Strategic alliances over the next ten years will change dramatically with India and the US having a common resolve for the regional landscape. The US may have a superior military force and weaponry to compete, but the geographical distance would make for logistical nightmares. Ergo, India becomes a natural ally. By 2030, India will have to rework and upgrade its military planning to ensure it can provide a suitable bulwark.
Indian strategists’ and force planners must seek ways to offset their weaknesses and subvert other regional powers. One method considered is to invest in nuclear submarines and move away from vulnerable surface vessels to underwater strength. India appears committed to possessing a small fleet of nuclear submarines.
However, it is air power that India has to think about to remain ahead of the curve. Given their particularly high cost of procurement, maintenance, and training, as well as historical failures, India should begin its rationalisation of purchase in tactical combat aircraft—namely multi-role fighters.
One report says; India’s recent history of combat-aircraft development and procurement is worthy of discussion, but the short version is that India has failed to procure sufficient advanced (fourth-generation-plus) aircraft to meet the near-term requirements of its Air Force, let alone to compete. Consolidating near- to medium-term procurement on just two aircraft types would allow India to get more for its money.
These two types should be a light multi-role fighter and an advanced fourth-generation-plus multi-role fighter. Should India retain its aircraft carriers, this more advanced fighter would ideally be capable of operating from India’s aircraft carriers. Over the next two decades, India should consider skipping fifth-generation aircraft and waiting to see what technologies emerge in the next generation. Given the time, it has taken India to procure fourth-generation aircraft, any decision today by India to acquire fifth-generation aircraft is likely to be over-come by events before aircraft deliveries.