India planning to spend $223b on weapons over next 10 years

Published: August 25, 2016


Outlining ambitious modernisation plans, India has expressed a willingness to spend over $223 billion over the next ten years to procure a multitude of weapons.

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has asked his ministry to project the expected cost of the upgradation programme which will see the country buy as many as 500 helicopters, 12 submarines, nearly 100 single engine fighter jets and over 120 twin-engine fighter aircraft and aircraft carrier by 2027, NDTV reported.

Blow to Pakistan? India could become next F-16 hub

According to the ministry’s projections, the capital budget has been earmarked to grow at eight per cent annually. As a result of this hike, India is likely to end up spending $12.69 billion on defence by March 2017.

On Tuesday, it was learned that US defence giant Lockheed Martin’s offer to shift its entire F-16 production line to India will give it a strategic edge over Pakistan.

The proposal will give India partial control, along with the US, over which countries the fighter jets and spare parts are sold to. If the deal comes through, it will enable India to deny key supplies to Pakistan, which has relied on F-16s for aerial defence purposes over decades.

“Since India would house the only existing (F-16) production line, it would be able to deny Pakistan any further platforms and also influence Pakistan Air Force logistics,” said Pushan Das, who follows military modernisation at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

The strategic element is a key selling point as Lockheed pushes to win an order that may exceed 100 fighter jets, in a bid to replenish the Indian air force’s aging fleet — part of Modi’s $150 billion plan under his Make-in-India policy. About a third of India’s 650-aircraft fleet is over 40 years old and set to retire in the next decade.

The deal will further boost US-India defence ties at the expense of Pakistan. “What we are doing is putting India as the centre of the supply base,” Randall Howard, Lockheed Martin’s aeronautics business development director, said. “Today, there is no potential Pakistan sale.”  India and Pakistan have been arch rivals since partition in 1947. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars over disputed territory and have few economic ties.

Pentagon not to pay Pakistan $300 million in military reimbursements

“The defence giant’s overtures to India will prompt Pakistan to look away from the US and more towards China and Russia for military hardware,” Najam Rafique, director at Islamabad’s Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI), said. “Pakistan is diversifying its options,” he added.

Competition for India’s jet order is fierce. Lockheed Martin’s rivals such as Boeing Co and Saab AB are all offering to shift some production to India. Lockheed Martin, which is winding down F-16 production in the US, has successfully sold the jet for decades. Additionally, the proposed facility in India would provide much-needed, highly skilled jobs as Modi heads into several important state-level elections in 2017.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (54)

  • waqas
    Aug 25, 2016 - 8:38AM

    Who cares..
    You don’t need to spend on these when you have nukes..Recommend

  • JSM
    Aug 25, 2016 - 8:49AM

    It is one CPEC a year.Recommend

  • akber
    Aug 25, 2016 - 8:52AM

    This is insanity for a 3rd country where 77% population lives near poverty line, where for past 20 years every 15 min a farmer commits suicide due to poverty and debt burden, where 1 out of every 3 kids suffer from stage 3 malnutrition spending 225 billion on military hardware.

    No wonder western countries ignoring extremism, intolerance in india and india current experiment with facsim, they are going to make a lot of money out india at cost of misery of its majority population.Recommend

  • sassy
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:09AM

    As long as any country buys weapons from others they will always remain third world countries because the manufacturers never give their own full technology for their own interest and can always incapacitate the sold military equipment with what they keep secret. India is a desperately poor country will over a billion people living well below the poverty line, India would do well to concentrate on improving living conditions for these starving masses. Besides both China and Pakistan India’s major rivals are nuclear Armed countries and their military equation is beyond India’s reach or capability. Recommend

  • lol
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:25AM

    India has the money so it is spending it from social infrastructure to its security. Pak should not be worried, as it must accept, sooner than later, that it can’t compete with India in any sphere be it economy, defence (as it’s already lost all the wars), science, education, IT or even Bollywood!
    Even with Chinese support and CPEC loan assistance of $46 billion, it is still isolated in the region as well as in the world!Recommend

