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India OKs Military Modernization Projects Worth $9.8 Billion

Photo of Joe Saballa

The government of India has approved the procurement of military equipment and state-of-the-art platforms worth 760 billion rupees ($9.78 billion) from local defense firms.

The country’s top procurement body issued an “acceptance of necessity” for the multibillion-dollar military equipment proposal. India’s procurement rules indicate that such an acceptance is the first step toward buying military hardware.

The newly-approved budget will go toward purchasing wheeled armored fighting vehicles and weapon-locating radars, as well as engines for Dornier and Su-30 MKI aircraft.

Additionally, around 320 billion rupees ($4.6 billion) will be used to purchase next-generation corvettes for surveillance missions, Surface Action Group operations, and coastal defense.

“This will provide a substantial boost to the Indian defence industry and reduce foreign spending significantly,” the Indian Ministry of Defence was quoted as saying.

The development is part of the “Make in India” initiative, which aims to boost the domestic manufacturing industry and cut the Asian nation’s dependence on foreign imports for military equipment.

Indian soldiers

Focus on Maritime Capabilities

A large portion of the $9.8 billion budget will go towards the production and procurement of warships using the “latest technology of ship building.”

The ministry said that the corvettes would be constructed based on a new in-house design by the Indian Navy for improved performance and survivability.

Once deployed, the warships are expected to contribute to the government’s Security and Growth for all in the Region initiative.

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List of 10 latest defence deals that India has signed in the last six months

List of 10 latest defence deals that India has signed in the last six months

Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat with Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh during the valedictory function of the 13th edition of Aero India 2021, at Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru BCCL

1. ​India-made Israeli Tavor X 95 rifles

1. ​India-made Israeli Tavor X 95 rifles

Until now, India got its Tavor X 95 rifles from the Israel Weapons Industry (IWI). Now, these guns are being made in India and being supplied to the central and state forces, according to The Print.

2. ₹48,000 crore deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to procure 83 new Tejas light combat aircraft

2. ₹48,000 crore deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to procure 83 new Tejas light combat aircraft

On February 3, India’s Ministry of Defence awarded a ₹48,000 crore contract to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to supply 83 light combat aircraft (LCA) Mk-1A jets — also called Tejas fighters — to the Indian Air Force.

The first Tejas LCA is scheduled to be delivered to the air force in three years. The rest will be supplied 2030.

Of these 83 new aircraft, 73 are Mk-1A fighter jets and 10 are LCA Mk-1 trainer aircraft.

3. ​Over ₹1,000 crore defence procurement contract with Bharat Electronics for modern radio systems

3. ​Over ₹1,000 crore defence procurement contract with Bharat Electronics for modern radio systems

The Indian Ministry of Defence signed a contract, worth over ₹1,000 crore, with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for procuring Software Defined Radio Tactical (SDR-Tac) on February 8.

The design and development SDR-Tac is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO), Weapons and Electronics Systems Engineering Establishment (WESEE), BEL, Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR) and the Indian Navy.

The radio system itself is a four channel multi-mode, multi-band, 19 rack mountable, and ship borne design.

4. ​The Indian Army is going get 118 Arjun Mark-1A tanks worth ₹8,400

4. ​The Indian Army is going get 118 Arjun Mark-1A tanks worth ₹8,400

In December 2020, the Defence Ministry recently cleared the induction of 118 Arjun Mark-1A tanks into the Indian Army. Their cumulative value is around ₹8,400 crores.

The tanks are indigenously made by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). This tank is a third-generation main battle tank. This means it has composite armour and computer stabilized fire control systems, which allow firing on the move as well as very high first hit probability on targets up to 2,000 meters away.

It has 72 more features as compared to its older version.

These 118 new tanks will be joining the fleet of the first batch of 124 Arjun tanks, which are already with the Indian Army and deployed in the western desert along the border which India shares with Pakistan.

5. A $200 million deal for Israeli SPICE bombs

5. A $200 million deal for Israeli SPICE bombs

While most of the new defence procurement deals in India’s kitty are focused on keeping manufacturing in-house, some equipment is still being imported. While India tried to brush reports under the rug, the country has signed a $200 million contract with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence System.

This deal includes the procurement of bomb guidance kits, anti-tank guided missiles, and software-enabled radios.

The company has declined to identify the ‘Asian country’ which is its customer — as per its press release in December 2020 — but Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that the tactical radios are specific to the Indian Army. And, Indian military officials have earlier divulged that the Indian Air Force employed SPICE kits during the Balakot air strike.

6. Indian firm bags Army’s ₹ 140 crore deal for high altitude UAVs

6. Indian firm bags Army’s ₹ 140 crore deal for high altitude UAVs

The Indian Army ordered an advanced version of SWITCH tactical drones from ideaForge, an Indian company on January 14. These are specialised drones which are made to operate in high altitude areas like Ladakh.

The exact number of drones has not been disclosed but the deal is worth $20 million (around ₹140 crore) and the delivery will take around one year.

IdeaForge won out over other well known companies like Israel’s top UAV manufacturer Elbit, the Tata Group, Dynamatic Technologies Ltd, and VTOL Aviation.

7. Indian Army on the hunt for new carbines

7. Indian Army on the hunt for new carbines

The Indian Army has issued a fresh request to fast track the procurement of 93,895 carbines after the last process with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Caracal was scrapped in September last year.

The Request for Information (RFI) has been issued to all major foreign small arms manufacturers, including Caracal, SiG Sauer, Beretta and Kalashinikov. The primary difference this time is that the RFIs have also been issued to Indian firms like the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Reliance Defence, SSS Defence, Bharat Forge, and PLR Systems among others.

8. Government sanctions six new ‘eyes in the sky’ worth ₹10,994 crore

8. Government sanctions six new ‘eyes in the sky’ worth ₹10,994 crore

In another boost to ‘Make in India’, the Defence Acquisition Council gave its go-head for the DRDO to develop six new Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) planes in September last year.. With a budget of ₹10,994 crore, these new planes will act as the “eyes in the sky” for the Indian Air Force.

They will also bridge a critical gap in India’s defence preparedness.

9. The Indian Navy will be getting new UAVs to strengthen maritime surveillance

9. The Indian Navy will be getting new UAVs to strengthen maritime surveillance

In September 2020, the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Union Minister Rajnath Singh, also approved the Navy’s proposal to acquire ship-launched, unmanned aerial systems for ₹1,000 crore which will allow the force to have a better maritime knowledge while on the move.

10. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) received a request for proposal (RFP) for its HTT- 40 trainer aircraft from India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD)

10. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) received a request for proposal (RFP) for its HTT- 40 trainer aircraft from India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD)

In addition to the Tejas aircraft, the Ministry of Defence is also looking into procuring HTT-40 trainer aircraft from HAL. The company showcased the prototype back in 2016 and its manufacturing will be a big boost of domestic production in India, according to Venkatesh Kandlikar, an analyst with GlobalData.

military projects in india

military projects in india

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Why is India building a military base on Agaléga island?

New Delhi is seeking to expand its presence in the Indian Ocean to challenge Chinese expansionism.

Samuel Bashfield

On August 3, Al Jazeera published an extensive investigation into the development of a military facility on North Agaléga island, which is part of the island nation of Mauritius. It revealed that Indian workers are laying the groundwork for what is expected to be an Indian naval military facility.

Although both the Mauritian and Indian governments are denying it, documents and witness accounts Al Jazeera has obtained indicate the construction of various infrastructure purposed for military activities, especially surveillance.

India asserts that these new facilities are part of its Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) policy, which aims to increase maritime cooperation between countries in the region. Mauritius, for its part, has indicated that its coastguard personnel will use the new facilities.

But it is clear that the Indian investment of $250m in developing an airfield, port, and communications hub on this remote island is not aimed at helping Mauritius develop its capacity to police its territorial waters.

North and South Agaléga islands, which are home to approximately 300 ethnically Creole Agaléens, are located in the strategically important southwestern part of the Indian Ocean. The area is currently a blind spot for the Indian Navy and by building a military facility in it, New Delhi hopes to expand its maritime domain awareness.

The most important new infrastructure on the atoll is a 3,000-metre runway, and considerable apron for aircraft. Under construction also are sizable jetty facilities in deeper water, and what looks like barracks and fields which could be used by military personnel.

The outpost at Agaléga will be useful to support the operation of India’s fleet of Boeing P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft. The US-made P-8, based on the Boeing 737 passenger aircraft, is a cutting-edge maritime patrol aircraft, tasked with anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

While these aircraft have an anti-shipping and submarine strike function, their peace-time utility is derived from the sophisticated sensors, command and control systems, radars, and intelligence-gathering equipment utilised on routine missions.

The vastness of the Indian Ocean means that P-8s and other maritime surveillance aircraft require airfields and refuelling facilities at staging points, which is where facilities like those on North Agaléga island come in.

And Agaléga is not the only Indian Ocean island modified for P-8 use. For instance, military facilities on India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the northeastern Indian Ocean, at the junction of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, were also enhanced to better support India’s patrol aircraft missions.

In peace time, effective maritime domain awareness helps establish international partnerships with like-minded militaries and also acts as a deterrent to both state and non-state adversaries, by signalling reach and an intention to safeguard interests in a selected area. By better understanding existing and incoming maritime threats, a government can better plan and respond.

In times of conflict, knowing the location of enemy ships and submarines, without being detected in the process, creates a significant advantage.

While India may publicly justify its effort and expense to build maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean with combatting piracy, developing search and rescue capabilities or even providing small states with capacity-building assistance, China’s naval forays into this region is the true motivator for its expanding naval presence.

The Indian Ocean is now increasingly contested. Despite its Diego Garcia base, the United States no longer enjoys predominance in this increasingly multipolar region – in which no one power wields hegemonic influence.

In recent years, China has increased naval deployments into the Indian Ocean, developed what some analysts call a “string of pearls” – a network of military and commercial facilities along the Indian Ocean littorals, effectively encircling India – and even established its first overseas naval base in Djibouti.

Given China’s recent Indian Ocean deployments, its vast military modernisation programme, its recent conduct on the India-China Himalayan border, and its demonstration of coercive statecraft on the international stage in general, India is logically eager to inhibit Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

As a result, India – in coordination with the United States, Australia and even France – is undertaking efforts to surveil the Indian Ocean to directly deter and limit China’s ability to operate in this region.

The southwestern part of the ocean, in particular, is of increasing strategic importance due to economically vital shipping routes passing through the Mozambique Channel and around southern Africa, which China also uses for its energy imports.

