Arming without Aiming

Arming without Aiming: India's Military Modernization

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 223
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  • Book Info
    Arming without Aiming
    Book Description:

    India's growing affluence has led experts to predict a major rearmament effort. The second-most populous nation in the world is beginning to wield the economic power expected of such a behemoth. Its border with Pakistan is a tinderbox, the subcontinent remains vulnerable to religious extremism, and a military rivalry between India and China could erupt in the future. India has long had the motivation for modernizing its military -it now has the resources as well. What should we expect to see in the future, and what will be the likely ramifications? InArming without Aiming, Stephen Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta answer those crucial questions.

    India's armed forces want new weapons worth more than $100 billion. But most of these weapons must come from foreign suppliers due to the failures of India's indigenous research and development. Weapons suppliers from other nations are queuing up in New Delhi. A long relationship between India and Russian manufacturers goes back to the cold war. More recently, India and Israel have developed strong military trade ties. Now, a new military relationship with the United States has generated the greatest hope for military transformation in India.

    Against this backdrop of new affluence and newfound access to foreign military technology, Cohen and Dasgupta investigate India's military modernization to find haphazard military change that lacks political direction, suffers from balkanization of military organization and doctrine, remains limited by narrow prospective planning, and is driven by the pursuit of technology free from military-strategic objectives. The character of military change in India, especially the dysfunction in the political-military establishment with regard to procurement, is ultimately the result of a historical doctrine of strategic restraint in place since Nehru. In that context, its approach of arming without strategic purpose remains viable as India seeks great-power accommodation of its rise and does not want to look threatening. The danger lies in its modernization efforts precipitating a period of strategic assertion or contributing to misperception of India's intentions by Pakistan and China, its two most immediate rivals.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0430-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Restraint and Affluence
    (pp. 1-28)

    One of the most remarkable attributes of India as an independent nation has been its longstanding restraint in military strategy. Reticence in the use of force as an instrument of state policy has been the dominant political condition for Indian thinking on the military, including military modernization. From the initial delay in sending troops to defend Kashmir in 1948 to the twenty-four-year hiatus in testing nuclear weapons, India has used force mainly in response to grave provocation and as an unwelcome last resort. The country’s greatest strategic success, the victory of 1971, occurred in response to a Pakistan Army crackdown...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Struggling with Reform
    (pp. 29-52)

    India’s policy of strategic restraint determines the pace, direction, and scope of reform in the country’s national security system, which serves as the transmission that converts the country’s new affluence and technology into fighting capacity. Indian military capacity depends on a shift of emphasis in the system from research and development to procurement and from pay and recruitment to use-of-force decisions, that is, the broadest conception of civil-military relations.

    The Indian government has been more successful in expanding the military, creating new commands, agencies, and positions, and streamlining procurement; it has not been able to change spending priorities, ensure coordination...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Army Modernization
    (pp. 53-70)

    The extent to which the Indian armed forces modernize will depend greatly on the ability of the Indian Army to accept a reduced position in the service triumvirate. The army eclipses the other services in size, budget, and military operations. Though it has been losing ground to the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force on capital spending, the army still accounts for 50 percent of Indian defense budgets. In the last decade, the Indian Army has tried to improve across a range of capabilities that define modernization for most professional armies: mobility and precision ordnance, electronic warfare, communications, and...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Air and Naval Modernization
    (pp. 71-96)

    While the modernization of the Indian Army sets the pace of military change in India as a whole, rebalancing the armed forces in favor of air and naval power will be the proof of real transformation. The sheer potential is breathtaking. Indian air and naval capacity will determine the quality of its China deterrent more than its ground forces, which must be defensively organized due to the terrain. India could potentially upend the artificial balance of power Pakistan has been able to maintain and return to prominence in the Indian Ocean region, reviving a past going back to the British...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE The Reluctant Nuclear Power
    (pp. 97-122)

    India’s May 1998 test of five nuclear weapons was a major break with the past; many predicted that India’s trajectory henceforth would be of greater assertiveness. This view was reinforced by India’s declaration that, unlike the single test in 1974—euphemistically termed a Peaceful Nuclear Explosion—the 1998 tests were aimed toward perfecting usable nuclear weapons. Further, India indicated that specific security threats had driven it across the weapons threshold, particularly China’s growing power and hostility to India. However, India formulated a “draft” doctrine to guide its use of the new weapons, and while India’s overall rise as a power...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Police Modernization
    (pp. 123-142)

    The main issues of military modernization center on the armed forces, but the most common threat to India’s security manifests itself at home in the form of insurgency and terrorism. While tackling these problems is the primary responsibility of the police and India’s huge paramilitary establishment—larger than the army itself—these insurgencies and terror attacks often draw in the military, notably the army, and increase the overall sense of unease and insecurity among Indians.

    At the time of the partition and British departure from the subcontinent in 1947, several princely states were unwilling to join the Indian union and...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Fighting Change
    (pp. 143-163)

    In the larger historical and comparative context, India has managed its armed forces quite well. By promoting a relationship between the armed forces and the political community that was compatible with democratic politics, it avoided a takeover by the military—the fate of two neighbors, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and of many other Asian, Latin American, and African states. India is not a militocracy—a state ruled by the armed forces—nor are its policies highly militarized. There is little propensity to use force as an instrument of policy, and there have been regrets in cases when force was ill-used. India...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT America and Indian Rearmament
    (pp. 164-186)

    Over the last sixty years American attitudes toward the modernization of India’s military and the idea of a strategically important India have waxed and waned. The Roosevelt administration at first sought early independence for India from the British, but later moderated this view in deference to its British ally. It did spend huge amounts of money to build up India’s infrastructure, including airfields, modernizing the railways and the arsenals and the aircraft repair facility in Bangalore, then Asia’s largest. Nehru chose not to build on this relationship.

    Subsequent administrations (Truman, Eisenhower) valued Indian democracy and national integrity, and supported these...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 187-212)
  14. Index
    (pp. 213-223)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 224-226)