- The third-largest economy in Asia became one of only six countries that could launch a nuclear attack on land, sea, or air.
- India has fought wars and has had long-running border disputes with both arch-rival Pakistan and China, which both have nuclear weapons.
India opened its largest helicopter factory on Monday (Feb. 6), which can make at least 1,000 helicopters a year. This is part of an effort to become more self-reliant in defence to counter China’s growing assertiveness.
Last week, New Delhi also said that its annual defence budget would go up by more than 10%. This was done with an eye on its political rival, with whom it shares a disputed northern border.
India is one of the biggest buyers of arms in the world, and even though it is trying to make more of its own military equipment recently, it still relies heavily on hardware from Moscow, which has been its biggest and longest-running military supplier.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after the opening that the new helicopter facility makes good on “our government’s promise to gradually reduce India’s reliance on foreign countries for its defence needs.”
“I’m glad that India is now making hundreds of different kinds of weapons and defence systems, from modern assault rifles to tanks, aircraft carriers, helicopters, and transport planes,” he said.
What was said to be Asia’s biggest helicopter factory would start by making Light Utility Helicopters, which were designed and built in India, and then build other multirole helicopters.
The factory in the southern state of Karnataka was opened just a few months after New Delhi showed off its attack helicopters made in India that were made to be used in high-altitude areas like the Himalayas.
In September 2022, India also showed off its first aircraft carrier that was made in India. This was a big step in India’s efforts to counter China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean region.
After testing a ballistic missile from its first nuclear-powered submarine, the third-largest economy in Asia became one of only six countries that could launch a nuclear attack on land, sea, or air.
India has fought wars and has had long-running border disputes with both arch-rival Pakistan and China, which both have nuclear weapons.
In 2020, twenty Indian soldiers died in a border fight with China.