In this sense, the facilities at Agaléga would enable India to keep an eye on this part of the ocean and will constitute a key staging post in the Indian maritime domain awareness network. It is important insofar as it will enable Indian eyes in the sky across the southwest Indian Ocean, which policymakers in Delhi hope will restrain Chinese encroachment.

Time will tell exactly how India will make use of these facilities on Agaléga once completed later this year. Project specifics are still being tightly held by both the Indian and Mauritian governments.

Whether or not China is deterred by India’s surveillance efforts, Agaléga is now a pawn in this new era of major power competition across the Indian Ocean and indeed the wider Indo-Pacific region.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


Commentary for the U.S. Senate India Caucus

India's military modernization plans and strategic underpinnings.

As India is emerging a important strategic partner for the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific, Gurmeet Kanwal assesses the progress of India’s military modernization and argues that in order to achieve interoperability with U.S. and other friendly armed forces, the Indian military needs to create force structures capable of undertaking network-centric warfare on land, at sea, and in the air.

As a key player in Asia and a large democracy with which the United States shares common interests, India is emerging as an important U.S. strategic partner. There is a broad national consensus in India on the contours of this emerging relationship with Washington, particularly with respect to enhanced defense and civil nuclear energy cooperation. During his visit to New Delhi in June 2012, U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta identified India as a “linchpin” in Washington’s emerging “rebalancing” strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. While there was no reaction from the Indian government, it is clear that these two large democracies need to work together militarily in order to maintain freedom of the seas in the Indian Ocean region and to ensure peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific more generally. Should China experience political instability or behave irresponsibly in asserting its territorial rights—as it has shown a tendency to do in the South China Sea—both India and the United States will need strong strategic partners to face worst-case scenarios effectively.

In order to meet future threats and challenges and achieve interoperability with U.S. and other friendly armed forces for joint operations in India’s area of strategic interest, the Indian military needs to modernize and create force structures that are capable of undertaking network-centric warfare on land, at sea, and in the air. Gradually, but perceptibly, the Indian armed forces are upgrading their capabilities, enhancing their kinetic effectiveness and command and control, and improving interoperability. This brief analyzes the threats and challenges that India must address, the measures being adopted to modernize the country’s armed forces, and the strategic underpinnings behind this slow but steady modernization effort.

Preparing for a Two-Front War

South Asia is among the world’s most unstable regions due to the ongoing war against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. In addition, growing fundamentalist terrorism; creeping “Talibanization” in Pakistan; political instability in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka; unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang; narcotics trafficking; and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons are also destabilizing factors. Unresolved territorial and boundary disputes with China and Pakistan, over which India has fought four wars; internal security challenges in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the northeastern states; and the rising tide of the Maoist insurgency in the heartland further vitiate India’s strategic environment. Further, many Indian security analysts worry that China is engaged in the strategic encirclement of India through its nuclear and missile nexus with Pakistan; the sale of military hardware to Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka; and a “string of pearls” strategy to surround India with naval bases in the northern Indian Ocean region.

India-China relations are stable at the strategic level. Resolution of the territorial dispute is being discussed by India’s national security adviser and China’s vice foreign minister, military confidence-building measures are holding up, bilateral trade has increased to $60 billion, and both countries are cooperating in international forums like the World Trade Organization and the UN Climate Change Conference. However, the relationship is more contentious at the tactical level. For example, China refuses to issue proper visas to Indian citizens of Arunachal Pradesh, Beijing denied the commander-in-chief of India’s Northern Command a visa for an official visit because it believes that J&K is a disputed territory, and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been making frequent forays across the Line of Actual Control into Indian territory simply to push Chinese territorial claims. China has also rapidly developed military infrastructure in Tibet to allow for quicker induction of troops and their sustenance over a longer period of time. Another destabilizing factor is the large Chinese presence in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. These developments do not augur well for long-term peace and stability.

The prevailing strategic environment has forced India’s armed forces to prepare for the possibility of a “two front” war, while the army and other security forces are engaged in fighting an ongoing “half front” internal security war. Even though the probability of conventional conflict remains low due to steadily improving relations and military confidence-building measures with China and Pakistan, this possibility cannot be completely ruled out. Nuclear deterrence also plays a positive role in conflict avoidance, but the prevailing wisdom in India is that there is space for conventional conflict below the nuclear threshold. There is now increasing realization that unless India takes immediate measures to accelerate the pace of its military modernization, the gap with China, which is only a quantitative gap at present, will soon become a qualitative gap, given the rapid rate of PLA modernization. Likewise, the slender edge that the Indian armed forces now enjoy over the Pakistani armed forces in conventional conflict is being eroded as Pakistan is spending considerable sums of money on its military modernization under the garb of fighting radical extremism. [1]

Although the Indian armed forces have drawn up elaborate plans for modernizing and qualitatively upgrading their capabilities for future combat, including the ability to secure the sea lanes of communication and project power in India’s area of strategic interest, the pace of modernization has been slow due to the lack of adequate funding, delayed decision-making, and a low-tech defense industrial base. India’s defense budget is pegged at less than 2% of its GDP at present, and the bulk of the expenditure is on the revenue account—that is, pay and allowances, rations, fuel, oil and lubricants, ammunition, and vehicles. [2] Very little remains in the capital account to be spent on modernization. In the case of the army, spending on modernization is as little as 20% to 25% of total capital expenditure in 2012–13. [3] According to Indian defense minister A.K. Antony, “New procurements have commenced…but we are still lagging by 15 years.” [4] Nonetheless, an inadequate defense industrial base—imports constitute 70% of defense acquisitions—and bureaucratic inefficiency, rather than lack of funds, are the main causes of the slow pace of modernization. India is expected to procure defense equipment worth $100 billion, most of it imported, over the next two five-year plans. Simultaneously, however, efforts are being stepped up to enhance indigenous capabilities and thereby reduce India’s dependence on imports by an order of magnitude. The following three sections will survey India’s modernization of its army, navy, and air force.

Army Modernization: Enhancing Capabilities without Reducing Manpower

With personnel strength of 1.1 million soldiers (6 regional commands, a training command, 13 corps, and 38 divisions), the Indian Army has kept the nation together through various crises, including four wars since independence, Pakistan’s “proxy war” in J&K since 1989–90, and insurgencies in many of the northeastern states. [5] Given its large-scale operational commitments on border management and counterinsurgency, the army cannot afford to reduce its manpower numbers until these challenges are overcome. Many of its weapons and equipment are bordering on obsolescence and need to be replaced. The next step would be to move gradually toward acquiring network-centric capabilities for effects-based operations so as to optimize the army’s full combat potential for defensive and offensive operations. The army is also preparing to join the navy and the air force in launching intervention operations in India’s area of strategic interest when called on to do so in the future.

Lieutenant General J.P. Singh (retired), former deputy chief of the army staff (planning and systems), stated in an interview with the CLAWS Journal that “the critical capabilities that are being enhanced to meet challenges across the spectrum include battlefield transparency, battlefield management systems, night-fighting capability, enhanced firepower, including terminally guided munitions, integrated maneuver capability to include self-propelled artillery, quick reaction surface-to-air missiles, the latest assault engineer equipment, tactical control systems, integral combat aviation support and network centricity.” [6] The army’s mechanized forces are still mostly “night blind.” Its artillery lacks towed and self-propelled 155-mm howitzers for the plains and the mountains and has little capability by way of multi-barrel rocket launchers and surface-to-surface missiles. Infantry battalions urgently need to acquire modern weapons and equipment for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations to increase operational effectiveness and lower casualties.

Main battle tanks (MBT) and infantry combat vehicles (ICV) are the driving forces of India’s conventional deterrence in the plains. This fleet is being modernized gradually by inducting two regiments of the indigenously developed Arjun MBT and importing 310 T-90S MBTs from Russia. A contract has also been signed for 347 additional T-90S tanks to be assembled in India. The BMP-1 and BMP-2 Russian ICVs, which have long been the mainstay of the mechanized infantry battalions, need to be replaced as well. The new ICVs must be capable of performing internal security duties and counterinsurgency operations in addition to their primary role in conventional conflicts.

Artillery modernization plans include the acquisition of towed, wheeled, and self-propelled 155-mm guns and howitzers for the plains and the mountains through import as well as indigenous development. The Corps of Army Air Defence is also faced with problems of obsolescence. The vintage L-70 40-mm air defense (AD) gun system, the four-barreled ZSU-23-4 Schilka (SP) AD gun system, the SAM-6 (Kvadrat), and the SAM-8 OSA-AK, among others, need to be replaced by more responsive modern AD systems that are capable of defeating current and future threats.

The modernization of India’s infantry battalions is moving forward but at a similarly slow pace. This initiative is aimed at enhancing the battalions’ capability for surveillance and target acquisition at night and boosting their firepower for precise retaliation against infiltrating columns and terrorists hiding in built-up areas. These plans include the acquisition of shoulder-fired missiles, hand-held battlefield surveillance radars, and hand-held thermal imaging devices for observation at night. A system called F-INSAS (future infantry soldier as a system) is also under development. One infantry division has been designated as a rapid reaction force for employment on land or in intervention operations and will have one amphibious brigade and two air assault brigades.

Similarly, the Indian Army proposes to substantially enhance the operational capabilities of army aviation, engineers, signal communications, reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition branches in order to improve the army’s overall combat potential by an order of magnitude. Modern strategic and tactical level command and control systems need to be acquired on priority for better synergies during conventional and sub-conventional conflict. Plans for the acquisition of a mobile corps-to-battalion tactical communications system and a battalion-level battlefield management system likewise need to be hastened. Despite being the largest user of space, the army does not yet have a dedicated military satellite for its space surveillance needs. Cyberwarfare capabilities are also at a nascent stage. The emphasis thus far has been on developing protective capabilities to safeguard Indian networks and C4I2SR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, information, surveillance, and reconnaissance) from cyberattack. Offensive capabilities have yet to be adequately developed. All these capabilities will make it easier for the army to undertake joint operations with multinational forces when the need arises and the government approves such a policy option.

