Modi 3.0 must bite the bullet to make military future-ready | India News

NEW DELHI: An aggressive China, along with its expanding military collusiveness with Pakistan in the maritime domain after the land borders, will remain the foremost security threat confronting the Indian defence establishment for the foreseeable future.
The new govt should bite the bullet on several fronts to ensure India’s nuclear deterrence capabilities as well as conventional war-fighting machinery can meet this challenge with an integrated future-ready military within budgetary constraints in the years ahead, several experts and officials told TOI.
The systemic reforms needed range from a time-bound rollout of the long-pending tri-service theatre commands and formulation of a hard-nosed national security strategy to building a much stronger defence-industrial base backed by higher investment in R&D, overhaul of DRDO and defence PSUs, and greater private sector collaboration.
For credible deterrence, India requires a more robust nuclear triad – the ability to launch nukes from the land, air and sea. Ballistic missiles, including the over 5,000-km range Agni-5, for instance, need to be inducted in greater numbers.
India also needs to bolster its weak underwater leg by inducting more and bigger nuclear-powered submarines armed with long-range nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles (SSBNs in naval parlance). At present, there is only the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant armed with the 750-km range K-15 missiles. Two similar-sized SSBNs, of course, are to be commissioned in the coming months.
Concurrently, govt should also kick off the long-pending projects to build six nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) and a third aircraft carrier since they will take over a decade to roll out. “It cannot be an either-or debate,” a top officer said.
The political leadership must also “own and push” the three proposed theatre commands, two for the land borders with China and Pakistan, and a maritime one for the Indian Ocean region. “Genuine integration among the Army, Navy and IAF, instead of piecemeal steps, is indispensable,” said an official.
A greater thrust, of course, is needed in building military capabilities in space, cyberspace, disruptive technologies and other such arenas. With conflicts like the ongoing Russia-Ukraine one also underscoring the sheer operational utility of long-range precision-strike vectors, the proposed Integrated Rocket Force should also figure high in the plans.
Over the last decade, the NDA govt has rightly pursued the ‘Make in India’ policy as a strategic imperative. But the country is still far away from manufacturing fifth-generation fighter aircraft, advanced submarines, jet engines and the like.
Consequently, a concerted push is required to design, develop and manufacture advanced weapon systems and platforms indigenously through a new defence production policy that will eventually help India get rid of its strategically-vulnerable position of being the world’s largest arms importer.
“The ‘strategic partnership (SP)’ policy, for one, needs to be scrapped,” a senior official said. Not a single project has till now taken off under the floundering SP policy, which was promulgated in May 2017 to boost indigenous production through tie-ups with foreign armament majors.
Connected to all this is also the major structural revamp of DRDO proposed by the Prof K VijayRaghavan-led expert committee. “DRDO should only concentrate on fundamental and applied R&D, leaving systems integration and product management to other agencies and the private sector,” he added.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl