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Defeat of India in aerial dogfight showed its ‘vintage’ military, NYT

A New York Times report published on Sunday that the defeat of India to Pakistan Air Force in the aerial dogfight last week that exposed its “vintage” military.

In reference to the shooting of Soviet-supplied MiG-21 of India by the Pakistan Air Force in a dogfight inside Pakistani territory on Wednesday, South Asian correspondent of NYT Maria Abi-Habib wrote that “The aerial clash, the first by the South Asian rivals in nearly five decades, was a rare test for the Indian military — and it left observers a bit dumbfounded. While the challenges faced by the India’s armed forces are no secret, its loss of a plane last week to a country whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter of the funding was still telling.”

The armed forces of India are in an alarming shape as the equipment of Indian Army contains 68 percent of the equipment that is officially considered “vintage”. S report informed, government estimates that in case of an intense warfare war situation, only 10 days of ammunition can be supplied to the troops by India.

A member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence and an Indian lawmaker Gaurav Gogoi quoted as saying by the newspaper that “Our troops lack modern equipment, but they have to conduct 21st-century military operations.”

The report further pointed out that over the last two decades, the American military began prioritising its alliance with India as its close relationship with Pakistan soured and added that “American officials tasked with strengthening the alliance [with India] talk about their mission with frustration: a swollen bureaucracy makes arms sales and joint training exercises cumbersome; Indian forces are vastly underfunded; and the country’s navy, army and air force tend to compete rather than work together.”

The report further added that the funding for the military of India is still the biggest challenge.

It added “In 2018, India announced a military budget of some $45 billion. By comparison, China’s military budget that year was $175 billion. Last month, Delhi announced another $45 billion budget.”

“It is not just a question of how much India spends on its military, but how it spends it. The majority of the money goes to salaries for its 1.2 million active duty troops, as well as pensions. Only $14 billion will be used to buy new hardware.”

The newspaper further added that “Cutting troop levels so that the military can spend the money on buying modern equipment is not so simple. India’s military has long been a source of jobs for a country struggling with chronic underemployment. That is likely to be a big issue in elections scheduled for later this spring.”

“Government officials in New Delhi say they are struggling to improve the lives of their citizens in the most basic of ways — dealing with high illiteracy rates and poor sanitation infrastructure, as just two examples — making it hard to funnel more money toward the military at a time when China is making incursions into India’s backyard by land and sea.”

The report said that “As the world’s conflicts are increasingly fought with state-of-the-art weaponry rather than the large invading armies of the past, India is falling behind. Despite being the fifth-largest military spender, only about a quarter of its military budget this year will purchase new equipment.”

The report further pointed out that there are concerns about corruption in India and the report further added that the purchase of military hardware is undoubtedly a slow-moving process in most countries, but in India it moves even more sluggishly amid a swollen bureaucracy.

The article stated that “Modi is currently being grilled by the opposition over a murky $8.9 billion deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter planes from France. His political opponents have cast the agreement as corrupt in an effort to discredit him ahead of elections.”

The article further stated that the purchase would be helpful for India in replacing its aging fleet of MiG-21s and other jets. The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi tried to turn the tables on the opposition on Saturday saying that if the country had had the Rafale jets, it would have fared better in its skirmish with Pakistan last week.

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi admitted the superiority of Pakistan Air Force in air warfare and said that “The country has felt the shortage of Rafale.”

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