INDIA TO BUY WEAPONRY WORTH $15 BILLION TO COUNTER CHINESE THREAT
By Bulbul Singh
25 Aug 10. Amid reports of increased military build-up by China along the Indian border, the Indian defence ministry has re-drawn weapon purchase requirements, which could result in additional purchases worth $15 billion of advanced air defense and C4ISR systems and an increase in fire power of the Indian Army on mountainous terrain.
An internal Indian Defence Ministry Report has recommended purchase of advanced anti-ballistic missile systems from overseas. These would be in addition to the indigenous Prithvi Air Defense Systems (PAD) currently under development by DRDO. PAD has the capability to kill incoming ballistic missiles at a range of up to 80 kilometers and at a height of 15 kilometers.
The Report recommended placement of a variety of air defence systems in northern India, to take on incoming Chinese nuclear tipped missiles. Sources said, ”Talks are underway with the United States for the purchase of anti-ballistic missile systems, ahead of the U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India.” Sources added that talks are also underway with Israel to purchase Iron Dome and David Sling air defense systems.
“New Delhi has already sought U.S. permission to buy the US-Israeli made Iron Dome and David Sling as Washington’s nod is required in the venture,” added the sources. David Sling, a joint effort between Rafael and Raytheon, is an advanced medium range hit-to-kill interceptor missile, while Iron Dome is an air defence system produced by Rafael.
The additional purchase of anti-ballistic missile systems for engaging incoming Chinese missiles is estimated to cost over $10 billion.
The Indian Air Force has already based additional nuclear-capable Sukhoi 30MKI fighter aircraft in the north east close to the Chinese border. The new AWACS system being acquired from Israel is also being deployed in the region.
The Indian Air Force has already contracted for six C-130J transport aircraft and C-17 transport aircraft from the United States under the Foreign Military Sales route. A decision has also been taken to acquire Lightweight Howitzers, to be deployed in the higher reaches along the Sino-Indian border from BAE’s U.S. division on government-to-government basis so that there is no delay in the procurement through the competitive bidding route.
India and China fought a brief battle in 1962 over border territory issues. China claims 92,000sq.kms. of Indian territory. The border between India and China is currently defined by a 4,056kms Line of Actual Control (LAC) which is neither marked on the ground nor on mutually acceptable maps.
A recent Pentagon Report said, ‘China had moved more advanced and survivable solid-fuelled CCS-5 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles closer to the borders with India.’
‘China may also be developing contingency plans to move airborne troops into the region,’ says the Pentagon report on ‘Military and Security Developments involving the People’s Republic of China’.
A senior Indian defence ministry official, however denied any such build-up by China, but sources said, the government is ‘deeply concerned’ about the Chinese build-up and wants quick remedial measures to increase India’s deterrence.
Early this year reports from the University of Toronto said that Chinese hackers may have stolen highly classified information from computers at India’s Ministry of Defence.
The Annual Report of the Indian Defence Ministry for the period 2009-2010 notes, ‘China’s impetus to the modernisation of her armed forces and force projections capability and rapid infrastructure development in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang province has considerably upgraded China’s military force projection capability and strategic operational flexibility.’
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