A few days back, China held a night battle drill in Tibet at 16,000 feet height near the Indian border. It came as a deliberate provocation to India and also highlighted the massive troop build-up Beijing is conducting at the Line of Actual Control with India. Moreover, after Taliban has taken over power in Afghanistan, former US National Security Advisor John Bolton has predicted that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons may fall into their hands. With fast deterioration in the security situation in the neighbourhood and in the wake of the threat of two-front conflict, India is taking crucial steps to reorganise and augment its armed forces.
India is set to see the most extensive reorganisation of its military since independence. The Army, Air force and Navy will be integrated under ‘Theatre commands’ for joint working. By 2024, all the three Indian Armed Forces will be under this new operating structure which will not only allow better integration and synergy internally but also with foreign troops. The step is crucial given that India is holding several military exercises worldwide and is keenly contesting Chinese aggression alongside several like-minded nations.
India’s big-ticket military purchases
India has recently ordered or acquired several pieces of military hardware that augment and sharpen its fighting strength. Interestingly, while buying this weaponry, India has maintained strategic balance with all its allies and friends, including Russia, Israel, France and the United States and even encouraged indigenisation.
Arjun Main Battle Tanks
Giving a further boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, Defence Ministry has ordered 118 Arjun Mk 1A Main Battle Tanks for the Indian Army. Moreover, plans are afoot to arm the Arjun with a laser-equipped anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).
Military Transport Aircraft
India has signed a contract worth ₹20,000 crores with ‘Airbus Defence and Space’ to procure 56 C-295 military transport aircraft. The aircraft will be equipped with an indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite and can airlift weapons and soldiers to the country’s remotest corners.
Apart from this, the Indian Army is ordering indigenous weapon systems, including Akash missiles and ALH Dhruv helicopters worth around ₹15,000 crores. The Indian Air Force will soon receive 24 second-hand Mirages from France. It comes parallel with the delivery of Rafale fighters from France. At the same time, Russia has promised delivery of the S-400 missile defence system by the end of this year. Just yesterday, in addition to the long list of defence purchases, India has inked a contract to buy 4 Israeli Herons drones.
These preparations send a solid signal to the enemy, be it China, Pakistan or anyone else, that India is prepared for any conflict. Moreover, ‘Galwan’, ‘Doklam’ and ‘Balakot’ have shown that India won’t take things lying down anymore.