Defence Industry

India’s Pursuit to Counter China with Cutting-Edge Technology

Story Highlights
  • India is set to buy more MQ-9B predator drones from the US so that its military can keep an eye on Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control and Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean.
  • India has realized that China's bullying and hostility have not stopped, even after many rounds of talks at the political and military levels.

The upcoming trip to the US by Prime Minister Narendra Modi could be a game-changer. This is because the Joe Biden administration has decided to strengthen India’s resilience in key technologies and help its ability to make modern fighter planes, artillery systems, and armored infantry vehicles. It is part of the Biden administration’s plan to close the huge gap between India and China in terms of technology and military power, help New Delhi deal with the threat from Beijing, and play a bigger role as a security provider in the area.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner, who recently went to India with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, said, “A stronger India that can defend its interests and sovereignty is good for the US.”

In the past few months, the relationship between the US and China has gotten a lot worse. China has not only started to go against US law, but it is also openly taking on the US security system. It sent a balloon over US airspace at the end of January to spy on some secret military installations. When the US military shot down the balloon, China didn’t apologize. Instead, it said the US had “overreacted.”

Last week, Chinese fighter jets and naval ships made threatening moves near American military planes and naval warships in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, where Beijing has started claiming control against international law. It recently turned down a meeting between its Defense Minister and the US Secretary of Defense, which was meant to ease tensions and help the two armies talk to each other better. China wants to put more pressure on the US to leave East Asia so it can increase its control over the area.

In a similar way, relations between India and China have gotten worse in the last year or so because Beijing has refused to pull its troops out of Depsang and Demchok and has sent troops into the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh in December 2022 and given Chinese names to several places in the border state. A group from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) recently said, “India’s weak industrial infrastructure makes it impossible for it to compete with China in defense manufacturing and military modernization. As a result, India does not pose a security threat to China.” PLA delegates said that India wouldn’t be a good partner for the US Indo-Pacific plan because it has its own foreign policy. In other words, China could do whatever it wanted on India’s boundaries and close to India.

India hasn’t fought back against Chinese invasions because their economies are so different and their air force and navy are so much bigger than India’s. India needs to start making its own fighter planes soon because it doesn’t have enough money to buy a lot of them from other countries and quickly repair the ones that get damaged. India and China also have very different types of drones, lasers, robotic aerial, surface, and undersea vehicles, cyberwarfare, semiconductors, microchips, and informationized warfare.

When President Biden and Prime Minister Modi met in Tokyo for the Quad meeting in May 2022, they announced the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology. After that and other meetings between the National Security Advisers and other top officers, the two countries have agreed in general to work together to make the GE F-414 jet engine, which will be used to power new Tejas fighter planes. This will be a big step forward because this is a technology that only the US, UK, France, and Russia own and have never given to any other country.

During the recent visit of the US Defense Secretary, India and the US finalized a roadmap for defense industrial cooperation to speed up technology cooperation and co-production in air combat, land mobility systems, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, manufacturing smart munitions, and the undersea domain. They also talked about working together in space, internet, and with artificial intelligence.

Ratner says that during Modi’s visit, there will be big news about projects that will help India modernize its military and bring together the defense industries of the two countries through co-production and co-development. India is set to buy more MQ-9B predator drones from the US so that its military can keep an eye on Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control and Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean.

The PM’s schedule is being set up so that he and Biden can spend a lot of time together. They may even have casual talks at the Camp David getaway near Washington. Even though Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and India’s reluctance to join as a defense partner are two things that the two countries disagree on, the Biden administration wants India to stay a part of its security system in the Indo-Pacific.

America also wants to make India less reliant on Moscow, give it more power so it can protect other countries, create new supply chains to take advantage of India’s fast-growing economy, speed up the introduction of green technologies to create a carbon-free economy, and work to strengthen ties with the Global South to balance China’s growing power.

India has realized that China’s bullying and hostility have not stopped, even after many rounds of talks at the political and military levels. In fact, they have gotten worse in the last six months. China is getting ready for a long-lasting fight with India. Because Russia is fighting in the Ukraine war, it is much harder for it to get new military tools and parts for its old weapons. India must get closer to the US in order to get political support, new investments, markets, supply chains, and technologies for its most important businesses and to build up its own defense industry.

Facebook Comments

Related Articles

Back to top button