India Loads Up On Planes And Missiles

India Loads Up On Planes And Missiles

India continued its stacking up of ammunition reserve by recently purchasing arms that included planes and missiles from Russia. The step comes in the light of its border clashes with China.

Crux of the Matter

India And Arms From Russia
On 2 July, 2020, the Indian government approved the purchase of 33 fighter aircraft from Russia. The purchase consists of 21 Russian MiG-29 and 12 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft, which would cost India $2.43 billion. The decision came in the light of the recent visit of India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to Russia for its Victory Day Celebrations.

In the meeting, Russia promised to speed up the delivery of S-400 anti-missile system to India, which came in the context of recent border clashes with China. On 3 July, Prime Minister Modi visited the Ladakh border to assess the development of the situation.

Indian Airforce Arsenal

  • SU-30 MKI: Fighter jet which can carry air-to-air, air-to-surface, and anti-ship missiles with the maximum range of 3,000 km
  • MIG-27: A variable-geometry ground-attack aircraft with a combat range of 780 km
  • MIG-29: Supersonic air-to-surface fighter jet having a max speed of Mach 2.25 and max range of 1430 km
  • MIG-21 BISON: A supersonic jet with a max range of 793 km
  • MIRAGE-2000: A 4th generation light weight fighter jet with the maximum range of 1550 km
  • RAFALE: A Multi Role Combat Aircraft with the maximum range of 1850 km
  • LC Tejas: A 4th generation multirole fighter jet. It is a light combat fighter jet able to fly at supersonic speed of Mach 1.8

Major Indian Missiles

  • BrahMos: World’s fastest supersonic cruise missile with top speed of Mach 2.8
  • Exocet: An anti-ship missile which can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, and helicopters
  • ASAT: Anti-satellite missile capable of striking targets moving at 1.200 km altitude
  • ASTRA: First Indian air-to-air missile with a range of 110km
  • Prithvi I: Surface to surface ballistic missile with a range of 150km for Army
  • Prithvi II: Ballistic missile with a range of 250 km inducted in the Airforce
  • Prithvi III: Navy two stage surface to surface missile with max range of 750km
  • Agni I: Ballistic missile with 700-1,200 km range
  • Agni II: 2nd missile of the series with range 2,000-3,500 km range
  • Agni III: 3rd missile of the series with  range 3,000-5,000 km range
  • Agni IV: 4th missile of the series with range 3,500-4,000 km
  • Agni V: Final part as of now with range of 5,000-8,000 km
  • John R R Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic. He was the author of the high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which were created around his constructed languages. He created the 15 different Elvish dialects, along with languages for the Ents, the Orcs, the Dwarves, the men and the Hobbits, and more.
  • KiLiKi is a fictional language originally created by Madhan Karky for the 2015 Indian epic adventure film Baahubali: The Beginning. It has 750 words and 40 grammar rules and is written using 22 symbols.
  • Prof. Lokesh Chandra is a prominent scholar of the Vedic period, Buddhism and the Indian arts. He was the President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations during 2014–2017. He knows Sanskrit, Pali, Hindi, Avestan, Old Persian, Greek, Latin, French, German, English, Russian, Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Japanese, and Indonesian; as a result, he is considered a polyglot.
  • Duolingo is an American platform that includes a language-learning website and mobile app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam. As of 30 June 2020, the language-learning website and app offer 95 different language courses in 38 languages. The app has over 300 million registered users across the world.

Defence Alliances Of India

Defence Alliances Of India

Defence alliances formed by India are adding to its combat as well as negotiation strength as it was recently drawn in a border conflict by China.

Crux of the Matter

Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister of India, recently visited Russia for its Victory Day Parade on 24th June and also had discussions on the weapon supply. After the talks, Russia agreed to speed up the delivery of S-400 missile systems to India, which drew praise from Singh.

I have been assured that ongoing contracts will be maintained and not just maintained, in a number of cases will be taken forward in a shorter time

Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister, India

Previously, Russia agreed to supply S-400 anti-missile system by 2021 to India, which is currently deploying Pechora and OSA-AK systems, provided by the former, at Ladakh border following a clash with Chinese soldiers.

Besides the Russian systems, India has also deployed the Israeli SPYDER system at Ladakh border. ‘Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby’, known as SPYDER is a “quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system” used for air defence. It was used in 2019 to shoot down a Pakistani drone at the Gujarat border.

Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) recently conducted a “join training exercise” to further strengthen defence relations. The move came in the light of Taro Kono, the Defence Minister of Japan, revealing the presence of Chinese submarines near its islands.

Japan has warned China to curb its aggression while implementing measures to withdraw industries from there.

