After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its ‘Vintage’ Military

As America strengthens its alliance with India to help counter China, critics say its military faces serious challenges, from the age of its hardware to the size of its budget.

Comments: 278

  1. Downing a MiG-21 is no great feat, especially if an F-16 was indeed what was used to do so. I am surprised that the MiG was sent up in the first place, when there are other, more advanced aircraft available to India in that region. The real challenge for India is to find more money for real upgrades - Fellow Indians, pay your taxes!

  2. @Dambis There were a total of 8 Indian planes responding to the incursion, 2 were MIG21 with BISON configuration, the other 6 more modern jets. THE MIG wasn't downed by the F16 from what I have seen, it just fell apart chasing it.

  3. @Dambis I think the reason the Indians sent up the Mig-21 was probably just to be cautious, tease out the opposition and probe the effectiveness of Pakistani defenses. The Indians know what they’re doing, on the whole.

  4. Our pilots were able to down an f16 with a Mig21. So, it's not about advanced weapons.

  5. The premise of the report is somewhat weak. When India used advanced aircraft, their planes were able to penetrate Pakistani airspace undetected, conduct a bombing mission within 60 miles of the Pakistani capital, and return unharmed. India has begun a gradual modernization of its military which does include many advanced platforms. But I am glad that it is prioritizing development over the military, in what appears to be in stark contrast to its neighbor to the west.

  6. Reporters need to factually check assertions made by officials they interview. An Indian official is quoted saying China began its economic liberalization “20-30 years” before India. Economic liberalization in India is widely believed to have begun in 1993. 20-30 years earlier would put China’s economic liberalization having begun in the 1963-73 time frame when China was convulsed by Mao’s cultural revolution, the attacks on the Gang of Four, the alleged revolt of Lin Piao, etc. Your reporter could have questioned this claim that makes this whole narrative of the reasons underlying India’s alleged military shortcomings somewhat suspect.

  7. @Vinod Mubayi Well, China started liberalizing after Nixon visit to China in 1971 that was 20 years before India opened its economy.

  8. We need much less military spending across the globe. Investment in sustainable development and technology is much more powerful.

  9. The Indian Air Force is not that antiquated if you trust Wikipedia and Janes. The bulk of the combat aircraft are SU 30 (242 aircraft). Also making a decent representation are MiG 29 (66 aircraft) and Mirage 2000 (41 aircraft). The MiG 21 (113 aircraft) are less in proportion. So unless falsehoods are planted on the internet (never happens), the Indian Air Force on paper is ok. That said training and skill levels are harder to quantity.

  10. @The Flying Doctor For quantifying Training quality of the Indian Air Force, you can look at their participation in exercises such as Red Flag (held in US). Also, India has been steadily buying American aircraft in recent years such as C-17, C-130J, Sea Guardian drones, Apache attach helicopters etc. Homegrown fighters like Tejas will enter service soon, so that should also help things a bit

  11. As Modi's Bollywood style war against a much smaller and economically unstable nation turned into a disaster, he attempts to pull another trick to win election. Can India ever be trusted again? Can Hindu nationalists that lead its government be allowed in to brotherhood of nations?

  12. @SWQ I am not a fan of Modi but sending message to Pakistan was necessary. Pakistan harbors and trains terrorists to strike India and US as well in Afghanistan which is a fact. Pakistan started all the past wars with India. Pakistan cannot hide under the cover of being small and economically weak for engaging in belligerence, terrorism and use its nukes to blackmail India. Pakistan’s perfidy is in open all over the world. The question here is can Pakistan with with puppet civilian government controlled by the army and its intelligence be trusted? The answer is a simple no looking at experiences of US alone with Pakistan

  13. @SWQ India is fighting terrorists sponsored by the United States. 20,000 militants were transferred by the Americans from Syria to Pakistan to destabilize the situation there. Therefore, all over the world people understand who is not worthy to be in the community of Nations - it is terrorists and their sponsors!

  14. "Only" 14 billion for new military hardware, in a country mired in poverty? Sad.

  15. They aren’t exactly “mired in poverty.” They have the third highest GDP next to China and the USA.

  16. @Captain Courageous Exactly, this poverty thing is so passé as related to India. Talk about elephants and snake charmer on the street then!

