Under PM Modi, an unprecedented modernization of the armed forces

In February 2014, when UPA Defense Minister AK Anthony was asked about the long-awaited acquisition of Rafale fighter jets under the MMRCA (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft) deal which was pending for years, he said there was no money left in this exercise. year for the same. But it’s not just the Rafale affair. A series of critical defense agreements have been kept on hold by the UPA. Every year during UPA rule it was the same saga, very little was done to procure modern offensive platforms to increase the combat capability of the Indian Armed Forces.

Across the spectrum of the Indian Army, reeling from the severe obsolescence of its air defense systems and artillery, underperforming rifles like the INSAS, the lack of sufficient body armor, the From the Indian Air Force grappling with fighter jet power depletion and little progress on the LCA Project, to the Indian Navy dealing with the heat of a series of crashes, the saga was almost the end of same. Yet little was done during UPA rule to address these issues.

A new dawn from May 2014

Yet surprisingly when the Modi government took over in May 2014, ever since then money has never been an issue when it comes to the military modernization of the Indian Armed Forces which had literally stood at a standstill for almost 10 years. t a decade since 2004. However, India’s geopolitical landscape was changing rapidly, with adversaries in the district busy building their capacities by leaps and bounds and the task of the Modi government being cut off.

Just after the start of the Modi era, India witnessed the keel-laying of its first missile tracking and ocean surveillance vessel. Within a few years, the 15,000 ton vessel named INS Dhruv was commissioned. This was followed by the Modi government giving a nod in 2015 to seven stealth frigates under Project 17A and six nuclear-powered attack submarines.

In the same year, the Modi government signed critical defense agreements with the American company Boeing Corporation for the purchase of 22 Apache AH-64 attack helicopters and 15 Chinook CH-47 tactical transport helicopters.

From Rafale to LCA Tejas

In 2016, India and France signed an agreement to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault of France for Rs 59,000 crore which included a wide range of missiles and bombs such as Scalp and Meteor missiles, and Hammer precision-guided bombs as well as several India-specific upgrades in Rafale platforms to meet India’s requirements. That same year, the Modi government also secured deals for additional follow-on orders for four more P8I Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

For the Indian Air Force, in February 2021, the Modi government signed a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 83 Tejas MK 1A light combat aircraft. The LCA project was almost dead until the Modi government breathed new life into it and endeavored to make the LCA the basic platform for India’s indigenous fighter aircraft developments in the future . The LCA Tejas deal was followed by an agreement with Airbus to acquire 56 C-295 transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force, 40 of which would be manufactured in India by a consortium of Tata companies.

Take care of the infantry

Let us also not forget the importance placed by the Modi government on the infantry soldier who for years struggled with the lack of modern body armor and ballistic helmets as well as modern assault rifles . If we look at the 11th five-year plan from 2007 to 2012, it was planned to procure 1,86,168 bulletproof vests for the Indian armed forces. In reality, nothing happened and all this remained on paper at the time of the UPA.

To alleviate the critical problem of lack of modern body armor, in 2016 the Modi government authorized a ‘provisional emergency procurement’ for 50,000 body armor through the ‘revenue track’ for which orders worth Rs 140 crore were given to Tata Advanced Materials. In 2018, a larger order of Rs 639 crore was given to SMPP Pvt Ltd for 1,86,138 bulletproof vests. Further, it is worth mentioning that in 2017, a similar contract worth Rs 180 crore was awarded to Kanpur-based MKU Ltd for 50,000 bulletproof helmets. It is ironic that for decades Indian private sector companies have been ignored for the purchase of bulletproof vests and helmets even as they deliver quality consignments to customers around the world. The Modi government, through its new policies, has recognized the role of the Indian private sector not only for these products, but for a whole range of equipment acquired by the Indian Armed Forces.

Making India an Atmanirbhar in Defense Production

Apart from arms acquisition, the Modi government over the past few years has laid the foundation for the development of resilient supply chains in national defense production under Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan by increasing opportunities for top companies of the Indian private sector and paving the way to self-sufficiency in defense manufacturing by decimating the grip of arms import lobbies, strengthening the partnership between DRDO and the private sector to indigenize the production of all those systems and equipment that were traditionally imported for decades, and by massively restructuring organizations like the state-owned OFB through their corporatization to improve efficiency and on-time delivery of weapon systems.

Moreover, one cannot forget the success of the diplomatic initiatives of the Modi government which led India to be included in exclusive clubs such as MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime), to sign agreements like BECA and to obtain Strategic Trade Clearance Status (STA-1). by the United States which gives India access to critical defense technologies.

Preparing India for Next Generation Warfare

Whether testing anti-satellite missiles or giving impetus to the indigenous development of Indian nuclear submarines, actively supporting the production of INS Vikrant or stimulating the development and acquisition of Indian indigenous drones , the Modi government has laid the groundwork for a fundamental shift in the landscape of India’s enhanced military capabilities. by the new impetus given to the national industry, which for decades had been kept out of defense production. All this gives shape to India’s long-awaited military-industrial complex, so critical both from the point of view of national security and economic development. From where India was in 2013 to where India stands now in 2022 in terms of military capabilities, credit goes to
The unwavering support of the Modi government to the Indian Armed Forces.