Friday, January 1, 2010

In Last Decade India has Iinked Defense Deals worth over $50 billion

Rajat Pandit

 In the decade since the 1999 Kargil conflict, India has inked deals worth over $50 billion to acquire fighters, warships, tanks, missiles, other weapon systems and platforms, the overwhelming majority of them from abroad. That is not all. India is poised to spend well over $30 billion over the next four-five years to import military hardware and software, which will only serve to reinforce its position as the developing world's biggest arms buyer.

China, of course, spends much more -- its `declared' defence budget this year is $70 billion compared to India's $30 billion -- but it's difficult to do number-crunching about its military acquisitions, hiding as it does more than revealing. Pakistan, on its part, is not too far behind. It even pipped India, for instance, in 2006 by notching up arms import deals worth $5.1 billion, compared to India's $3.5 billion.

Disclosing the defence ministry's official figures on Thursday, top sources said India spent Rs 62,672 crore on `direct capital acquisitions' in the 1999-2004 timeframe. "This has more than doubled in the last five years (2004-2009) to Rs 1,37,496 crore. It becomes Rs 1,78,496 crore if one adds the Rs 41,000 crore earmarked for net capital expenditure this fiscal,'' said a source.

The scorching pace set can be gauged from the fact that the defence ministry inked as many as 465 arms contracts worth Rs 1,35,000 crore in just the last three years. Russia continues to lead the pack of defence suppliers to India, with annual sales worth around $1.5 billion, followed by Israel, which adds $1 billion or so to its kitty every year.

Then come others like France and UK. But it's actually the US which is now increasingly muscling into the lucrative Indian arms market, having already bagged the $2.1 billion contract for eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft and the $962 million deal for six C-130J Super Hercules planes.

There is, however, quite a bit of disquiet over whether India actually gets the biggest bang for its buck, given the lack of concrete long-term strategic planning to systematically build military capabilities in tune with the country's growing geo-political aspirations.

Nevertheless, the sharp upward trajectory in modernising the armed forces is considered imperative since India is the only country with long unresolved borders with two nuclear-armed, largely hostile neighbours. Then, of course, there is the deadly threat of unconventional warfare, as was underlined by the 26/11 terror attacks.

Big defence deals inked

* US: 6 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for $962 million (2007); 8 Boeing P-8I planes for $2.1 billion (2009)

* Israel: 3 Phalcon AWACS for $1.1 billion (2004); Rs 10,075 crore project to jointly develop medium-range surface-to-air missile systems (2009)

* France: 6 Scorpene submarines in a Rs 18,798 crore project (2005)

* Russia: Admiral Gorshkov and 16 MiG-29Ks in $1.5 billion package deal (inked in 2004 but aircraft carrier's refit to zoom up to $2.5 billion now from original $974 million); 230 Sukhoi-30MKIs for $8.5 billion

* UK: 66 Hawk AJTs in a Rs 8,000 crore project (2004)

Big projects in offing

* Rs 42,000 crore project for 126 multi-role combat aircraft

* Rs 30,000 crore project for 6 new-generation submarines after Scorpenes

* Rs 20,000 crore artillery modernisation programme to acquire 1,580 towed guns, 814 mounted gun systems, 180 self-propelled wheeled guns, 100 self-propelled tracked guns and 140 air-mobile ultra-light howitzers

* Rs 20,000 crore for around 800 helicopters, ranging from VVIP and heavy-lift to attack and light utility



india is very unwise to spend so much on defence,when the money could be used elsewhere i.e on public ,and the security given by these weapons is zero,they became zero the day india exploded N bomb.The same is the case with pakistan.

To Anonymous @January 1, 2010 8:27 AM

How many times u r going to post same comment?

$50 billion over 10 years & $30 billion over 5 years - that's actually pretty moderate considering the scope of the modernization.

The most likely threat for India would come from air or land. That's where the emphasis should be, IMHO.

Happy new year, Asian Defence. It's been a pleasure reading your blog updates over the year.

should spend this money on to kill poverty in the country

It is real shame for Brahmin Hindu leadership of India that so many Indians live on sidewalks and footpaths for their whole life. Even more live as slumdogs. Many are forced to sell wives and daughters due to poverty. And these crooks in successive Indian governments spent $50B on buying foreign weapon systems. Money wasted on domestic military projects is in addition to that. These acquisitions are the root cause for the instability of this whole region. The blood sucking weapons suppliers can not care less of bloody consequences of their deadly trade with fanatic Hindu India. It is not only the Indian population that suffers due to the rougeness of the fanatic extremist Hindu leadership. The acquisition of deadly advance weapon systems by India is definitely a destabilizing factor in the region. The time has come that world powers should be concerned about the plight of people of this region, especially the unfortunate oppressed poor in India. Cursed India is a real curse for the people of this whole region.

@George: Man r u crazy or what. India is doing nothing wrong in going on with defence deals to protect it sovereignty and integrity. You can't fight with sticks against todays weapons. And, if u expect that nothing will happen to us if we don't go with modernizations then please start reading newspapers. I personally belong to a troubled part of India and seen the hostile attitude of non state actors we still are way below requirements.

bz INDIA wants to protect 120crore people

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