Pillars of Indian Defence System

The first decade of the 21st century has made it increasingly evident that security threats are unconstrained by borders. Each of India’s neighbours is undergoing a transition, giving rise to varied political experiences and experiments. The menace of terrorism and proliferation of arms, drugs and nuclear technology pose dangers that merit constant attention.

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The developments in 2008, particularly the challenges confronting the global financial system, created unprecedented strains in the global security environment. The continuing links of extremist and terrorist organisations with organs of the Pakistan State adds greater complexities and dangers to the evolving situation confronting us. Strengthening of our security apparatus both internally and on our frontiers is, therefore, a national priority of the highest order. China’s stated objectives, in their White Paper, of developing strategic missile and space-based assets and of rapidly enhancing its blue-water navy to conduct operations in distant waters, as well as the systematic upgrading of infrastructure, reconnaissance and surveillance, quick response and operational capabilities in the border areas, need to be monitored carefully in the foreseeable future for the implications that it can have on the security and defence of India. Similarly, its military assistance and cooperation with Pakistan, including the possibility of enhancing connectivity with Pakistan through the territory illegally occupied by Pakistan in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, will also have direct military implications for India.

India’s credible minimum deterrence plays an important role in the regional security calculus. While maintaining a posture of minimum deterrence, India has announced a policy of no-first-use and a policy of non-use against non-nuclear weapon states. India also continues to maintain a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.The need for enhanced maritime security has to be seen in the backdrop of a long coastline facing the Arabian Sea on the West, the Bay of Bengal to the east and the vast Indian Ocean in the South. Increased economic activity along the coast and the growth of major towns has heightened this necessity. Over the recent years, maritime issues like the security of sea-lanes, piracy on the high seas, energy security, WMD, terrorism etc. have become important elements in India’s security. The Indian Navy has played an outstanding role in curbing piracy in parts of Indian Ocean. The Mumbai terror attacks have once again highlighted the importance of the maritime dimension in India’s security.


The Indian Army stands vigil along the border – watchful, prepared for any sacrifice so that the people of the country may live in peace and with honour. The infusion of high technology based precision weaponry has enhanced the lethality of future warfare manifold. The spectrum of threat ranges from the nuclear to the conventional and the asymmetric, with terrorism emerging like a hydra-headed monster. The rigors of climate i.e., the glacial heights and extreme cold, dense mountainous jungles and the heat and simoom of the deserts also need to be factored.


A pragmatic vision of the shape, size and role of the Army in the long term perspective makes the modernization process of the Army dynamic and the technology process more towards development of a ‘Threat Cum Capability Based Force’. The Army has to be prepared for multi spectrum orientation changes and be always a ‘Ready and Relevant Army’ as per anticipated challenges of the future. The Mechanised Forces constitute a significant and essential segment of Defence Forces with a formidable combat potential and operational worth. The effort to modernize Mechanised Forces continues, wherein additional quantities of ATGMs for BMP-2 and T-90 tank have been contracted. The artillery is acquiring an array of guns, missiles and rocket systems with long ranges and superior firepower as also state-of-the-art surveillance systems. Weapon System of the Army include BrahMos Weapon System, Smerch Multi Rocket Launcher System (MLRS) and Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher System (MBRLS).

The present situation in the region warrants state-of-the-art systems for the Infantry. This is being achieved through endeavour for better quality personal weapons, thermal imaging devices, mine protected vehicles and improved radio communication systems. A contract has been signed for supply of Boot Anti Mines for use by Infantry. Bullet proof vehicles and shot guns are being procured for counter insurgency operations.


The Indian Navy (IN), by virtue of its capability, strategic positioning and robust presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), has been a catalyst for peace, tranquillity and stability in the IOR. It has engaged other maritime nations by extending hand of friendship and co-operation. For the smaller nations in our neighbourhood as well as nations that depend on the waters of the Indian Ocean for their trade and energy supplies, the Indian Navy ensured a measure of stability and tranquillity in the waters around our shores. To achieve its tasks Indian Navy is enhancing its capabilities, cooperation and inter-operability with regional and extra regional navies.


