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India’s first private Howitzer-manufacturing facility in Gujarat – without strategic depth protection

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Armoured Systems Complex of Larsen and Toubro in Gujarat, India’s first private facility in the country where the K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns will be manufactured.

L&T’s website claims that the facility is “Spread over 40 acres at Hazira, this highly-automated facility, equipped with advanced robotic systems for a very high level of automation has the capability to produce armoured systems such as India’s Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicles and Battle Tanks on a ‘plate-to-platform’ basis”
Now let’s understand the question of strategic depth and lack of it. The weapons and spares manufactured in his plant will be used mostly on India’s western front. Heavy tanks and self-propelled Howitzers have limited (if any) role in high altitude Himalayan conflicts.
So, in the real-life scenario a war breaks out with Pakistan a country armed with medium range ballistic and cruise missiles and delivery platforms on land, in sea and air. A strategically placed platform – well within Pakistani, land, maritime or air border can attack this facility with Indian reaction time reduced to under a minute. It would do Islamabad a lot of good to wipe the facility in the first salvo itself.

Even for saboteurs to cross in from deserts of Kuchch, with knowledge of local language is much easier than attacking government owned facilities in Jhansi.
Its noteworthy to remember that much of Allied efforts to defeat Nazi Germany were about destruction of their production facilities. Since Nazis had formed a considerable strategic depth allies had to plan something as massive as D Day with a sacrifice 10,000 + soldiers to reach the German military industrial complex.

Given the facility was in the making for some time and no one in Defense Ministry or Army HQ questioned the placement raises the question of Gujrat’s interest being paramount to that of India. The fact that as of now this is being looked as economic development and not a strategic one may have something to do with it.

Nevertheless after 100 K9 are manufactured, facility will woe Indian Army with more armaments (K9 being license produced with South Korean manufacturers) and will win orders.
The complex is only going to grow as the production lines stabilize, it will also grow as a headache for the Indian strategic planners as the ones in Rawalpindi should have already noted this folly with a smile

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