Narendra Modi, took charge as 14th Prime Minister of India on 26th May 2014. And, since then he made significant changes or developments in defense. Initially, Arun Jaitley, Manohar Parikarr, then Nirmala Sitharaman and now Rajnath Singh have served Defense ministry under his government. In this post we will discuss ” How strong is the Indian Army under Modi Government?”.
BSF Jawan Tej Bahadur’s Question on Food Quality
On January 9, 2017, BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav posted a video on social media accusing the organization of poor food quality during the deployment on the borderline in Jammu. Since then there were a lot of controversies over the situation of the soldiers in the Indian armed forces with the criticism of the government regarding this video.
After the video surfaced on social media, this man was sacked as per the rules of the force. He moved top court, but can’t help it. CDS Gen Bipin Rawat in an interview told the media advising the soldiers:
Don’t come through social media. Have confidence in the seniority leadership,” General Bipin Rawat said. “Social media is a two-sided weapon – sometimes it has a detrimental effect.General Bipin Rawat after the Video of Tej Bahadur on poor food quality surfaces online
Defence Lab tests of the food for quality check, home ministry’s explanation on it, commanding officer’s transfer and many other things occured following this. Tej Bahadur Yadav’s video seemed as more political than factual. Even Arvind Kejriwal jumped into the controversy just take a dig on Prime Minister Modi.
The CAG Report on Defence Preparedness
The CAG report on India’s defence preparedness was presented in parliament on July 21 last year.
In this report, serious concern was expressed on the Indian Army and defence preparedness.
It is interesting that when the soldiers of India and China were face to face on the Doklam border in Bhutan, then the CAG raised serious questions about the capability of the Armed Forces.
On behalf of the CAG, concerns were raised over the reliability of the aging fighter aircraft and the Indian missile system, with flaws in the maintenance of the IL-76 transport aircraft.
According to the report of The Wall Street Journal(WSJ), the Indian Army has demanded a fleet of 42 planes and about 750 aircraft to face China and Pakistan. But the Indian Army is operating from an old jet like the MiG-21.
The MiG-21 was first used in the 1960s. The Indian Army may soon get rid of the MiG-21, but according to a report, by 2032 only a fleet of 22 planes will be available.
How many powerful weapons does the Indian Army have for Now?
India has old military planes which are often sufferers of accidents. According to data released in February last year, there have been 39 planes crashes in the four years preceding that.
Last year, two MiG-21s crashed in September. According to the CAG report, 80 missile systems were received from Bharat Electronics Limited. Out of which 30 percent of Akash missile systems failed in basic testing.
The report said that the missile failed to reach the target and its speed was also low. Two missiles
were lying there due to booster nozzle.
On this CAG report of March 2017, the Indian Air Force said that the process of replacing outdated missiles is continuing.
The CAG had also underlined that the Govt. of India had announced the deployment of the Akash missile on the India-China border in 2016. However, it was not successful in installing it
in one place.
According to this report, the failure of these missiles is more than international standards.
Is Indian Army ready to fight on more than two fronts Under modi Government?
Pakistan says China is a good friend for Pakistan. And if India opens war against Pakistan, India should also be ready to fight on two fronts against China & Pakistan.
The CAG report for Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India scheme towards making India self-reliant in defense sector. Also, reducing arms imports was nothing short of a shock.
Despite this, India’s Army Chief Bipin Rawat has said many times that the Indian Army is fully prepared to fight on two and a half fronts simultaneously.
The Army chief’s statement was mocked within the country. On the basis he was talking about getting ready for war on more than two fronts.
The CAG even said that the Indian Army has only ammunition to fight for 10 days. Perhaps China must have also studied the CAG report. During the Doklam standoff, Chinese authorities repeatedly demanded that the Indian Army withdraw. Warning of severe repercussions if they failed to comply.
Professor Sabita Pandey Explains on two fronts war
Professor Sabita Pandey of South Asian Study Center at JNU says that it is not so easy for any country to fight a war on two fronts. She said, “It is difficult for a powerful nation to fight a war on two fronts simultaneously.”
