New Delhi: The top US newspaper ( New York Times) has presented a gloomy picture of Indian military capabilities and stated that dogfight with Pakistan in which it lost a fighter jet has 'left observers a bit dumbfounded'.
The aerial clash, the first by the South Asian rivals in nearly five decades, was a rare test for the Indian military. 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 pilot made it home in one piece, however bruised and shaken, but the plane, an aging Soviet-era MiG-21, was less lucky.
Maria Abi-Habib, the NYT's Staff Correspondent in South Asia, said, "India's armed forces are in alarming shape. India's military has long been a source of jobs for a country struggling with chronic underemployment."
Comparing India with Pakistan, the NYT said, India's loss of a fighter jet last week to a country whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter of the funding was still telling.
India's armed forces are in alarming shape.
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."
Gaurav Gogoi, a lawmaker and member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defense said, "Our troops lack modern equipment, but they have to conduct 21st-century military operations", US newspaper reported.
US 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, the NYT report said.