India to spend $130 billion for military modernisation over 5-7 years
10 September 2019
The Indian government has firmed up plans to invest around $130 billion over the next five to seven years, to bolster the combat capabilities of its armed forces, amidst complex security threats.
The government plans to speed up modernisation of the Army, Navy and the Air Force under which a range of critical weapons, missiles, fighter jets, submarines and warships will be procured in the next few years, reports citing official sources said.
The immediate task for the government is to fast-track modernization of the Army, which involves procuring 2,600 infantry combat vehicles and 1,700 future ready combat vehicles.
The defence ministry will also procure 110 multirole fighter aircraft for the IAF on a priority basis.
The Navy has also finalised a plan to acquire 200 ships, 500 aircraft and 24 attack submarines in the next 3-4 years to bolster its operational capability. At present, the Navy has around 132 ships, 220 aircraft and 15 submarines.
"The government will spend $130 billion for fleet modernisation in the next 5-7 years across all armed forces," according to an official document.
The armed forces have been pushing for adequate allocation of funds so that they are well prepared to deal with the possibility of a "two-front" war on both northern and western borders.
India is facing threat from two fronts with China also significantly ramping up its air and naval powers. It is essential that both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy are well equipped to face challenges posed by the adversaries.
The government is also determined to significantly enhance IAF's overall combat capabilities and a detailed plan is being finalised.
Accordingly, it is working on a mega defence project to make the airspace over almost all its major cities, including Delhi and Mumbai, virtually impregnable, sources said.
It is also inducting the first batch of its intercontinental ballistic missile system — Agni V — which is expected to significantly bolster the country's air defence system. The missile, with a strike range of 5,000 km, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Besides, India currently has Agni-1 with a 700 km range, Agni-2 with a 2,000-km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500-km range.
The government's focus will be to develop domestic defence industry and key policy initiatives are expected to be rolled out in the next couple of months.