budget etc.
  • The committee submitted its report on December 21, 2016. It had apparently exceeded its brief with some 200 recommendations.
  • A major recommendation is that the defence budget should be 2.5% to 3% of the GDP.

Recommendations On Border Infrastructure

  • On the matter related to creating border infrastructure, the Government has implemented the recommendation of CoE to outsource road construction work beyond the optimal capacity of Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
  • These were related to speeding up road construction, leading to socio-economic development in the border areas.
  • The other recommendation relating to the introduction of modern construction plants, equipment and machinery has been implemented.

India’s Future Deals for 2019 and Beyond  | Defense Preparedness of India 

  • The year 2018 would be seen as the biggest defence purchaser year of the century. The eagerly awaited 36 Rafale in flyaway condition combat aircraft for IAF signed in 2015 with the French government – first aircraft – will reach in September 2019. The Rafale is a twinjet fighter multi role aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base.
  • The fully versatile Rafale is able to carry out all combat aviation missions: air superiority and air defense, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence. Indigenously built nuclear powered ballistic submarine Arihant has completed its first deterrence patrol completing triad of nuclear weapons was launched in November 2018.
  • Though one submarine alone is no major deterrence, however, it opens doors for future deterrence. Another one of the major deals signed with Russia in 2018 is the S-400 Triumf advanced missile system despite threats of sanctions from the US. The deadly missile has created panic in Pakistan as it clearly shifts balance of power in India’s favour. The defence acquisition council cleared deals for procurement of BrahMos missiles and Armoured Recovery Vehicles.
  • After almost a decade of negotiations, India and the US signed the Communications Capability and Security Agreement (COMCASA) opening the doors for India to procure high-end technology equipment and enhance interoperability between the two countries’ forces.
  • Delhi hopes to export made-in-India military technology, including its BrahMos missiles, to smaller countries in Asia that fear China’s rise. India will have another chance to show off at the Singapore air show starting February 6, where BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India and Russia, will exhibit for the first time
  • The government has been able to cover some of its missing gaps towards modernisation through adhocism but it has to concentrate to work on a perspective planning and give priority towards defence forces to keep their morale high which is presently lacking.


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