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Indian Defence Procurement: Righting the Ship
Feb 10, 2021

Indian Defence Procurement: Righting the Ship

This brief examines India’s defence procurement record for fundamental platforms, weapons, and systems, as well as planned acquisitions and projects under development. The new Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP 2020) assumes greater salience not only against India’s chequered acquisition history, but also the increasingly constrained resource environment and deteriorating regional security scenario. The brief offers a set of broad recommendat

Acting East: Indian defence co-operation in Asia
Sep 05, 2019

Acting East: Indian defence co-operation in Asia

India must remember that it is only by exporting to Asia that it can transform its ‘Act East’ policy from being a tokenistic one into an influenti

COVID-19 and Indian defence planning
May 14, 2020

COVID-19 and Indian defence planning

The Ministry of Defence has fixated on process rather than outcomes for decades with little effort to remedy this, stymying timely modernisation of th

Impact of 5G on India: Opportunities and risks for Indian defence forces
Dec 21, 2020

Impact of 5G on India: Opportunities and risks for Indian defence forces

Sourcing any piece of 5G equipment from China’s telecommunications giants is likely to be very risky from the standpoint of the Indian armed service

Scraping the bottom of the barrel: Budgets, organisation and leadership in the Indian defence system
Aug 22, 2018

Scraping the bottom of the barrel: Budgets, organisation and leadership in the Indian defence system

A recent report of the 2017-2018 Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence (PSCOD) has revealed that India’s defence services are facing a severe resource crunch. Given the enormous amount of money that the country is already spending on defence, the chances are slim that the government will come up with the significantly higher amounts of funds needed for modernisation. Meanwhile, the armed forces are facing obsolescence in equipment. The wa

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army in transition: Implications for Indian defence
Apr 21, 2018

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army in transition: Implications for Indian defence

The challenge to Beijing is that it may be instigating an arms race where it does not seek one, especially with regard to India, which increasingly se

The Ukraine Crisis: Impact on Indian defence policy
Mar 11, 2023

The Ukraine Crisis: Impact on Indian defence policy

The Ukrainian conflict has compelled India to wean itself off Russian military capabilities

#Maritime Operations: आईएनएस विक्रांत और समंदर में कार्यवाही!
Sep 09, 2022

#Maritime Operations: आईएनएस विक्रांत और समंदर में कार्यवाही!

एयरक्राफ्ट कैरियर (विमानवाहक पोत) हिंद महासागर में भारत �

#अग्निपथ: एक नई, क्रांतिकारी और साहसिक रक्षा भर्ती योजना!
Jun 24, 2022

#अग्निपथ: एक नई, क्रांतिकारी और साहसिक रक्षा भर्ती योजना!

अग्निपथ योजना को रक्षा बजट का बोझ कम करने और देश को उभरते �

A record boom
Dec 13, 2023

A record boom

India is still a net importer, but its momentum is in the right direction.

Affordable Airpower: Need for refining business processes
Oct 30, 2013

Affordable Airpower: Need for refining business processes

Pointing out that the problem for an upcoming Indian defence industry is in the basics, experts suggest that a refinement of processes in conducting business and procurement would go a long way.

After Balakot, one eye on the Dragon
Aug 14, 2019

After Balakot, one eye on the Dragon

As China innovates its aerial platforms and weaponry to match the US Air Force, the Indian defence-industrial planning will have to be more ambitious.

Chinese submarines in IOR: Game changers?
Jul 07, 2015

Chinese submarines in IOR: Game changers?

Given that the Chinese submarines are likely to be found operating frequently in the IOR, the Indian defence establishment must develop some adequate responses, rather than just being alarmed repeatedly.

Debate on Space Code of Conduct: An Indian Perspective
Jul 23, 2023

Debate on Space Code of Conduct: An Indian Perspective

As the debate for a Space Code of Conduct gains momentum, there is a need to frame a code that is acceptable to all space-faring nations. This Paper assesses the concerns of Asian countries, especially India, on the code proposed by the European Union

Deradicalisation as Counterterrorism Strategy: The Experience of Indian States
Aug 04, 2020

Deradicalisation as Counterterrorism Strategy: The Experience of Indian States

Various Indian states have attempted to implement their respective deradicalisation programmes to counter radicalised thought amongst those identified as being at-risk, as well as those contemplating on joining, or are returning after having joined terror groups. Maharashtra and Kerala, for example, claim that their programmes are a success. Yet little is known regarding the structure of these deradicalisation programmes, their implementation, th

Drones and India: Exploring Policy and Regulatory Challenges Posed by Civilian Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Feb 06, 2015

Drones and India: Exploring Policy and Regulatory Challenges Posed by Civilian Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

This paper explores the ways in which UAVs are increasingly integrating themselves in civilian life, outlines the policy implications of this rapid proliferation, and identifies specific policy blind spots India must address.

