Saturday, March 24, 2012

Corruption and Bureaucratic Delays Degrading Defence Capability

Remember 50 years ago the defeat of Indian Army against Chinese PLA- No lessons learnt!
11 Mar, 2012, 05.06AM IST, The writer Binoy Prabhakar,ET Bureau

How India compares with China in military prowess
China's increased military spending, by 11% this year and 12.7% last year, is matched by its growing assertiveness in pressing territorial claims. A classic example is the South China Sea where Beijing contends that India's exploratory drilling with Vietnam is a breach of its sovereignty. Should India be worried?

The 1962 defeat is still as fresh as yesterday. There is also the long-running border dispute over Arunachal Pradesh. Years of double-digit budget increases have modernised the People's Liberation Army. China is also building or buying sophisticated weaponry, including a homegrown J-20 stealth fighter jet and an aircraft carrier. What about India?

Outgoing army chief VK Singh has cautioned that the war-waging capability of the army has been hamstrung by long delays in procurement decisions. This contention is backed by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a leading authority on political-military conflict.

The challenge for India, says the UK-based think-tank, is the inability to fully disburse funds because of corruption, bureaucratic delays and inefficiencies in procurement. India does not suffer from a shortfall of funds. New Delhi is the world's leading arms purchaser. Its defence budget rose nearly 12% last year.

The recent contract to buy combat aircraft from France's Dassault Rafale is called "the mother of all deals". Yet, India will be playing catch-up with China for years to come. After this budget, due later this week, India's total military expenditure is expected to be still shy of $40 billion.

The IISS shared exclusively with ET on Sunday the latest data on how India compares with China in military prowess from its The Military Balance 2012 report released last week. The message from the statistics is clear, India has a long march ahead before it can rival China's military muscle.

How India Compares with China?

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