ET magazine today published “The 10 most powerful militaries in the world” in its centre page. I felt a moment of pride when I see India ranking 4th. I see India has second largest military manpower in the world after China. While US spends $612 billion and China $126 billion, Russia $76 billion, countries UK, Japan, India, France and Germany spend nearly $45 billion each of their budget. Also published are various numbers of military assets like tanks, rocket systems, aircrafts, helicopters, submarines, and aircraft carriers.
Image taken from indiandefence.com
It’s also nice to see India possess 2 aircraft carriers while rest of the countries has 1 or none. Of course no need to mention US has 10. The number of aircraft carriers a country has determines its air power and amount of dependency on other countries’ local military bases.
In the last year’s Union budget, FDI limit in defence was increased from 26 to 49% to boost military modernization. It is very vital for India to allocate its budget based on strategic and operational (military modernization) priorities. Government has made military modernization as priority for now.
Strategic priorities determine when and where the forces are to be deployed. Though two third’s of military is deployed against Pakistan, the threat of conventional military war from Pakistan is not as much as from China now.
Why threat from China is noticeable:
- There are unanswered questions on how the mountain corps across the China’s border is raised.
- There has been increased presence of China’s navy in Indian Ocean.
- The increased China’s defence budget.
Well, when it comes to National security – defence, not all strategies are not visible to us. I am certainly sure; there is something in our government’s mind that has a counter to China.
Points highlighted by PM in Combined Commanders Conference lately has some points of concern with respect to national security.
India has to tackle to following challenges
- Defence acquisitions in light of economic slow down.
- There are changes in strategies followed by US and China in Asia Pacific region.
- Recent global crisis has made US gain more control on economies of Asia.
- There is a significant rise of China in terms of security and economic aspects.
The above issues require our armed forces to regulate strategies accordingly. We have to learn from the mistakes of the Russian and American arms race. Indian and Chinese are in similar situation like that of Russia and US before in terms of defence and arms.
What India has to do?
- Strengthen nuclear areas and second-strike capabilities (to withstand nuclear attacks)
- Concentrate on raising elite forces to undertake special operations that can be to strike on terrorist camps or protect national boundaries.
- Improve in-house technology drive by private sector as partners cutting down defence import bills like that of US – style military industrial complex (an understanding between the national armed forces and bureaucracies). The recent comments by former Army chief General V P Malik mentioning that “India has fractured the policy-making on national security matters and it is guided by bureaucrats who are totally unaware of defence matters” a serious concern at this point.
- Finally, in the era of globalization, it is very important to note that no security strategy can succeed without an appropriate foreign policy. Pakistan for than matter has maintained a good relationship with US and China to support its defence capabilities.
- But with the growing global terrorism and China military strength, its very a right time for India to cultivate a good cooperative understanding with US, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia.