Defence is one of the major spending sectors in the Indian economy. The geographical and topographical diversity, especially the 15,000 km long border which India shares with seven neighbouring countries poses unique challenges to the Indian Defence Forces. This section gives complete information pertaining to the activities of Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Paramilitary Forces. Detailed information about various defence organizations is also given.
No nation is safe from foreign aggression and intervention. There have been two World Wars. Wars have been taking place in different regions of the World War in Vietnam, Arab-lsrael War, Iran-Iraq War, and the recent Iraq-Kuwait conflict and India’s one with China and four wars with Pakistan including recent Kargil conflicts are some of the examples.
These wars have been eye-openers to the nations of the world. Any country with inadequate defence preparedness is an easy victim. It pays the price for its weakness
India’s defence policy aims at promoting and sustaining durable peace in the sub-continent and equipping the defence forces adequately to safeguard against aggression.
The immediate threat of aggression is from neighboring countries. The geographical set-up plays an important role in planning the defence strategy India’s geographical location poses a threat to its defence.
Pakistan has been hostile to India right from the day of its creation. Pakistan made a military attack on Kashmir in 1948. A quick action by India pushed Pakistan’s forces back. However, the whole of Kashmir could not be liberated. A part of Kashmir continues to be in illegal possession of Pakistan.
The Pakistanis call it ‘Azad Kashmir’. 1965 saw another attack on India by Pakistan. This time, however, a befittingreply was given by India. In 1971, Pakistan yet again launched an offensive from East Pakistan side. Once again Pakistan had to suffer defeat. This war also resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.
Pakistan, unfortunately has not given up its hostility towards India. It has been acquiring sophisticated weapons like F-16s and nuclear carrier aircraft. However, the political climate in Pakistan underwent an overnight change with the death of General Zia-ul-Haq in an air crash.
The country went to poll after 11 years. Ms Benazir Bhutto was elected the Prime Minister of the new born democracy. This change had been of interest to India as it raised the possibility of easing tensions and quickening the process of normalization of relations between the two neighbours.
India would not be able to have the aggression vacated physically; Pakistan also hoped that the international community mainly the US would interference to prevent the conflict escalating into a nuclear show-down. Thus, Pakistan would be left with enormous gains – this was the closest that Pakistan had got to avenging its ignominious defeat of 1971.
Lately relations between India and Nepal had become strained. Nepal is the closed neighbour of India. India appears to be distressed on account of the Nepalese attitude of playing it off against China. Some years back, India was very displeased when Nepal imported 50 truckloads of arms from China. India-Nepal relationship needs to be reviewed in the interest of both the nations.
India’s relations with Bangladesh are none too friendly. Sharing the Ganga waters and Bangladesh refugee’s crossing over to Assam are two major irritant. Continuous influx of refugees into Assam has created an explosive situation in Assam.
The native Assumes have been agitating over the foreigners’ issue in order to check this infiltration the Indian Government had decided to fence off the entire Bangladesh-Assam border at a cost of Rs. 450 crore. Bangladesh was opposed to this move.
But India ignored the objection and announced the construction of a jeep able road all along the 2,200 km long Indo- Bangladesh border. 150 yards from the demarcation line before the erection of the fence.
India has to take into account the Indian Ocean while framing its defence strategy. West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu are exposed to danger because they are near Indian Ocean. The U.S. demonstration of its Seventh Fleet during 1971 war is still fresh in the mind.
Threats from the air may arise together with land or sea-borne attacks. Our Air Force has to shoulder a variety of tasks. It has to provide air defence to crucial installations. It has also to ensure close air support to the Army. Transport support to the Army and other agencies and strategic bombing in the enemy’s heartland are Air Force’s responsibilities.
According to the 1980-81 report of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Army strength consists of 944,000 personnel, 2170 tanks, 700 Armoured personnel carriers, 2000 artillery pieces, 113,000 Air Force men and 40,700 Navy personnel.