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Modi and Bjp Government Has Let Indian Army Down With S 400 Missile Deal as Russians Delay Induction

MG is a senior air warrior who is an alumnus of the Staff College and a notable writer on military history.


Coming of Modi

In 2014 Narendra Modi led the BJP to a majority in parliament after 30 years of instability. It was expected that he would revamp the Indian defence system. It was expected that Prime Minister Modi would not only sanction the One Rank One Pension(OROP) which had been pending for 40 years but also give muscle to the Army to face external threats from China and Pakistan.

Narendra Modi announced from the rooftops that he would approve OROP as defined by parliament and also he would try and undo the historical wrongs of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

Unfortunately, Modi did not approve OROP as defined by parliament and sanctioned a watered-down scheme which to date has not also been completely implemented. He had also announced that he would procure the latest weaponry for the army and an increase in the teeth and capability of the army. Unfortunately, he has not lived up to his promise.

One of the biggest blunders which Modi has done is going into a deal worth almost 6 billion dollars for the supply of the S400 missile system from Russia. The deal was signed in 2017-18 5 but not a single component of the weapon system has come to India so far. The Modi government has been caught in a bind as it has already paid 40% of the money as an upfront payment for the missiles. It is worth noting that China has already deployed the S400 Missile system in eastern Tibet targeting the Indian state of Ladakh. The Indian armed forces are thus extremely vulnerable.

The Air Force which was running short of fighter squadrons had asked for 126 first-line fighters. This demand had been pending for almost 10 years. Modi who was very critical of the Congress government when in the opposition, however, informed the air chief that only 36 fighters( Rafale)would be supplied for the IAF. The IAF protested but they were told that there would be no war with China so there was nothing to worry about.

This was singularly foolish reasoning as has been borne out by subsequent developments. It must be pointed out that Modi was so smug that there would be no tension or border problem with China that he reduced the defence budget as a percentage of the GDP to its lowest after 1962.


Poor leadership

When Narendra Modi became Prime Minister he promised that the historical wrongs committed by Pandit Nehru would be rectified. Nehru was an extremely short-sighted man with very little comprehension of what is geopolitical power politics. He was not aware that the greatness of a nation rests on military might. The net result was that he played into the hands of China in the hope that China would be a friend and allowed the Chinese to gobble the entire Tibet and Eastern part of India that is the entire Aksai Chin an area of almost 39000 square miles.

Nehru thought that Imperialism was the greatest threat and so he assumed there would be no war with China. The army was kept in a low state of readiness and weaponry. Modi promised to rectify all this but unfortunately, he played into the hands of China as he also adopted the Nehruvian approach to China.

He never realized the urgency of beefing up the Army and thought that Russia would always back India. Russia is now an ally of China and Modi did a mistake by signing the S400 missile deal with Russia. Many Indian commentators like Subramanian Swamy have commented that India should never have signed the deal with Russia because the electronic components of this missile are made in China. It's a wonder how Modi played into the hands of the Russians and ordered this Missile system. It is worth mentioning that at the same time the Americans were prepared to hand over to the Indians the Patriot missile systems and the latest technology yet Modi went in for the Russian system.

The S400

The Russian system is good but the Chinese who supplied the electronic components of the system as well as having a big trade surplus with Russia were able to get the system. As per the latest report they have already deployed the missile system.

The Russians have now announced that they will be able to supply the first part of the systems only by end of 2021. They were supposed to have supplied it by mid-2020. This is a big blow to Mr. Modi. In addition, Modi never expected there would be a clash with China, he thought that his personal diplomacy would carry the day and he started meetings with the Chinese President and met him 15 times in 6 years.

Chinese policy

The Chinese are however past masters in diplomacy and have not only fooled the Americans but they also fooled Mr. Modi. This was the reason that the defence budget was reduced as a percentage of GDP assuming there will never be a clash with China. He was rudely awakened as not only the Chinese deployed over a hundred thousand Troops against India in western Ladakh but also have made the S400 Missile system operational

Modi who was so critical of Nehru has however copied his policy and now Indians have realized that China is a hard nut to crack. The Chinese have already built up Infrastructures right up to the Indian border and they had been planning for a confrontation for many years and winter clothing for men in sub-zero temperature and other equipment is in position in Aksai Chin while only now India is going and buying this from the United States.

The Russians have also said that this Missile system will take another 5 years before it's fully operational and at that time we do not know what further the Chinese will do. All one can see at this moment is that Modi like Nehru completely misread China.

Last word

Modi has now been Prime Minister for 6 years but he has not been able to rectify any of the mistakes that Nehru committed. The border problem remains and China is in an aggressive mood. In addition, his attempt to mollify China with trade has not paid off, and though the Chinese export two billion dollars worth of goods a month to India they are really not bothered.