Naval Modernization: Major Fleet Expansion

The Indian Navy’s ambitious Maritime Capabilities Perspective Plan seeks to dominate the Indian Ocean region by acquiring blue water operational capability while effectively countering current and emerging threats closer to the coastline. There is a perceptible shift in emphasis from an increase in the number of platforms to the enhancement of capabilities. According to a report tabled in the Indian Parliament in the last week of April 2012 by the Standing Committee on Defence, the navy’s modernization plan seeks to achieve the following objectives:

According to Admiral Arun Prakash (retired), former chief of naval staff, India’s naval modernization plans are designed to meet the following aims: [8]

The Indian Navy has two operational fleets—the Eastern Naval Command and Western Naval Command—and has proposed to center both fleets around an aircraft carrier. Eventually the navy plans to graduate to three carrier battle groups. The INS Chakra, a nuclear-powered submarine leased from Russia, will join the fleet later in 2012, while the INS Arihant, the first of three to four indigenously designed and developed nuclear-armed submarines, is expected to become fully operational by late 2014. India has also begun to induct Russian Nerpa-class submarines, which will give the navy a much needed fillip to the submarine fleet and considerably enhance sea-denial capabilities. Three stealth frigates have only recently been added to the fleet.

The Indian Navy’s modernization plans, though much delayed, have thus finally begun to pick up steam. Pointing out the navy’s role as a key facilitator in promoting peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region, Defence Minister Antony observed while commissioning a stealth frigate in July 2012 that the present operating environment of the Indian Navy “dictates that we balance our resources with a strategy that is responsive across the full range of blue and brown water operations….The maintenance of a strong and credible navy and strengthening cooperation and friendship with other countries to promote regional and global stability is the need of the hour.” [9]

The navy plans to expand to a fleet of 150 ships in the next ten to fifteen years, with 50 warships now under construction and 100 new vessels in the acquisition pipeline. The navy is also engaged in setting up operational turnaround bases, forward-operating bases, and naval air enclaves with a view to enhancing India’s surveillance efforts in the Indian Ocean region. Plans for accretions to the naval aviation fleet are likewise progressing smoothly: Boeing 737 P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft have begun to be inducted, and 5 additional Kamov Ka-31 AEW helicopters will be added to the existing fleet of 11 helicopters. Further, the navy’s amphibious landing capability has been enhanced considerably by the acquisition of the INS Jalashwa (ex–USS Trenton) and other landing ships, and additional capabilities for amphibious warfare are being rapidly developed. As a result of these efforts, the Indian Navy is on the cusp of acquiring the capabilities necessary to join key strategic partners such as the U.S. Navy in safeguarding the sea lanes of communication in the northern Indian Ocean and ensuring unfettered freedom of the seas for trade and commerce.

Air Force Modernization: Air Dominance and Force Projection

Until recently, India’s traditional strategic sphere lay between the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Malacca; but with India’s global footprint expanding, the Indian Air Force should be ready to serve wherever the country’s future strategic interests lie. The air force is gearing up to provide the strategic outreach that India needs as a growing regional power and to project power where necessary in order to defend vital national interests. According to Kapil Kak, a retired air vice marshal and senior defense analyst, although there is a gap between vision and capability with regard to shaping India’s strategic neighborhood, forward movement is now visible. In his view, the modernization plans of the air force are aimed at achieving the following objectives: [10]

From a sanctioned strength of 39 squadrons, the Indian Air Force is down to 34 squadrons at present, due to decades of neglect, but hopes to enhance its strength to 42 squadrons by 2022. Yet plans to acquire 126 multi-mission, medium-range combat aircraft—in order to maintain an edge over the regional air forces—are stuck in the procurement quagmire. Tejas, the indigenously designed light combat aircraft, which is expected to replace the obsolescent Mig-21, is still a few years away from becoming fully operational. India is also developing a fifth-generation fighter jointly with Russia and aims to fly it in 2015. New fighter bombers include a fleet of 272 Sukhoi-30 MKIs, half of which have already been built. AEW aircraft are being acquired from Israel as well as being developed indigenously. India has also acquired 6 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for its special forces and will likely order 6 more from the United States. C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift aircraft are also likely to be acquired shortly, which will take India’s defense cooperation with the United States to a new level. Although a contract has been signed with a Swiss firm for 75 Pilatus PC-7 basic trainer aircraft, India’s fleet of jet trainers continues to be deficient. In the rotary-wing category, the indigenously manufactured Dhruv utility helicopter has entered service. The air force is also in the process of acquiring medium-lift transport helicopters and attack helicopters.

In keeping with developments in the region, India’s strategic forces are also modernizing at a steady pace. The Agni-I and Agni-II missiles are now fully operational. Immediate requirements include the Agni-V intermediate-range ballistic missile, which has a 5,000-km range, and nuclear-powered submarines with suitable ballistic missiles to provide genuine second-strike capability. As noted above, the INS Arihant, India’s first indigenously built nuclear submarine, will likely become fully operational by late 2014. While India’s emphasis is on mobile missile launchers, a small number of hardened silos are also being constructed. The armed forces do not currently have a truly integrated tri-service C4I2SR system suitable for network-centric warfare, which would allow them to optimize their individual capabilities; however, plans have been made to develop such a system in the next five to ten years. In fact, all new weapons and equipment acquisitions are now being planned on a tri-service basis to ensure interoperability.

India’s Quest for Strategic Outreach

Given its growing power and responsibilities, India has been steadily enhancing its expeditionary and military intervention capabilities, which have been amply demonstrated in recent times. During the 1991 Gulf War, India airlifted 150,000 civilian workers, who had been forced to leave Iraq, from the airfield at Amman, Jordan, over a period of 30 days. This was the largest airlift since the Berlin airlift at the end of World War II. During the 2004 tsunami, the Indian armed forces were at the forefront of rescue and relief operations. Over 70 Indian Navy ships transported rescue teams and relief material to disaster zones in less than 72 hours, even though the country’s eastern seaboard had itself suffered considerable casualties and damage. Likewise, Indian Navy ships on a goodwill visit to European countries during the Lebanon war in 2006 lifted and brought back 5,000 Indian civilian refugees.

From the ongoing modernization plans described above, it is evident that India is preparing to join the world’s major powers in terms of the ability to undertake out-of-area contingency operations. Further, the acquisition of SU-30 MKI long-range fighter bombers with air-to-air refueling capability, C-130J Hercules transport aircraft, and airborne-warning-and-control-system and maritime-surveillance capabilities over the next five to ten years will give India considerable strategic outreach. New Delhi has consistently favored military interventions only under a UN umbrella. Though that position is unlikely to change in the near term, India is likely to join future coalitions of the willing even without UN approval when vital national interests are threatened and need to be defended. Shiv Shankar Menon, India’s national security adviser, stated in a speech in August 2011: “As a nation state India has consistently shown tactical caution and strategic initiative, sometimes simultaneously. But equally, initiative and risk-taking must be strategic, not tactical, if we are to avoid the fate of becoming a rentier state.” [11] He went on to mention that India was cooperating extensively with other militaries to fight piracy off the Horn of Africa. Such cooperation will increase in the future as India adds to its intervention capabilities.

Given that India faces complex strategic scenarios and is located in an increasingly unstable neighborhood, it is in New Delhi’s interest to encourage a cooperative model of regional security and work with all friendly countries toward that end. At the same time, New Delhi finds it pragmatic to hedge just in case worst-case scenarios—such as the collapse of China or China’s use of military force for territorial gains—begin to unfold and threaten India’s economic development or territorial integrity. The increasing emphasis on maritime cooperation, particularly with the United States, is part of India’s continuing efforts to fulfill growing obligations and responsibilities as a regional power. New Delhi is now working to cooperate with all the major Asian powers in order to maintain peace and stability in the Indian Ocean and the Asia-Pacific more generally, though without aligning militarily with any one power. Toward this end, the armed forces are working together to achieve joint warfare capabilities for intervention operations in India’s area of strategic interest. In sum, a rising India will soon become a net contributor to security in the Indian Ocean region, together with strategic partners such as the United States.

Nonetheless, India’s modernization plans are moving ahead at a very slow pace. Policy paralysis in New Delhi due to the vagaries of coalition politics in a parliamentary democracy, along with the reduction in the defense budget as a share of India’s GDP due to sluggish growth in the economy, has further exacerbated the difficulties in increasing the pace of modernization. However, the process is certainly underway, and there is hope that it will receive bipartisan support across the political spectrum because of the realization that no alternative exists for addressing emerging threats and challenges but for India to quickly modernize its armed forces.

India’s military modernization, however slow it might be, will lead to a qualitative increase in defense cooperation with the United States and other strategic partners by enhancing the capabilities of the Indian armed forces for joint coalition operations, if they are in India’s national interest. Overall, India will gradually acquire the capability to act as a net provider of security in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region. This positive development will allow strategic partners like the United States to reduce their military commitments to the region to a limited extent. Hence, India’s modernization efforts will enhance and further cement U.S.-India relations.

[1] The India-Pakistan combat ratio is assessed by this author as 1.2 to 1.0 in India’s favor.

[2] Laxman K. Behera, “India’s Defence Budget 2012–13,” Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), IDSA Comment, March 20, 2012,

[4] Gurmeet Kanwal, “Indian Army’s Modernisation,” India Strategic, January 2012.

[5] This section draws from the author’s analysis in “Indian Army Modernisation Needs a Major Push,” India Strategic, February 2010,

[6] “Modernisation Thrusts of Indian Army: Interview with Deputy Chief of Army Staff,” CLAWS Journal (Winter 2010): 1,

[7] Standing Committee on Defence, Indian Ministry of Defence, “Demands for Grants (2012-2013),” April 30, 2012, 70-71,

[8] Author’s email interview with Admiral Arun Prakash (retired), July 27, 2012.

[9] Vinay Kumar, “Credible Navy Need of the Hour: Antony,” Hindu, July 21, 2012.

[10] Author’s email interview with Kapil Kak, July 27, 2012.

[11] Shiv Shankar Menon, “India and the Global Scene” (16th Prem Bhatia Memorial Lecture, New Delhi, August 11, 2011),

Gurmeet Kanwal is a Delhi-based defense analyst and former Director of the Centre for Land Warfare Studies.

The Financial Express

Is the mega military project to acquire 114 fighters for the IAF in jeopardy? 

Iaf’s mega $20 billion multi-role fighter aircraft (mrfa) programme is nowhere in sight. there are multiple projects underway in india’s aerospace ecosystem. in the plethora of such big-ticket indigenous programmes, the mrfa seems to have lost its proposition after more than two decades of trials and tribulations. .

Is the mega military project to acquire 114 fighters for the IAF in jeopardy? 

IAF’s mega $20 billion Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) programme is nowhere in sight. Against the fast-depleting squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the MRFA programme which is about acquiring 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft, is one such programme that the Indian Armed Forces and the Government are treating as important. 

