Prioritize defence sector

India is set to finalize $660 million deal for mobile heavy artillery weapons — its third major gun purchase in the past year and a sign that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s defense spending spree is far from over, according to people with knowledge of the matter. As per the media report the deal is expected to be approved in a cabinet decision soon. This is a major step taken by the Modi to address the lacuna affecting the armed forces. The latest move is part of Modi’s $250 billion push to modernize the armed forces and overcome a 30-year lapse in its firepower procurement program, as India prepares to counter potential threats from Pakistan and China.
Plans to buy new equipment from overseas have been held back by bureaucratic delays and the military’s desire to balance the needs of troops against efforts to have equipment built domestically. Also in recent year several major defence deals have collapsed due to the corruption allegations. This has badly affected the defence preparedness. Government will have to really push hard to meet growing requirements of armed forces. Hostile neighbours China and Pakistan have been collaborating in the defence sector with an eye on India. The outgoing Indian Air Force Chief Arup Raha has already warned that acquisition of 40 Rafale jet from France will not meet requirement of IAF and there is urgent need for large scale acquisition of fighter jets. Likewise there are several other areas where there is urgent need for major defence acquisition which has been pending for years. Modi government should prioritize these sectors.

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