Procurement: India Stops Playing Games With Itself


February 18, 2009: India is increasing its defense budget by 24 percent, to $29 billion, in the next year. Last year's terrorist attack in Mumbai, and increasing civil disorder in neighboring Pakistan, put the spotlight on the sorry state of readiness among the million troops in the Indian armed forces. Turns out that there were lots of problems with training, equipment availability,  and readiness in general. India had not been spending enough money on any of this. Training, especially with ships, armored vehicles and aircraft is expensive. Fuel and spare parts are consumed in large quantities when you train, and India had been skimping here. Readiness also means spending a lot of money on spare parts, and upgrades to high tech gear. Again, there was much penny-pinching here, and, as a result, a lot of the expensive weapons were not ready for action.

India also has a problem with many of its older, Soviet (Cold War) era systems. Russia's doctrine back then was to make inexpensive, impressive looking weapons that were designed to be used in combat, but not for a long time. These systems were not built, as Western ones were, to handle lots of training time when there wasn't a war going on.

But India has decided that the Western approach is superior, so now they have to upgrade or replace the old Soviet gear, and pay what it takes to train their tank, ship and aircraft crews to be more effective. More must be spent on keeping the high-tech gear ready to go on a moment's notice. A one year boost of 24 percent is a start, but will take another few years like that to get the armed forces where they want to be in terms of capabilities.


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