In 1973, two years from India’s historic victory over Pakistan, Indira Gandhi decided on reducing the pension of the armed forces by about 40%. This provoked the call of pay-pension equity, a notion that guides the OROP concept. The demand snubbed for 40 years, finally saw its actualization two years after the NDA formed government at the center in 2014, albeit succeeding massive protests and hunger strikes countrywide.
Seeing how an oppressively slow procurement system forced a frustrating wait of 9 years and we lost many brave hearts because a critical body armour was missing, the government signed a ‘Make in India’ contract of over 1.85 lakh bulletproof jackets which will be delivered by April this year – next month, that is. Prime Minister Modi has a special affinity for the armed forces and his government has worked effectively to empower them.
In 5 years, the NDA government has inked Defence Contracts of over 4.26 lakh crore.
This would include the much-publicized, discussed and debated Rafale deal. India is preparing to fortify its forces with 36 multi-role combat aircrafts that comes for a whopping amount of Rs 59,000 crore. A deal of 7 17A Class Frigates amounting to a mammoth 50,000 Crore was lying on the table since UPA times, but contract had to wait till February 2015 to be signed on and get finalized, the commencement of the construction was marked by the steel cutting ceremony held in February 2017. With a range of 400 km, the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems can prove to be a game changer for our defence system vis-à-vis Pakistan.
India and Russia inked a deal of 5 such air missiles, which comes at a rate of Rs 39,000-crore. Though the US warned India against signing the deal, the Modi government, known for its diplomatic ways, had no patience for such warnings. A significant step toward modernizing the Air Force artillery was the addition of 15 CH-47F(I) Chinook, and 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. This came for another 3 billion. We have also acquired 6 Arihant Class submarines, a Akula II Class’ Nuclear Attack Submarine for 3.3 billion and over 460 T-90 Russian tanks worth 13,448-crore, with ‘Make in India’ elements. We have also spent over 3 billion for spares and ammunition. Other weighty addition to the military assets include 73 ALH helicopters, close to 7.5 AK-203 Assault Rifles, 113 – AL-31FP Engine for ‘Sukhoi’, a Brahmos Division worth 4300 crore, Infantry Combat Vehicles among others.
The Defence Acquisition Council, since 2014, has approved deals that cost upward of 4 Lac Crore
India has decided to indigenously build a submarine that will be powered by a nuclear reactor complete with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. The Navy has also kicked off Rs 60,000 crore project aimed at building 6 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), but these won’t carry nuclear-tipped missiles. Raksha Mantri Sitaraman had recently announced a 49,797-crore contract given to HAL to supply 83 LCA ‘Tejas’. We are all set to procure hundreds of Naval Utility Helicopters, K-30 Biho anti-aircraft systems worth billions, close to 250 Air Defence Guns, 41000 light machine guns coming for Rs 3,000 crore, 1000 engines for T-72 MBT, 93,895 close-quarter-battle (CQB) carbines and 150 Armoured Combat Vehicles. And let’s not forget the mention of Brahmos for Frigates, New Delhi is getting for 3000 Crores.
More “In Principal Approvals” evaluated at over 4.15 Lac Crore, in these past 5 years.
The government readily shelved out 1,25,000 Crore to get the IAF 110 jets, 85% of which will be built under the ‘Make in India’ programme. The Navy looks to buy 57 twin-engine fighter planes costing no less than RS. 90,000 crore, again, the Army was given the green signal to obtain 2610 Future Infantry Combat Vehicle valued at Rs 60,000 crore. There are plans to make the forces richer by adding 56 C295 transport aircrafts, 1770 Future Ready Combat Vehicles, 21 Mig – 29KUB, and over 50 ‘Harop’ Drones. And that is not all. PM Modi has a special interest in the armed forces and a hunger for defence procurement; this becomes more apparent as we continue to dig into the extortionate amount he has invested in empowering them; these are the risks our previous governments evaded citing monetary crunches.