  17. @Dolllar, without the military to defend there would be no country, and the Indians would face the fate of the Uzbeks, Kazakhs and Tibetans under the Chinese thumb. Let alone the bleak fate of non-Muslims in Pakistan.

  18. Our pilots are fully capable and experienced as they were able to down an f16 a fourth generation plane with MIG21 2nd generation plane, which is first time anywhere in the world. Foreign media are not acknowledging these achievements and directy reaching to baseless conclusions about our air power.

  19. @Nishant if true then where is wreckage. The pics shown by Indian media, as per international experts ( from finland) , this is not f16 but seems to be mig 21. Plus your own PM modification admitted when he said outcome would have different had we possessed Rafale fighters.

  20. @Mujtaba Hassan Are you kidding? Are the Pak authorities going to release the evidence of the wreckage - heck no! They are adept at covering and manipulating information. Take the case of the the F-16 pilot Shahaz-ud-din who was killed or the fact that Pak only owned the involvement for army regulars in Kargil 10 years after the fact ! After the whole world knew about it...

  21. Why can’t US think more of “coexist” than “dominate” and more of “friendship” than “rivalry”?

  22. @sandy45 Its not enough for one side to be pacifist. If pacifism is indeed enough for peace, then so many plunders and atrocities wouldn't have happened against Buddhists and Hindus.

  23. @sandy45 Because China is thinking of dominate much more than coexist and anyone who believes otherwise is more naive than Chamberlain at the eve of WW2

  24. I am not sure whether it is correct to say India lost the dogfight to Pakistan that resulted from violation of Indian airspace in response to the alleged violation of the Pakistan air space aimed at a surgical strike on a terrorist camp inside the Pakistan occupied territory of Kashmir.. India has claimed it shot down a F-16 that fell on the Pakistan side of the line of control. and the pilot was retrieved safely on the Pakistan side and returned. India lost its MiG fighter from the last century and the pilot was captured on the Pakistan side and returned. So the dogfight as a tit for tat was a draw. But the "vintage" description of the MIG is apt but that does not mean anyone can call the military of India as entirely unprepared or in need of modernization. The MiG took off from the border area as a defensive response. If was strategic to not keep your best and most modern fighters on the frontier to become sitting ducks when attacked without early warning. The modern Indian jets the allegedly destroyed the terrorist camps in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir flew from interior of the country and returned safely. Modi of India is acutely aware of the dire need to modernize the defense forces of India and he began the process of buying state of the art military hardware. In fact he is on the defensive against the opposition criticism currently for the purchase of French Rafael fighter jets. That said Imran Khan of Pak got the last word. "In any war there is miscalculation".

  25. While the article raises a moot point about the Indian military's spending budget— a lion's share goes towards employing military personnel and not on new technology— it ignores others. A $14 billion budget (out of $45 billion allotted in 2019) for new hardware is impressive for a developing country with a low GDP per capita (around $1,970 in 2018). It is also sufficient to maintain a decent military standing in the region—all its neighbors, except China, spend much less. One should be careful to raise the "western bias" flag. And yet, only if you accept that an American-level of military spending, or something approaching that level, is normal—a whopping $639 billion in 2018, four times that of China, the next biggest spender—does the Indian budget look paltry. If the Indian subcontinent does not look much like a society built on a “military-industrial complex” (as Eisenhower memorably put it), with a big yearly appetite for foreign weapons, that should give its people comfort, not headaches. Another glaring blind spot: the soon-to-be most populous country in the world, as the article notes, is considered only as a prop for Americans to contain China. It says nothing of India's strategic efforts and priorities, its aspirations and insecurities. Not to mention the fact that a few instances of aerial skirmishes (so far) are too small a sample to be drawing swooping conclusions on an entire nation’s inventory. The article’s title would make you think otherwise.

  26. Sounds like an economic power is not paying sufficient dues to the military industrial complex. Here's an article for you to change that.

  27. The article states that government officials in India said that they are struggling to meet the basic needs of their citizens as that country has poor sanitation (e.g., outside latrines) and a high illiteracy rate and vintage military equipment, but recently, the New York Times reported that this same country spent a large amount of money to send at least two spacecrafts to the Moon. Most reasonable people would prefer indoor plumbing, schools, etc. to collecting lunar soil samples.

