Arms race: India approves defence procurements worth $3.5 bn, says report

By AFP
Published: July 20, 2014
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Defence Acquisition Council on Saturday approved defence procurement proposals worth INR210 billion ($3.48 billion). PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Defence Acquisition Council on Saturday approved defence procurement proposals worth INR210 billion ($3.48 billion). PHOTO: AFP/FILE

NEW DELHI: India’s new government on Saturday cleared proposals worth nearly $3.5 billion in a desperate bid modernise the nation’s ageing Soviet-era military hardware and boost its fledgling domestic defence industry, a report said.

The move underscored the desire of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to move quickly to update the country’s military as India looks to defend itself against an increasingly assertive China and from traditional rivals Pakistan and an increasing scepter of terrorism in the region.

The government earlier this month announced a 12 per cent rise in military spending in the annual budget as part of efforts to overhaul its armed forces, declaring “there can be no compromise” with defence.

The Defence Acquisition Council on Saturday approved defence procurement proposals worth INR210 billion ($3.48 billion), many of which were longstanding, at a meeting chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, the Press Trust of India said.

“There are many proposals in the pipeline for the defence forces,” Jaitley said at the first council’s first meeting since the Bharatiya Janata Party government took office in May after scoring a landslide election victory.

“Today, we have tried to expedite quite a few of them,” Jaitley, who is also the finance minister, was quoted by the PTI as saying.

Defence ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

India is one of the world’s biggest arms importers, traditionally relying on Russia and in more recent years the United States and Europe for equipment and technology due to weaknesses with its own industry.

But slow procurement over decades and the collapse of a string of defence deals during the previous centre-left Congress party government’s rule has left the military short of key equipment.

The BJP has been pushing for greater indigenisation of the military industry as India imports around 70 per cent of its defence hardware.

Among the major proposals to receive approval was an INR90-billion tender to provide five fleet support ships for its burgeoning yet disaster-prone navy that would be open to all public and private sector shipyards, PTI said citing defence ministry officials.

In his first budget, Jaitley hiked defence spending for the current financial year to INR2.29 trillion ($38.3 billion). He also said he would further open up the military industry to foreign investment, lifting the cap to 49 per cent from 26 per cent, with Indian companies retaining overall control.

But defence analysts said the new limit would fail to lure foreign firms because it was less than 50 per cent and they feared losing rights to sensitive technology.

Western nations are wooing India’s government in hopes of clinching multi-billion arms deals while New Delhi is keen to leverage their eagerness to do business to win technology transfers.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Patriot. N
    Jul 20, 2014 - 1:57AM

    A cesspool turning into a soviet era military junkyard. It’s a Hobson’s choice for India.

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  • Stealth
    Jul 20, 2014 - 2:00AM

    Why the new Indian government is in a hurry to procure and modernize its military. Working on the new Modi doctrine taken from Indira Gandhi. A la Hindutva theory.

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  • Indian.A
    Jul 20, 2014 - 2:06AM

    With 800 million poor people in the country, this is good going. If they don’t have bread to eat…let them eat cake…in the form of mortar and missile

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/08/10/idUSDEL218894

    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/81557/a-shining-india-cant-mask.html

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  • Pakistani
    Jul 20, 2014 - 2:06AM

    53% of people in Pakistan don’t have toilets and indulge in open defecation. Let us focus on our internal problems. We face huge internal security threats anyways. No use in obsessing about what weapons Indians buy.

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  • Syed Jalal Kashmiri
    Jul 20, 2014 - 3:39AM

    More hi-tech weapons to be used against Kashmiri, Pakistani, and Indian Muslim civilians. More weapons will make India more insecure, oppressive, and unsafe. If you want safety, give Kashmiris their rights, otherwise we will always fight you. You can’t blame any Muslim country for supporting Muslim Kashmir’s independence either.

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  • RaymondDesi
    Jul 20, 2014 - 6:16AM

    What arms race? You need at least two to have a race. This is a solo flight.

