Indian military grapples with major capability gaps


28 Dec 2017

#ThatWas2017: Should India be worried about its defense inadequacies?

When it comes to India's defense and national security, among the most significant incident in 2017 was the Doklam standoff.

The standoff led to simmering India-China tensions but also highlighted major chinks in the armor of India's national security apparatus.

India is facing serious shortages in major defense platforms, including submarines, fighter jets, and warships. We explain.

Doklam standoff

India-China strategic border roads constructed at snail's pace

The 73-day Doklam standoff between India and China has highlighted how India lags behind China in terms of border infrastructure.

Only 27 out of 73 strategic border roads have been constructed till August 2017, since their approval in 2006-07.

The deadline for the roads, crucial for the speedy deployment of Indian troops and supplies, has been extended to 2020.

The previous deadline was 2012.


India seriously needs to increase its submarine strength

PM Narendra Modi commissioned INS Kalvari, the first of six Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarines, on December 14, 2017.

The IN "has a planned force level of 18 conventional submarines," according to a report by data journalism initiative IndiaSpend.

Worryingly, the Indian Navy's (IN) submarine arm has 14 conventional vessels, of which 13 are between 13 to 31 years old and need urgent replacement.

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Indian Navy outgunned 1 to 4 against Chinese navy

2017 has seen an increase in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy's (PLA-N) presence in the Indian Ocean.

The IN has 50 major surface warships, nearly four times fewer than the PLA-N's 191, according to IndiaSpend.

India is planning to replace older warships and increase its fleet strength by developing and constructing four Project 17A stealth frigates and four Project 15B Visakhapatnam-class destroyers.

Fighter jets

India adding new fighter jets but many more are needed

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has 33 fighter jet squadrons (each with 18-20 aircraft) against a government-sanctioned 42 squadrons.

Sadly, the present squadron fleet strength could drop to 19 by 2027 and 16 by 2032.

The actual future fleet strength could be higher as the IAF will induct at least two Dassault Rafale squadrons and six Tejas squadrons.

However, these won't be enough.

Meanwhile, security situation in J&K worsens

The number of terrorism-related deaths in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) has increased by 30% to 347 in 2017 (up to December 17) from 267 in 2016, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal. This indicates a worsening security situation in the state.

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