  28. @Isle You wouldn't make the comment if you only knew that the Indian government is currently spending $20 billion to construct 111 million latrines on 5 years - a toilet building spree of kinds. A true balance in spending is needed - not moon soil over latrines... both are possible!!

  29. @Isle, perhaps India can walk and chew gum at the same time? The technology that sends spacecrafts to the Moon is also a lucrative business for India from launching satellites. It also helps to advance its ICBMs that help to deter hegemonic China. The best option for alleviating poverty is by growing the economy; which is exactly what India is doing after squandered decades of failed socialism from Indian leftists and the kleptocratic Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

  30. Can we as Americans ask - why did India attack a nation much smaller than its own size with economic paralysis? Can Modi's atrocities in its own country not enough?

  31. @SWQ Why? Because of repeated terrorist attacks by terrorist groups supported by Pakistan.

  32. @SWQ Because the reason is US backing India and Kashmir issue.

  33. @SWQ Read up on Pakistan and its terrorism export to all their neighbours. That's why. And remember where they found Osama? Right there, next to the Pakistani army base. Will you ask the US why they got into Pakistan?

  34. The real winners: the military industrial complex and weapons sales. Billions will be spent by both India (new fighters from France, UK, Russia, US) and Pakistan (from China, with money from Saudi Arabia - the country Trump loves) The biggest losers: as always since 1947, the people of Kashmir. The poor in both India and Pakistan, who will get less desperately needed resources so both India and Pakistan can get shiny new fighter jets.

  35. I am reminded of that awesome movie, "Charlie Wilson's War," in which the Pakistanis noted to Charlie Wilson that American funds should be funneled through them (for the war against Russia in Afghanistan) as they have been fighting for 5,000 years, and are pretty good at it. Apparently so.

  36. @William Menke There was no Pakistan then. That was all India.

  37. @William Menke.. and Indians learned it in 2 days.

  38. @Yogesh Please review your history

  39. Boeing's favorite employee, Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan at the Dept. of Defense will no doubt be pushing to sell them all the military equipment they might desire, for a (kickback, no doubt).

  40. Nicely written and very well balanced article. India is 10x bigger than Pakistan and its military budget is 12x more than Pakistan. Its really a big shock for the USA seeing India loosing to Pakistan like that. USA is trying to have the India ready for any Chinese aggression in the future but india's this episode with Pakistan will leave some smile on Chinee establishment. On a light note, Trevor Noah has expressed it nicely "another dance number ". I'm pretty sure that the US will be babysitting India against China.

  41. If we are going in to help India fight against Pakistan perhaps we might also consider fight against the way Indians treat women.

  42. @CD and probably also address the injustices on women by the current administration right here in the US while we are at it.

  43. @CD Err. Odd you should mention India's treatment of women (which is pretty sad) with no mention of Pakistani women being forced to adhere to feudal norms, or honour rapes and honour killings

  44. ..from Hollywood to Bollywood is right: Modi's Indian government - much like our Trump's - is far more concerned with manipulating media imagery, "winning" the news cycle, deploying xenophobia and cooking up new wedge issues to mobilize than with that boring old dustball "reality."

  45. The fragment being shown by the Indians appears to be a piece of a sidewinder missile. While most likely an older model that our forces use today, they are a distinctly accurate weapon. The MIG-21's first flight was in 1956. India made a choice to focus on it's people and jobs rather that pour billions into its military. That is always a calculated risk. It's not just planes either. Many of the photos of police and military first responders to the 2008 Mumbai attack showed men carrying WW2 vintage Lee-Enfield rifles - bolt action ones. India and Pakistan both have nuclear weapons. Being that far apart with conventional capabilities increases the likelihood that a conflict could go nuclear when it didn't have to. That is beyond scary.

  46. @AnObserver- A quick correction the AIM-120 isn't a Sidewinder, it's an AMRAAM and it's deadly. We sell them to a whole lot of other countries.

