INDIA TO SPEND OVER $100 BILLION ON WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT
By Bulbul Singh
11 Aug 11. It is now official that India will buy weaponry and equipment worth $100 billion in the next ten years. This would mean that defence offsets worth $30 billion will also be generated, which will benefit the domestic defence industry. However, analysts and senior officials of the Indian defence ministry said,” The defence spending would be around $150billion as there is a shift towards strategic weapons which has not been officially spelt out.”
The Indian defence Ministry has officially told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence that India plans to buy weaponry and equipment worth $100 billion over the next ten years.
The Select Committee of Parliament on Defence, in its Report tabled in the Indian Parliament August 3rd also said, “India will spend $100 billion on defence over the next five-to-ten years. This is the first time an official figure has been given by the Indian defence ministry on future defence spending as India has to buy weaponry and equipment to fight any future battles with Pakistan and China.
The Standing Committee Report said that the Indian defence ministry gave them the details of budget spending during deliberations, ‘As far as the offsets are concerned it is true that our procurements in the next five-to-ten years would be more than $100 billion dollars and 30 per cent of that would be $30 billion for offsets.’
The big ticket purchases in the Indian Air Force in the next ten-to-twelve years include purchase of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft worth $25 billion, $10 billion worth of Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft, $4 billion worth of helicopters, $3 billion worth of UAVs, $8 billion worth of Transport aircraft, $3 billion worth of network centric equipment, $2 billion worth of missiles and precision guided munitions, more airborne radars, mid-air refuelers, upgrade of airports, replacement of air defence systems, would consume another $8 billion.
In the next ten years the Indian Navy proposes to procure, additional conventional submarines worth $11 billion, nuclear submarines worth $2 billion, frigates, destroyers and other warships worth $15 billion, two additional aircraft carriers worth $1 billion, Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft, Unspecified numbers of UAVs, air defense missiles, heavyweight torpedoes for submarines, network-centric systems and additional warships and a dedicated satellite.
The Indian Navy also needs to add more warships as one internal report warned that by the year 2017 there would be only 120 warships compared to the current strength of 140 as more warships, largely of USSR-make would be scrapped. The Indian Navy target is to have around 180 warships by 2020.
For the Indian Army the major procurement plans in the pipeline include purchase of over 2000 pieces of 155mm self-propelled guns, new air defence systems, network centric warfare systems and purchase of advanced gear for Indian troops.
Funds should not be a problem for India which is growing at a rate of over 8%, plus Indian defence planners are not averse to the idea of jacking up defence spending up from the current level of around 2% of GDP.
India needs to spend more on defence as China is vigorously increasing its spending on buying naval assets, including nuclear submarines and varieties of missiles.
India also faces the task of updating its air defence systems to fill the gaps as both Pakistan and China have nuclear arsenals and delivery systems.
Since 1991-92, the defence budget has been around 2.2% of GDP, the Indian defence planners have been pleading for several years to increase the Indian defence spending at 3% in line with the budget spending of China and Pakistan.
After the 1962 brief battle with China, India defence spending jumped to around 3.8% in the early 60’s.
The defence offsets which are calculated at around $30 billion would