  • Asim
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:28AM

    another 10 years of slavery. Nice job!Recommend

  • AD
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:36AM

    Expenditures should be seen interms % of GDP and this amount is only a fraction. Vis a Vis Poverty we have our priorities in place and we intend to become poverty free nation by 2030.
    Don’t fudge the poverty figures. India’s poverty rate has fallen to 12.4%. Now go and look at your terror infested country with no road map for the future. Recommend

  • Asad
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:36AM

    Let them :) Buying weapons is never good for economy, selling is! Recommend

  • AD
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:37AM

    What is the point in having nukes when u can’t use them?? Recommend

  • Indian
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:38AM

    @akber: From where did you get this 77% statistics mate ? As per world bank data Indian poverty is lesser than Pak @ 22%, in 2011. Don;t make stupid comments if you don’t know the truth. By the way It is Burnol time again.Recommend

  • wiserneighbour
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:39AM

    I can feel the burn of Pakistani commentators.Its beyond your reach.If you compete,you will disintegrate,not bankrupt which already you are.People commenting about India’s poverty should understand that India got money for poverty alleviation too.. safeguarding the country is priority and all other things will fall in place,which is already happening.Jai Hind.Recommend

  • Mayor
    Aug 25, 2016 - 10:01AM

    Most of the weapons will be made in India. We are no fools just to buy it like Pakistan. Recommend

  • Anon
    Aug 25, 2016 - 10:03AM

    India has huge economy and sufficient funds to maintain good defence budgetRecommend

  • HBK
    Aug 25, 2016 - 10:06AM

    India can keep big defense budget, coz it’s economy is growing and it’s forex reserves are huge…….but those who can’t afford defense expenditure, shouldn’t be part of arms raceRecommend

  • PrakashG
    Aug 25, 2016 - 10:18AM

    It is an essential expenditure considering recent moves by China.Recommend

  • Indian
    Aug 25, 2016 - 10:26AM

    @akber: FYI Poverty rates in India and Pakistan as per WORLD BANK DATA
    India 21.9 in 2011

    Pakistan 29.5 in 2013

  • B
    Aug 25, 2016 - 10:40AM

    Time to take your medication.Recommend

  • Anon
    Aug 25, 2016 - 10:49AM

    This is the ONLY way to deal with a rogue neighbor. Some people can only understand force. You can’t reason with them.Recommend

  • سے Shaam (Hanafi)
    Aug 25, 2016 - 10:49AM

    “India planning to spend $223b on weapons over next 10 years” $223 B is a conservative estimate,the actual figure will cross this amount by 30-40%, As India continues to achieve and outperform it’s GDP growth, it will pump in more money along the path. Pakistan will just obliterate with time. Recommend

  • Hypocrite
    Aug 25, 2016 - 11:03AM

    Their new motto is ‘eat weapon, grow weapon, dream weapon, achieve weapon’ and then cry wolf to test weapon.Recommend

  • Mayor
    Aug 25, 2016 - 11:22AM

    Pakistanis talking about poverty? lol how about you too stop buying weapons from abroad. If beg USA every time for weapons, if you are going to beg money why not beg money to solve issues like poverty? Recommend

  • karar
    Aug 25, 2016 - 11:25AM

    with avg GDP growth 7-8% yearly the number is solid. now we have to see how many ‘make in India’ is done. hope it will provide job for us. Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Aug 25, 2016 - 11:46AM

    My Dear India, please spend just half of it on edu / awareness of the masses and see the results. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 25, 2016 - 11:56AM

    India should spend USD 669 billion in the next 10 years on weapons.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Aug 25, 2016 - 12:01PM

    Made in India!! Great, now we can safely reduce our defence budget in coming years.Recommend

  • shesh 25
    Aug 25, 2016 - 12:04PM

    This seems to be a re hashed article..mixing up various news items of past & present. Just to keep the matter in people’s minds I suppose. Nothing like this has come out as news in India..

