After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its ‘Vintage’ Military – The New York Times

All that can help the United States try to box in its rival.

“India’s sheer demographics, its long-term military potential, its geographic expanse — it makes India worth waiting for,” said Jeff Smith, a research fellow for South Asia at the Heritage Foundation in Washington and the author of “Cold Peace: China-India Rivalry in the 21st Century.”

“As China rises and the United States fights to keep its dominance, it will need a swing state to tip the balance of power in the 21st century,” Mr. Smith said. “And that swing state is India. The United States knows this and is willing to be patient.”

For India’s military, funding remains the biggest challenge.

In 2018, India announced a military budget of some $45 billion. By comparison, China’s military budget that year was $175 billion. Last month, Delhi announced another $45 billion budget.

It is not just a question of how much India spends on its military, but how it spends it.

The majority of the money goes to salaries for its 1.2 million active duty troops, as well as pensions. Only $14 billion will be used to buy new hardware.

“At a time when modern armies are investing hugely on upgrading their intelligence and technical capabilities, we need to be doing the same,” said Mr. Gogoi, the Parliament member.

Unlike China, where an authoritarian government is free to set military policy as it wishes, India is a democracy, with all the messiness that can entail.

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