How India’s military-industrial economy is rapidly developing

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Astr Defence’s ATAL polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol is manufactured privately.

Private companies have been driving innovation and indigenization over the last few years.

Sanjib K. R. Baruah

The chill is in Sumeet’s bones. He is reminded of his village in the Himalayan mountains by the wintertime air. The soldier is maintaining a hawk-like vigil while stationed at a forward mountain post on the Line of Control. In a region where militants supported by Pakistan are known to infiltrate, nothing can be left to chance.

The troops battling the Chinese are among the first to use these modern equipment.

75 cutting-edge military products powered by artificial intelligence that were created and developed by India have been made available for purchase by friendly countries.

“There is a realisation that India’s ability to manoeuvre in international politics is being limited by its over-reliance on Russia and the west for weapons,” Delhi University Professor Kumar Sanjay Singh

The Line of Control, which serves as the de facto border between India and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, is marked by a mountain brook a few metres in front of us.

Sumeet’s guardhouse might appear the same to an untrained eye as it did before. But a lot has changed in the last two years or so. His go-to 5.56mm x 45mm 5.56mm x 45mm 5.56mm x 45mm 5.56mm x 45mm 5.56mm x 45mm 5.56mm x 45mm 5.56mm x 45mm 5.56mm x45mm 5.56mm x45 However, there are a number of “sector-specific” weapons like the AK-47, the Israeli Tavor assault rifle, and the American Sig Sauer available in the barracks behind.

In addition to a hotline and a four-screen CCTV set on a table, there is a mounted telescopic sight right next to Sumeet. Mobile signal quality has improved significantly over the past year or so. There is a solar panel for constant power on the guardhouse’s roof.

Compared to Sumeet’s body armour worn by Sumeet’s body armour worn by Sumeet’s body armour worn by Sumeet’s body armour worn by Sumeet’s body armour worn by Sumeet’s body

A little distance behind Sumeet, in another outpost, two soldiers amble into a futuristic, US-made Polaris ATV (all-terrain vehicle)―a far cry from the once ubiquitous Maruti Gypsy―to go on reconnaissance patrol. This particular unit is armed with quadcopters, Israeli Negev LMGs (light machine guns), Finnish Sako sniper rifles, and handheld thermal imagers with rangefinders for surveillance.

“The majority of the equipment is relatively new; it all arrived within the last year or two. The effectiveness of our border monitoring and security grid has significantly increased with the installation of this cutting-edge equipment and infrastructure. With a steely resolve on his face, Sumeet declares that it is practically impossible for intruders to enter at this point.

His self-assurance is increased by the fact that counter-drone systems and surveillance drones are constantly on alert in the skies, despite being invisible to the human eye. Due in part to this impenetrability, militants nearly abandoned their infiltration routes in north Kashmir. The routes have changed in sections near Jammu, Samba, Kathua, and specific areas near Rajouri and Poonch, moving south of the Pir Panjal range.

The heart of counter-insurgency operations in the Kashmir valley is the 15 Corps, also known as the “Chinar” Corps, which has its base in the Badamibagh neighbourhood of Srinagar. The corps’ commanding officer, Lieutenant General Amardeep Singh Aujla, says: Whether it is for surveillance, lethality, protection, communication, or battlefield transparency, “We are absorbing technology in a big way, and in space and cyberthese are the facets where a lot of acquisitions have been done. the ad hoc………………………………

These state-of-the-art platforms and high-tech tools have been placed all along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the MacMahon Line in northeastern India, and the border with the Tibet Autonomous Region, which is controlled by China.

To ensure that we stay on top of the game, Major General Sanjiv Singh Slaria, who until recently oversaw the counter-insurgency Kilo Force under the 15 Corps, says: “We need to be able to anticipate new forms of threats emanating from terrorists.” In north Kashmir, the Kilo Force patrols an area of about 580 sq km.

The troops battling the Chinese are among the first to use these modern equipment. The deployment has changed to face the adversary in the north as the insurgency situation in the northeast has subsided.

There has never been a busier time for the Army department that issues tenders, requests for information, and requests for proposals. The list is extensive and includes loitering munitions, a wide variety of drones, counter-drone systems, and cutting-edge radio systems.

The DRDO has done well in terms of strategic capability by creating and deploying a credible second-strike capability from land, air, water, and underwater. Quietly, the Strategic Force Command is receiving 30% of the DRDO’s R&D budget for its needs.