    Of Course India has a FOREX reserve of 325 Billion USD & has the flexibility…. Recommend

  • RR_bangalore
    Aug 25, 2016 - 12:12PM

    @akber: Even in African countries or Pakistan doesn’t have 77% peoples under poverty. Baseless comments. Please go through the link which ‘Indian’ shared. :)Recommend

  • nasir ali khan
    Aug 25, 2016 - 12:22PM

    half the population doesn’t even have access to toilets let alone the education and healthcare and idiots across the subcontinent are on spending spree on arms. India particualarly has treading a fools path as Pakistan is not worth for such preparations. As for China in 10 years it will be beyond our reach even more than today. The truth is we are obliging US arms industry just for getting some utterings by the US against Pakistan which satisfies our misplaced ego. Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Aug 25, 2016 - 12:31PM

    @Bunny Rabbit:
    Dear Pakistani, spend even 1/20th of what you currently spend on defense on edu / awarenessand see the resultsRecommend

  • ijaz ahmed
    Aug 25, 2016 - 12:49PM

    today india can buy these weapons without eating grass. so critics dont worry about poverty in indiaRecommend

  • Chacha Jee
    Aug 25, 2016 - 12:50PM

    India’s announcement will ensure that for next 10 year’s except Pakistan no other country worth any Influence will talk about Kashmir.Recommend

  • harkol
    Aug 25, 2016 - 1:36PM

    @nasir ali khan:

    I disagree that China will be beyond India in 10yrs. The shared border with China can be defended well enough with the budgets that India will have.

    Besides, I don’t think China will be beyond India economically either. There is always a logic to economic growth. As you grow big your growth becomes low. China has reached that point, and growth will slowly decline down to 3%. India will reach the levels of China around 2050, and China won’t be much bigger economy than India by then.

    Indian defense requirements are largely due to the disputes it has with its neighbours – Pakistan & China. As long as disputes remain, the expenses will remain. However, these expenses are not high. As a fraction of GDP, India spends just about as much as china, and far lower than Pakistan.Recommend

  • Indian
    Aug 25, 2016 - 1:50PM

    @Bunny Rabbit: India already spending 3.7% of GDP on education while Pakistan is spending 2.2 % of GDP on education.Recommend

  • Mayor
    Aug 25, 2016 - 2:21PM

    @Pakistan Pakistani Soldiers who fought in 1971 will disagree and also Kargil. Recommend

  • Mittha Khan
    Aug 25, 2016 - 2:48PM

    This equals China’s current defense budget for a year , good luck catching up,, wanna be super power most powerful in the world but only in india…….egoistic fools, no wonder you were ruled by foreigners for a milleniaRecommend

  • Komal S
    Aug 25, 2016 - 3:02PM

    @akber: Thanks Akber for your concerns about the common man in India. I see so much wisdom when advising others.Recommend

  • HinduMan
    Aug 25, 2016 - 3:02PM

    To be used on kashmirisRecommend

  • Chota bheem
    Aug 25, 2016 - 3:03PM

    @Bunny Rabbit: This is only peanut. Education spending is almost 4% of GDP. If u calculate the 10 yr figures its 40% of GDP means in next 10 yr India will spend around 300 bn$ on education which is more than total nominal GDP of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Komal S
    Aug 25, 2016 - 3:23PM

    India does not need to worry about catching up to China. It needs to go from 2+ Trillion economy to 5+ Trillion dollar economy. At that size India will have enough financial strength. Current projection is by 2020 India could be a 5+ Trillion dollar economy. Kind of funny to hear from our neighbor about overlooking poverty and spending on defense needs, when their country spends more than twice India as a %age of GDP.Recommend

  • Mayor
    Aug 25, 2016 - 3:52PM

    @Mittah Khan, Who do you think you were ruled by? Apes? This budget is only for new weapon systems. There is separate spending for others. And India’s defense is not constant, it is $50 billion now, it will rise to $100 in 5 years. GHQ in rawalpindi will surely be powered by now and they would have put a call to nuke facility to ramp up production. Recommend