  47. @AnObserver Good observations. My father was an army officer in India from 1955 to 1980. His kit resembled that work by British soldiers during WW2. When I look at the uniforms and equipment of a vast majority of soldiers over there today, they still look similar. Unfortunately military procurement in India is mired in politics and corruption often resulting in inaction. Too much money is spent on vanity projects like the aircraft carrier program and not enough on necessities that troops on the ground need. As far as the air force goes, the sheer diversity of hardware, the long delayed procurement of jet trainers and so on just exacerbate the problem. I cringe when I see pictures of soldier without helmets or Kevlar in fire zones. This is less a question of money and a sign of complacency and greed.

  48. @AnObserver And they're a primary weapon of an F-16...

  49. "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." Those problems describe the U.S. military, too. American officials will bond closely and fast with the Indians. The American F-35 has only cost $400+ billion and taken fourteen years so far. The Indians will learn much about developing more modern armed forces from their American advisors.

  50. @stewart bolinger 'Those problems describe the U.S. military, too.' Uh, no. One thing the US military is certainly NOT is 'vastly underfunded'. The last thing the poverty ridden people of India need is an arms race with Pakistan and China.

  51. @stewart bolinger With 5% of humanity America spends as much on it's military as the next eight nations combined. Including 10x Russia and 3x China. Yet America is not safe and secure. Because the military-industrial complex thrives on war and rumors of war.

  52. It really goes to show that there's a lot more to military strength than "numbers on paper." Something that the 4th largest military learned the hard way in 1990 (Iraq), and one that one of the largest today (China) may yet learn from

  53. @Chris Such a terrible thought....and it is the thinking that continues the perpetual war and the perpetual arms race and the perpetual arms dealing. Perhaps a focus on peace and sustainable development would be a better idea.

  54. @Chris - you are correct about paper military strength. The same lesson is currently being learned THE largest military on the planet in Afghanistan. After 18 years and $4 Trillions spent and about 4 thousand US/NATO dead soldiers - a face-saving ceasefire with the Taliban is on!

  55. Great strategy! Because arming developing nations to create a standoff with other nations has worked so well for us in the past...

  56. This whole article about military incursions and out of date equipment is not what the world or India and Pakistan should be worrying about. Climate change will have a profound impact upon the subcontinent that will dwarf the squabbling between nations. Large areas of India and Pakistan will become too hot for human habitation if we do not control the rise in the earth's temperature. Better to seek alternate means of energy and stop construction of coal fired power plants and find ways to partner with each other. We do not need to waste money on the military when the viability of the earth itself is in peril. The world needs to wake up NOW!

  57. It was the same MiG 21 Bison that killed the F-16 before going down. As per my report, the Army is well advanced. Only issues are political, that is why they did not took actions during 2007 Mumbai Attack and 2001 Parliament attack.

  58. @Peter Corner, I have yet to see any evidence of a F-16 downed. Meanwhile Pakistan has shown evidence of every single claim they made.

  59. @Khalid Actually their claim that they did not lose an F-16 has NOT been proven, in fact has been well obfuscate, softly denied and ignored. Other than that you are correct

  60. It would be cheaper and simpler for India and Pakistan to just be friends.

  61. @A. F. G. Maclagan, too bad terrorist groups in Pakistan and their millitary intelligence handlers did not get the memo. Sad to say, unless there are fundamental institutional changes within the Pakistani military and segments of it's society it will continue to be a destabilizing influence.

  62. @A. F. G. Maclagan Pakistan is a neighbour from hell. Ask Iran, Afghanistan and India, all who deal with terror groups nurtured in Pakistan. We know where Osama Bin Laden was found , right? No country in the world is friends with Pakistan. That includes China (who by the way had a problem with Pakistani terrorism in Xinjiang , until they decided to heavily invest in Pakistan with their OBOR initiative)

  63. Easier said than done

  64. You should be talking about India's brutal occupation of Kashmir.

  65. An F-16 brings down a MiG and the US is concerned? Strange dynamic when the military hardware outlasts political interests and strategy.

  66. @SJG The Pakistani planes were the initial aggressors and when we sold Pakistan the F16 it was to be used only for Defensive purposes. And from what I have seen the F-16 didn't down the MIG, the MIG fired its missile then fell apart over Pakistani territory.