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Modi has also not realized that you cannot ride two horses at the same time and his attempt to try and join to United States military and try and be friends with Russia is not going to work. The Russian Ambassador in Delhi made it very clear that India while going into the Quad system would be endangering the peace of the entire Asia- Pacific region. Russia is not happy with India's closeness to America and that is one of the reasons the S400 Missile system is delayed.

India has paid 50% of the money so Russians are sitting pretty. Modi should be faulted for buying just 36 Aircraft for the IAF. One really wonders whether he has any comprehension of what airpower and how one builds up a favorable air situation. Can one do it with just one or two squadrons of aircraft or you need more?

Even a layman who is not a military historian will be able to tell you that the IAF to face the Chinese needs at least 40 squadrons. Jawaharlal Nehru is guilty of having allowed the finest fighting machine in Asia to go to seed. It was a battle-hardened Army left behind by the British. Modi had promised to make amends but by not sanctioning OROP and also cutting of pensions which I will write in a subsequent article as well as failure to procure the proper quantity of arms for the air force and army are not the best way to project Indian power in the world.


MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 26, 2020:

Another thing Ruby, the German people were very much aware of the atrocities on the Slav's and the Jews. They kept silent and many Nazi generals followed the official policy to the letter T. Surrsingly in France and Norway there was a lot of support for Nazi rule. ~I asked this question during my visits to France but there was no answer not even a denial.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 26, 2020:

Thank you, Ruby Jean. The article probably went into the author's view immediatwely. Here is the link

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 25, 2020:

I just read your article on the many people who committed suicide when WW2 was ending. I had no idea that happened. I have always wondered if the German people were aware of the camps where the Jewish people were murdered. I could not find the article on this feed page.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 24, 2020:

Thank you, Pamela, its such a pleasure that you have commented.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 24, 2020:

This is another interesting article, MG. When India has paid a great deal of money for an order that hasn't arrived, I think it would be frustrating to many people. I hope this situation gets resolved in the near future.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 24, 2020:

Tom, thank you for commenting. You have certainly made some very telling points and support my observation. The Nehru family with roots in Islam had something against Punjabi's. Remember Gandhi with all the killing going on never visited Punjab. Now Sikhs are keener to go to Canada and the Deputy prime minister and 3 other Sikhs are part of Trudeau's cabinet.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 24, 2020:

Tom, further to what I have written there is a whiff of suspicion that Nehru and Congress had some bias against Sikhs. The British loved the Sikhs and 33% of the army and officer cadre were Sikh. After independence, most Sikh generals were sidelined and only once Vajpayee came to power the trend changed i.e. after 60 years.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 24, 2020:

Thanks, Tom, the crux is that the Indians always are laggards. I remember reading that no Indian general cautioned the Government and Nehru on the Chinese threat. There was only one and he was Lt gen Kulwant Singh and he was superseded by Nehru to Army Chief.There were 2 senior generals to Thimmiya who was made chief, Lt Gen Kulwant and Lt Gen Sant Singh both from Sandhurst but Nehru set them aside.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 24, 2020:

Thanks, Tom, you have brought out some interesting facts. The French plane is good but not cost-effective in addition there is no license to manufacture in India. The French don't want it. Even the Tejas which India has produced has no buyers and comparatively the J7 I think which Pak and China have produced has buyers from 6 countries. The Jaguar is a good plane and i have flown it, presently it is the best in the iAF as a DPSA. But production is stopped and the plane will soon be obsolete.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 24, 2020:

Tom, thanks for commenting. You are right as I have pointed out the electronic components are Chinese and I really wonder who advised Modi to go ahead with the deal. Now, this system will be operational by 2026, the world would have changed by then. This is the bane of Indian leadership and that includes military leadership. There is no strategic planning. This is the record throughout history. Field Marshal Montgomery wrote in his "History of Warfare' that Hindus were very brave but lacked strategic sense, as the Khyber and NW passes were never guarded. There is no choice to weapon procurement as hardly any capital guns or weapons are manufactured in India, unlike China which by reverse engineering has forged ahead.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 23, 2020:

Lt Col G Biswas, Thank you for your comment.

Lt Col G Biswas on December 23, 2020:

I am extremely delighted to read this article. It requires someone to call a Spade a Spade and I am glad you have done it. S400 system is likely to be fully operationalonly by 2026 and its a long time ahead. I don't know how India can be so foolish to go in for this system. Once we have decided to go with the United States we should have gone in for the American system which is also good. in addition, Russia is an ally of China and worse, dependent on it economically. The writing is on the wall..

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