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  • Gp65
    Jul 20, 2014 - 8:09AM

    @Syed Jalal Kashmiri:
    Unlike Pakistan, India never carpte bombs its civilians in any part of India including Kashmir.

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  • Virkaul
    Jul 20, 2014 - 8:19AM

    @Stealth: With fire in the neighborhood, one needs to be cautious and keep it’s water hoses read for emergency.

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  • Virkaul
    Jul 20, 2014 - 8:31AM

    @Syed Jalal Kashmiri: High tech weapons are required against your own people but against aggression from across borders. Up gradation of arsenal is an ongoing process in armed forces to keep pace with technology. But for that one needs money to select and buy. With empty coffers one can only beg what is available.
    Kashmiris on the Indian side have much more democratic and constitutional rights than in POK. Land reforms were taken right in the beginning, panchayati raj set up, democratic elections held, institutions set up, development work like roads, railways, schools, hospitals, tourism, trade, etc have been taken up for long unlike POK that languishes in deep poverty and lack of opportunities.
    No Muslim country has ever fought for another Muslim country. You can see in the Middle East. Pakistan is only interested in territorial gain nothing more.
    By the way which side of the fence are you from?

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  • truthplease
    Jul 20, 2014 - 8:39AM

    @syed jalal kashmiri

    What are the Muslim nations that support kashmir except pakistan? Pakistan supports it not for your rights but only for the territory. It don’t want a separate kashmir. It wants only for itself. If they really do this for their Muslim brothers, it can accept LOC as international border. It won’t. Because the if it does so, there will be no more reason for its obsession on India, and the petty politicians would have answer to the people on every matter. kashmir is just a card for pakistan to make its people fool and disturb the world.

    If yo say we want whole of kashmir because its our ancestral land, don’t forget its home to kashmiri pandits even before the origin of islam.
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  • Senman
    Jul 20, 2014 - 8:40AM

    Toilets and poverty reduction is necessary but one has to be living, that is first priority. Everyday new “non-state actors” are coming across, destructing assets and lives in India. To deter the “non-state actors” producing country, India is forced to arm itself. Judging from some of the comments above, I think it’s working.

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  • raj
    Jul 20, 2014 - 9:06AM

    @Syed Jalal Kashmiri:
    pls stop it. its boring now. whole world is not tired of this victim play by cunning fellows like you.

    @Indian.A:
    no wonder if you show a source that released before partition to prove today’s condition of India. did you check the date? alot of things happened in recent years. only some failed soul with no hope can do such unreliable posts. comment from a person with fake idendity from a failed country.

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  • Rana Ajeet
    Jul 20, 2014 - 9:42AM

    @Indian.A:
    “With 800 million poor people in the country, this is good going” keep your thoughts with you.Nehru didn’t armed the forces and the result was China snatched Tibet and 1962 defeat from China.We will live in poverty but will provide armed forces whatever they require to defend the country.Only that there must be no corruption in procurementsRecommend

  • chai
    Jul 20, 2014 - 9:44AM

    @Stealth:
    What’s wrong with that. Pak is out an out Islamic nation. Hinduism originated in India yet it is secular. What’s wrong with Hindutva agenda, Hinduism is secular religion in spirit. A nation has right to defend itself.

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  • truthbetold
    Jul 20, 2014 - 9:49AM

    @Syed Jalal Kashmiri:

    ” If you want safety, give Kashmiris their rights, otherwise we will always fight you.”

    Great sentiments. Hope you will be willing to extend the same sentiments to the oppressed Baloch and Uighur Muslims.

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  • BlackJack
    Jul 20, 2014 - 10:46AM

    @Stealth:
    Why the new Indian government is in a hurry to procure and modernize its military. Working on the new Modi doctrine taken from Indira Gandhi. A la Hindutva theory.
    Huh?