The chief engineer of the Army, Lieutenant General Harpal Singh, says that technology is being implemented at an unprecedented rate. We have constructed technical storage and high-altitude habitats in eastern Ladakh in just the last two years. These can hold 450 armoured vehicles and guns in addition to up to 22,000 troops. These are portable and simple to disassemble.

By developing and implementing a credible second-strike capability from land, air, water, and underwater, the DRDO has done well in terms of strategic capability. 30% of the DRDO’s R&D budget is covertly going to the Strategic Force Command for its requirements.

According to Lieutenant General Harpal Singh, the Army’s chief engineer, technology is being adopted at an unprecedented rate. In just the past two years, we have built technical storage and high-altitude habitats in eastern Ladakh. These can accommodate up to 22,000 soldiers and 450 armoured vehicles with guns. These can be taken apart easily and are portable.

“Local materials were used to build a few shelters. Even though it is minus 20 degrees Celsius outside, these shelters are kept at a constant 20 degrees Celsius. We are currently considering using 3D printing technology to construct permanent defence bunkers. These are capable of withstanding a direct tank strike. We have already put them to the test in specific situations, and we are now gradually implementing them along the northern borders.

The Developing Private Story of Developing Private Story of Developing Private Story of Developing Private

The established players, medium-sized businesses, and start-ups in the private sector are all talking about the dramatic changes to the military production landscape.

According to Jayant Patil, who provides defence and smart technology advice to the CEO and MD of Larsen & Toubro, “Today, we see teaming and significant work sharing between public and private companies. This is evident in all defence PSUs (public sector undertakings). The warship development programme, which includes large survey ships and shallow water anti-submarine warfare vessels, is one of the best examples. The Akash (missile) programme is the same way. Pre-bid public-private partnerships are another option in the modern era for megaprogrammes like design and development programmes.

As a result, the Indian military industrial landscape has entered an era of innovation, which was the main idea of the DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar in October. In addition to meeting domestic demands, domestically produced goods like the domestic ‘Atal’ pistol (produced by Hubballi-based Astr) and the nation’s first combat-ready drone (Jatayu Unmanned Systems) are also targeting international markets.

The flagship Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and the top-tier BrahMos missiles have already attracted a lot of attention abroad. The aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, with a displacement of about 45,000 tonnes, has also become a hot topic of conversation.

In the area of specialised technologies, the nation is also opening up new territories. For instance, India has created and developed 75 cutting-edge military goods based on artificial intelligence that are being sold to allies.

In addition to these, the nation has shown proficiency in the design and construction of sophisticated missile systems, artillery rockets, and underwater weapons. The general command and control systems, fire controls, and autonomous solutions are the other emerging verticals.

About Rs13,000 crore worth of weapons and systems were exported by Indian weapon manufacturers in 2020–21, with 70% coming from private businesses. Armenia agreed to purchase Pinaka multi-barrell multi-barrell Pinaka multi-barrell multi-barrell rocket launchers from Pinaka multi-barrell Pinaka multi-barrell Pinaka multi-barrell rocket launch A deal for the Kalyani 155mm gun is also in the air.

It is clear that home-grown systems and equipment will be used. One such initiative is coming from the desk of a young Army captain who was hand-selected and assigned to the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. The Army Design Bureau’s (ADB) Captain Rajprasad has established a lab and an office on the IIT campus with the goal of advancing military research and development. He has made an incredible number of innovations. (See images)

The ADB, which was established in 2016, is in charge of the Army’s “Make in India” initiative. Rajprasad, who is in his 30s and goes by just one name, claims that “the entire ecosystem has acquired a strong buzz in the past three to four years.” “We need a body like this with so much eager talent,”

China and Pakistan may have been the ones to ignite the winds of change that are sweeping the military landscape. Due to their aggressive stances, India established a reputation as a “hard state” that would not accept defeat.

The first significant event in this timeline was the attack on the Indian military installation close to Uri on September 18, 2016, which resulted in the deaths of 19 soldiers and led to the now-famous surgical strike.

Later, on February 26, 2019, an Air Force fighter aircraft flew over Pakistani territory to bomb terrorist infrastructure in Balakot in response to the Pulwama car bombing on February 14, 2019, which resulted in the deaths of 44 security personnel. The next day, the Pakistanis made their attack.

The Army also conducted a number of operations across the open Indo-Myanmar border during this time to hunt down insurgents. India was compelled to modernise as a result of China’s massive modernization and rapid infrastructure development because of the growing asymmetry between the two countries.

