The army’s existing battle strategy that revolves around three strike corps (each with one lakh troops and 1,000 fighting vehicles) has been hit by outdated technology. Roughly a third of its Rs 2.5 lakh crore equipment inventory comprises outdated equipment. Two critical projects worth over $2 billion (Rs 90,000 crore) to equip infantry soldiers with modern assault rifles and night-vision devices and another one to allow high-speed encrypted communication links between army formations are over a decade behind schedule.
The army functions on a communications system developed in the 1970s that has negligible data transmission. “We are fighting fourth-generation warfare (insurgencies), preparing for third-generation warfare (conventional conflicts) with a Second World War mindset,” says a general. Only two major weapon systems have been acquired since the Kargil war: over 1,000 T-90 tanks and Smerch long-range rockets from Russia. Meanwhile, its infantrymen lack lightweight body armour and modern helmets. The army officially admits that close to 80 per cent of its 3,500 tanks are not equipped with night-vision devices and hence cannot fight at night. The new T-90 tanks in the strike formations are protected by 1960s vintage air defence missiles.