Explaining the Rise of Minilaterals in the Indo-Pacific
Sep 16, 2021

Explaining the Rise of Minilaterals in the Indo-Pacific

Heightening great-power rivalry has impeded consensus-making in multilateral institutions. This has given rise, in recent years, to minilaterals especially in the Indo-Pacific. Even as there are criticisms that minilaterals are too informal and lacking in structures that are required for focused debates, China’s belligerence has galvanised support for, and focus within minilateral groupings in the region. Over the past year, the fallout of the

From Buyer to Builder: The Indian Navy’s Rocky Road to Self-Reliance
Sep 10, 2020

From Buyer to Builder: The Indian Navy’s Rocky Road to Self-Reliance

This paper evaluates deficiencies in India’s naval shipbuilding programme, and identifies factors that adversely impact naval warship construction in the country. It argues that despite considerable effort, India’s shipbuilding endeavours continue to suffer from systemic deficits that cannot be addressed through ad hoc policy interventions and short-term solutions. Through an assessment of strengths and weaknesses of India’s defence shipyar

Hitting the mark on defence exports
Jul 28, 2022

Hitting the mark on defence exports

Even a cursory look at the drivers of Indian defence exports reveals the salience of simplified industrial licensing, easing of export restrictions, and issuance of no-objection certificates

India and Counterforce: A Question of Evidence
May 14, 2020

India and Counterforce: A Question of Evidence

Even as India has had a long-running debate about many aspects of its nuclear doctrine, most importantly, its No First Use (NFU) policy, the country continues to maintain the NFU. This paper makes a critical assessment of recent arguments made by Christopher Clary and Vipin Narang that India may be reconsidering its NFU policy because of counterforce “temptations”. The paper dissects the evidence they present—statements made by mostly retir

India's disinterest in Asian defence diplomacy continues
May 26, 2015

India's disinterest in Asian defence diplomacy continues

As the annual Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore begins this week, Indian Defence Minister will not be present for the meeting suggesting that the tone of disinterest in Asian defence diplomacy set by the previous government appears to continue.

India-US Defence Relations: In Search of a Direction
Jul 23, 2023

India-US Defence Relations: In Search of a Direction

The strong reactions to the non-inclusion of American firms in a major Indian military procurement tender, in the backdrop of proposed aggressive weapons sales by the Americans, paint a contrasting picture that could influence India-US defence relations in the near future. This Paper looks at the entire gambit of Indo-US Defence relations and, based on past experiences and ongoing deliberations, the challenges ahead.

India’s armed services must prepare for reform
Jul 07, 2021

India’s armed services must prepare for reform

In the last few years, there has been a change and a slew of defence reforms have been brought in. More than at any other time in post-Independence India, there is a commitment to change the way the Indian defence forces are organised

India’s Coastal Security Challenges and Policy Recommendations
Jul 31, 2023

India’s Coastal Security Challenges and Policy Recommendations

The November 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai the commercial capital of an economically resurgent India?left a deep and indelible impact on the Indian security psyche. The attacks exposed the lackadaisical attitude of the Government, at both the Central and state level, towards coastal security and the sheer illpreparedness of the country to combat such terror threats from the seas.

India’s Defence Industry: Achievements and Challenges
May 06, 2024

India’s Defence Industry: Achievements and Challenges

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has launched many reforms under the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives to strengthen India’s moribund defence industry. These reforms have led to some visible improvements, as evidenced by increased defence production and exports, and a large bank of in-principle government approvals for future domestic production. However, several challenges persist that require urgent attenti

Light Tanks: A Missing Priority for the Indian Army
Jul 16, 2021

Light Tanks: A Missing Priority for the Indian Army

The Indian Army’s (IA) difficulties with regard to the acquisition of light tanks are as much self-inflicted as they are a product of fiscal constraints. The Army has exerted only half-hearted efforts in developing its light-armoured capabilities—inconsistent with current Army doctrine and in disregard of history. Indeed, the IA has used light armour in high-altitude operations in the past. This paper argues that the IA is hobbled by an infan

