Vote of Thanks at the National Seminar on Defence Acquisition

K. Subrahmanyam was Director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses from 1969 to 1975 and from 1980 to 1987.
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  • January 2010

    Today, we are facing a serious challenge in trying to cope up with a rising China and in that effort we have very many disadvantages. The Chinese have a developed infrastructure on their side which we have failed to develop on our side. The Chinese have a much higher GDP, have a better developed, modernized military, and perhaps higher level of technology. Under these circumstances we have got to look for factors in our favour in the international situation which we could exploit in order to cope up with the Chinese challenge. Yes, there are. The Chinese can procure their defence equipment only from one country, that is Russia, while the whole world's arms market is open to us. That is a major advantage for us, provided we are able to formulate an effective strategy how to tap that factor and build on that. It cannot be done if we consider acquisition of each equipment by itself and then put out tenders for the purchase of each item on the basis of lowest tender. This is not the way a major power can modernize its armed forces. And let us start with the assumption that in the coming years we are going to be perhaps 3rd or 4th major military power of the world. We are going to have military responsibilities globally which we may have to discharge in partnership with other major democratic nations. Therefore we should have a broad comprehensive strategy for defence acquisition, not in terms of individual items of equipment but in terms of how we are going to acquire a whole lot of technologies and build on them.

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