There are multiple projects underway in India’s aerospace ecosystem. India’s public sector defence undertaking, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) along with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is working together to build Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

Tejas MK2 is another ambitious project which is evolving out of HAL’s Tejas fighter aircraft design. Tejas MK2 is building upon Mark 1A. The improvement is significant in terms of the engine and firepower with multi-role advanced functional capabilities. For Tejas Mk2, the Ministry of Defence has shown a willingness to speed up the process from design to prototype development, boosting its export potential in the global jet market. 

HAL To Maintain General Atomics SeaGuardians’ Engines

LCA Mk2 Project Director at ADA, V Madhusudana Rao outlined the sped-up process: “There is a huge push from the central government on increasing the production rate of aircraft with India already getting inquiries about the aircraft from 16 countries.” Besides, the Cabinet Committee on Security has already approved the Tejas Mk2 programme at a total cost of around Rs 9,000 crore which might increase during the course of development. 

More so, there are clusters of other projects underway – some of them at the concept stage to design like the twin-engine deck-based fighter (TEDBF) for the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, the LCA Naval (LCAN) and the Omni Role Combat Aircraft (ORCA). 

While the DRDO and HAL are working on unmanned-based futuristic aerial systems and aircraft which include the Stealth Wing Flying Testbed (SWiFT) and the Combat Air Teaming System (CATS) Warrior. 

In the plethora of such big-ticket indigenous programmes, the MRFA seems to have lost its proposition after more than two decades of trials and tribulations. 

Dragging and delaying MRFA

The IAF first floated the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender to procure 126 new combat jets from foreign OEMs in 2007. Once the MMRCA was scrapped, India managed to fill the void by ordering 36 Rafale aircraft for the IAF. So far, the status remains so. 

While so many programmes are about taking a leap in India’s manufacturing technology, the focus for IAF remains on the need for next-generation tech-ready combat jets for potential future conflicts. Simply put, the IAF has to fulfil its mandate if such situations arise. 

The IAF’s Perspective Plan looks at it in terms of its combat asset which is primarily about the number of fighter jets under the squadron. It is broadly defined as 42 squadrons. At present, IAF has 30 squadrons. Further, the IAF will phase out the remaining four MiG-21 squadrons by 2025, bringing the squadron strength to its lowest. 

The advancement across the spectrum of aerospace is breaking boundaries in areas like stealth, speed, electronic and sensor suite and networked platforms on quantum combat cloud, teaming with unmanned aerial systems. Can India leverage such a complex web of next-generation technologies through the MRFA? 

military projects in india

“No single country is able to achieve the entire gamut of technologies as such,” remarked a former fighter combat pilot, adding “the cost is also overwhelming.”

Besides the security dimension, the MRFA project worth $20 billion makes a compelling case for India in terms of the economy of scale.

Also, the key requirement of the MRFA is that foreign companies partner with local companies to manufacture combat jets, systems, and components as well as their assembly and maintenance/servicing in India. India can also integrate domestically manufactured avionics and weapons systems; many such systems can be interrogated in futuristic AMCA and Tejas Mk2 as well. 

military projects in india

Last year, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari added the element of ‘ make in India ’ to the MRFA project. He suggested that the MRFA programme must embrace indigenisation.

The competition is intense with world-leading OEMs in the fray for the MRFA, including Lockheed Martin’s F-21, Boeing’s Super Hornet F/A-18 E/F, Dassault’s Rafale, Saab’s Gripen JAS-39 E/F, Russian MiG-35 and SU-35, and the European consortium led Eurofighter Typhoon. 

The incessant delays are raising concerns about the viability of the MRFA project. Either the programme must take off or the Government must scrap it, experts summed up. For the moment, it is still the status quo. 

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Defence Manufacturing

Indian government endeavours to boost indigenous defence manufacturing..

Sector Expert Manan Jaisinghani

Industry Scenario

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Quick links, defending the world.

"The Indian Defence sector, the second largest armed force is at the cusp of revolution. The Government has identified the Defence and Aerospace sector as a focus area for the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or Self-Reliant India initiative, with a formidable push on the establishment of indigenous manufacturing infrastructure supported by a requisite research and development ecosystem. The vision of the government is to achieve a turnover of $25 Bn including export of $5 Bn in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.        

India is positioned as the 3rd largest military spender in the world, with its defence budget accounting for 2.15% of the country’s total GDP. Over the next 5-7 years, the Government of India plans to spend $ 130 Bn for fleet modernisation across all armed services. As per Union Budget 2022-23, $70.6 Bn was allocated to the Ministry of Defence. In line with the self-reliant India initiative, the share of domestic capital procurement, which was earmarked at 64% in 2021-22 has been enhanced to 68% of the Capital Acquisition Budget of the Defence Services for FY 2022-23. 

To support the domestic defence industry the government aims to ensure transparency, predictability, and ease of doing business by creating a robust eco-system and supportive government policies. Towards this end the government has taken steps to bring about de-licensing, de-regulation, export promotion and foreign investment liberalization. Ministry of Defence has also notified three 'Positive Indigenization lists' comprising of 310 defence equipment to be manufactured locally. Additionally, to promote export and liberalise foreign investments FDI in Defence Sector has been enhanced up to 74% through the Automatic Route and 100% by Government Route.

The government has also announced 2 dedicated Defence Industrial Corridors in the States of Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh to act as clusters of defence manufacturing that leverage existing infrastructure, and human capital.  Further, to enable innovation within Defence & Aerospace eco-system there are supportive government schemes such as iDEX ((Innovations for Defence Excellence) and DTIS (Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme). 

For further details, please refer FDI Policy

GDP spent on defence (2021-22)

Share in global arms import

Defence Sector Market Size

Increase in Defence Capital Expenditure (FY21-22)

DRDO’s Technology Development Fund (TDF) for MSMEs & Startups to indigenize cutting-edge defence technologies. 163 Technologies being indigenized, $30 Mn funds sanctioned, 1703 experts and 5020 companies engaged.

Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Initiative, four positive indigenization lists of 411 products have been promulgated by Department of Military Affairs and Ministry of Defence to be manufactured domestically for the defence sector, instead of being sourced via imports. 

SRIJAN portal launched to promote indigenization. 19509 defence items, have been displayed on the portal for indigenization.

To provide impetus to self-reliance in defence manufacturing it is necessary to develop a robust eco-system and supportive government policies.

Ministry of Defence has set a target of achieving a turnover of $25 Mn in aerospace and defence Manufacturing by 2025, which includes $5 Bn exports. Till October 2022, a total of 595 Industrial Licences have been issued to 366 companies operating in Defence Sector.

Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP)

Ministry of Defence (MoD) has formulated a draft DPEPP 2020 as guiding document of MoD to provide a focused, structured, and significant thrust to defence production capabilities of the country for self-reliance and exports.

Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP 2020)

DAP 2020 aims to empower Indian domestic industry through Make in India initiative and • It has Laid down a strict order of preference for procurements.and has adequately included provisions to encourage FDI to establish manufacturing hubs both for import substitution and exports while protecting interests of Indian domestic industry.

Salient features of DAP 2020

Strategic Partnership Model

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the broad contours of the Strategic Partnership Model (SPM) in its meeting held on May 20, 2017, under the chairmanship of the defence minister.

- In the initial phase, strategic partners will be selected in the following segments: (3a) Fighter Aircraft. (3b) Helicopters. (3c) Submarines. (3d) Armoured fighting vehicles (AFV)/Main Battle Tanks (MBT)

Union Budget 2022 Highlights


Defence industrial corridors.

Government has established 2 Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The two defence corridors have together signed 158 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with industries representing investments worth INR 23,933 Cr ($ 2.9 Bn).

Defence Products list requiring Industrial Licences has been rationalised and manufacture of most of parts or components does not require Industrial License. The initial validity of the Industrial Licence granted has been increased from 03 years to 15 years with a provision to further extend it by 03 years on a case-to-case basis.

Promotion of indigenous design and development of defence equipment

A new category of capital procurement ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ has been introduced in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016


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Frequently Asked Questions

The Achievement report of the defence sector covering policy initiatives, R&D and other important areas can be accessed on the link.

Was it helpful?

Yes, projects under 'Make-I' sub-category involves Government funding of 90%, released in a phased manner and based on the progress of the scheme, as per terms agreed between MoD and the vendor.

DPP 2016 provides great impetus to the MSMEs with certain categories of 'Make' products earmarked exclusively for MSMEs.

Capital Acquisition schemes are broadly classified as 'Buy', 'Buy and Make' and 'Make'. In decreasing order of priority the procurement of defence equipment, under this procedure are categorised as follows: 1) Buy (Indian - IDDM). 2) Buy (Indian). 3) Buy and Make (Indian). 4) Buy and Make. 5) Buy (Global).

The DPP is formulated to ensure timely procurement of military equipment, systems and platforms as required by the Armed Forces in terms of performance capabilities and quality standards, through optimum utilisation of allocated budgetary resources. It is worthwhile to mention that the document is not merely a procurement procedure but also an opportunity to improve efficiency of the procurement process to realize the vision of 'Make in India' in the defence sector.

Market Research

Union budget 2023-24: analysis report, defence manufacturing: arming india with limitless potential, new india factbook 2022-2023, doing business in india: november 2022, military ammunition make in india - opportunities and challenges, government ministry/ department.

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Indian Construction Info

10 Mega Projects In India Currently Ongoing 2023 That are going to Boost Economy for Sure

Top 10 mega projects in india currently under construction which will boost indian economy..

Is there any construction going on in your neighborhood?

You would have undoubtedly seen a metro construction project on your way home! Do you recall that MNC office that has been under construction for a long time?

Well, pinch yourself, because it’s the same here!!

We see so many building projects in our daily lives and wonder why they never seem to end! The reason for this is that the building industry, often known as infrastructure, is one of our most important economic foundations.

This is a great achievement for a developing country like ours. Construction is ongoing, ranging from tiny to mega-scale! Thousands of individuals work in this industry throughout the year. Also, it is the most important contribution to our economy.

As a result, when the pandemic struck, this industry was inevitably shut down. Now that things are returning to normal, some major projects have reopened and will be completed by the end of 2023 or early next year.

Also Read About- 30 Upcoming Mega Infrastructure Projects in Uttar Pradesh 2023

Let’s have a look at the mega projects in India that are ongoing and currently under construction in 2023

1. world’s first motorable road through the glaciers himank.

This is one of the Border Roads Organization’s most ambitious projects.

It intends to construct the world’s first glacier road.

The goal of Project HIMANK is to construct a motorable road that runs across the world’s tallest glaciers. The project is located in Ladakh’s eastern region.

