India’s indigenously developed missile
India defense budget may be just 2.5 percent of it’s GDP (Rs 96,000 crore, an increase of 11 percent over last year in money terms) and out of this the allocation for research and development just Rs 5887.22 crore (6.13 percent of the total defence budget) but the DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organisation) has had a big success this year!!
They have developed a high-speed interceptor missile (a missile which intercepts another midway) and what is creditable is that it’s a completely indigenous development. As they say here:
The AAD used Sunday was a new missile and not a derivative or an update of any existing missile. It was specially designed and developed by (DRDO) for this role, the defence sources said.
This missile, called Advance Air Defence (AAD) was tested on the second of December over the Bay of Bengal and in this mock trial, a simulated electronics target was first fired from Orissa (Chandipur area). One is not sure if this new missile is part of the IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program) which is for the development of a comprehensive range of missiles. Examples: Agni, Prithvi, Akash, and Trishul, which alongwith some others are in different stages of development and deployment.
However, scientists have been working on developing anti-missile technology for some time. In November last year they had successfully tested an “exo-atmospheric interceptor missile PAD-01” which in a mock trial had destroyed an incoming Prithvi missile at an altitude of 50 km.
The missile launched this month is a is a variant of the one launched last year but Defense sources claim that this newly tested (not yet named) is a totally new missile and not a “derivative or an update” of any existing missile.
Interestingly, India will be building it’s first indigenously-built nuclear submarine by 2009.
A brief overview of military spending in the region
However we do not produce too much of indigenous work and one of the reasons could be that we spend too little on defense. India may be the fourth largest military in the world, but our defense expenditure is very little compared to our neighbours, just 2.5 percent of our GDP. Pakistan’s military budget is around 4 per cent of GDP. China’s military budget is higher, at around $44 billion (believed to be one-third of the actual). China increased it’s military budget by about 18 percent this year. Some rapid arms buildup is going on in China! And why do we have to care about what China is doing? You can read about why India needs to be wary of China here.
Although India has increased defense spends from Rs 86,000 to Rs 96,000 crore, this increase is considered almost nothing as it just about takes care of inflation.
Who in the world spends the most on defense?
Well, it’s no big secret that it’s the United States. It says here:
In 2007, the official outlay by the top 76 biggest national spenders reached USD1.3 trillion dollars with the US alone providing nearly half the global total. Outside the US, around 80 per cent comes from just 20 countries: seven in Europe (UK; France; Germany; Italy; Spain; Netherlands; and Greece); six in the Asia Pacific (Japan; China; South Korea; India; Taiwan; and Australia); three in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia; Israel; and Turkey); two in South America (Brazil and Colombia); and Russia in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Each region has it’s dominant defense spenders. Europe has UK and France. Asia Pacific has Japan and China. The Middle East has Saudi Arabia. And then there’s Russia…
However, when it comes to growth in defense budgets, Asian budgets are believed to be on the rise. At present at least India is not showing any significant growths inspite of a growing economy. L. K. Behera (Associate Fellow, Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses) has given a reason as to why the defense budget is more or less stagnant in an article here:
A perusal of the Defense Services Estimates (DSE) reveals that the Armed Forces have surrendered nearly Rs, 40,000 crore in the past decade…As the Services’ record of spending allotted funds is not displaying any improvement, the Ministry of Finance did not grant more funds…this aspect is the most crucial factor that justifies the mismatch between (India’s) robust economic growth and a relatively lower growth in the defense budget
Well, I hope the services get their act together on this one….and I also hope that the government allocates a higher budget to the DRDO. If we can develop more indigenous technology it means decreasing dependence of foreign powers. It’s not just the cost, but also availability of spare parts at short notice. Not to mention the pride that comes with it all.
(Photo is from the wiki and linked to the original. It is of the Agni missile, not the newly launched missile.)
Note: A blogger friend Vishal sent me the article on the launch of the high-speed interceptor missile. Once I read it, it led me on a an interesting exploratory path. Thanks Vishal. 🙂
Related Reading: Why India needs to be wary of China.