Indian Army Modernisation Faces Setback

By admin • October 5th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi – The dismal state of the Indian Army’s modernisation drive has become a serious setback as India’s homeland security is getting compromised in the process. There are a host of areas where the Indian Army’s capability has been questioned, especially in view of the neighbouring countries gaining more momentum in mobilising their military equipment.

The Indian Army needs to take critical steps to ensure its capability in areas like air defence, artillery and aviation in the current geo-political scenario. While a large number of procurements are still stuck in various stages of approval and acquisition, it has been noted that roughly 15 years will be needed to achieve maximum operational readiness.

Experts feel that the Indian Defence Ministry’s Army acquisitions wing needs additional manpower and a better organisational structure to handle more projects than it does. Besides eradicating bureaucratic hurdles and lengthy procedures, there is a dire need to restructure the Defence Ministry’s land systems acquisitions wing to fast-track inductions. Also, a more fluid network is needed between the Army HQ and the Directorates involved with the weapons and equipment to resolve the bottlenecks in the system.

The Indian Army is still continuing with obsolete air defence missile and gun systems and it is desperately in need of advanced military hardware like third-generation thermal-imaging, image-intensification and infra-red devices to step-up its night-fighting capabilities. Besides, India has still not been able to get a single 155mm/52-calibre gun since the Bofors scandal of the 1980s.

The Indian Army is also awaiting a replacement for its Chetak and Cheetah helicopters with light utility helicopters. After years of procrastination, the Indian Army had decided to acquire 20 “Cheetal” helicopters from the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in March this year. The ageing fleet of “Cheetah” and “Chetak” helicopters with the Indian Army are in dire need of replacements since they have been in service for three decades. With constant delays plaguing the acquisition of helicopters, this sudden defence acquisition of 20 ”Cheetal” helicopters is one of the many that India performs due to constant delays in the modernisation plans of the Indian Armed forces. Defence analysts feel that these kinds of ad-hoc acquisitions may negatively affect the modernisation plans of the Indian forces. Since these kinds of ad-hoc deals drain the money earmarked and allocated for some other helicopter, there is uneven spending of the funds.

In January this year, India’s premier industry institution Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the consultancy firm KPMG conducted a study whose findings reveal that fifty percent of the Indian military equipment is ‘obsolete’. The current finding only corroborates the Indian Army’s statement in the Parliament admitting that it had just over fifty per cent of the required capability.

Source: India Defence Online

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