In recent years, India has witnessed a tectonic-shift in its defence policies. There have been such incidences which support this shift in India’s defence policies. Indian army carried a counter- insurgency operation inside Myanmar in June 2015 when the Naga militants killed 18 Indian soldiers in an ambush in Chandel area of Manipur on June 4. The clearance of operation was received from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the night of June 7.
India carried out surgical strikes targeting “launch pads” for terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC) after September 18 terror strike in Uri that claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers. India made efforts to solve the problem from the Uri attack at the diplomatic level but did not receive an adequate response. These two incidences mark a change in India’s defense policies. There are some other significant changes which we have explained below:
Change in DIPP in 2016
The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI). The DPP 2016 was been framed on the basis of the recommendations of the Dhirendra Singh Committee. This committee was appointed in May 2015 to review the DPP 2013.The Committee was given the responsibility to evolve a policy framework to facilitate ‘Make in India’ in defense manufacturing.
It was also given the responsibility to suggest necessary amendments in DPP-2013 in order to remove bottlenecks in the procurement process and also rationalize various aspects of defense procurement.
The Defense Procurement Procedures (DPP) 2016 has defined that an Indian company can include wholly owned subsidiaries within its scope. This amendment opens a competing platform for foreign manufacturers and OEMs and manufacturers in the Indian defense procurement space similar to Indian companies.
The Department of Industrial Policy has issued a list that was drawn up by the Ministry of Defense. It includes four categories of defense equipment that require compulsory production licences in India : (1) Defense aircraft, space craft and parts (2) Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles (3) Warships of all kinds; and (4) Arms and ammunition and allied items of defense equipment; parts and accessories thereof.
This move of government which designates defense products is for licensing purposes. But this is more essential for export control. New Delhi also expects membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement which is a multilateral export control regime between 41 countries that regulates the international transfer of dual-use technologies and conventional weapons. For that purpose, clearly designation of defense products is essential. New Delhi is also demanding simultaneous membership in all four global non-proliferation agreements: Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime and Wassenaar Arrangement.
FDI in Defence
The government’s decision to liberalize the foreign direct investment rules for the defense sector could force Indian companies to re-look at their plans as it reduces the dependence of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on domestic manufacturers. India has opened up the defense sector for foreign companies. It allows foreign companies to own as much as 100% equity in the local defense sector through the government approval route. This would mean India’s access to modern technology. The earlier foreign direct investment (FDI) regime permitted foreign companies to own 49% in Indian units through the automatic approval route.
Apart from this, the FDI limit for the defense sector has also been made accessible to manufacturing of small ammunitions and arms mentioned under Arms Act 1959 .Earlier, foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were obliged to form joint ventures with domestic firms if they wanted to establish a manufacturing base in India. Under the new rule, an OEM (original equipment manufacturers) can freely plan and implement operations in India. This would significantly reduce the time spent on lengthy negotiations with Indian companies. The new guidelines could also create better competition for domestic firms.
Some major military equipment deals India made recently:
It is manufactured in France. India signed a 7.8 billion Euro deal with France to acquire 36 Rafale fighter jets. These 36 lethal flying machines have made the Indian Air force, the fourth largest Air Force in the world. The jet is equipped with RBE2 AA active electronic scanning array (AESA) radar that has a target detection range of at least 130 kilometers which will also be able to track specific enemy destinations. This missile can be used to shoot down enemy air crafts and cruise missiles. The Rafale jet is competent of reaching speeds as high as 2000km per hour which is more than most missiles.
New Defence Policies with Russia
India made a Deal for S-400 Triumf air defense systems with Russia . This deal is of worth over $5 billion. India and Russia have been in negotiations for over a year for the purchase of at least five systems of S-400. This deal will be a game changer in the south Asia region. Apart from this, the newly formed National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), has been in talks to form a $1 billion 'Indian-Russian Investment Fund'.
Another Indian- Russian joint venture is to build Russian Kamov helicopters in India. The plan is to build at least 200 helicopters which are required for the defense forces in India. India’s Joint agreement with Russia on specialist training and shipbuilding in Andhra Pradesh is also on the list of new defense policies with Russia. It is a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to build a defense industrial base in India. Prime Minister Modi said the dedication of Kudankulum 2 project is an example of India-Russia cooperation in the field of defense infrastructure. Besides this, India and Russia have also signed on setting up of a Science and Technology Commission and zero tolerance policy towards terrorism.
New Policies With USA
India and USA have exchanged views on a range of issues affecting their broader issues of interest in the Asia-Pacific region and bilateral defense. Three bilateral defense agreements have been discussed which are, the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA ), the Logistics Supply Agreement (LSA) and the Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). After Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014, India and the United States have made some important deals on defense cooperation.
Instead, they are the foundational building factors for a deeper U.S.-India defense partnership. Let us discuss each of these three agreements one by one. The LSA can set a framework for the two countries to share military logistics. This agreement would give both New Delhi and Washington the ability to assist each other’s armed forces with simple military logistics. For example, India’s logistics support would be a valuable asset for the U.S. Navy. It will help it to have better project power in the Indian Ocean.
CISMOA would open the doors for the United States to supply India with its proprietary encrypted communications equipment and systems. It will allow secure wartime and peacetime communication between high-level military leaders on both sides. CISMOA would also spread this capability to Indian and U.S. military assets, including ships and aircraft.
Finally, BECA would set a platform through which the United States could share sensitive data to assist navigation and targeting with India.
The Introduction of Doval Doctrine
The National security adviser Ajit Doval summoned the BSF director general and asked him to respond to Pakistan's cross-border firing with full potential even on slightest provocation on October 7, 2014. This was a watershed moment for India’s defense policy on LOC matters. Doval had bluntly told the BSF brass that they were free to "fire at will" on Pakistan Rangers.
He also asked them to systematically destruct their infrastructure until ceasefire violations from the other side stopped. Doval dictated “for one bullet fired by them, you respond with two,". Doval's "offensive defense" strategy turned out to be successful as Pakistan soon found itself upholding truce flags after Indian firing caused heavy damage on its side. This aggressive approach was adopted by India for the first time after BJP came to office in May 2014.And, it can be considered a tectonic shift in India’s defense policy.
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