Indian Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram announced Feb. 17 in New Delhi that defense spending for fiscal year 2015 would be increased by 10 percent overall with an increase of 3.28 percent for new weapons systems procurement. The overall increase will take Indian defense spending to 2.24 trillion rupees (US $36.3 billion) up from US $33.95 billion the previous year.
These budget allocations could change after national elections expected before May. Chidambaram’s presented budget would govern spending only for the next four months and is very likely ‘electioneering’ to assuage the governments fall in the polls.
Among domestic political issues affecting the government’s falling popularity such as the gang rape cases and government corruption, is the widely held view particularly among India’s military community that national defense is a low priority and that the Indian government displays dangerous weakness to Chinese aggression.
China on several occasions has sent military forces across India’s border in northeast India and in the disputed border areas of the Kashmir region. On one such occasion, Chinese troops actually set up camp inside Indian controlled territory. No military action was taken by India to counter it, other than deploying some additional troops to the region.
Another political issue is kickbacks from non-Indian defense corporations which are seen to be the main cause of India's still painfully slow development of its own domestic defense industrial base.
India clearly has the intellectual know-how to develop and produce high tech weapons, aircraft, ships and C4I systems. Evidence of this is India’s space and nuclear weapons programs which were entirely indigenous and relatively free of any political kickbacks siphoning off money from research and development. Further evidence is the Russian rebuild entirely according to an Indian redesign of the newest aircraft carrier to join the Indian Navy, INS Vikramaditya
Iran’s nuclear weapons and missile programs by comparison have relied heavily on intellectual and engineering assistance from Russia, particularly Iran’s nuclear power plant which is Russian designed and built.
China, though far less a strategic threat to America than the Pentagon, Fox News, the Chinese Communist Party or defense columnist Bill Gertz (whose now taken to peddling the ‘China threat’ to America with the ‘Area 51’ crowd) would have the world believe; is indeed a strategic land warfare threat to India as well as Russia and Vietnam simply due to the sheer numbers of troops China can field into battle.
Most of China’s 2 million man plus active duty land forces have been organized into offensive formations heavy with tanks, mobile artillery, mechanized infantry and married up with fighter/attack tactical air support units geared entirely toward ‘army aviation doctrine’ which is the direct tactical air support of advancing armored formations; a key element of 'blitzkrieg' warfare. Additionally, China can mobilize several million more reserve troops and many millions of militia troops for garrisoning and occupying conquered lands.
China has also implemented the use of 'Kuaizhou' satellite launch system: DF-21 mobile medium range ballistic missiles (MMRBM) adapted to place tactical imagery and military communications satellites into orbit. America and Russia can detect Chinese satellites in orbit. But, the United States does not have a dedicated offensive anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons program, though there is related research and development with the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program.
Russia does have such a program but, until reactivation in 2009 it had languished since the end of the Soviet Era and relies on geographically fixed known launch points on the earth in order to target satellites in the ascent phase. Launching satellites from mobile vehicles defeats the Russian launch intercept capability.
While Russian ASATs could still be employed against these satellites, Russia would have to wait until they were in orbit and operational and then track them for a period of time in order to obtain accurate targeting data. China’s use of cheap, small satellites launched from equally economical and numerous mobile launchers give them the capability to replace intercepted satellites almost immediately.