Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in budget 2019 allocated Rs 4,31,011 crore ($ 61.96 billion) for the current financial year. Since its inception, the Modi government has stressed on local manufacturing with its flagship programme like 'Make in India'. Indigenous manufacturing, especially in the defence sector, was one of the major agendas for the incumbent government.
But the inability of the entire plan to pick-up pace, Indian defence establishments is now forced to buy expensive technology, products, arms and ammunition from foreign countries. In terms of imports of arms and ammunitions, India stands at the second spot only next to Saudi Arabia. Here are some the major defence deals India is currently engaged in with foreign countries.
S-400 Air defence system with Russia
India and Russia signed Rs. 40,000 deal with an Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) to acquire five S-400 regiments in October 2016. S-400 air defence system is considered as the best air defence system at the moment and is available at a price almost half of its US alternative Patriot missile system. Acquiring S-400 missile system will give India an unprecedented edge over its long-time adversary in the west, Pakistan. With a range of 400km, the radars of the S-400 system can cover almost the whole of Pakistani airspace and track almost all kinds of aircraft taking off, flying and landing. The entire system is expected to be inducted into the services in October 2020.
Deal for new medium multi-role combat aircraft
In recent years, the Indian Airforce (IAF) has been witnessing a depletion in the number of squadrons. The IAF requires at least 42 air squadrons to face a two-front war but the depleting strength of these squadrons is giving a major headache to the IAF. Currently, the IAF is operating with only 33 squadrons. With Soviet-era MiG-21 fighter aircrafts getting too old to be continued in service and slow manufacturing of indigenous Tejas aircraft, the IAF is in a desperate situation to maintain its fleet. Further, India planned to buy 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) fighters from France but finally, only 36 fighters were ordered.
Indian Air Force (IAF) has received responses to its "request for information" (RFI) from world's topmost fighter aircraft manufacturers for the purchase of 114 fighter planes. Six major military aircraft manufacturer including with American companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Russian Aircraft Corporation, Dassault of France, Swedish firm Saab and European consortium, Eurofighter GmbH are fighting to get this multi-billion dollar deal. However, the process is at an early stage and will take years to conclude.
Kamov helicopters deal with Russia
Recently, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the Rs 3,600 crore proposal to buy 10 Kamov-31 AEW Helicopters from Russia for the Indian Navy. Indian Navy is looking to add to the existing squadrons of surveillance choppers which are largely being done by US-made Sea-kings that were procured in the 1980s. The total cost of the deal is expected to be around Rs 3,600 crore and 10 helicopters would be deployed on the aircraft carriers and warships including the INS Vikrant and Grigorovich-class frigates.