Without any doubt, the Indian Army has prospered well and has strategically managed several defence crises. What makes the Indian Army strong? Well, it is not only the dedicated and qualified soldiers that can fight for their nation but also the well-equipped technology that has helped in efficient protection from enemies at the border. But are our defence equipment and weapons indigenous? Of course not; according to the recent survey of SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), India was the second-largest importer of defence weapons in the globe.
Although these weapons have strengthened our defence sector, it has drastically impacted the income and GDP of the nation. In 2014-2018, the total arms imported in the country were approx 9.5% of the entire globe. It consequently increased the total import bills adding strenuous impact on the overall income of the nation. However, the total defence arms being imported has been reduced since 2009. This is particularly because to delay in the delivery of the ordered products.
Typical arms like combat aircraft ordered in 2001 from Russia and submarines in 2008 from France faced great delay in the due time deliverance. This consequently reduced Indian import by 2004. As compared to the 2009-13 series, there was a gradual decrease by 18% in 2014-18 in Russian export of armed weapons to India. Well, this decline was consequently controlled by the indigenous Indian advanced weapons.
What were the quality issues in Indian weapons in the past?
A question might hit your mind that what was the reason behind such vast import even if it was the most manageable army force in the world isn’t it? Well, there were some issues in the weapons produced in India a few years back which hindered the security of the nation. Some reasons which led to the rejection of Indian made weapons by the Indian armed forces were:
- Indigenously built rifles were rejected after testing revealing its poor quality.
- According to the report, 7.62 x 51 mm gun that was built the Rifle Factory Ishapore was rejected due to multiple reasons. It was said that it required complete redesigning to get approval from the army.
- Sound signature and flash were quite high which is not ideal for the battleground.
- Modern equipment requires utmost precision and quality finish so that it strategically works during the crises situations.
- The inadequate fund was also the most probable reasons which hindered in the production of future weapons of Indian army.
Be it the artillery, infantry, mechanised forces or Unnamed Aerial Vehicles, modernisation required to develop quality-oriented armed weapons. Night-vision equipment had to be designed without compromising its quality features. Most of them were comprised of old vintage which was hard to cope with modern technologies. However, in the recent years of emerging India, advancements are taking place in the manpower recruitment and designing top oriented weapons keeping in mind the prolific Indian army weapons 2020.
How Indian tech can bolster the defence sector creating job opportunities
Aerospace and defence engineering is the emerging academic sector that had vastly attracted the attention of students. Armed forces, if produced within Indian territories, would not only benefit our economy, defence but would also create job opportunities for the youth. Although war and peace is the matter of time, every nation takes all possible care to secure it from the enemy’s eye. Only the manpower or only the technological equipment is not enough for sustaining national security. Top-notch reasons for promoting indigenous Indian army powerful weapons are:
- A decrease in import bills: If indigenous armed forces are supplied to the Indian army, it would consequently lower the import bills. When bulk defence equipment is produced within the national frontiers, there is no need to import it from foreign lands. At present, almost 60% of defence requirements are fulfilled by imported goods. PM Mr Narendra Modi is taking active steps to ensure indigenous defence production as ‘Make in India Campaign.
- Create job opportunities for youth: Even if there is a decrease in up to 20-25% of imports, it would lead to a gradual increase in 100000-120000 highly skilled jobs in India. The impact of job creation is not only beneficial for the economy but it increases the purchasing power of the individual.
- Self-reliant: indigenisation of defence equipment is the heart topic of ‘Make in India’ program. All efforts are taken to make India a self-reliant nation wherein it doesn’t have to be dependent on other nation to get the approval of the defence equipment.
- Enhance the FDI flow: in the past two years, Make in India has attracted foreign and multinational companies to invest in India. This has consequently increased the FDI flow. As per the latest survey of Economy, there has been seen a dramatic increase in the FDI while encouraging defence equipment manufacturing within India.
List of quality indigenous Indian weapons
As per the current Union budget of 2019, approx INR 3.18 lakh crore has been planned to invest in the defence sector which is approx 1.6% of total GDP. Here is the list of 5 indigenous weapons of Indian army:
- Arjun Tank: Developed by the DRDO, it is the third generation and main battle tank. Produced in the year 2004, the cost of one unit of Arjun tank is approximately 56 crore. It was named after the major character of Mahabharata, Arjun. At present, India has approx 366 units of this tank indigenously produced in India.
- NETRA: Also known as Network Traffic Analysis, it is the software network designed by India’s CAIR or Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Used by the RAW and Intelligence Bureau, it can analyse the voice traffic like Google Talk or Skype easily that passes through the device.
- Tejas aircraft: light-weight and multifunctional supersonic aircraft, Tejas aircraft is indigenously developed both for training and fighting. IAF has signed a contract of 40 such aircraft and has placed an order of approx 80 more to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. It is hoped that sooner, Tejas can perfectly replace the ageing Indian aircraft MiG-21.
- AKASH: AKASH is the missile ranging from surface to air. At a time, it has the capability of multi-targeting. It can perfectly neutralise different aerial targets like cruise missiles, ballistic missiles or air-to-surface missiles. This missile system was included in the Indian Army on 5th May 2015 and in Indian Air Force on 10th July 2015.
- ASTRA: It is an all-weather and beyond the visual range missile operating air-to-air. It was the first air-to-air version of a missile designed by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation). Costing of INR 7-8 crore per unit was incurred to produce this but it hasn’t been included in the army till now.
While taking the initiative of indigenous weapon production, it would completely change the scenario of the Indian army in a few years. It would lead to the complete modernisation and fighting with the enemy nations may become easier and quicker. Transformation is very important to make the Indian army to rank first in the world. Challenges are many but it is very important to modernise the army. If active steps are not taken, we may fail to act abruptly in case of unseen situations.