The border conflict with the People’s Liberation Army has been the biggest factor in India’s modernization. A string of brutal fights between soldiers in eastern Ladakh and north Sikkim that culminated on June 15, 2020, in the Galwan clash served as its catalyst. Chinese officials claim that only four of their men were killed, while 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

Prof. Kumar Sanjay Singh, a professor of modern history at Delhi University and an expert in Cold War politics, claims that “India is in a serious arms race.” “It began with Pakistan, but recently it has involved China. China has gained prominence for two reasons. First, China has abruptly decided it can disregard the SOPs put in place to prevent violence along the LAC. Second,

The Indigenously Designed, Developed, and Manufactured (IDDM) category was established by the government in 2016 as part of the Make in India initiative and broader defence indigenization policy. Today, more than 80% of acquisitions are intended to come from Indian businesses, according to Patil. The user is resolute to avoid relying on imports of the items listed in the four positive indigenization lists (favouring domestic manufacturers). Budgetary support had to be matched with the plan to acquire locally. The increased funding (68% of the capital acquisition budget) for purchases from Indian companies and 25% of that for purchases from the private sector demonstrate the government’s commitment.

The growth narrative is also creating spinoffs in previously unimagined fields. The Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA) has developed a different concept at the same time as two Defence Industrial Corridors (DICs) in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, both of which aim to draw investment totaling about Rs10,000 crore each. Around 50 defense-related businesses and start-ups will be able to establish themselves in the 60-acre defence park that has been established in Ottapalam. Storage, labs, and research facilities are available.
The growth narrative is also creating spinoffs in previously unimagined fields. The Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA) has emerged as a competitor to the two Defense Industrial Corridors (DICs) being established in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, both of which aim to draw investment worth approximately Rs10,000 crore each.

Aneesh A.S., manager of the KINFRA defence park, explained that the idea for the park’s establishment came about as a result of the rapidly changing environment and the high demand for cutting-edge defence and military gear. We just finished building the park’s infrastructure, and we’ve already begun allocating space to private businesses and entrepreneurs. Eight units have already begun operations. It is possible for businesses to relocate here from all over the world. The only requirement is that they be involved in the production or provision of defence services.

Industrial-Military Complex

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reports that between 2012–16 and 2017–21, India’s imports of weapons decreased by 21%.

Without a doubt, a military-industrial complex is beginning to take shape, claims Prof. Singh. “This is creating a new ecosystem where a private role is prioritised more. This is a key development in India’s military-industrial complex’s development.

The architecture connecting the military and the defence production industry is developed in the majority of developed economies, creating a win-win situation for both. While the industry makes money from the sale, the military receives the weapons. But simultaneously, two problems appear, notes Singh. “The small portion of the budget set aside for defence will cover the acquisition needs. That will make it more difficult to pursue indigenization while purchasing advanced military systems.

A strong military-industrial complex has historically had a negative impact on public policy by influencing how it is created. It will be interesting to see how India’s military-industrial complex grows, says Singh. The key challenge would be to what extent the political class is able to exert control over defence production rather than merely acting as its agent. That determines how the Indian democracy will fare.

Few would, however, disagree that, given the rate of development of India’s military-industrial complex, the emphasis may eventually shift from “Make in India” and “Made for India” to “India making for the world.”

What I Use in My Trade

Army Design Bureau innovation by Captain Rajprasad, in various stages of adoption and deployment

IED and mine detection vehicle that is unmanned
AI-based intrusion detection and integrated command station, SARVATRA PEHCHAAN. combines various sensor feeds into a single module and performs in-the-moment AI-based analytics. enables command centres with AI
a remote-controlled vehicle the size of a backpack that can travel on any surface and destroy IEDs. In counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, it can be used to clear rooms.

Circuit for wireless electronic detonation. An electronic device that can simultaneously remotely detonate several targets
remote-controlled blaster with multiple targets. Detonation tools that are portable and handheld. Additionally, it can be sent to targets using an unmanned aerial or ground vehicle.

Innovative Tactical Platforms


The following technologies are available: * Autonomous surveillance and armed drone swarm * Swathi weapons-locating radar * Ultra-light howitzers, Dhanush (howitzer), and K-9 Vajra artillery guns

On the Horizon

Enhanced missile capabilities for the Arjun MK1A and Arjun MK2 tanks. Zorawar light tanks. Guided rockets for the already-inducted Pinaka (multiple rocket launcher). Integrated surveillance and targeting system. Futuristic infantry combat vehicle. New wheeled armoured fighting vehicle. Light armoured multipurpose vehicle. Look-deep drones. Advanced anti-drone capability. Loitering munitions on BMP-2 (infantry fighting vehicle).

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