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  • SS
    Jul 20, 2014 - 10:50AM

    @Syed Jalal Kashmiri: Really? So can you explain how ALH (helicopters) for coast guards will be used to attack Kashmiri, Indian and Pakistani civilians? Ditto for support ships for the navy and transport aircrafts for the Airforce? At least look at the details first before writing.

    Let me repeat again, India’s defense spending is less than 2% of GDP which is lower than world average and as a proportion of the size of the economy, lesser than Pakistan and China. In absolute terms it is bigger but then a country surrounded by a difficult neighborhood it has to spend a bare minimum.

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  • bean
    Jul 20, 2014 - 12:34PM

    This sort of news then gets used as an excuse to spend more on defence rather than schools and hospitals. We already have the lowest spending on social sectors as a percentage of GDP in all of south asia.

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  • Hafiz Muhammad Farooq
    Jul 20, 2014 - 1:22PM

    @Gp65: They are not civilians, they are funded individuals from your beloved RAW.

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  • vinsin
    Jul 20, 2014 - 2:28PM

    @Syed Jalal Kashmiri:
    But Indian Muslims are already given Pakistan and Bangladesh. What have you done for your minorities?
    Sardat Patel offered Kashmir to Liaquat Khan but he refused, so why now?
    Kashmir is still not part of India, they just take security against pakistan from India on Indian Tax Payer. India also support Kashmir financially. Kashmiri can vote out anytime they want and become independent but have not done so till now.

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  • abc
    Jul 20, 2014 - 2:43PM

    The reuters report you are referring to has been found to is false. It has found inconsistent by UN. Please read Wiki and latest world bank estimates

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  • Binbib
    Jul 20, 2014 - 3:50PM

    @Patriot. N:

    Says the proud citizen of a human sewer of a nation filled with “knock-off” Soviet era military beg, borrowed and stolen from others!

    At least India’s has a “choice” (Hobson or otherwise), the poor destitute human sewer of a state that is Pakistan doesn’t have any choice what so ever but to rely on hand me downs and knock-offs donated out of charity.

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  • Moiz Omar
    Jul 20, 2014 - 8:29PM

    This will accelerate the arms race in the region.

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  • Avon
    Jul 20, 2014 - 11:30PM

    Love the way our papers add their own biased/nationalistic little bits in a report filed by AFP, to probably somehow soothe the domestic audience. See the actual factually correct report here:

    https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/india-clears-defence-procurement-worth-183637405.html

    Recommend

  • truthbetold
    Jul 21, 2014 - 7:22AM

    @Moiz Omar:

    “This will accelerate the arms race in the region.”

    Let’s not falsely conflate this to the whole region. The only country that is losing sleep over India’s defense spending is Pakistan. Pakistan has the right to spend as much money as it wants on the military. Go ahead and increase your military spending by a factor of 10 to match India. No one is stopping you.

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  • Naman Randhawa
    Jul 21, 2014 - 8:15AM

    @Moiz Omar:
    Thats exactly India wants to keep pakistan’s defense spending up

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  • Usman
    Jul 21, 2014 - 8:38AM

    @RaymondDesi: Yes, India’s local defence industry is no-where close to Pakistan’s.

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  • Indian
    Jul 21, 2014 - 10:07AM

    @Usman:
    heard of drdo? genius? we don’t manufacture cheap ak47 but missiles . and that is enough for you.

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  • Short-Circuit
    Jul 21, 2014 - 12:46PM

    @Syed Jalal Kashmiri:
    worry not, sleep tight mate…one doesn’t need a cannon to kill mosquitoes(read militants).Recommend

  • Baba Ji
    Jul 21, 2014 - 2:33PM

    @ Moderator : Not publishing my comments twice on this issue shows your influence and intimidation by Indian journalism … sher bano sher !!!

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  • Samir
    Jul 22, 2014 - 3:23AM

    @Patriot. N:
    you speak English mate?

    Recommend

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