Military Modernization in India
What is Military Modernisation
capabilities i.e. land, air, and sea capabilities.
Requirement of Military Modernization
The Indian Army is a force largely organised,
equipped and trained to fight conventional wars and when it comes to Modern day
wars it severely lacks respective capabilities.
Developments in India’s neighbourhood have led India to take a close look at her
foreign and security policies.
Issues such as
unresolved territorial disputes with China and Pakistan, insurgency in Jammu
and Kashmir (J) and in the North Eastern states, left wing extremism, and
the rising threat of urban terrorism has further worsened India’s security
To meet the
challenges that emanate from both traditional and non-traditional threats that
pose severe threats to India’s national security.
forces lack sophisticated weapons, the navy’s submarine fleet has dwindled down
to 40 percent of the minimum requirements, and the fighter squadrons are at the
level of 60 percent of the mandatory need, which indeed is a cause of concern
considering the slow pace of India’s defence modernisation.
perception is that Great powers require great arms industries. In order to
become a major Global Power India need to specially focus on Military Modernisation.
Changing Nature of Modern Warfare
A reduction in full fledged ‘state vs state’
Hybrid wars appear to be the new norm, involving
a combination of state and Non state actors.
Types of Modern Warfare
Conflict against a state by employing trained
combatants who are not regular military. Pakistan has launched such ‘irregulars’
in all its wars against India.
between sides whose military power differs greatly, waged by the weaker side
using non-traditional means like terrorism.
War waged by a country using means other than
established forms of armed conflict, to make the adversary capitulate even
without a classical war (economic wars, water wars, legal wars etc).
Technological/ Informational warfare
Combination of cyber, space, electronic,
propaganda, psychological, media and social media wars.
Make in India as a way forward to Address
the Security Challenge & As a policy towards Defence Modernisation
India is one
of the largest arms importer in the world and in terms of indigenous production of technology India continues to struggle.
As per the official estimate of the MoD, India
is likely to spend around $130 billion on defence modernisation in the coming
While this makes India one of the largest
defence markets in the world, the opportunity it offers should be fully
exploited for the benefit of local industry.
This will not only improve India’s self-reliance
in defence production but will have a multiplier effect on the wider economy.
government must ensure that the local industry is geared and incentivised
enough to rise up to the expectations and make the government’s ‘Make in India’
initiative a success story.
Status of Military Modernisation in India
modernisation of the Indian armed forces over the years has been rather slow,
and technologically, they are not where they should have been.
Indigenous development of modern defence
hardware continues to remain a concern.
Indian policy aspiration for defence
self-sufficiency remains largely elusive.
India’s Defence Policy
defence industrial policy during the initial years of its independence was
guided by the phrase ‘self-sufficiency’.
subsequently modified to ‘self-reliance’ in defence production, and now it has
long been a fundamental goal of indigenous armaments production in India.
Problems with Indian Defence Industry
Suffers from major policy, structural, and
inability to meet its own defence needs through indigenous production (the two
flagship programs i.e. Main Battle Tank Arjun and LCA Tejas are examples where
the Indian defence research organisations have gone through several production
delays and cost-overrun is drawing wider concerns over the challenges that the
Indian defence industry has been going through in terms of being efficient,
productive, and more capable in research and development (R) of advanced
weapons system and defence technology.
that have been set over the years have not been achieved
Needs of the Indian Army
The primary role of the Indian Army is to ensure
the territorial integrity of the nation by deterrence or by waging war.
The Indian Army has been structured as a ‘two and
a half front’ force, whereby, not only has the Army built up conventional
capabilities to deal with threats along the Western and Northern Fronts, but it
has also the capacity to deal with the lesser ‘sub-conventional front’, by
employment of the ‘Rashtriya Rifles’ independently or in combination with
regular, paramilitary or police forces.
The infantry, which is continuously being
employed in counter-terrorist or counter-insurgency operations, needs to be
empowered immediately by provision of new
generation lightweight assault rifles,bullet proof jackets and helmets, hand
held thermal imagers (HHTIs) , carbines, machine guns, rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), mortars, night vision devices.
Adequate quantities of new 155 mm artillery
guns, including indigenously manufactured
Dhanush systems, BrahMos cruise missiles, Pinaka rocket systems, need to be inducted immediately .
UAVs – More quantities of Unmanned Aerial
Vehicles (UAVs) of latest technology must be inducted
Acquisition of three squadrons worth of new
generation Apache attack helicopters into the Army Aviation has been reportedly
sanctioned, as a follow up of the Air Force order.
the Kamov replacement helicopters, indigenous Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)
and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) projects must be pursued vigorously .
