From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 3- Vision for Defence Technology and Industrial Base
Given its successive abstentions during votes on Ukraine in the UN Security Council and elsewhere, New Delhi has attracted criticism and even reproach from many quarters. While India’s abstentions may be hard to justify on moral grounds, they are certainly rooted in “realpolitik”.
Reasons for India’s stance
- There is irrefutable logic in the argument that safeguarding the source of 60-70 per cent of its military hardware constitutes a prime national interest for India.
- Any interruption in the supply of Russian arms or spares could have a devastating impact on our defence posture vis-à-vis the China-Pak axis.
- Even after diversification of sources, India remains trapped in the Russian bear’s jaws, jeopardising the credibility of its “strategic autonomy”.
Implications of India’s position
- The stance adopted by India has placed it amongst a minority of nations, alongside China and Pakistan.
- Seen widely as pro-Russian, this posture is likely to affect India’s international standing and bears reflection.
- The answers to India’s agonising dilemma lie in two drastic imperatives, which must receive the closest attention of decision-makers. They are:
- The “de-Russification of the armed forces” and the genuine “indigenisation of India’s defence technological and industrial base (DTIB)”.
- Russia’s military-industrial complex, in oligarch hands, has been struggling against inefficiency, poor quality control and deficient customer support.
- It is time to initiate a process of progressive “de-Russification” of Indian armed forces; not to switch sources, but of becoming self-reliant.
- It may be uplifting to see battle-tanks, warships and jet-fighters held up as examples of self-reliance, but what is never mentioned is that vital sub-systems like engines, guns, missiles, radars, fire-control computers, gear-boxes and transmission are either imported or assembled under foreign licences.
- Atmanirbhart requires selective identification of vital military technologies in which we are deficient and demands the initiation of well-funded, time-bound, mission-mode projects to develop (or acquire) the “know-how” as well as “know-why” of these technologies.
Having failed for 75 years after independence to attain a degree of self-reliance in military hardware that would have undergirded our “strategic autonomy,” it is time for India to zero in on the reasons why we have failed, where peer-nations like China, South Korea, Israel, Taiwan and even Singapore have succeeded spectacularly.