It will be built at a height of 17,800 feet.

This will be a crucial link connecting the region’s glaciers, which has hitherto been unattainable. It is also one of the most hazardous tasks.

The snow continues to melt, and the temperatures fluctuate throughout the year.

Between Sasoma and Saser La, a road is being built. People’s life will be made easier as a result of it.

These will also improve living conditions and socioeconomic strata. Officials are working hard to make this project a success despite having very little time to work on it.

Also Read About- 25 Upcoming Mega Projects in Gujarat 2023

2. Chenab Rail Bridge

The Chenab Bridge’s arch was recently finished by the Indian railways in April 2021.

The bridge, which is now under construction, will be the world’s highest railway bridge.

It is located in Jammu and Kashmir’s union territory. The work is part of the railing project connecting Udhampur, Srinagar, and Baramulla.

The bridge will be 1,315 kilometers long and rise 359 meters above sea level.

The world’s tallest rail bridge is expected to cost Rs. 5.12 billion.

This investment is expected to boost the union territory’s economic development. Additionally, making public transportation more accessible to the general public.

The fundamental motivation for embarking on this project was to make life easier for the residents. They are finding it difficult to get around due to the current weather conditions.

The Chenab rail bridge which is one of the mega projects in India is likely to be completed by the end of 2022.

Also Read About- 9 Upcoming Mega Projects in Rajasthan 2023

6 Insane Megaprojects in the world that were Never Built !!

3. Mumbai to Delhi Expressway

This enormous Delhi-Mumbai Expressway stretches about 1350 kilometers. It is being built between our country’s national capital and financial capital.

The project began in 2019 and is expected to cost a total of 1,03,000 crores.

The major goal is to improve connectivity amongst the country’s big cities. Increasing the amount of local development around the Expressway.

The building has resumed after a hiatus caused by the pandemic. There will be two phases to the project.

The first phase will contain eight lanes, while the second phase will have twelve.

Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Railway Transport and Highways, stated in the Rajya Sabha that 350 km of the total project had been finished as of July 2021.

The rest of the works are in progress. By January 2025, the project is likely to be completed.

Also Read About-  12 Upcoming Mega Projects in Madhya Pradesh 2023

Read More about Delhi Mumbai Expressway here .

Delhi Mumbai Expressway Complete Details, Route Map, Progress Information, Etc

4. Mumbai Trans Harbour Link Project (Sewri – Nhava Sheva Sea Link Project )

The anticipated cost of this megaproject is 14,000 crores. The project has started in April 2018 and is currently under progress.

Sewri and Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai will be connected through this Harbour Link.

The MTHL is a 22-kilometer-long sea bridge that spans the Mumbai metropolitan area.

It will be India’s longest sea link once completed.

To keep up with the increased traffic, a new link is being constructed.

Also Read About- 12 Upcoming Mega Projects in West Bengal 2023

5. Central Vista Redevelopment Project

Central Delhi’s alleyways will soon take on a new appearance. Late-night strolls to India Gate will be a thing of the past. Because the government is constructing an entirely new parliament!

In addition, the areas in and around the Prime Minister’s residence will be totally renovated.

The project is amongst the most expensive in history, and it is a first in Indian history.

The goal of the initiative is to renovate government buildings which are  said to be outdated and ineffective for today’s needs.

The project’s budget is projected to be around 13,000 crores. The new parliament building aka central vista, on the other hand, will be completed by early next year. For a variety of reasons, this has sparked debate. The project’s necessity has been questioned by the opposition and journalists.

The government, on the other hand, insists that it is necessary. The goal of the project is to provide the decades-old institutions a more eco-friendly and required makeover.

The entire central vista project is likely to be completed in 2023.

If you are enjoying this article, also read  –  Top 10 On Going Mega Projects In World 2023

6. Supernova Spira – India’s Tallest Residential Towers

An aspirational highest residential building in Sector 94, Noida, India, is one of the mega projects planned to be constructed.

The structure is a mixed-use tower with 80 storeys and a height of 300 meters. Due to unforeseen pandemic limits, the project is currently nearing completion.

90 percent of the construction has been constructed, according to Supertech.

Once its construction gets completed, Supernova Spira will be the tallest structure in India. Even more than the height of the current tallest building i.e. World One Skyscrapper, which is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Also Read About-  12 Upcoming Mega Projects in Bihar 2023

7. Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA)

The Adani group has invested 16 crores on this mega project in India. It is anticipated to begin very shortly. The inauguration is set to take place later this month. In 2018, our current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, laid the foundation.

The new airport will be about 35 kilometers from Mumbai’s current airport.

The initial idea was to build the airport in four phases, from now until 2032.

However, because of the epidemic, it has been rescheduled. In the first phase, the airport hopes to serve 10 million passengers. Later, in the fourth phase, the number of people will reach 60 million.

This will be the city of Mumbai’s second airport.

The airport is currently scheduled to open in 2024.

Also Read About- 17 Upcoming Mega Projects in Punjab 2023

8. Bharatmala Pariyojana Programme

Since 2018, the Bharatmala project has been underway. The project is one of the country’s largest & mega highway projects.

According to the proposal, about 83,677  kilometers of roads would be targeted. The project’s goal is to promote connectivity and help our country’s economic frontiers.

This would also aid in increasing cargo moving rates.

The project is divided into seven distinct phases.

The first phase is currently being built. By 2022, the project was projected to be completed.

To speed up the process, attempts are now being made to complete at least eighteen kilometers every day.

Also Read About- 15 Upcoming Mega Projects in Tamil Nadu 2023

Watch now the status of Bharatmala Pariyojana here-

9. Sagarmala Project

The project Sagarmala intends to improve India’s coastline. This will make ports and harbor operations more efficient.

The national government wants to connect all of the railways in the area.

It is a set of projects aimed at promoting industrial growth. The improvement of the shoreline and inland waterways has been identified as the path to take.

This mega project in India has a budget of Rs. 4 lakh crores.

The plan is divided into four sections. It lays out a strategy for taking advantage of India’s 7000-kilometer-long coastline. In addition, updated facilities should be put in place.

This is also expected to aid in the reduction of transportation costs across the country thereby contributing to the Increase in country’s GDP.

10. Ken Betwa River Link Project

Ken Betwa River Link is the first project for river interlinking under the National Perspective Plan. It calls for water to be transferred from the Ken river in Uttar Pradesh to the Betwa river in Madhya Pradesh, both of which are tributaries of the river Yamuna. The Ken-Betwa Link Canal will be 221 kilometers long, along with a 2-kilometer tunnel in the middle.

This Mega Project in India project is divided into two phases, each having four primary components. The Daudhan Dam complex & its linked units, such as  Low Level Tunnel, High Level Tunnel, Ken-Betwa Link Canal project, and power plants, will be included in Phase I ot this mega project. Lower Orr Dam, Bina Complex Project & Kotha Barrage are the 3 components of Phase II. The project is intended to provide the annual irrigation of up to 10.62 lakh hectares, supply drinking water to around 62 lakh population, and create 103 MW of hydropower enerty and 27 MW of solar electricity, according to the Jal Shakti Ministry of India.

At 2020-21 price levels, the overall cost of the Ken-Betwa link project has been estimated at Rs.44,605 crore.

Once completed these all Mega projects in India are going to change & boost the Indian Economy for sure.

Also read  –  Top 10 On Going Mega Projects In World 2023

1 thought on “10 Mega Projects In India Currently Ongoing 2023 That are going to Boost Economy for Sure”

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DefenceXP - India's Leading Defence Network

Top 7 Indian Defence Projects In 2022

Photo of Sheershoo Deb

Hello defence lovers ! The year 2022 is going to be an eventful year from the defence perspective. In this year India will achieve many very crucial milestones which will strengthen its indigenous defence industry. In this article, we are going to discuss the top defence projects of the year 2022.

Commissioning of INS Vikrant

India’s First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant Begins Another Sea Trial
Indigenous Aircraft career IAC Vikrant Completes Third Sea Trials. . #IACVikrant #INSVikrant #Vikrant #IndianNavy — Defence Squad (@Defence_Squad_) January 17, 2022

The commissioning of our indigenously developed aircraft carrier IAC 1 Vikrant is perhaps the most awaited event of the year 2022, in the entire defence sector. It is one of the most important defence projects of India. The wait of 12 long years will be over in August this year when this mighty vessel will formally be commissioned into the fleet of the Indian Navy. As of now, the Indian Navy operates only one aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. INS Vikrant will boost the Indian Navy’s capabilities by many folds. Once commissioned INS Vikrant will be the flagship of the Indian navy and it will also make India part of the elite club of the nations who can design, develop and manufacture aircraft carriers indigenously.

First flight of Tejas MK 1 A

LCA Tejas MK1A To Take First Flight In June

The Indian aviation industry will achieve a significant milestone this year. The first flight of Tejas MK1a is scheduled for June this year. HAL will manufacture 3 fighters which will be extensively used for testing. The airframe of Tejas has been tested well before it achieved Final Operational Clearance. In Tejas MK 1A, there are no structural modifications hence the airframe need not be tested. However, there are huge upgrades in terms of avionics such as the Uttam AESA radar. All these testing will take 20 to 24 months after which HAL will start delivering the Tejas Mk1A to IAF at the rate of 16 aircraft per year.

Delivery of Light Utility Helicopter (L UH)

military projects in india

Last year on 2 November Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the procurement of 12 limited series production LUH, 6 for the Indian army and 6 for the Indian airforce. These Light Utility helicopters are expected to be delivered in August this year. As of now both the Indian army and the Indian airforce are in desperate need of light helicopters as operating its half-century-old Cheetah and Chetak helicopters is getting more difficult and unsafe every single day. Moreover, things become even more complicated when the long-delayed Kamov deal is on the verge of being cancelled as its engine manufacturers are being threatened by CAATSA sanctions. Thus the situation opens many doors for the LUH. Initially, it is planned that Indian armed forces will procure 187 LUHs, 126 for the army and 61 for the airforce. But looking at the situations we can expect the numbers to go up.

Roll out of Tejas MK II

military projects in india

This year is full of important aerospace events. Indian second indigenously developed multirole fighter Tejas MK II’s first prototype was supposed to roll out by mid-2022. However thanks to our highly efficient HAL, it is going to be delayed. If everything goes well the first prototype of Tejas MK II will roll out by the end of this year and hopefully conduct its maiden next year. Though there is an ambiguity from the airforce about the size of the order that it will place for the Tejas MK II. But considering the depleting squadron strength, and Tejas MK I not being the replacement of the flying coffins , the airforce will need at least 200 of these fighters.

Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Delivery

military projects in india

HAL has started the limited series production of the indigenous light combat helicopter (LCH). 15 such LSP LCHs will be delivered to the Indian army and the airforce by march 2022. Although HAL has not received the orders formally, but it hopes to receive the orders from the government soon. The Indian armed forces are interested to procure at least 162 Light combat helicopters which are ideal for providing close air support to our troops developed on very high altitudes where conventional gunships cannot operate.

INS Arighat

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INS Arighat is the second nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) of the Indian navy. It belongs to the indigenous Arihant class. In March 2021, it was declared that INS Arighat is undergoing harbour trials and is expected to be commissioned into the navy in 2022. However, the commissioning ceremony is going to be very secretive as the government keeps the whereabouts of the nuclear submarines top-secret.

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INS Vagir is the 5th vessel of INS Kalvari class submarines. It is expected to be commissioned into service in 2022. Its sister ship INS Vagsheer is also expected to be commissioned into service by the end of 2022 or early 2023.

So these were the top 5 defence projects of the year 2022. Follow our website for more interesting articles.

Photo of Sheershoo Deb

Sheershoo Deb

Ins kochi takes part in joint exercise with russian warships, indian air force will conduct biggest flypast ever.

Simply super

It is not understood why our visionary Government is depending on HAL. I think we should tap private agencies so as to hurry up the badly needed defence fighters/LUH/submarines & so on. Only HAL will not be able to cope up with defence needs.

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7 projects that will change the face of indian armed forces in coming years.

Mugdha Kapoor

Following a meeting of the defence acquisitions council, the Ministry of Defence approved several major long-pending projects worth over Rs 25,000 crore, including the Rs 11,929 crore lone bid by the Tata-Airbus consortium for 56 medium transport aircraft, Rs 2,900 crore for 145 American M-777 ultralight howitzers and Rs 3,000 crore for 200 Russian Kamov light utility helicopters. 

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also cleared the acquisition of two Boeing 777-300 (extended range) aircraft from Air India for use by President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Narendra Modi as the Desi Air Force One .

Here’s a list of defence procurement the armed forces are counting on for the coming years:

# Tata-Airbus consortium’s 56 C295 medium transport aircraft

C295 aircraft

It will be the first military aircraft that will be bought from a private firm and not Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

# 145 BAE Systems M-777 ultralight howitzers


The M777 can be air-lifted by the Chinook helicopter that India is also buying from the US.

# 38 Pilatus PC-7 Mk.2 basic trainer aircraft


The aircraft will be used to train rookie pilots of the Indian Air Force.

# 200 Ka-226T Sergei light utility helicopters


A ‘Make In India’ project with Indian private firms joining hands with the Russians to produce the helicopter in the country.

# Clearance for equipping Navy ships with BrahMos missile


Times Content

The missile has a range of 290 kms and travels at 3 times the speed of sound.

# Approval for preparatory study for India’s second indigenously made aircraft carrier 

INS Vikrant

It may be called INS Vishal and will be bigger than INS Vikrant (presently under construction). It might be nuclear powered and will be equipped with an electromagnetic launch system.

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The U.S.-India defense relationship has grown over the last decade to become a key component of the overall bilateral partnership. Since the signing of the New Framework for Defense Cooperation in 2005, the United States and India have made remarkable strides in their defense relations. India now holds more annual military exercises with the United States than any other country, cumulative defense sales have grown from virtually zero to more than $8 billion and high-level exchanges on defense issues have increased substantially.  There have also been new opportunities for cooperation in homeland security including the establishment of the U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue. The Wadhwani Chair’s U.S.-India Security and Defense project examines the key challenges and opportunities for deepening bilateral defense and security cooperation across three main areas:

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Saturday, 04 March 2023


Agenda - The Sunday magazine

India, Israel discuss key def projects

India and Israel on Friday reviewed their growing defence and strategic ties during a telephonic conversation between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Israeli counterpart Major General Yoav Gallant.  They also discussed key projects relating to co-development of military hardware.

The talks came in the backdrop of Israel emerging a major defence partner of India in terms of weapon development since diplomatic ties between the two countries were established in 1992. 

Israel is now engaged in many projects providing cutting edge technology to India in fields like missiles, upgradation of various systems, rifles and close quarter battle weapons besides electronic warfare systems.

As regards his talks, Rajnath said in a tweet India attaches "tremendous importance" to its relations with Israel. "Was happy to speak with the Defence Minister of Israel, Major General Yoav Gallant. India attaches tremendous importance to its relations with Israel," he said.

"Looking forward to work closely with him towards strengthening defence cooperation between both the countries," he said.

Giving details of talks, defence ministry officials later said Rajnath underlined government’s priority for indigenisation and domestic manufacturing of defence equipment under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

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Defence Manufacturing

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2nd March 2023: Government approves the signing of a contract with Larsen and Toubro Limited for the acquisition of three Cadet Training Ships, at an overall cost of INR 3,108 cr.

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27th February 2023:  Missile Cum Ammunition (MCA) Barge, Yard 75 (LSAM 7) was launched by RAdm Sandeep Mehta in Andhra Pradesh using all major and auxiliary equipment / systems sourced from indigenous manufacturers epitomizing the spirit of 'Make in India'

17th February 2023:  75% of defence capital procurement budget earmarked for domestic industry in FY 2023-24.

14th February 2023:  INR 86,078 cr was spent on indigenous procurement of defence equipment in FY 2021-22.

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Agaléga, a secret base, and India’s claim to power

How the construction of an airstrip and jetty on a remote Mauritian island points to a rising India that plans to flex its muscles as a regional superpower.

The coconut plantation

Pearly white beaches, coconut trees and an azure sea as far as the eye can see adorn two islands shaped like an exclamation mark. The northern island is long and thin, the southern island, across a 200-metre-wide (218-yard) channel, short and round.

Together, they make up Agaléga, a far-flung part of Mauritius more than 1,100km (684 miles) from the main island - a trip that takes about two days by boat.

The two islands are only about 25sq km (9.65sq miles) but, despite their small size, they may play an important role in a geopolitical game between rising superpowers and their struggle for dominance in the Indian Ocean.

Agaléga, despite its appeal, has not been discovered by droves of tourists like many others in the Indian Ocean. There are no hotels, no water bungalows, no tourist shops.

The 300 islanders mainly live off growing coconuts and catching fish, as they have for generations.

Maintenance is handled by state company Outer Island Development Corporation, which provides everything from general supplies to water, electricity and internet.

Supplies - anything from cattle to food for the local store - were brought in every three months by the same ship, the MV Trochetia.

Because there were no docking facilities big enough, the Trochetia would drop anchor some distance from the coast and wait for smaller boats to ferry out and unload it.

It did not matter because, for years, Agaléga rarely saw big ships. But in late 2019, large bulk carriers began appearing near the tip of the northern island where they would stay for months at a time.

The northern island had a short runway - about 800 metres (0.5 miles) - long enough for small propeller planes used by the Mauritian coastguard but not for cargo planes.

Pictures posted on Facebook by seamen show bulk carriers near Agaléga (Credit:Facebook)

The construction project

On April 26, 2020, bulk carrier Glocem set sail from the eastern Indian port of Visakhapatnam, headed southwest. The ship flew a Panamanian flag but was operated by Indian company Sals Shipping, which did not respond to Al Jazeera’s requests for comment.

It arrived in the Mauritian capital Port Louis about a month later, staying for a week before setting sail for Agaléga’s coastal waters.

The Glocem anchored near Agaléga for three months, cargo holds were seen open and smaller vessels sailed up to the carrier. It then went to Seychelles, closer than Mauritius, for 24 hours - the time it would take to refuel - before returning. This time, it stayed for more than 200 days, from late September 2020 until April 2021.

Glocem's port calls between April 2020 and April 2021

Historical AIS data: Geollect

The Glocem was one of many ships that made the journey.

Rumours and media reports about mysterious construction on Agaléga said to be for a military base first surfaced in 2018 but both Mauritius and India deny the construction project is for military purposes and say the infrastructure is to benefit the islanders.

Between early 2019 and early 2021, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit tracked more than 12 ships from Indian ports to Agaléga; likely part of a project the islanders fear might spell doom for their futures.

The northern island became home to hundreds of construction workers from India. They cut down trees, flattened the ground and built semi-permanent housing, including medical facilities that the islanders say are better than theirs.

In early November 2019, workers started laying down asphalt for what is taking shape as an airstrip more than three kilometres long (1.8 miles), nearly four times as long as the old runway.

The tender for the expansion was awarded to AFCONS, a major Indian construction company that builds airstrips and other large infrastructure projects.

In its 2018-2019 financial report, AFCONS mentions that the contract with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs is worth about $250m. AFCONS did not reply to Al Jazeera’s requests for comment.

After 18 months of construction, a large airstrip and jetties are taking shape that experts say will be used by India as a base of military operations, part of its plans to expand its geopolitical influence in the Indian Ocean.

Swipe the slider to compare satellite pictures from early 2019 and late 2020 (Credit: Maxar)

Geopolitical game of chess

Over the past 20 years, more countries have started looking at the Indian Ocean as a strategic zone. The region, through which some of the world’s most important shipping lanes pass, stretches from Africa in the west, to the Middle East, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the north and Indonesia and Australia in the east.

“More than 60 percent of the world’s oil trade travels through the region , mostly coming from the Strait of Hormuz. On top of that, both the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal connect the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean respectively.

“It has been a bit ignored in geopolitical discourse,” Aaditya Dave told Al Jazeera.

Dave is a research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, focusing on maritime security in the Indo-Pacific and security issues in the region.

“Freedom of navigation through this territory is important for a number of different countries for their energy security, as well as for economic prosperity,” he added.

Over the last 50 years, the region has mostly been dominated by India, France, the US and the UK, Dave explained.

“India for long has been the predominant actor, particularly around its own neighbourhood. Other countries that are active in the region have been France, which has … Reunion Island, as well as the United States, which has a military base on Diego Garcia.”

The Diego Garcia base, a joint military facility between the US and UK, is on an eponymous island that is officially part of the Chagos Archipelago, which is administered by the UK despite the UN’s special international maritime court ruling that it belongs to Mauritius.

Diego Garcia is by far the biggest of the 58 small islands.

Over recent years, other actors have wanted to play a role in the region, most notably China, Australia and Japan. “As China grows in importance as an economic and security actor, it is naturally going to enter the Indian Ocean,” Dave explained.