Military Build-up in the Indian Ocean: Implications for Regional Stability
Oct 12, 2015

Military Build-up in the Indian Ocean: Implications for Regional Stability

The Indian Ocean region is yet again witnessing another phase of strategic rivalries, with global powers including the US, China and India competing to create their own zones of power. The Indian Ocean has historical signicance as a key corridor for both trade and energy resources from the oil-rich Middle East to the big economies of East Asia. The nature of challenges facing the region are evolving. Economically, the Indian Ocean has become more

Rafale: The deal is kosher, politics over it is not. The price we are paying is national security
Mar 05, 2019

Rafale: The deal is kosher, politics over it is not. The price we are paying is national security

The political ambitions of a few could potentially derail the Indian defence purchase mechanism for a long time to come. This will delight our nation's adversaries.

Recommendations on Arms Procurement Reforms in India
Sep 25, 2012

Recommendations on Arms Procurement Reforms in India

The Observer Research Foundation's programme on Defence Procurement Reforms, following a seminar organised in May, 2012, has now moved to the second stage of identifying initiatives that can be taken in the executive and legislative branches. This Paper presents practical recommendations to improve capacities and decision-making methodologies in India's arms procurement system.

Resolving the India-China Boundary Dispute: Incentivising Cooperation, Enlarging Bargaining Space and Promoting Constructive Strategies
May 25, 2012

Resolving the India-China Boundary Dispute: Incentivising Cooperation, Enlarging Bargaining Space and Promoting Constructive Strategies

Pessimism towards a foreseeable settlement of the India-China border dispute is not unfounded. At the political level, there is a "trust deficit" which impedes cooperation. Despite the existence of multi-tiered mechanisms to facilitate resolution, there has hardly been any progress on the issue in recent years. This paper identifies the obstacles and explores how a peaceful settlement of the India-China border dispute could be arrived at in the f

S-400 CAATSA sanctions ball in US court
Nov 18, 2021

S-400 CAATSA sanctions ball in US court

The US wants to grab a major share of the Indian defence hardware market. But any imposition of sanctions will dampen chances of defence cooperation gaining further traction

Securing Afghanistan: Historic Sources of India’s Contemporary Challenge
Aug 11, 2023

Securing Afghanistan: Historic Sources of India’s Contemporary Challenge

This paper looks at debates from the days of the British Raj until now that have shaped India's strategic thought on Afghanistan. It highlights the impact of India's territorial construct on its strategic imagination and argues that India's Afghan policy is determined by its political geography. Afghanistan has proved to be a security lynchpin in South and A Central Asia over the last two decades. Home to a variety of militant networks with regi

Sino-Indian Border Infrastructure: Issues and Challenges
Jul 31, 2023

Sino-Indian Border Infrastructure: Issues and Challenges

This paper looks at the recent Chinese infrastructural developments along the Sino-Indian border, including building of highways, road links and oil pipelines that have improved the country's force deployment and sustenance capabilities. The paper also assesses India?s infrastructure initiatives on the border front and argues that they are inadequate, especially in light of the Chinese developments.

Strengthening the C4ISR capabilities of India’s Armed Forces: The Role of Small Satellites
Jun 15, 2020

Strengthening the C4ISR capabilities of India’s Armed Forces: The Role of Small Satellites

Small satellites have gained considerable importance in recent years. Although small spacecraft have existed for decades, their military applications have recently gained prominence owing to technological advances in their development and integration into the armed services of the major spacefaring countries across the world. This paper analyses the significance of small satellites in the C4ISR capabilities of the three service branches of the In

Tejas and defence indigenisation: Significance of internal balancing
Feb 04, 2021

Tejas and defence indigenisation: Significance of internal balancing

Indigenisation is not simply about creating a defence ecosystem where indigenous development weapons can thrive, it is equally getting the end-users �

The Agnivir Scheme: Only the test of fire will make fine steel
Jun 27, 2022

The Agnivir Scheme: Only the test of fire will make fine steel

The reforms that the Agnipath scheme entails will help revolutionise the Indian defence system.

The Dynamics of LTTE’S Commercial Maritime Infrastructure
Jun 04, 2005

The Dynamics of LTTE’S Commercial Maritime Infrastructure

This paper examines the maritime infrastructure of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)--tracing the history of the development of its maritime organisation, infrastructure and strategy. The paper focuses on the salience of sea power as perceived by a violent non-state actor and provides a perspective on how non-state actors employ sea power in asymmetric conflicts