National security seems to be the priority of the Modi government in the second term. It has just been two months since the re-election and the government has already initiated two major defence deals with Israel and the United States. In the first 50 days, the government has spent 8,500 crore rupees on arms acquisition.
As per a report by India Today, the Defence Ministry has acquired Spike Anti-Tank guided missiles, R-73 and R-77 air to air missiles for Indian Army. The defence doctrine of the country is directed by building defence against Pakistan and carry out attack on the terrorist nation, if required. The Balakot airstrike seems to be a guiding lesson for India in upcoming defence deals.
The government has asked the three defence services to buy whatever they want to safeguard the border with Pakistan. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the Indian Army to review the requirements and prepare a comprehensive report. The chiefs of three services will meet with Singh very soon with the list of requirements. The government aims to speed up the acquisition of defence procurements to prepare the country for any hostility from neighbors.
Apart from the acquisition of defence equipment for Indian Army, the government has finalized many defence deals in first 50 days. In the first defence deal of the second term, the Modi government has ordered 100 Israel made SPICE (Smart, Precise Impact, Cost-Effective) bombs for Indian Air Force. The SPICE bombs were used by the IAF to carry out airstrikes in Pakistan in which Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps were destroyed.
The second defence deal of India was with the United States. The government is ready to purchase National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) from the US to erect a multilayered missile shield for National Capital Territory of Delhi. The Modi government plans to build a 5 layer air missile defense programme with two layers of indigenous air defense systems and three of US, Russia and Israel for any prospective threat from Pakistan or China.
The third defence deal of the country is with Russia. Modi government has ordered 300 short-range air-to-air missiles, the R-73, and 400 medium-range air-to-air guided missiles, the RVV-A for Indian Air Force. The total cost of the deal is 700 million dollars and these missiles with be developed by Russian Tactical Missiles Corporation.
In the last month, India has given a very clear signal that Israel, the United States and Russia are going to be the most important defence partners of the country for the next few years. Many experts believed that the country would follow a US-centric foreign policy and Modi government will not make any major defence deal with Russia in the second term, given the fact that US was opposed to 6 billion dollar S-400 air missile defense system deal. Previously India also signed 3.3 billion dollars deal with Russia for leasing a nuclear-powered attack submarine.
The previous defense deal despite the opposition from the US indicates that Russia would continue to be ‘major defence ally’ of India.