Ummid Assistant

Jamia Millia launches courses on China, Afghanistan

IGNOU launches value education programme for teachers

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home Views & Analysis

India's military purchases: Only the best should do

Thursday November 10, 2011 11:09:43 AM, Gulshan Luthra, IANS

The US has reiterated a 2005 offer to share hi-tech in defence with India, although this time it appears to be more meaningful and realistic of India's futuristic requirements.

For instance, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has in a recent report to the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee suggested that "should India indicate interest in the JSF, the United States would be prepared to provide information on the JSF and its requirements (infrastructure, security, etc.) to support India's future planning".

In fact, an indication in this perspective was given by Lockheed Martin's Vice President for Business Development Orville Prins in January 2010 when he told India Strategic defence magazine ( that a presentation about the JSF was made to the Indian Navy after it expressed interest in the newer generation of aircraft for its future carrier-based aircraft requirements. Although weapon systems are made in the US by leading companies, they are not authorized to even suggest sales unless there are blessings from the State and Defense Departments.

However, there is perhaps not much hope for the JSF unless the Indian government cancels its agreement with Russia for the nascent Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) or decides to go in for both the options, which sounds difficult if not unlikely. The Russians have a tremendous weakness in electronics warfare systems compared to both the Americans and Europeans, and the FGFA's engines are also yet to be developed. At present, the prototypes are using Sukhoi Su-30 engines.

Even with these, the cost for 148 single seat and 48 twin seater FGFAs, now called Perspective Multirole Fighters (PMF), is estimated to be a huge $35 billion.

In this context, it has to be noted that since 2005, when the US had announced a sea change in its foreign policy to assist India become a global power, India has bought or contracted some $10 billion worth of aircraft and systems from the US. Still, there are many critical technologies that India needs and the US has undeniably the best of them thanks to the billions it pours into military R&D.

There are unmanned aircraft, many onboard systems and components like EW systems, combat radars for aircraft, ships, tanks and land vehicles from companies like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and United Technologies that could be offered to India without strings.

Notably, irrespective of what is sold by the US to India, the official mention of JSF for India, even within its own system, is a powerful indicator of the extent to which the US administration would go in the future. It is in fact a reiteration of the policy adopted and declared by the previous George Bush administration.

For India, there is an opportunity, if the country chooses to go forward in acquiring a quantum jump in technologies.

There is no way that New Delhi would give up its friendly ties with Moscow, but then Russia has limitations. Moscow does not have the sophistication in many systems, it is not able to ensure near-future or lifetime support, and has the negative capability to go back on its own words as it did in the case of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.

Reports emanating from Moscow already indicate that India's 2009 proposal to develop a Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) in cooperation with Russian expertise is also in jeopardy with the Russians already demanding more money and less involvement.

India would need to balance friendship with Russia and the latter's inability to support India's modernisation programmes. Russia has to accede to its weaknesses and admit them in all fairness. And thanks to the need to phase out the large Soviet-vintage inventory in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, India can still continue to buy some systems from Russia and some highly sophisticated equipment from the west, the US included.

According to figures presented at a recent seminar on acquisitions, former secretary (Defence Finance) Vinod Misra projected spends of $235 billion over the next 10 years or so.

That is more than enough if India wants to keep everyone happy, but the key has to be to build an edge by acquiring the best for the Indian defenders. The Indian soldier has to have the edge even in the best; it is his own life and the security of India that warrant this. And the edge in techno-quality would be the only guarantee to deter a war, or to be able to punish an aggressor effectively.

Let the armed forces decide what is the best, and so be it. If the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy think that an aircraft like the JSF can give an edge and is also cost-effective, then the government should give it serious consideration.


Gulshan Luthra is a senior defence analyst. He can be contacted at





Bookmark and Share

Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS




More Headlines

Take Vitamin B to lower work stress

Iran spied upon from centres in neighbouring countries: MP

Many trapped under debris as 18 buildings collapse in Turkey quake

UAE pledges over $7 mn for UN programmes in 2012

Army officer refused bail in Malegaon blast case

Sonia hits out at Team Anna, commits Lokpal

Panels to speed up recommendations on AFSPA

Frame right to education rules, Delhi government told

Apex court to hear Sanjiv Bhatt's plea Nov 18

Life terms for 31 in Gujarat's 2002 Sardarpura massacre

Thousands of students protest in London against 'education crackdown'

Mumbai to host first WikiConference in India

Freedom fighter, wife end fast after pension assurance





Top Stories

Manmohan, Gilani to meet amid shrinking trust deficit

Amid a shrinking trust deficit with Pakistan, India Wednesday hoped to build on positive progress in bilateral ties and pressed for speedy 

Amid forward movement, Manmohan, Gilani to discuss 'all issues'

MFN sets stage for Indian, Pakistani leaders meeting in Maldives


  Most Read

Cocaine chronicles: Metros see steep rise in party drugs

Twenty-year-old Alisha Jose, a bright college student from a middle-class family in Delhi, was coaxed to try a "pill" at a party by her friends around two years ago. Little did she know that it would 

Iran working on atomic bomb: IAEA

United Nations weapons inspectors have suggested that Iran "carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device" and that the project may still be under way, the New York Times 

Report US atomic weapons: Ahmadinejad to IAEA

Iran accuses US of pressuring IAEA


  News Pick

Freedom fighter, wife end fast after pension assurance

A 99-year-old freedom fighter and his 86-year-old wife ended their indefinite hunger strike here after the government assured them of old age pension and initiating steps for him to receive pension for taking part in the

Now get confirmed admission for Oz student visa

Getting an Australian student's visa will now require a confirmed admission in a course there, the Australian high commission here said Wednesday. Changes in students' visa laws in Australia now compel those 

Collaboration for upgradation of ITIs

Britain-based Bournville College of Further Education's training and consultancy arm will collaborate with companies here for upgradation of 

Vocational training for 1 mn Indians with Swiss help


Picture of the Day

More than 2.5mn people from all across the world have gathered in Makkah for Haj which starts November 05, 2011 this year. Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam is a religious journey to the House of Allah in Makkah. This is in response to the call of Prophet Abraham when Allah commanded him to call mankind to perform Haj. Haj is the largest gathering of Muslims as about three million Muslims from all over the world meet to worship their Lord. All barriers including language, color, class and race are broken.

(Photo: Arab News/Ahmad Hashad)



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant






About us




Government Schemes










Contact us





    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.