Amidst ongoing discussions about the Indian army chief’s statement and the adequacy of the defense budget allocation. Nevertheless, the questions linger about India’s ability to compete with China and Pakistan given the current budgetary constraints.
The defense sector received the lowest share of the total budget in the last two decades, with only 12.22% allocated in the last financial year.
This sector’s share of GDP has been steadily declining since 1988, when it stood at 3.18%. In recent years, the allocation has fallen to 12.22%.
In India’s latest budget, defense spending amounted to 1.6% of the country’s total GDP. Falling short of the global standard of 2% to 2.25%.
Compared to India, China allocated 2.1 percent of its GDP to spend on defense, while Pakistan has 2.36 percent.
Where Does Indian Army Stand against China?
Lakshman Kumar Behera of the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis has said in several of his interviews that the allocation amount for modernization of the Army has come down by 0.9 percent. At the same time, this reduction in Navy and Air Force is 12% and 6.4%.
The Indian army’s acute shortages of fighter aircraft, rifles, weapons, bullet-proof jackets, howitzers, missiles, helicopters, and warships highlight the challenges of modernization.
The Diplomat report says, “China is far ahead of India in terms of military power. India does not
stand up to China’s military capability. China has one million more troops than India. Five times more submarines and Tanks. “
“Combat planes are more than double that of India and warships are almost double. China has more than three times as many nuclear weapons as India. While China’s defense budget is $
152 billion, India’s is only $ 51 billion. “
At this time, some argue that the government is unable to increase defense spending due to the unfavorable state of the Indian economy.
A Bloomberg report reveals that India allocates over 80 percent of its defense budget to cover salaries and other allowances for defense personnel.
In such circumstances, very little funding remains for modernization. Despite this, the Army did not use 6,886 crore amount of defense budget last year.
India tops in importing weapons
Manohar Parrikar, the defense minister in the Modi government, established a committee led by Lieutenant General Sheketkar to implement reforms in the Army.
Out of the 99 recommendations of this committee, the government has directed to implement 65.
This committee has recommended reducing the number of forces in the Army and cutting down on expenses. At present, there is about 14 lakh strength in the Indian Army.
Modi government has now reduced FDI in the defense sector to 100%.
According to a Wall Street General report, India’s defense industry received only $ 5 million FDI in the last 14 years, while telecommunications and automobile industry received $
10-10 billion in the same period.
India is still one of the world’s leading arms importer countries
Lakshman Kumar Behera, author of the Indian Defense Industry n Agenda for Making in India, wrote in his book that India still imports 60 percent of its weapons of need.
World Arms Import According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report, India’s share in the world arms imports were 15% between 2010 and 2014.
With this, India was number one in terms of arms import.
On the other hand, China has emerged as the world’s third-largest arms exporter, leaving behind France, Germany and Britain.
In 2005, India had set a target of making 70 percent of the weapons of its need in the country, which has still reached 35 to 40 percent.
According to a report by The Stockholm International Peace Research, worldwide military expenditure is increasing by 1.2% every year.
Global Military Scenarios compared to this
According to this report, The United States alone leads the world with a 43% share in military expenditure.
This was followed by four permanent members of UN Council. However, the rest of the members do not go around America either. China is at number two with seven percent. After this, Britain, France, and Russia are around four percent.
According to this report, China’s military strength is around 23 lakhs. However, despite such a large number, China’s spending on the military does not stand anywhere in front of the US.
It is not so difficult to understand this big difference in military expenditure of the USA and China.
Like the US, China does not engage its troops in many international missions or military interventions.
Also, like America, it does not have hundreds of military bases around the world. China has limited itself to national and regional military operations so far.
Many analysts maintain that India remains embroiled in the longstanding border dispute with Kashmir and China, while China has expanded its influence from the Indian Ocean and South China Sea to the Arctic.
When the Modi government shall present the budget on February 1, it will not be able to ignore these challenges.