India has one of the largest Armies, Navies and Air Forces in the world, but they are inadequate simply because China has forces that vastly exceeds India’s and they have tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery guns, missiles, anti-aircraft guns, fighter aircrafts, transport aircrafts, AWACs, warships, submarines (and other weaponry) that again vastly exceed India’s. Then, there is Pakistan which, though economically a failed country and an utterly lawless one too, maintains a large military force (one amongst the ten largest militaries in the world) and, in the recent past, she spent 16.27% of her budget on defence. This is quite a high figure considering that Pakistan is an underdeveloped economy and this money could have been put to better use. Sadly, the Pakistani government and the military establishment just looks at India’s annual defence budget amount, which naturally would be higher than Pakistan’s, without admitting that India’s economy is multiple times higher than hers, though the percentage allocated by India for defence (from its total budget) is quite low and not comparable with Pakistan’s. Moreover, the Pakistani media also trumpets this fact, without going into the details.
Compared with China (2.1%) and Pakistan (16.27%), India spends just 1.2% of its budget on defence. This is not enough to face both the enemies, i.e. Pakistan on the western frontier and China on a very vast border right from the north running all the way to the north east at the other end, i.e. 4,057 kilometres.
As per this google search, Israel is 20,770 square kilometres in area and proclaimed independence effectively on 14.05.1948 after the British mandate on Palestine ended, i.e. exactly 10 months after India. Tiny Israel has not only become self-sufficient in military needs (thanks to its incessant research and development right from the time of its independence and manufacture of military hardware at its ordnance and other factories, aircraft facilities and shipyards. Whereas, India is virtually dependent on imports for sophisticated weaponry and it is high time that the Government exerts strong pressure on its ordnance factories, factories manufacturing tanks and all types of vehicles, aircraft factories, dockyards manufacturing warships, submarines (and all other types of naval vessels) to accelerate and increase its production. Even so, if defence production is not able to cope up and meet the targets, then it can set up new facilities. Any surplus in defence production can be exported to friendly countries, who can buy military hardware at cheaper price tags than sold by other arms exporters. Export of arms to friendly countries should be made with a rider that stipulates that these arms are purely for defensive purposes and should not be given to other countries under any circumstances. With this rider, India would ensure that the arms do not fall into the wrong hands. By producing all its weaponry, India will not only save very precious foreign exchange, but by exporting it India will also earn additional and vitally required foreign exchange.
Further, in order to make additional funds readily available for defence, India should try to trim and streamline its large, creaky, overstaffed and mostly inefficient manpower in Ministries and Public Sector Undertakings by terminations and golden hand-shakes. Indian Railways, with 1.7 million employees is like a charity institution, because there are employees who work, others who do not work. After the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Indian Railways is the second largest employer in the world. There are countless organisations in the world, who are gigantic profit-making entities and have highly productive employees’ productivities. Even when it comes to Railways, the Indian Railways is the fourth largest. So, where is the justification to have 1.7 million personnel on its payroll? None of the Railway Ministers, over the years, have not talked about the Railways having far excessive manpower than what is requires but, on the contrary, spoken about high operating costs, etc. The present Minister of Railways should make himself a trend-setter and a trail blazer by introducing an efficient and committed management, dispensing the archaic system and streamlining it, introducing automation and dispensing with surplus manpower. By doing this, the manpower could be cut down by as much as 50% and the other 50%of retained manpower should be sent for periodic in-house training and also training in external institutions both in the country and abroad to hone their skills, enhance their usefulness and worth to the Railways. Efficient employees should be well paid and recognised. The immense savings effected can be diverted to various sectors like defence, education, health, agriculture, etc.
The Ministry of Defence can create a vast pool of Army Reservists by attracting high school and college students to opt for military training and remaining in the Reserves till certain age or number of years. In return, the Government should give them free high school and college education by bearing these students fees. After having completed a year or two military of training, other ranks and NCOs could undergo refresher training of 30 days each year thereafter and officers could undergo 45 days training. So, if the Central Government foots the education bills of these youths who are physically and medically fit to undergo military training, then India will have large pools of Reservist Army of millions of men to fight infantry warfare, support and assist the Regular Army and service, repair and maintain vehicles and other equipment, etc. Further, having undergone military training, these youth will be highly disciplined. Both the Government and country on one hand and the youth looking to a career and employment on the other hand, stand to benefit by this arrangement. It is a highly common fact that in U.S.A., many youth opt to join for Armed Forces for certain number of years to do higher education and complete graduation or post-graduation and take early retirement to take up jobs in the civilian sector or pursue other vocations and earn pensions from the military.
Israel has a population of a little over 8,000,000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Israel) and 75% comprise Jews, who have emigrated to that country from all parts of the world. Probably, one of the most notorious dictators of all times, Adolph Hitler, can be credited for Israel’s birth, simply because he and his henchmen had killed over 6,000,000 Jews (apart from millions of other nationalities and ethnic groups). That made the survivors of the concentration camps (and Jews from Europe and Russia) to be the first one to sail to Palestine, a land to which they were historically and religiously attached, even by dodging British naval blockades and finally declaring independence. To get an idea of how Israel achieved independence, one should read “O’ Jerusalem” by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. Subsequently, Jews from many countries have emigrated to Israel, including Jews from India. Israel has taken part in the War of Independence (1948), The Sinai Campaign (1956), The Six Day War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1973) and have been victorious in all of them, though they were outnumbered by the enemy in men, tanks, guns, aircrafts, ships, etc. in these wars. In the Yom Kippur War, Israel had initial setbacks and shocks, but later on, under Gen. Ariel Sharon, they were able to re-group, cross over to the West Bank of the Suez Canal and encircle the IIIrd Egyptian Army which, if cease fire had not come into effect, would have surrendered.
Israel’s regular Army is just 176,000 men. Military training is compulsory for both male and females in Israel and, therefore, in the event of crises and calamities, they can mobilise around 625,000 men in the matter of 72 hours. Surprisingly, the Israeli Army comprising Regular Army and a large Reservist Army is led by a Lieutenant General. The combined strength of the Israeli Army is something amazing, considering that Israel is a small country – both territory and population-wise. But in such emergencies, leading to mobilisation of forces, the Israeli economy suffers a lot, because there is acute shortage of manpower in private and government offices, factories, business establishments, public and private transport system, etc..
Finally, there are 14 countries in the world that have compulsory military training. To name a few, Austria, China, Finland, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and others. In conclusion, having an Army of Reserves is good for the country, as it is not an excessive drain on a country’s resources and this force can come in handy during wars, riots, cyclones, earthquakes, etc.