There are fundamental requirements for a country to function, such as having a Constitution, land, a populace, etc. The Military is another crucial requirement. Although some countries are against militarizing countries, such as The Cayman Islands, The Republic of Costa Rica, Dominica, Greenland, etc., some countries still have military assistance. Still, they are neutral on the Geopolitical level. But governments have different situations with geographical location, as India is between countries where geopolitical difference has existed for a long time. To protect its interest, India could not be a neutral state as there have been transgressions from its neighboring countries in the recent past. In India, there is no military rule as the president is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. Also, in military power, there are chances of a military coup which was seen in Myanmar, where the Military ousted the democratic Government, and Sudan and Mali witnessed the same situation.
The Indian Armed Forces are in the 4th position according to the latest Global Firepower Index, and there have many developments in the defense sector in the past decade. In the recent budget, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman increased the budget allocation by 13% to 5.94 lakh crore for fiscal 2023-24. A wholesome amount of investment goes into the defense sector. As the Military is one of the vital aspects that need special attention in the coming future and also looking into the geopolitical tension around India, there is a need for significant initiatives to become up by the Indian Government. Further delving into the topic, let us know about Indian Army.
THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES
The Indian Armed Forces are armed military forces divided into three different services: the Indian Army, the Navy, and Air Force.
Indian Army- The Indian Army was officially established on April 1, 1895, and originated from the East India Company, later known as the British Indian Army. After independence, it became the National Army. Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa became the first Indian Army Chief of India on January 15, 1949, which is also celebrated as Army Day. The Indian Army is responsible for the armed forces’ land-based units. Its Headquarters is located in Delhi.
Indian Navy- In 1612 the Indian Navy was established by the East India Company and headed by the Chief of Naval Staff, a four-star admiral. Rear Admiral J.T.S. Hall was the first CNS appointed by the Indian Government. The Indian Navy’s duties include protecting the nation’s maritime borders, as India has a coastline of 7516.6 Km. To secure such a long coastline, there is a different wing for the Indian Armed forces. December 4 is observed as Indian Navy Day as Operation Trident was concluded in 1971 as the Indian Naval Missile attacked Karachi Harbor.
Indian Air force- On October 8, 1932, the Indian Air Force was established to assist the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom during World War II. This day is also celebrated as Indian Navy Day every year. 4th Largest Air force after the US, China, and Russia. The primary objectives of the Indian Air Force are to protect Indian airspace and support the Army and Navy during hostilities. The Air Chief Marshal is the head of the Indian Air Force, and the first Air Chief Marshal was Sir Thomas Elmhirst.
DEVELOPMENTS MADE BY THE INDIAN MILITARY
Looking into the past, India made significant changes in the defense sector during the wars as the neighboring countries had been transgressing the Indian Boundaries for a long time. The first major war was fought between India and Pakistan in 1947 over a territorial claim of Kashmir. India has fought four wars with Pakistan and China; three were with Pakistan, and one was with China. Post these wars, developments, and reforms were made in the defense sector by the Indian Government. The Sino-India war was one of the major setbacks for the Indian Army as China defeated India and captured the Aksai Chin; due to poor strategic planning by the Indian Army, Chinese troops outnumbered the Indian forces. In this aftermath, the Nehruvian principle was ousted as this foreign policy was ineffective with some neighboring countries. Some major transformations were made in the security policy after this incident. GDP in the defense sector increased from 2.1% in 1961 to 4% in 1963 and remained above 3% after that. China was defined as a potential threat to India and changed its foreign policy with China. Later during the 1971 war, the Peace and Friendship Treaty was signed between India and Russia, which assisted the Indian Army during the Indo-Pak war when Task Force 74 was deployed against India. Then India asked for assistance from Moscow, and the Russian Naval Ship encircled the US and UK Naval ships. This shows the diplomatic strategies of the Indian Government, which favored India. In 1999 the Kargil War took place when Pakistan soldiers and militants crossed the LoC (Line of Control); in the aftermath of this war new corps was added with more troops in Ladakh. Also, after this, a new Chief of Defense Staff position, which the Kargil Review Committee recommended, was added, who will be the head of the tri-service command structures and the military chief executive.
