Issue Brief on “India’s Conventional Military Buildup: Implications for South Asian Strategic Stability”


India has been investing massively in its conventional military capabilities in recent years. This includes modernizing its existing weaponry, procurement of new weapons systems, and upgrading infrastructure. India’s military buildup includes enhancing its air defense capabilities, acquiring advanced fighter jets, submarines, and surface ships, strengthening its missile defense system, and improving its communication and surveillance capabilities. India’s military spending was the third highest in the world at $76.6 billion in 2021.[1] According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) data, India was the largest arms importer in the world during 2013-17 and spent around $100 billion during that time to modernize its military capabilities.[2] India has spent another  $24 billion to acquire equipment from countries like the US, Russia, France, Spain and Israel in the last five years which include helicopters, aircraft radars, rockets, guns, assault rifles, missiles and ammunitions.[3] India is thus spending billions of dollars to strengthen its military capabilities. This is altering the balance of power in the region and has a number of implications. It is important to assess the nature of India’s conventional military buildup and its implications for the region especially Pakistan and strategic stability in South Asia. The article would mainly focus on Indian conventional build up from 2017 onwards.

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