  • hamhead
    Aug 25, 2016 - 4:37PM

    @Mittha Khan:
    Thanks you hit the nail on the head. The projected spend over ten years is equivalent to what China spends in a year. So it’s not excessive and is probably correct if not on the low side in the China context.Recommend

  • Aftab
    Aug 25, 2016 - 5:54PM

    That is madness, plain madness!Recommend

  • Salim Khan
    Aug 25, 2016 - 6:17PM

    That is the total of Pakistan’s entire GDP. This is only the amount they are spending on buying new weapons. It does not include its other military expenditure. Because India spends around 8% of its GDP of $2500 billions on defence every year.Recommend

  • Black Hawk
    Aug 25, 2016 - 8:31PM

    @Mittha Khan: First of all you are wrong. China’s annual defense budget is $125 billion which is $100 billion less than what you stated. Secondly, who’s the real fool here: India which spends 2.4% of its GDP on military or Pakistan which spends 4% of its GDP on military? People may lie but numbers don’t.Recommend

  • Chauhan
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:10PM

    India must buy $786billion of weapons next decade….and it is only $78 b per year on average…..and Indian GDP Reached up to $5 trillion on Nominal basis and $9trillion on PPP TERMS……MIND ITRecommend

  • Mr Obvious
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:12PM

    And after spending $223b on weapons India will still be a 3rd World Country – bet that would change if it spend it’s money on sewers, health care, education, and other civilian infrastructure. Time to move past the “boogeyman” and focus on actually helping the people. Recommend

  • Rana
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:14PM

    @AD: By wrongly displaying the poverty rate of India these people of Pakistan feel

  • Shakil Ahmed
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:37PM

    Yes dont improve the lives of millions living in poverty spend more on arms. This aggressive arms and weapons justify Pakistan nuclear option as it can not compete in conventional arms race with India. So good luck keep spending, we are fine with few collection of nukes.Recommend

  • Amit
    Aug 25, 2016 - 9:44PM

    Your comment seems like a poor begger taunting a poor labourer about his poverty.Recommend

  • Jerry
    Aug 25, 2016 - 10:55PM

    This will only give Bharati Hindu Indians (Bhindians) false sense of security. Just look at USSR collapse despite being a super power. A few adjustments to its foreign policy, India does not have any enemy to fight. So why all this spending to just become American proxy in the region. This money can be used for to alleviate poor people condition in the country 70% of whom live in utter poverty. Does any sanity prevails in its leadership ?Recommend

  • zahid
    Aug 26, 2016 - 6:57AM

    Can you fix your slums for a change. One nuke is enough deterrent whether it works or not. So much money to protect against Pakistan and China. Pathetic…Recommend

  • harkol
    Aug 26, 2016 - 9:48AM

    USSR collapsed for two reasons:

    Overspending on defense. USSR had a GDP that was half of USA, and yet, it tried to outspend USA on defense/space.
    USSR was a country that was held together by force. Many parts of USSR, were within that because of communist authoritarian regimes that owed their power to moscow. When economy collapsed, people rebelled.

    India doesn’t overspend on its budget. India’s defense budget is about $40b a year, China’s is $150b. Somehwat reflecting their individual GDPs. So, Indian defense expenditure is ‘sustainable’.

    And India as a nation is not an unnatural entity. Except for in the extreme edges (north east & Kashmir), there are no states that are being forcefully kept within state. And even in Kashmir or North east, people vote their govts, thus can throw out administrations.

    On the other hand – Pakistan defense budget is much higher than India as a percentage of GDP. That is unsustainable for long.Recommend

  • Haramullah Fattuddin
    Aug 26, 2016 - 10:01AM

    I simply “salute” your understanding and comparing of USSR with modern Indian economy.Recommend

  • Reader
    Oct 29, 2016 - 2:32PM

    What a peace loving country?!Recommend

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