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Indian Military Modernization: Growing Dust – OpEd


Among all the imminent actions of the recent meeting of Parrikar and US Secretary of Defense with their rapid and uneven defense procurement there is something new in the box. This visit is seen very closely in certain quarters by neighboring countries because of their continuous military modernization and nuclear arms procurement stimulates massive and growing impacts-creating unrest in Asia in the past and may do so in future as well.


This new found access to boost defense ties seems to be a welcoming effort to this unending race of achieving massive military assets. The problem, however, is the Indian long haunted increase in defence spending which threatens to upset and upsurge the delicate military balance.

With expanded India/US defense relationship with co-production of US defense system in India, if ever there was a question about Indian continuous hike to 6.3 percent in defense spending every year, suffice for any volatile situation. Accelerating at a fast-track, where these deepening ties between New Delhi and Washington also allowed both partners to commerce a civil nuclear deal where former is a non-signatory to NPT, which is not a stable geometry for region.

These classifications validate that being the largest buyer for conventional weaponry, it has plans to develop and modernize its defense forces. Even as regional tensions continue to mount, these new developments and allocations would enable their forces to move forward in the direction of their fresh acquisition that still thought of themselves as the lost decade of defense modernization surrendering crores.

Following a cross-border attack, it is prudent to turn back the pages where a raid was taken out by Indian forces in Myanmar on July 2015, an actual operation by paramilitary and army Special Forces. It hardly can be over-ruled where same tactics can be used against neighbouring countries like Pakistan following the induction of proactive strategies like Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) which is a tactics under wrap.

CSD to my knowledge is more about inflicting as much damage as one can to enemies forces and infrastructure within no time. It is more or less like a hit and run tactics giving no time to enemy to react. So keeping in mind the manifold forces of Indian army as compared to Pakistan, it poses serious security threats to Pakistan besides increasing the arms race which enables Pakistan to reserve the rights to defend itself in every possible manner.


Cautiously, to understand Indian military mindset which is reflected in retired Indian military officer named Rathor’s interview through igniting rhetoric which stated, “We will strike when we want to.”

Compounded with varying difficulties, Pakistan being a developing country has restricted possessions to counter the growing challenges of geo-strategic, political, social, economic, environmental and technological changes.

Consequently, keeping in mind all the developments that India has in its pockets, the induction of Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNW’s) by Pakistan– a concern exaggerated by different analysts and strategic theorists which in real terms is acknowledged by Pakistan to chalk out triggering conflicts and proactive strategies inducted by Indian forces. So the core challenges run much deeper than what the prevailing strategic environment has forced Pakistan to balance the strategic equilibrium in the region.

Referring to the development of TNW’s, our outstanding disputes and conflicts, our history of trust deficit, Indian continued advancements of conventional and nuclear capabilities has forced Pakistan to act in a way which can brush out all their options to inflict any damage to us.

In relation to this, the remarkable increase in Indian defense budget is another danger to this mix which is set to hike on $40billion comparing neighboring country Pakistan’s basic and military budget devoted at a tail ratio of roughly $7billion. Therefore, such advancement by Indian counterparts i.e. rudimentary defense spending is the basic foundation of apprehensions in the region.

Talking of criticalities, their nuclear ‘shopping spree’ is also a major catalyst for the region to be chained in arms race among neighbours. This new dawn of Modi’s modification has set the stage for which the international community must be concerned. As this all modification is on its way to fetter the region in fright of war and nuclear apocalypse alike First World War

In a similar vein, their determination to lease second nuclear submarine from Russia is also a cause of concern for vertical proliferation infers that global challenges and threats would now require new approaches. Russia being state party to START is also violating both the treaty obligations of START and NPT. These fleshy developments continuously in nuclear and strategic weapon domain are not merely an issue for the whole Asian region but will keep lurking the common security of all nations.

It seems that the adage international treaties and norms are constantly adjusting to the dynamic diplomatic relations that states have to manipulate where relations are now transformed to mutual suspicions of militarism machinery.

To further pursue the hegemonic designs to be a leader in the region the Modi government relaxes norms for foreign direct investment in its civilian and defense industry which will create India’s military industrial complex. This all implies moving towards the dangerous weaponization of Indian society where companies like TATA is engaged in collaborating Indian aerospace and defense manufacturing and potential integrated systems development opportunities, including unmanned aerial vehicles creating a neo-military complex in India. This can fuel long term cross border conflicts to sell the weapons they will make where spread of nuclear weapons to more states will be an obnoxious risk to global security.

Lastly, spending crores would further escalate existing disputes making South Asia a more trouble spot with high cost and increased threat of strategic volatility. The broader lesson would be to set a precedent where peace can flourish because the greater spending in military modernization could escalate into a nuclear war very quickly.

Usman Ali Khan

Usman Ali Khan is a graduate of Defence and Strategic Studies. The area of interests are Dynamics of nuclear proliferation, Tactical nuclear weapons, Disarmament, South Asia and Middle Eastern regional politics. The writer frequently writes on different national and international newspapers.

3 thoughts on “Indian Military Modernization: Growing Dust – OpEd

  • May 13, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Pakistan is a rouge nation supporting terrorism and is the source of much concern. Both the military and ISI are seen as duplicitous. The world remembers AQ Khan

  • May 13, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    The author is talking about South Asia but i want to add that China is also the immediate neighbour of India and plays an important role in this equation. Just like Pakistan see India as a long term threat, the same way does India see China as a factor of threat. Moreover it will be difficult to solve this issue unless all the disputes has been resolved with signing of international agreements. In the eye of China which want to do good which i think so, but their presentation of things is what making other’s worry. If China can somehow make other’s believe that it doesn’t have any interest in becoming a world police just like the US, then i guess some of the issues will automatically be solved. The US is failing due to the same issue of becoming the world leader. Now about the arms race in South Asia is like a symbiotic one. India see China as threat and when China starts something like unifying it’s command structure or testing of some new weapon system, at that moment India starts aping the same thing although there is huge gap in defense spending. The same goes for Pakistan-India defense equation. But here is the fluke, as Pakistan and China are all weather friends which makes India spends a little bit more but again it doesn’t count as much since majority of amount goes towards checks and balance so the actual amount to spend on modernization is far less than the actual budget. But still that small amount is enough to provoke Pakistan to increase it’s own defense spending. So ultimately the cycle move on.

  • May 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    The repercussions of Indian military developments on Pakistan are crystal clear. Pakistan has to rely on its own military muscle to prevent India’s threat of use of force or actual use of force. Having weak economy, Pakistan cannot compete with India in arms race. Pakistan has allotted only Rs 700 billion for defense purposes which is far lesser in comparison with Indian defense budget which is 2.29 trillion Indian rupees. With such a grave asymmetry, Pakistan can never be indulged into any arms race with India.


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