NEW DELHI: The New York Times while dubbing the Indian Army as ‘vintage’ military in the face of the embarrassment it faced after Pakistan Air Force downed one of its planes in the dogfight last week, said that the incident was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check.
“An Indian Air Force pilot found himself in a dogfight last week with a warplane from the Pakistani Air Force, and ended up a prisoner behind enemy lines for a brief time, the NYT said in a report titled as “After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its ‘Vintage’ Military”.
It said that the pilot made it home in one piece, however, bruised and shaken, but the plane, an ageing Soviet-era MiG-21, was less lucky.
“The aerial clash, the first by the South Asian rivals in nearly five decades, was a rare test for the Indian military — and it left observers a bit dumbfounded. While the challenges faced by India’s armed forces are no secret, its loss of a plane last week to a country whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter of the funding was still telling,” the report added.
If intense warfare broke out tomorrow, India could supply its troops with only 10 days of ammunition, according to government estimates. And 68 percent of the army’s equipment is so old, it is officially considered “vintage.”
“Our troops lack modern equipment, but they have to conduct 21st-century military operations,” said Gaurav Gogoi, a lawmaker and member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defense.
American officials tasked with strengthening the alliance talk about their mission with frustration: a swollen bureaucracy makes arms sales and joint training exercises cumbersome; Indian forces are vastly underfunded; and the country’s navy, army and air force tend to compete rather than work together