France has reportedly accelerated the process of supplying the Rafale jets to India, and 6 jets instead of expected 4 would be reportedly arriving on 27 July.

The Rafale deal was done in 2016 when India placed the order of 36 jets which would be provided in subsequent years. The deal cost India ₹59,000 crores.

The United States recently reduced its troops in Europe, shifting them to Asia. In his statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the shifting was done to aid “India and other Asian countries” against the Chinese intrusion.

Pompeo also accused China of escalating the border conflict with India, where casualties were observed on both sides. The US also shared its intelligence regarding Chinese intrusion and casualties.

In a landmark move, Lockheed Martin, an American defence technology company, recently extended its deal with Tata to produce more defence aircraft which would strengthen Indian defence. The move comes after the agreement of February 2020, when the US agreed to sell the Integrated Air Defence Weapon System (IADWS) to India for $1.87 billion.

On 4 June 2020, India and Australia signed a defence pact to strengthen security and defence relationships. The pact allows both countries the access to each other’s military bases. The step has come in the light of Australia demanding an independent inquiry into the origin and transmission of Covid-19, against which China imposed severe duties on barley coming from Australia.

  • India became the main base for the American China Burma India Theater (CBI) in the war against Japan during WW-II. Tens of thousands of American servicemen arrived, bringing all sorts of advanced technology, and money; they left in 1945.
  • Serious tension erupted over American demands, led by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that India be given independence, a proposition British Prime Minister Winston Churchill vehemently rejected. For years, Roosevelt had encouraged British disengagement from India. The American position was based on principled opposition to colonialism, practical concern for the outcome of the war, and the expectation of a large American role in a post-colonial era. Churchill threatened to resign if Roosevelt pushed too hard, so Roosevelt backed down.
  • The United States under the Truman administration leaned towards favouring India in the late-1940s as a consequence of most U.S. planners seeing India more valuable diplomatically than neighboring Pakistan. However, during the Cold War Nehru’s policy of neutrality was awkward to many American observers. American officials perceived India’s policy of non-alignment negatively. In 1948, Nehru rejected American suggestions for resolving the Kashmir crisis via third party mediation. Nehru’s 1949 tour of the United States was “an undiplomatic disaster” that left bad feelings on both sides

PM Bats for Indigenous Defence Manufacturing

In a meeting held on Thursday, PM Modi along with other Union Cabinet Ministers discussed strategies and matters around the Defence sector, especially Defence manufacturing in the country. The main motive is to achieve self-reliance in arms and defence equipment. 

Crux of the Matter

Prioritize Defence Manufacturing: PM Modi
PM Modi emphasized reducing imports in the defence sector. Even though India’s imports have reduced by 32% since 2015, India still holds 2nd position in the arms import in the world. Thus PM Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, FM Nirmala Sitharaman agreed to boost domestic production through the ‘Make in India’ initiative. A great emphasis was also given on strategies to lure investment and to increase exports in the defence sector.

India has made some progress in direction of self-reliance as the Indian Navy’s weapon list gets stronger with Scorpene-class submarines under the ‘Make in India initiative’. Production of indigenous Astra missiles will start in India under this initiative. Under the Make in India terms of the Indo- US Apache deal, fuselages and other aerostructures are being produced jointly by the Tata Boeing manufacturing unit in Hyderabad.

Priority II: Export Arms
India jumped to 19th from 23rd in the list of arms exports in the world. India has seen massive rise in arms exports since 2016. India exports weapons to 42 countries in the world including the USA, France, Finland, etc. India exports personal protective items, offshore patrol vessels, ALH helicopter, SU Avionics, Bharati Radio, Coastal Surveillance Systems, Kavach MoD II Launcher and FCS, Spares for Radar, Electronic System, etc. 

  • The indigenous INSAS rifle is the standard infantry weapon of the Indian Armed Forces. INSAS is an abbreviation of INdian Small Arms System. It has Assault Rifle and Light Machine Gun variants.
  • In 2010, the DRDO developed a non-lethal grenade made from resin of the Bhoot Jolokia, one of the hottest chilies in the world. This chili grows in India’s Assam. DRDO said the chili grenade is so pungent that it could force any terrorist in a hideout to come out.
  • BrahMos stands for India’s Brahmaputra and Russia’s Moskva rivers. BrahMos is a joint supersonic cruise missile venture between India and Russia. This missile can travel faster than America’s Tom Hawk missile.

2019 Sees India Enter Top 3 in Military Spending

India’s military expenditure increased to $71.1 billion in 2019 to be the third highest military spending globally. Last year, India was the fourth largest spender. Experts associate India’s rising spending to growing tensions at Indian borders and geopolitical confrontations with notorious neighbors.

