Friday, November 10, 2006

INDIA.....The trailing Elephant overruns Dragon in Arms Spend

The Latest US Congress Research Service's report on 'conventional arms transfers to developing nations' contend that India was the largest arms buyer in the world at $5.4 billion with Saudi Arabia distant second at $ 3.4 billion & China onthird position with $ 2.8 billion purchases.
We all would awestruck that India is indulging itself into an arms race and may be leaving other countries like china behind. But do these statistics really mean that? or some other inferences can be drawn out of that/
While comparing Indian spend with other countries we should also keep in mind the fact that china spends around 4.5% of their GDP on defence while India spends around 2.5% of our GDP. And the fact that Chinese GDP is more than twice of India. so In reality India spends far less on military & defence compared to china.
The other inference that needs to be drawn from the above fact that larger spend on buying arms means we are relying more on foreign companies/countries for our defence needs while countries like China have increased their indigenous content in their defence procurements. The fact should be slap in our face for the fact that we have huge humber of projects for indigenousing our defence procuurement, but none of the projects show good results.
The only exception being the partial success of missiles like Prithvi & Agni I & II. Though LCA is touted as one of our best projects, the fact remains that the engine used in the bird is of GE make. The Main battle Tank project of Arjun was an utter failure after which Indian military went for Ukranian/Russian made T80 & T90 Tanks. even when MCA project is discussed & success of LCA being swallowed, the IAF is planning for more Sukhois and Mirage 2000 fighter planes. The other missiles like Nag, Trishul have failed in fulfilling the expectations of Indian military. Military is also in talks for purchasing of UAV (Unmanned Arial Vehicles) from Israel when we have projects for Akash going on.
The only other sector where we are doing some progress is the Indian Navy where new frigates & Warships are being built by Indian docks/shipyards. The Delhi class Warships & stealth frigates have added some edge to the Indian Navy. But even then the other projects like Sagarika(Nuclear Submarine) seems to have been failed. We the population of more than one billion have only one aircraft Carrier to defend our more than half of our borders which is surrounded by sea.
We should not rejoice that we are spending more on defence but realise that this means we are being less self reliant in our defences. The world now is more vulnerable to wars than it was ever after the WW II. The fact that we are constantly in one or more crisis has made us immune to the seriousness of the current state of instability.
India should take the report with pinch of salt and make more efforts towards indigenousing defence. It should make Research & development laboratories more responsilbe for their inabliity to develop our own defence mechanisms.
Hope this is being heard by our Rulers......

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