Forces: June 2, 2002


The Indian army is the most powerful in the region. Although China has larger ground forces, the difficulties of operating in the Himalayas mountains that separate the two nations effectively isolates the two armies from each other. The Indian army has a peacetime strength of 980,000 troops. The reserves consist of 300,000 men who have served in the past five years and could, with a few weeks refresher training, be put back into service. The army has 35 combat divisions (plus one artillery division) and 8 independent armored brigades and 7 independent infantry brigades. These are organized into 12 Corps (3 "Strike" Corps and 9 "Holding" Corps.) The three Strike Corps have three armored divisions, most of the armored brigades and four RAPID infantry divisions (each with two motorized infantry brigades and one mechanized infantry brigade), plus additional infantry divisions as needed. The other 9 Corps make use of 10 Mountain divisions, 18 Infantry divisions and the independent infantry brigades. The armor force is organized in tank regiments. There are 13 regiments with 55 T-55s each, 35 regiments with 55 T-72Ms each and 14 regiments with 72 Vijayantas (a British design, somewhere between the T-55 and T-72 in effectiveness). One Arjun (an Indian design that is losing out to T-80s from Ukraine and Russian T-90s) regiment is just entering service. Newly purchased T-80s and T-90s are also about to enter service. There are 200 T-55s and 1,000 Vijayantas in storage, most of which could be brought back to service to replace combat losses. While the Indian tanks are pretty old, Pakistan doesnt have much better stuff. So it all comes down to crew training and numbers. The mechanized infantry units use 1600 Russian BMPs (about a third are older BMP-1s, being gradually replaced with BMP-2s) The army has about 200 battalions (18 guns each) of artillery. Again, most of it is old stuff. About 38 percent of the battalions use 105mm howitzers (World War II era stuff), 16 percent used Russian 122mm howitzers, 35 percent are more modern Russian 130mm guns (which are gradually replacing the 105mm howitzers) and 12 percent are modern Swedish 155mm howitzers. There are about ten battalions of 1950s era self propelled 105mm and 130mm howitzers that are to be replaced (it is hoped) before they all fall apart. There are also ten regiments of rocket launchers (most of them 122mm, being replaced by 214mm models.) The infantry still have older anti-tank guided missile systems and 106mm recoilless rifles for fighting tanks. The army also has 300 helicopters (mostly of the U.S. UH-1 class), some of them armed. For air defense, there are about 4,000 23mm to 40mm systems (many are multi-barrel) and 2500 shoulder fired SAMs, 400 medium range SAMs and 24 launchers of modern Russian S-300 systems being delivered. However, India has a lot of air space to guard, so it has play something of a chess game to figure out where to put it's air defense systems to get the most benefit. The army also has about 40 UAVs and several modern artillery spotting radar systems. Most army equipment is old, India does not have a lot of money for defense, at least not to keep a million man army going. Logistics are a problem, as there are never enough trucks. This would be especially true during a major war, although civilian trucks can be pressed into service. There are many excellent combat units in the Indian army, but keeping the officer corps full of first rate men has been hard, because of relatively low pay and growing opportunities in the civilian economy. However, the Indians did inherit the tradition of a good NCO corps from the British and their NCOs tend to be excellent. There is still a lot of unemployment for non-college graduates, and a military career as an NCO is still seen as attractive and competition for NCO slots is intense. 




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