“It is an important channel of trade for China as a large portion of its imports pass through the Indian Ocean and the Straits of Malacca.”

China's expansion

Over the last 20 years, China has invested heavily in countries in Asia, Europe and Africa through its Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to increase its geopolitical influence.

In the Indian Ocean, it is doing something similar with the “String of Pearls”, which has seen China invest in maritime infrastructure in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and others.

Most of those projects are in their infancy, but China opened its first overseas military base in 2017 in Djibouti.

Greg Poling, a senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, told Al Jazeera China's plans for the Indian Ocean have refocused India's attention.

"The rise of China, and really the pressure on two fronts, you have the land border on the Himalayas, where we saw the deadly clash in the Galwan Valley last year, and China’s emergence as a naval player in the Indian Ocean, have [just double checking that he didn’t say has here rather than have] become the strategic concern for Delhi," Poling said.

"India National Security experts … they continue to worry about Pakistan and probably always will, but increasingly it’s China I think that keeps Indian strategists up at night."

"India’s still a major player, but it recognises that having this new rising superpower playing in what has long been India’s back yard is potentially bad news for India’s national interests."

India’s response

So, India has been scrambling to improve its standing with countries it has long had ties with.

"India’s building radar arrays for basically free in places like Bangladesh and the Maldives and Seychelles and Sri Lanka. It’s trying to bring everybody into the new maritime fusion centre that Delhi’s built," Poling explained, referring to an intelligence and data gathering project officially aimed at increasing security in the Indian Ocean.

"In a sense, [it’s] trying to reinforce the idea that it’s India that provides public goods in the Indian Ocean."

India has also become part of a loose cooperative organisation - the Quad - with the US, Australia and Japan, to coordinate on matters like maritime security and disaster response.

RUSI's Dave said although the Quad has been referred to as an Asian NATO formed in response to China’s move into the Indian Ocean, it is far more informal.

“It is not a hard security alliance,” he said, “There has not been an official charter or anything. It remains ambiguous.”

India has also started investing more in small Indian Ocean nations. Some were basic foreign investments such as port expansion, while others were more directly related to India’s geopolitical aspirations.

An example was India’s heavy investment in the regional coastal radar systems, with stations in Seychelles, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mauritius .

“From India's perspective, these are very important … partnerships. India has longstanding defence and security relationships with all of these countries,” Dave explained.

“India has seen itself as a security provider in the Indian Ocean region,” he continued.

Of course, the countries hosting the radars also benefit, as they can keep a closer eye on piracy, illegal fishing and smuggling operations that might take place in their waters.

India has for years been searching for a location for a military base. A plan to build one in Seychelles fell through after the country’s political opposition blocked it.

Luckily for India, it could look to Mauritius and its remote, almost empty island of Agaléga.

‘A perfect spot for a military base’

Agaléga’s strategic location and its potential as a military outpost have been discussed for decades.

In 1975, two diplomatic cables from the UK spoke of possible Soviet interest in buying the island to build a base. Although those cables, released by WikiLeaks , acknowledge there was no evidence the USSR planned to buy Agaléga, they show it has long been considered a possible location.

More than 30 years later, in 2006, the CIA wrote an internal memo regarding Indian interest in Agaléga. By then, India was a nascent superpower and was, according to the CIA, heavily influential in Mauritius .

“The Mauritian public seems to accept that India can have its way as long as the islands remain Mauritian. This is indicative of Mauritius, [sic] willing subordination to India which is its most important foreign partner,” the cable read.

It went on to say that, although Mauritian officials denied plans to cede the islands to India, they used cautious wording that “might indicate that there is more to these reports that [sic] the government has admitted”.

According to Samuel Bashfield, research officer at the Australian National University focusing on Indian Ocean strategic and geopolitical issues, it would come as no surprise if India is developing Agaléga as a military asset.

“It is quite a small island, but its location is absolutely prime,” Bashfield told Al Jazeera.

Satellite pictures show the progression of the construction over the years (Credit:Maxar)

“The southwest Indian Ocean is an area where it's important for India to have areas where their aircraft can support their ships, and also … areas it can use as launching pads for operations.

“Geographically it's in a fantastic spot, being in the central ocean, but also on that southwestern side,” he added, referring to its proximity to the Mozambique Channel, which sees a lot of international shipping.

“As an addition to India's other points that it can operate from, it's incredibly important.”

After that 2006 CIA cable, the relationship between India and Mauritius grew even closer. Mauritius, where the vast majority of the population is of Indian ancestry, became more dependent on India for investments and financial support, leading to a 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which Agaléga was one of the focal points.

The two countries agreed on “setting up and upgradation of infrastructure for improving sea and air connectivity at the Outer Island of Mauritius which will go a long way in ameliorating the condition of the inhabitants of this remote Island.”

“These facilities will enhance the capabilities of the Mauritian Defence Forces in safeguarding their interests in the Outer Island.”

As luck would have it, an airstrip and large jetty were exactly the two projects between India and Seychelles that fell through that year.

The airstrip

To date, the airstrip on Agaléga has been predominantly used by the Mauritian coastguard’s three propeller planes – the only aircraft capable of landing on it.

Now, its new Indian-built airstrip will be about the same length as the runway on the main island of Mauritius, which handles nearly four million passengers each year.

Theoretically, the whole population of Agaléga could get on an Airbus A380 - the world’s largest passenger aeroplane - and take off from their island’s new runway .

“It will be much easier to get supplies, much easier to travel between Mauritius and Agaléga using these new facilities, but certainly that's not the purpose,” Bashfield explained.

“The purpose … is allowing the Indian military, and also the Mauritian coastguard, to have access and to be able to operate out of this area.”

There are no public government documents from either Mauritius or India that state the island will be used by the Indian military, or in what capacity.

About 1,000 construction workers live on the Agalega now (Credit:Facebook)

The only indication India will be using the island for its operations came in 2018 when Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth confirmed to the Financial Times newspaper that: “India would be allowed to utilise the facilities in Agaléga subject to prior notification from the competent authorities of Mauritius.”

In May, Jugnauth was asked about the construction during a session in Parliament. He denied there was an agreement with India to build a military base on Agaléga.

But Abhishek Mishra, a researcher at New Delhi-based think-tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) who regularly speaks to people in the Indian Navy and government, says that behind the public denials, India's plans for Agaléga are clear.

"When you interact with former navy personnel, current and serving ministry officials, then you get an idea of the direction this is heading," Mishra told Al Jazeera.

“It’s an intelligence facility for India to stage air and naval presence in order to increase surveillance in the wider southwest Indian Ocean and Mozambique Channel,” he continued.

"It will act as a crucial node in expanding India’s footprint in the region, provide a useful location for communication and electronic intelligence collection. The base will be used for the berthing of our ships, the runway will be mostly used for our P-8I aircraft.”

India has bought more than a dozen P-8I Poseidon aircraft from the US (Credit: The Aviation Photo Company)

In 2009, India bought eight P-8I Poseidon patrol aircraft from the US, military versions of the Boeing 737 used for long-range reconnaissance, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions.

Since then, India has made plans to buy 10 more and last year it used one in a joint patrol mission with the French navy over the Indian Ocean .

In mid-July, India received its 10th P-8I.

Having a base for intelligence gathering in the southwest Indian Ocean will increase India's capabilities exponentially, Mishra explained.

"If we (India) have a logistics or communications facility in such a strategically located region, that will not just help us to get an overall sense of the picture of emerging maritime security architecture in the region, it will also help us keep track of developments in the Mozambique Channel or the Cape of Good Hope."


The Chagos connection

The secrecy from both the Mauritian and Indian governments surrounding the - likely military - construction on Agaléga has raised a few eyebrows in Mauritius, as the only public document about the project is the 2015 MoU.

This has led Agaléens to fear that they might become victims of a geopolitical game of chess and eventually be forced off the islands.

They point to what they say are efforts by the Mauritian government to make it harder to live on the islands. For instance, inhabitants say they have been forbidden to bring cement to the island, preventing them from doing their own construction.

Other examples include the alleged choking of internet speeds, high school students being forced to take their exams on the main island and Agaléga not having enough medical facilities for pregnant women to safely give birth there.

In November 2020, the government announced a plan to require a $5,400 bank guarantee from Mauritians travelling to Agaléga, allegedly to cover any medical emergencies. The plan was quickly put on hold after protests from people who wanted to visit family on the island but were unable to because of the fee.

Mauritian government officials have repeatedly avoided answering questions by opposition members and Agaléens about the project, raising suspicions about intentions.

Another concern was that the Mauritian government failed to have an environmental impact assessment done for the project, raising even more questions about the purpose.

When asked about that assessment by Al Jazeera, the Mauritian government denied it needed one for this project, despite the government website stating that it is mandatory to have them done when building jetties or runways.

All this has led Agaléens to see similarities with another Mauritian island - Diego Garcia.

In the 1960s, the UK, Mauritius’s colonial ruler at the time, turned Diego Garcia into a military base and leased it to the US in a secret deal.

The base still exists and is part of the longstanding dispute between the UK and Mauritius over Chagos. After the UN maritime court ruled the UK has no sovereignty over the islands, the UK said it would only return them when they no longer serve defence purposes.

When Diego Garcia was turned into a base, the people living there were forcibly expelled, a fate the people of Agaléga now fear as well.

“It’s been three years since the construction of the airport [and] jetty began on Agaléga. Since then, everything has changed,” Arnaud Poulay, who lives on Agaléga, told Al Jazeera.

“We do need a port because it was dangerous, the way we used to work, with small boats going back and forth to disembark,” he said.

“But today, no Agaléens are being trained to work on the new port, so it’s clear that it will be Indian workers who will be employed,” he said.

“Our kids, our youth who are unemployed, are not being trained. Why not? That would have been better… because what they are doing is not development but destruction.”

His brother, Franco Poulay, told Al Jazeera that Agaléens have been requesting a hospital for years and that a better runway would be welcome for medical emergencies.

“We asked for an airport that would be enough to handle emergencies, to save lives,” he said. “However, when we see this airport, we are worried.”

Franco also described seeing Indian military roaming around Agaléga.

“A couple of military officers come and go; they are the ones monitoring the works. They are showing they are in charge by … administrating the island, issuing their own orders, such as deciding on disembarkation of ships, on works being carried out by the AFCON workers.”

“They are showing us … that the military would be the ones in control of the administration of the island,” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit could only verify that Mauritian authorities visited the island.