The various army air defence weapon acquisition
projects for acquisition of all types of surface to air missile systems as well
as upgrading old generation systems must be provided fresh impetus so that
these materialise at the earliest
The combat engineers need to be provided new
generation of bridging equipment, mine-laying equipment as well as mine
clearance equipment. Where possible, old equipment must be upgraded
Night Vision Devices
All arms of the Army have to be night equipped
with light weight, long range and easily usable night vision devices.
What are the challenges for Defence Modernisation in India
Building up military power is not easy, given
the budgetary constraints, country needs to concurrently meet the important
requirement of economic development to provide human security and a better
quality of life for its people.
No clearly articulated and integrated military
strategy for Military Planning.
Lack of ‘capital budget’ for new procurement
schemes, especially ‘big ticket’ items.
Inadequate Defence Budget
Over the decades, the Indian Army has continued
to expand, in manpower terms, in its quest to build up capability to deal with
potential threats and challenges.
There is lack of expertise within the Army in
the field of weapon designs and technology, resulting in lack of meaningful
inputs for the indigenous defence industry.
remains rooted to the outdated policies of employing ‘generalists’ rather than
‘specialists’ to man the weapon procurement functions at Army Headquarters.
Inefficiency and apparent lack of accountability
of various organs of the Defence Ministry responsible for indigenous design and
manufacture of weapons, equipment and ammunition for the Army, namely the DRDO,
Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs).
The indigenous defence industry, mostly based on
the public sector, is unable to provide items of desired quality in a timely
National Security Policy & Collective Decision
The lack of
military inputs in decision-making is considered to be the most significant
It is also observed that the national security
strategy of India suffers from flaws such as the absence of a National Security
Doctrine and the absence of a long-term defence planning.
need for a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), a supposedly single point of advice to
the CCS on military affairs and defence acquisitions, has been long felt.
Suggestions for the Modernisation of Indian Army
Modernisation of equipment must involve not only
replacement of old equipment but also upgradation of selected quantities of old
serviceable equipment in a phased manner.
Proposed defence expenditure must be aligned to
the NITI Ayog’s three, seven and 15 year vision and budget allocation
The Indian Army must cap its overall numbers at
the current level of 1.3 million.
New structures for expanding the Army Aviation,
enhancing informational warfare capability and for raising Headquarters for the
proposed Special Operations, Cyber and Space Commands must be provided manpower
from within the existing establishment.
The government must stop protecting the defence
public sector and must create a genuine ‘level playing field’ for entry of the
private sector into indigenous defence manufacturing.
The private industry must be provided all possible
incentives and encouragement to not only manufacture components, or just take
over their assembly lines, but to manufacture full systems independently.
The Army Design Bureau must be fully
operationalised on priority, under guidance and support from the Ministry of
Defence. It must be empowered to contribute effectively towards creation of
futuristic designs of all types of weapons and equipment for the Army.
A separate cadre of officers must be deputed to
this organisation and specialisation, once created among them, must be
All functions within the procurement set-up at
Army headquarters must be manned by specialists rather than by generalists,
thus making drastic improvements in the existing system.
June 2011, government of India had announced setting up a high-powered task
force to review the defence management in the country and make suggestions for
implementation of major defence projects.
Creation of a
new post of Intelligence Advisor to assist the NSA and the National
Intelligence Board on matters relating to coordination in the functioning of
Prevention of Corruption Act to reassure honest officers, who take important
decisions about defence equipment acquisition, so that they are not harassed
for errors of judgement or decision taken in good faith.
Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
Deputation of officers from services up to director’s
level in Ministry of Defense
Measures to augment the flow of foreign language
experts into the intelligence and security agencies, which face a severe
shortage of trained linguists
Promotion of synergy in civil-military
functioning to ensure integration.
Early establishment of a National Defence
University (NDU) and the creation of a separate think-tank on internal
D B Shekatkar Committee
· To recommend
recommend measures to “rebalance” defense allocations between revenue
and capital expenditure.
The overall aim of the committee is to ensure
combat capabilities Indian armed forces and enhance their potential with a
better teeth-to-tail combat ratio, within budgetary
It also aims at ensuring leaner and cost-effective
fighting forces of India.
was constituted owing to the present revenue component (day-to-day
costs/salaries) in the defence budget.
component usually outstrips the capital outlay every year and leaves a very
little for new modernisation projects for the armed forces.
For this purpose
government is focusing on modernisation and induction of cutting-edge
technologies, for optimisation of manpower.
Govt Steps taken
Ministry of Defence has decided to reform the
Indian Army in a planned manner to enhance its combat capability and optimize expenditure
on the lines of Report by Lt General D B Shekatkar Panel.
Decision Making process is required.
the established process of decision-making in defence acquisition, which is
managed by Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) should be made speedy.