Crux of the Matter

India’s Military Spending
According to the report published by Swedish think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India holds 3rd position in military expenditure in the world. Net spending has increased to $71.1 billion in 2019, which is 6.8% higher than last year. Military expenditure comprises salaries, benefits, operational expenses, arms and equipment purchases, military construction, research and development, central administration, command, and support.

Increasing tensions on the borders and geopolitical frictions with Pakistan and China may have played a great role in increasing India’s military expenditure. China has also increased its defence spending by 5.1% to $261 billion, which is the second highest in the world.

World and Military Expenditure
The world’s total military expenditure was $1,917 dollars in 2019. It is 3.6% higher than in 2018. To maintain supremacy over the world and geopolitical matters, the US has spent the highest amount of money on its military i.e. $732 billion. Fierce increase of 5.3% in military expenditure by the USA is equivalent to the entire military expenditure of one year of Germany. This is for the first time that two Asian countries are in the top three military expenditures. The combined expenditure of these top three giants is around 62% of the total global military expenditure.

The recent growth in US military spending is largely based on a perceived return to competition between the great powers

Pieter D. Wezeman, Senior Researcher, SIPRI
  • In early 2007, arms company AEY Inc. secured ~$300 million U.S. government contract to supply the Afghan Army with 100 million rounds of AK-47 ammunition, millions of rounds for SVD Dragunov sniper rifles, aviation rockets, and other munitions. The ammunition that AEY had secured in Albania to fulfill the contract had originally come from China, violating the terms of AEY’s contract with the US Army, which bans Chinese ammunition. The whole story is picturized in a 2016 dark comedy, “War Dogs” starring Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, and Bradley Cooper.
  • India’s defence spending has not been known for the best transparency. Some of the known scandals relating to corruption in India’s military or defence spendings are Jeeps scam (1948), Bofors scam (1987), Barak Missile scam (2006), Tata truck scam (2012), etc.
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technologies company with worldwide interests. Lockheed is the world’s largest defense contractor with $47.2 Billion in defense revenues last year.
  • Samsung Techwin was one of the many subsidiaries of Samsung. It dealt with weaponry technology products. Samsung Techwin was later overtaken by South Korean conglomerate Hanwha group in 2015 and got renamed Hanwha Techwin

India Adds American Anti-ship Missiles to Its Arsenal

US has approved the sale of 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Missiles and 16 MK-54 Torpedoes to India. The deal was approved at $155 million. 

Crux of the Matter

Strengthening Indo-US Ties
To combat Coronavirus, the US recently signed a huge deal of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) drug with India. And in the backdrop of Indian pharmaceuticals receiving clearances from USFDA and extension of stay of the H1B visa holders, the defence deal of 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Missiles at cost of $92 million and 16 MK-54 All-Up-Round Lightweight Torpedoes with 3 practice torpedos and related equipment at cost of $63 million will deepen and strengthen the Indo-US bilateral ties. 

The deal will be finalized after US Congress clears the deal and it enters into price negotiations round. To increase naval security, both weapons will be fit onto India’s existing fleet of P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft. The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said, “India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence.”

Geopolitical Muscle
According to the report of SIPRI, India’s import of weapons from Russian fell by 42% between 2014-18. India is constantly increasing the variety of weapons in its arsenal to combat China flexing its muscles in the Indian Ocean regions and to counter Russian and Chinese designed weapons used by China and Pakistan

Summachar’s Coverage: China Deploys Sea-Drones Near Subcontinent; Tries To Play Big Brother With SAARC

In recent times, Indo-US weapons deals have significantly helped Indian armed forces to increase their deterrent power. The US-made Chinook, Apache, Remo Helicopters, Harpoon Missiles, and Torpedoes could prove to be critical weapons for India. Since 2017 the US has cleared sales of 10 weapons requested from India, roughly worth $7.85 billion.

  • Torpedo is a cigar-shaped, self-propelled underwater missile that can be launched from a submarine, surface vessel, or airplane and is designed for exploding upon contact with the hulls of surface vessels and submarines.
  • The word torpedo comes from the name of a genus of electric rays. Robert Fulton introduced the name to refer to a towed gunpowder charge used by his French submarine Nautilus (first tested in 1800) to demonstrate that it could sink warships.
  • The Howell Automobile Torpedo was the first self-propelled torpedo produced in quantity by the United States Navy, which referred to it as the Howell Mark I Torpedo.
  • In 2019, for the first time, India exported its missiles. Southeast Asian nations and Gulf nations were the first buyers.