The secrecy

Experts are sceptical about the likelihood of islanders being forcibly removed.

“On the issue of the Chagos Islands, India has sided with Mauritius, so it seems relatively unlikely that India would undertake a similar operation on [Agaléga],” RUSI’s Dave said.

His comments were echoed by Samuel Bashfield, who said it is common for countries to allow foreign militaries on their territory.

“That doesn't mean that they're handing over the island or … giving up sovereignty. It means that they have an agreement that they're allowing the Indian military to come in to build the facilities and to use them in the future.”

And there is some evidence that Mauritius does not plan to remove the islanders. In May 2020, after construction had begun on the runway, the Mauritian government posted several tenders for the expansion of civilian infrastructure on Agaléga: a medical dispensary, housing, a fish landing station and several other facilities clearly for civilian use.

But despite the planned expansion of facilities on the island, neither Mauritius nor India has stated exactly what part a military force - either the Mauritian coastguard or the Indian navy - will play in the future of the island.

According to ORF's Mishra, there are two main reasons neither country has spoken openly.

The first is optics: "From an Indian perspective, we cannot be seen as someone who is supporting militarisation of our region. We do not want to be seen as someone who does not respect transparency or … sovereignty."

Second, is simply what governments always do when it comes to their military operations, namely keeping adversaries in the dark.

"Issues of sovereignty and all, that is the main reason we can’t outrightly call it either a military base or a military facility. All these terminologies… are all matters of national security."

For the people of Agaléga, it is that secrecy, from India but more importantly from their own government, that makes them wary of government promises that they have nothing to worry about. In May this year, when questions were asked in the Mauritian parliament, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth denied that anything fishy was going on in Agaléga.

They feel what they see on the island every day does not match what they are being told.

Being left in the dark at the start of the project makes them feel they are not being included in decisions about what happens to the island they call home.

But, as Franco Poulay told Al Jazeera, they do not plan on leaving.

"They should not think that we will accept to become like Diego Garcia... We will fight back until the end, we won’t lose because we are fighting for the truth," Poulay said.

"It’s a crime against humanity, a crime against our kids of tomorrow and we will not submit and accept [it].

"Agaléens are not afraid. "

The Investigative Unit contacted all those involved in this investigation.

The Mauritian government restated its position that there is “no agreement between Mauritius and India to set up a military a base in Agaléga”.

It added that it used the term “military base” to mean “a facility owned and operated by, or for, the military for sheltering of military equipment and personnel, on a permanent basis and for military operations”.

It stated that construction work on Agaléga is designed to improve “the inadequate infrastructure facilities” on the island, which will remain “under the control of the Mauritian authorities and any use thereof by any foreign country will be subject to the approval of the Government of Mauritius.”

India’s Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs did not respond to our request for comment.

Microgrid Projects

India Microgrids

India has one of the most robust microgrid markets for off-grid and grid-connected systems.   Microgrids in India are deployed to fill in for an unreliable utility grid, reach new off-grid customers, save money, and reduce carbon emissions.  Indians who could afford it have long used diesel generators to backup the utility grid, but are increasingly moving to microgrid options consisting of solar pv , and energy storage .

India’s aggressive electric vehicle targets  should also contribute to microgrid growth as homes, campuses, and companies seek to ensure adequate electric supply to meet surging demand.  The car batteries themselves can play a significant role in microgrid systems, storing solar energy for when it’s needed.  The Indian government is planning on offering a ‘EV as a Service’ financial model to all citizens, putting the government in a position to possibly utilize EV batteries as a grid resource to meet national renewable targets.

Microgrids in India

In Karnataka, the SELCO Foundation has deployed solar-storage remote microgrids to provide energy access in Baikampady Mangalore , Neelakantarayanagaddi Village , Mendare Village , and Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya .  Each of these are DC microgrids .

The Indian Coast Guard operates a microgrid in Andaman Island .  Dodgy power reliability was not acceptable for the Chief Ministers Official Residence in Bihar India , which has a 125 kW solar microgrid.  In the village of Dharnai , Greenpeace has gone beyond activism to solar microgrid deployment.

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Defence is one of the major spending sectors in the Indian economy. The geographical and topographical diversity, especially the 15,000 km long border which India shares with seven neighbouring countries poses unique challenges to the Indian Defence Forces. This section gives complete information pertaining to the activities of Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Paramilitary Forces. Detailed information about various defence organizations is also given.

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British Military Presence in India 1612 to 1947

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India - British Colonial times Governors General of India Rao Bahadur Sellers & Sailors: The East India Companies East India Company College World War One: Armed Forces India
1612–1757 , the East India Company set up "factories" (trading posts) in several locations in India, with the consent of the Moghul emperors or local rulers. Its rivals were the merchant trading companies of Holland and France. By the mid-18th century, three "Presidency towns": Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta had grown in size. 1757–1858 - was the period of Company rule in India. The Company gradually acquired sovereignty over large parts of India, now called "Presidencies." However, it also increasingly came under British government oversight, in effect sharing sovereignty with the Crown. At the same time it gradually lost its mercantile privileges. 1857 - Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Company's remaining powers were transferred to the Crown. 1858–1947 The new British Raj - sovereignty extended to a few new regions, such as Upper Burma. Larger presidencies were broken up into "Provinces".

The Honourable East India Company ([H]EIC) held the Charter to represent the British Crown's merchant interests and to establish trade east of the Cape of Good Hope. They were granted this Charter from about 1612 until shortly after the Indian Mutiny when the EIC was dissolved. The HEIC's ships and trading posts (often referred to as "factories") needed to defend themselves against the pirates, marauders and forces of hostile powers - both European and Eastern.

From 1700 for the next 160 years or so, the Honourable East India Company raised its own armed forces. The three administrative areas of India, the Presidencies of Bombay, Madras and Bengal, each maintained their own army with its own commander-in-chief.

The commander-in-chief Bengal was regarded as the senior officer of the three. These armies were paid for entirely out of the East India Company's Indian revenues and together were larger than the British Army itself.

All the officers were British and trained at the Company's military academy in England. There were a number of regiments of European infantry but the vast majority of the Company's soldiers were native troops. These Sepoys, as they were called, were mostly high caste Hindus and a great many of them, especially in the Bengal army, came from Oudh in what is now Uttar Pradesh state in northern India.

They were organized in numbered regiments and drilled in the British style. The Sepoy regiments were officered by Europeans, with a stiffening of European NCO's.

Attached to this force were regiments of the Crown, units of the British Army lent by the Crown to the HEIC in times of need. By 1857 the total number of soldiers in India was 34,000 Europeans of all ranks and 257,000 Sepoys.

Sir Thomas Smythe - 1558-1625, was first Governor of the East India Company. The HEIC troops fought many minor skirmishes and major battles to protect the assets of the East India Company. It was not until late 1756 that the Bengal Regiment emerged after reforms by Major-General Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, KB .

A few events in the early history of the East India Company are listed below.

1613 - Early in the year the Mogul Emperor issued a Firman to the HEIC for the establishment of a factory at Surat near Bombay, this was the first settlement of the British on the continent of India. The HEIC prospered and expanded. 1625 - Factory was established at Masulipatam. 1634 - February 2nd, a Firman issued to HEIC by the Shah Jehan Emperor of India for establishment of factories in Bengal. 1640 - Concession obtained for establishment in Madras. 1645 - An unexpected extension of the Company's power in Bengal was obtained. The Emperor Shah Jehan had a favourite daughter who had been seriously burnt, the Surgeon of one of the HEIC ships Gabriel Broughton , was sent to attend her, his treatment so successful the Emperor was overcome with gratitude, said he would grant Broughton anything he might ask for. Broughton's request was that permission should be given to the HEIC establish a factory at Hoogli (Calcutta), this was granted and a prosperous trade sprang up. 1652 - It was necessary from the first to have some form of guards at these factories, about this time an officer and thirty European soldiers were employed by the Company to protect it's factory near Calcutta, and by all accounts they were a mixed bunch, mercenaries, adventurers and deserters from foreign armies, however they were melded into an efficient professional military unit. History claims the 1st and 2nd battalions, The Royal Munster Fusiliers Regiment, designated by Lord Cardwell's British Army reorganisation on July 1st 1881, can trace their regimental roots to this small band of military men. 1668 - March - Island of Bombay granted to the HEIC by King Charles II. A detachment of the Kings troops was offered and accepted military service under the HEIC. 1680's - The expansion and increased trade of the HEIC required additional recruits for the HEIC private Army. Recruiting took place in England and James II gave permission to raise small numbers of troops in Ireland. 1685 - Six companies of infantry sent from England and Ireland, and a detachment from Madras for the purpose of establishing the position of the Company in Bengal. 1689 - Settlements in Bengal given up, the whole military force returned to Madras. 1690 - Settlements were re-established in Bengal by year-end, the force amounted to a company of 100 men under a Captain Hill. 1692 - Captain John Goldesborough arrived Madras to command all the HEIC's forces in India. 1694 - Goldesborough when on a tour of inspection in Bengal ordered the establishment to be reduced to 2 sergeants, 2 corporals, and 20 privates. 1697 - Dangerous revolt breaks out in Bengal, led by Rajah Subah Sing, against the Emperor's authority. The HEIC's agent, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Charles Eyre , applied to the local Nawab for permission to fortify the factory at Chattanuttee, the modern Calcutta. This being given, it was decided to erect a fort, which was to be named Fort William, in honour of King William III, and at the same time Bengal was declared a separate presidency. 1707 - Fort William works reasonably completed, with a number of guns, and 125 soldiers, of whom half were Europeans. 1710 - Strength and constitution of the military forces in the three Presidencies, Bombay, Bengal and Madras had gone through many changes, each had more or less the organization and disposal of their own forces. The white portion of the armies was composed of detachments sent out from England and Ireland. 1743 - Robert Clive arrives in India, civil servant of the HEIC, later he transfers to the military service with the HEIC, distinguished himself as a soldier. 1753 - Clive returns to England after accumulating wealth. 1756 - June - Robert Clive returned to Madras from England, appointed Governor of Fort St David with a commission as Lieutenant Colonel. He is also attributed with forming the Army in India into an orderly military force. 1756 - 5th August - News received in Madras, capture of Calcutta by Surajah Dowlah, the new Nawab of Bengal, the imprisonment of Europeans in a dungeon named Black Hole. Clive was commanded to secure Calcutta and release the prisoners. 1756 - 16th December - Independent companies and detachments formed into a Regiment by Clive, placed under command of Major Kilpatrick under the designation of - The Bengal European Regiment .

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