During these wars, the Indian Military saw a considerable change in its infrastructure, and various steps were taken by the Indian Government, which the West opposed. Such an incident was the Pokhran-II which was kept under secrecy and named Operation Shakti. India became a nuclear state on May 11, 1998, by conducting three covert nuclear tests. Before this, in 1974, the Pokhran-I happened named Smiling Buddha but was not on the level of other nuclear states, which was then delayed until 1998. Similarly, one significant development was the IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme), developed by the former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, in 1983. IGMDP was created to achieve independence in the field of missile technology. Five missiles were developed under IGMDP that are Prithvi, Agni, Trishul, Nag, and Akash, called ‘P-A-T-N-A,’ and this project was officially completed in 2008.
According to the report of SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), India is ranked 3 rd Highest in the world in terms of Military Spending, i.e., USD 76.6 Billion. Military spending rose from 0.9% in 2020, and compared to 2012, there has been a massive growth in spending, approximately 33% more. Also, there has been increasing in Nuclear Arsenal as India had 160 Nuclear Warheads in January 2022. The Indian Army recently granted 108 women the authority to command units and troops, which has significantly impacted the role of women in the Army. Also, In the Ministry Of Defence vs. Babita Puniya on February 17, 2020, the landmark judgment allowed the Short Service Commission women officer to opt for permanent commission.
Recently, in the past decade, there have been instances that have led to gross violations of the Integrity of India. Taking into consideration the 2016 Uri Attack, where terrorists infiltrated Uri town killing 18 soldiers, followed by a surgical strike by India. Similarly, in 2019, the Pulwama Attack happened where 40 soldiers were martyred by a suicide bomber; later, an air strike was conducted by the Indian Air Force and destroyed the camp across the LoC. The Galwan Valley Incident, where Chinese troops killed 20 Indian Soldiers, led to a military standoff, and disengagement military talks were on the round. Still, the disengagement process is going on as this issue can be solved through diplomatic means only. So apparently, the current geopolitical scenario has changed a lot over the past decade, and now the Indian Government has to take significant steps in the military sector as China has developed infrastructure and is ahead of Indian Military. To face its neighbor, India has to ramp up its procurement of Defense Units and use advanced technology in its upcoming projects.
These following developments have expanded the growth of India as Agnipath Scheme, which recruited Indian Youth in the armed forces to serve the country for Four years. India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant was commissioned at Cochin Shipyard Limited, making a huge milestone for India as there is only one Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya, a Russian aircraft carrier. India is planning to have another indigenous aircraft carrier named INS Vishaal by 2030 which will give India a total of 3 aircraft carriers. Also, the Indian Army recently approved the Five Tech Projects under the Make-II Project. Make-II projects are projects which are funded by industry and will be developed prototypes by the Indian vendors.
The defense sector has launched some Major Projects, that as Project Durga focusing on the capabilities of air defense. Kaveri Marine Gas Turbine will develop a propulsion system for UAVs and long-ranged weapon delivery systems. The requirement for the Light tank is the need of the hour, as the Government has permitted to development indigenous Light tank called Zoravar. Project 75 (I), which is under discussion by the Indian Govt, this program involves the building of Six Scorpene-class Attack submarines to enhance the position of the Indian Navy in the seas. Amid tensions with China, India increased its budget allocation to USD 72.6 billion in the recent budget.
The trajectory of the Indian Military has been improving due to recent developments and upcoming projects. For India to grow, it has to become self-dependent in the defense sector, as India cannot rely on imports to grow as a self-dependent nation. These initiatives, like Make in India, should be given more importance for indigenization in the defense. Also, DAP (Defence Acquisition Procedure) 2020 provides notification for the weapons that will get banned for Import to gain self-reliance. Imports from other countries are very expansive as a large amount of budget allocation goes into imports. India has just kept its foot in the indigenization of defense procurements; there is a long way ahead to become completely self-reliant. Although the exports are less than the imports by the Indian Army, changes can be seen as the Philippines inked a deal with Brahmos Aerospace Private Ltd. USD 374.96 million contract, which will offer a Brahmos Supersonic Cruise Missile anti-ship variant. Brahmos deal is a massive milestone for the Indian Army as this will increase the exports of the Indian Defence Sector, making it more self-reliant.
Author(s) Name: Yashvardhan Singh (Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow)