By Song Xiaojun/Song Pengchao
As its security situation gets more complicated, the Indian government plans to spend USD 130 billion in the next 5-7 years on buying military equipment to enhance its armed troops' combat capability, according to an official document recently released by New Delhi.
How will India spend such a huge military budget then? And what effect will it put on the surrounding regions? Military observer Song Xiaojun made the following analysis.
According to Song, huge military budget will be spent on improving the equipment for the ground, naval and air forces.
Song Xiaojun: First of all, recently we've seen much news about India's space launches and development, which implies that the military budget will probably first be used to enhance its long-range strategic nuclear assault capability, which is fundamental for the country to become a world power.
Second, India will introduce and absorb foreign aircraft technology, and then develop its own aircraft through compensation trade. As the plan to replace more than 120 fighter jets still hasn't fallen into place, it may buy France's Rafale, or Russia's new Su-57 fighters, and form an India-made warplane fleet in the end.
Third, the money will also be spent on land equipment like tanks. India's current advantage over Pakistan lies on ground tank force, but its tanks are not good enough, so India has been trying to form a land armored force by overseas purchase and domestic development. After that, it may step up the investment in short-range missiles and maintain a certain localization rate on naval construction as well.
Song also held that such a massive military spending plan consists with the Indian ruling Party's policy, with the most important aim of expanding the country's influence as a major power.
Song Xiaojun: India's Bharatiya Janata Party has adopted rather nationalist policies since it came to power and launched more initiatives. It has a strong desire to allocate some funds for the military in the name of weapon and equipment localization, which will not only hearten the people, but is also a political necessity. India is in a very subtle situation on the international stage right now. The US is promoting its Indo-Pacific strategy through India, which, nonetheless, is also an opportunity for New Delhi to take a free ride and expand its own influence.
In this process, India hopes to develop some localized equipment or further consolidate its military strength in order to raise its international standing and expand its influence in the Indian Ocean or even around the world. So I think the main reason why India announced such a massive investment plan is to expand its influence as a major power.
Song believed India's huge military spending plan unleashed a negative signal to the stability in surrounding regions, and may even trigger an arms race between India and Pakistan.
Song Xiaojun: By publicly announcing such a massive military expansion plan, India will indeed bring uncertainties to the area. For instance, its relation with Pakistan has been up and down all the time but never settles in a stable status. Such a large military budget is very likely to trigger an arms race between India and Pakistan that is already in a subtle situation now. After the conflict in Kashmir broke out, especially after India rolled out a series of political decisions regarding the region, Pakistan has been on high alert and may be forced to engage in an arms race.
Nowadays, the India-Pacific region's economic development is facing great uncertainties. India urgently needs to boost its declining economy. Given such a background, its transfer of conflicts outward and advocacy of nationalism or expansionism are sure to cause adverse effects on the regional situation and make a generally negative impact on the overall peaceful atmosphere.
Disclaimer: This article is originally published on cnr.cn, and is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.