"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Monday, June 6, 2011

India in a Major Military Expansion

India’s first Indigenous built Aircraft Carrier

India will be the third largest military power in two decades


India OKs $4 Billion deal to buy U.S.-made military aircraft

June 6, 2011 

NEW DELHI (AP) — India‘s Cabinet has approved a proposal to buy 10 American C-17 military aircraft for more than $4 billion, the largest defense deal between the two nations, a defense official said Monday.

The deal requires the aircraft maker, Boeing Co., to invest 30 percent of the $4 billion in defense-related industries in India, said the official, who could not be named because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the subject.

. . . . . and back to the main story.

While much of the world is focused on the expansion of China’s military reach, India’s rapid economic growth has allowed it to undertake its own large rearmament program.  As India’s air force chief remarked, “ten years ago, our country did not have money. Now with economic growth, money is not a problem.” 

India has taken possession of the first of six C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft it has ordered from Lockheed Martin, a U.S. defense contractor.  The delivery marks yet another milestone in the energetic military buildup the country has launched, one in which the United States plays an ever more prominent role.

A study released by the Deloitte consulting firm this past summer noted that “India’s defense spending is growing significantly and at an unprecedented rate…. India is becoming one of the largest military spenders in the world, with the third-largest defense procurement budget in Asia.”  The study highlighted that the country is “expected to spend nearly US$100 billion on military procurement during the current five-year plan (2007-2012) and US$120 billion in the following five-year plan period (2012-2017).”

The United States is emerging as a critical supplier of India’s conventional military arsenal.  In recent years, India acquired a large amphibious warfare ship and six associated helicopters from the U.S., and inked a $2.1 billion deal with Boeing for 8 P8I Poseidon long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. 

Washington has announced that it had cleared the sale to the Indian air force of 512 CBU-105 cluster bombs, one of the world’s most sophisticated and lethal aerial munitions.  And both Lockheed Martin and Boeing are vying for the jewel in the crown of Indian defense acquisitions – a $10 billion contract to supply 126 multi-role combat aircraft.

In the Navy

Deba Ranjan Mohanty, a strategic analyst at Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation, says that by about 2025 India is likely to possess three to four aircraft carrier battle groups, a fleet of nuclear submarines, an air force with 35 squadrons and sophisticated land-based weapon systems to go with its huge army.

Indian Navy Officer Cadets Complete Training

India is already the largest importer of military hardware in the developing world and it is increasingly buying equipment that can operate a long way from home. ‘‘A lot of this new equipment is about power projection,’’ says Rahul Bedi, a Delhi-based correspondent for Jane’s Defence Weekly.

Another factor in India’s military build-up is Delhi’s concern about growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal.

The Indian Navy has also launched several new projects to develop a beefed up fleet of stealth frigates.  The lead vessels will be the Shivalik class of frigates—India’s first such stealth vessels. The Sahyadri and Satpura are also in advanced stages of construction, meaning the Indian government is well on its way to achieving its goal of maintaining a force of more than 140 warships.

Meanwhile, construction work on at least four nuclear submarines is in full swing, while the indigenous Arihant nuclear-powered submarine has already been launched.  India plans to have at least 30 submarines by 2030.

Because of the perceived threat from nuclear-armed rival Pakistan, India maintains a huge land force. It’s regular army of about 1.3 million troops is supported by a part-time reserve force of 1.2 million and its paramilitary forces number about 1.1 million.

India has about 60-70 operational nuclear weapons.

China - India Border

The two Asian giants do not really trust one another. India is particularly concerned about the Chinese military build-up in Tibet and along the border with India.

The Indian Army is very concerned about the large number of border violations, incursions, violations of air space and even an ambush by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers. In recent years, India recorded 270 border violations and 2,300 cases of ‘aggressive border patrolling’ by the PLA.  Military infrastructure and defense forces are increasing along the border.

Indian Navy guided-missile destroyer INS Mysore (D 60)
China has a strategic advantage in that its border lies along the flat Tibetan plateau. This affords China the upper hand in case of a military emergency as it can reinforce its units there quickly. China is constructing an extensive network of roads, railways, airfields, pipelines and bases which may point to offensive military operations.

The PLA’s Air Force has built several new airfields. They can support fighter aircraft but also have the capability of airlifting a division (20,000 troops), air drop a brigade (3,500 men) and helicopter lifts of approximately two battalions.

The military build-up in South Asia appears to be going at full speed.  India and China are now taking their rightful places on the world stage.  Hopefully it will be peaceful.

No comments: