Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed snap] The math of military modernizationop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Insufficient Indian defence budget. How can India and the US contribute each other(in the defence sector)?


Major security challenge in the Asia-Pacific region

  1. The Chinese are on track to dominate the security architecture of the Asia-Pacific
  2. China has increased military spending at an average of 8.5% per year
  3. This acknowledges the foreseeable outcome of the growing gap between China’s ability to project military power in Asia and the defence capabilities of other regional militaries
  4. Obscuring this gap, and matching it in some sense, is the need of the hour

Insufficient defence budget

  1. The 2018 Indian defence budget is no more than 1.5% of gross domestic product, which barely keeps pace with inflation
  2. India’s military pensions are now greater than its entire defence capital budget
  3. This in the midst of a military readiness situation that notable Indian observers describe as a “crisis” caused by significant shortfalls in major weapons systems like fighter aircraft, helicopters, tanks, rifles and submarines

Direct comparison(of defence budget) is misleading

  1. Direct comparisons between military spending totals are misleading for a variety of reasons, including mismatches between resources and military requirements
  2. For example, it takes far fewer resources to deny an adversary access to a local geography than to project power from one side of the globe to the other

Asia is in the midst of a “multipolar moment”

  1. Some experts question the necessity of a defence partnership with the US, believing that India will thrive in multipolarity by hedging its partnerships among many countries
  2. But the math of military modernization suggests the multipolar moment will eventually be superseded by a Sino-centric security order

Why is India important for the US?

  1. No country has the demographic and economic weight to play the stabilizing role India can in Asia
  2. This is why Republicans and Democrats are united in treating India as a “Major Defence Partner”
  3. Major Defence Partner is a unique designation created by the Barack Obama administration and sustained by both the US Congress and the Donald Trump team

What can be done?

  1. Important steps can be taken to bolster Indian military power that are unrelated to budgets , but that requires India to embrace the US more closely than ever before
  2. A choice can be made to partner(in some areas exclusively) with the US because this is the only realistic hedge against Chinese hegemony
  3. This includes increasing information sharing and interoperability in maritime domain awareness, expanding cooperation in anti-submarine warfare, and partnering on maritime patrols
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