Offensive Defence

Imports and Influence: How India’s Foreign Policy Interacts with its Weapons Purchases

Soon after Narendra Modi assumed office as India’s prime minister for the first time in 2014, his government announced an ambitious plan to “Make in India”, a set of initiatives that were to transform the country into a global manufacturing hub, rejuvenating its flagging economic growth and generating much-needed jobs. Six years later, “Make in India” was on life support. It turned out that global investors and companies wanted more than persuasive speeches and flashy ads – better infrastructure and serious reforms of the factor markets, for a start.

Modi’s initiative was also supposed to have boosted indigenous defense manufacturing. Between 2015-19, India was the world’s second largest weapons importer (falling into the number-two spot after a decade) depending on Russia, United States, France as well as Israel, for vital platforms and weapons ranging from stealth frigates and combat aircraft to brass tack items such as anti-tank guided missiles and even assault rifles.

Precisely why this is the case is a long and depressing story, the upshots being path dependence on certain platforms, poor performance by the military-technical laboratories

Source: The Diplomat

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