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Indian military in poor shape

National

March 11, 2019

India’s military is in a poor shape to fight against Pakistan, say international publications. One came up with figures of only 10-day ammunition if a war breaks out with Pakistan. It said that most of Indian military equipment was obsolete.

Lara Seligman, an American journalist, recently wrote: “The loss of the (MiG-21) jet shines a light on India’s aging military and may lend new urgency to New Delhi’s long-delayed fighter replacement program…. The renewed focus would be a boon for the U.S. aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which are eyeing the lucrative contract for more than 100 airplanes. In addition to the immediate cash value for whichever company wins the work, India’s fighter replacement also offers Boeing and Lockheed the opportunity to extend the production of legacy systems that are reaching the end of their service lives. She quoted Loren Thompson, an analyst with the Lexington Institute saying that it was hard to sell a front-line fighter to a country that isn’t threatened. Boeing and Lockheed Martin both have a better chance of selling now because suddenly India feels threatened.

Seligman said still, analysts noted India’s poor track record of moving quickly on defence acquisition programs. The shootdown may accelerate the recapitalization, said Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners, but India must have known they have an aged fighter problem for a long time. For the better part of two decades, India has been trying to replace its legacy fighter fleet. But successive programs have failed due to government bureaucracy and local disputes, said Seligman.

Notably, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has revealed in a report that India is one of the world's five biggest military spenders with New Delhi's defence spending rising by 5.5 percent to $63.9 billion in 2017, which had now passed France. The list of the world's biggest military spenders has remained consistent in recent years, dominated by the US and China, which spent $610 billion and $228 billion respectively. According to SIPRI’s data, India was the largest importer of major arms in the past five years, single-handedly buying 12 per cent of the global total.

“India’s arms import has increased 24 per cent in the past five years compared with previous five years. American manufactures are the major beneficiaries of this increased arms import. In the past five years, India’s arms imports from the US has increased more than five times.”

But Indian generals are still worried because more spending does not mean state-of-the-art weapons. It has been revealed by Laxman Kumar Behera, a research fellow with New Delhi's Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the rise in defence spending mostly goes toward salaries and pensions for roughly 1.4 million serving personnel and more than two million veterans. He says because so much money is consumed by manpower costs, there isn't enough left over to buy equipment.

It should be noted that Pakistan’s retaliation at LoC re-establishes its massive high quality deterrence, by showing that it has conventional options of its own short of nuclear weapons. Major General Asif Ghafoor, the spokesperson of the military's Inter-Services Public Relations, has already warned that "If India dares to launch a surgical strike inside Pakistan, it will face 10 surgical strikes in response." He also said "those who think of any misadventure against us should have no doubt in their minds on Pakistan's capabilities." The Indian military must be taking that statement very seriously now, learning that they have to work within the status quo not against it.

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