While the Government tries its dare strategy with both the eastern and western neighbours, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman the new Defence Minister of India told the commanders of indian Air Force that “budgetary allocations should not be viewed as a constraint and should be looked at to acquire what is absolutely necessary”. In true spirit of showcasing that everything is UPA’s fault, she promised that “Government is committed to fill the gaps which have arisen due to lack of timely decision making in the last decade”
While our forces have and will always defend this country with what they have, successive governments have done everything to undermine or profit from the requisitions put forward by the forces
Talking of Indian Air Force, the threat scenario has completely overtaken its capabilities. Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) capabilities were felt during the Kargil war when Airforce realised its gap between its heavy fighters and light defenders. While the Government promptly cancelled the MMRCA bid, instead opting for just 36 of Rafale, it told both the parliament and the JPC on defence that the combat readiness of retiring squadrons will be met with SU 30 MKIs and Tejas LCA. Rafale was asked by IAF to fill in th gap between SU30 and LCA.
Then there is a case for AWACS. In today’s networked warfare when Aircrafts are supposed to fight with Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missiles, pilots are supposed to kill their enemy mostly likely without witnessing the hit. It’s the machines and networks that see enemy, guide missile and confirm kills. Ground based Radars are limited by their static location and technology. AWACS fill in the gaps for a constant vigilance and can even guide ground based anti-air missiles to take down the enemy. They multiply the effectiveness of Air Force by a lot.
IAF currently has only three AWACS, with Israeli Phalcon radar systems mounted on Russian IL-76 heavy-lift aircraft, which were inducted in 2009-2011. Pakistan now has seven such platforms, with the Chinese Karakoram Eagle ZDK-03 AWACS being the latest inductions. PAF is on course to get three more. China already has over 20. Clearly our forces are out matched to our western neighbour.
The third aspect of the trio is ground based defence. While India has initiated for S-400 Triumph systems – the final negotiation is still on. While within the same time frame Turkey has deployed the systems.
It seems the first female defense minister of the country has a job cut out for her and that she should be representing the forces to the cabinet and not the other way round