Author : Vijay C
Facts You Must Know!
- India’s defence budget is now 40bn USD(2015) and has increased by 7% that constitutes 2.6% of the GDP.
- The rise in the defence budgets is mainly to replace the ageing systems in the inventory with state of the art weapon systems which will help in maintaining a vigil of India’s 15200km land borders, 7516.6 km long coastline and the vast airspace the country encompasses.
- It is also seen as to maintain a formidable force to counter any threat and the increased budget for new acquisitions is to counter China and also be able to fight a two-front war with Pakistan and China(less likely to happen in my point of view given the increased cooperation between China and India in the recent times).
- Indian Armed Forces is the world’s largest volunteer army and the largest military force with more than 1.3 million active personnel in addition to over 2.1 million reserve personnel and close to 1.3 million paramilitary personnel, it is undoubtedly one of the best in the world.
- Ranked number 4th in the world just behind the United States of America, the Russian Federation and China. India has fought several wars with its neighbors with Pakistan in 1947, 1965 ,1971 and 1999 and with China in 1962.
- Since the 1962 Indo-China War, India has maintained close relations with Russia(Erstwhile Soviet Union) for support. The latter had provided the license to manufacture several types of aircrafts among others like the iconic MiG-21 which was the first supersonic jet fighter to enter the service of Indian Air Force, MiG-27,Su-30,etc. since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India, push preference is given for indigenous products.
Indian Army – The Real Hero
It is the land based branch of the Indian Armed Forces and it’s also the largest one. Currently Gen.Dalbir Singh Suhag is the Chief of Army Staff. It also has an aviation branch called as the Army Aviation Corps.
Indian Army was involved in all the wars that India fought. It also conducts peacetime operations during natural calamities and emergencies like the recent one during the Uttarakhand Floods it launched Operation Surya Hope to rescue the stranded civilians. IA also serves in UN Peacekeeping Missions around the globe.
Now coming to the strength of the IA it has 1.12 million active personnel, 960,000 reserve personnel and over 150 aircrafts. India has some of the best equipments an army can have.
Currently India has over 6400 tanks in service namely T-90,T-72 and the Arjun MBT , 6700+ Armored Fighting Vehicles like the BMP-2, 7500+ artillery systems and with more than 70000+ missile systems of anti-tank missiles.
Now let’s talk about its orders. The Ministry of Defence recently gave approval to buy 145 BAE M 777 howitzer for the Indian Army. The DRDO is developing a 155mm howitzer which is expected to be ready by 2019 and the IA has ordered more than 440 Dhanush Howitzers of which six of them are already in service. Recently the MoD has approved the purchase of 354 T-90MS tanks worth Rs.10000 crores for six tank regiments along the Chinese border and also sanctioned plans to upgrade the existing T-90 MBTs with night vision and air conditioning systems. An order for more than 240+ Arjun Mk1 and Arjun Mk2 MBT has been approved. Arjun Mk1 is already in service. A Request for Proposal to upgrade approximately 1000 T-72 Ajeya MBT has been sent to Poland, Israel ,France and Russia. The Infantry Fighting Vehicle BMP-2 is being upgraded to BMP-2M standard. Every year 100 of these gets added to the inventory of the IA.
It is being planned to increase the number to 125 a year. The Army has planned to buy over 7000 Nag anti-tank missiles along with 200+ Namica. The JV between L&T of India and Samsung Techwin of South Korea to manufacture 100 K-9 Vajra howitzer has been approved and production has already begun. A deal to procure 10000 Konkurs-M anti-tank missile for BMP-2 worth USD 250mn was signed in 2013. 80+ batteries of Pinaka MBRL are in service which will be upgraded with an advanced version of Pinaka missile which has a range of 65km compared to the 45km range of its predecessor. These missiles are being produced at a rate of 5000 per year. The Army plans to buy 5,175 VSHORAD systems with technology transfer expected. The IA has ordered 40 Rudra light attack helicopters, a total of 151 HAL Dhruv utility helicopters, an order of 110+ HAL Light Combat Helicopter and once the trials of LUH is completed it will also be ordered. F INSAS programme is the Indian Army’s principal infantry modernization programme, which aims to modernize the army’s 465 infantry and paramilitary battalions by 2020. The programme aims to upgrade the infantry with a multi-calibre rifle with an under-barrel grenade launcher and bulletproof jackets and helmets. The helmet would include a visor, flashlight, thermal sensors, night vision devices and a miniature computer with audio headsets. It will also include a new lightweight and waterproof uniform, which would help the soldier in carrying extra load and fighting in an NBC environment.
The Cabinet Committee on Security approved the plan to raise two new Mountain Divisions and an artillery division. The development of Arjun Mk3 , Futuristic Main Battle Tank, Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle, TATA Kestrel and various other systems and procurement of Multi Caliber Individual Weapon System , bullet proof jackets, radars, Excalibur assault rifle among others are in the pipeline.