In order to augment the Indian Navy force level, a number of ships, submarines, survey vessels, auxiliary support vessels etc. are under construction in India and abroad. The indigenous Aircraft carrier is also under construction at CSL, Kochi. The firing of Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Derby Missile has been conducted successfully. Six UH3H utility helicopters have been inducted in the service. Intensive Flying Training Unit (IFTU) for UH3H helicopters has been set up. The unit was commissioned as Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 350 on March 23, 2009. In continuation with the policy of enhancing co-operation with foreign navies, a series of exercises were conducted. This included MILAN 08, SIMBEX 08, INDINDO Copat, KONKAN 08, VARUNA 08, IBSAMAR, HABUNAG 08, MALABAR 08 etc. Indigenously built INS Kesari was commissioned into the Indian Navy in
April 2008. Two Water Jet – Fast Attack Crafts Chetlat and Car Nicobar were commissioned into the Indian Navy in February 2009.

Coast Guard

The Coast Guard was established as an independent service on August 19, 1978 as per the Coast Guard Act, 1978. Since its inception, the Coast Guard has acquired a wide range of platforms both surface and airborne to undertake the assigned tasks during peace time and to supplement the efforts of Indian Navy during war. The command and control of the Coast Guard rests with the Director General of Indian Coast Guard at New Delhi. The Organisation has four Regional Headquarters i.e. Mumbai, Chennai, Gandhinagar and Port Blair. The four Regional Headquarters exercise command and control in the waters adjoining the entire coastline of India, through 11 Coast Guard District Headquarters.

The duties of Coast Guard include: (a) Ensuring the safety and protection of artificial islands, offshore terminals, installations and other structures and devices in Maritime Zones; (b) Providing protection to fishermen, including assistance to them at sea while in distress; (c) Taking such measures as are necessary to preserve and protect the maritime environment and to prevent and control marine pollution; (d) Assisting the customs and other authorities in anti-smuggling operations; (e) Enforcing the provisions of such enactments as are for the time being in force in the maritime zones; and (f) Such other matters, including measures for the safety of life and property at sea and collection of scientific data, as may be prescribed.

Air Force

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is undergoing a phase of transformation. Not only is there a large scale modernization and induction of new equipment, but also an accompanying doctrinal change in operational employment. The IAF today has leapfrogged a generation ahead and has acquired advanced war-waging capabilities. Meanwhile, it continues to enhance its professional reputation, by superlative performances in many international exercises and missions, both at home and abroad. The IAF has inducted state-of-the-art Su-30MKI aircraft in operational squadrons. Twenty Hawk AJT aircraft have also been inducted. Procurement contract of C-130-30 aircraft for special operations from US Government has been signed. Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) are being procured to significantly enhance the effectiveness of both Offensive and Defensive operations of the IAF.


Induction of AWACS would also enhance the force projection capabilities of the IAF in emergent situations. Contract for MiG-29 mid life upgrade and extension of total technical life was signed with RAC MiG, Russia. IAF is also processing upgradation of the Mirage- 2000 and Jaguar aircrafts and Mi-17 helicopters in order to optimise their utilization. To keep the DO-228 aircraft abreast with the latest technology, all the existing aircrafts are being upgraded with the latest avionics.

In order to exploit the AN-32 aircraft further, TTL (total technical life) extension up to 40 years and re-equipment with latest version of systems to meet the present ICAO standards for the entire AN-32 fleet is being undertaken. Indigenisation of spares required for overhaul is a continuous process. Indigenisation of more than 80,000 lines of spares has been accomplished by the Base Repair Depots (BRDs) for various fleets of IAF. A long term plan has been prepared to replace all imported barriers with ADRDE indigenized barriers.

Indigenisation of maintenance and overhaul spares of imported Arrester Barriers is also under progress. Approximately 800 lines of spares have already been indigenised. To enhance electronic surveillance, a large number of ground based radars are being inducted. Such Radars in different categories like Aerostat, Medium Power Radar (MPR), Low Level Light Weight Radar (LLLWR), Low Level Transportable Radar (LLTR), and Surveillance Radar Equipment (SRE) will greatly improve airspace management. The IAF is acquiring state-of-the-art communication equipment across all spectrums. These include SATCOM, HF and V/UHF sets with associated encryption equipment to provide secure and reliable communications for all Command, Control and Combat elements.

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