  67. Those F-16s were sold to Pakistan with a clear and explicit condition that they cannot be used against India. USA has “ balance of power” obligations in such conflict areas and also US due to its own legal reasons could not sell arms to a known supporter of terrorism!

  68. @GregP The MIG 21 didn't "fall apart"... it was shot down by an air-to-air missile fired from a JF-17.

  69. Why there are no verifiable convincing evidences of F-16 shot down?

  70. @Salman Because the F-16 wasn't shot down.

  71. @Paul P. Because they are not showing the wreckage

  72. @Salman Because the F16 was shot down in Pakistan territory. Good luck getting them to show their own downed plane.

  73. Putting a Mig-21 up against an F-16 is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. Meanwhile in the good news department: Maybe India's having an outdated and undersupplied military has helped to keep these two countries from going to all out war.

  74. It depends... say a regular gets a race car and tries to outcompete a formula one driver in a regular perfectly functional car!

  75. @Mr. SeaMonkey It would be a very old F16, most of Pakistans are decades old and not flyable. So your comparison has problems.

  76. @Biplab Dasgupta I guess Indian pilots are F1 drivers?

  77. Ah, so we should be worried that a country is not spending enough on buying latest arms, but instead prioritizing lifting people out of poverty and running so called socialist programs. The only folks who stand to benefit from a good old India-Pak conflict are the makers of planes and rifles.

  78. @Sam aka the American military-industrial complex...

  79. @Sam So India should just let jehadis run havoc all over its land because it costs money. I am sure most Indians will agree and majority planet will be able to sleep peacefully if Pakistan will stop sheilding the likes of Osama Bin Laden and Masood Azhar and give up terrorism as a policy tool. At the end of the day the Indian aim was not to get one up over Pakistan. It was to destroy a terror training camp that has been attacking India with impunity just 60 miles away from the Pakistani capital.

  80. @Sam, right! After 9-11 the US should have just sat back and allowed Al Qaeda to have a complete run of Afghanistan, enabling additional attacks on the homeland?

  81. This article misses the point. Historically India never invaded another country, and the sole purpose of having the world's second largest army is to defend its land. India is a secular democratic country as opposed to Pakistan's military backed government. Pulwama attack was carried out by Pakistan sponsored terror outfit, an act of war. Taking out these terror camps right across the border does not require the Indian military juggernaut. US backing India reinforces regional stability, and economic growth. Imagine neighbor's envy. Well, the whole world knows which country continues to spawn terrorism.

  82. @AR India went into Pakistan to bomb the camps so your statement starts with a false premise.

  83. @AR No country in this godforsaken part of the world is a saint. Read about operation polo. Google it, please. Pakistan, on the other hand, did massacre in Bangladesh and slipped away unpunished. I think payback time is due for indian subcontinent.

  84. @Allen Ladd India went to bomb terrorist camps that's not counted as invading...

  85. Cue the US military industrial complex. The source of most of the war on the planet.

  86. I am confused. News reports in the past few days clearly indicated with pictures that a MiG 21 shot down an F 16 before it was downed. Unfortunately the pilot of that aircraft was lynched in a case of mistaken identity by Pakistani villagers. This report is incomplete.

  87. @Joe *Unconfirmed* speculations. Wait for confirmation from a more reliable media outlet.

  88. @Joe No credible proof accepted by experts has been given by India as proof of downing the F16.

  89. I will have to admit to having been stunned when I saw that the Indian pilot who was shot down over Pakistan was flying a MiG-21 in air-to-air combat. The only place where any pilot should be sitting in a MiG-21 today is in a museum. I understand that the MiG-21 constitutes only a small fraction of the Indian Air Force's fighter aircraft inventory and that they are due to be replaced in a couple of years so I hope for the sake of their pilots that this does indeed happen soon. As for those commenting who are raising objections to India having to spend money on defense that could be spent in other ways, in a perfect world I would agree with you but unfortunately we don't live in a prefect world.

  90. @Irish Rebel In India, MIG-21 is also known as flying coffins.

  91. @Irish Rebel I agree 100%. India must quit the love affair with Russia and its equipments (third rate). The U.S.has the latest and the best military hardware, especially fighter jets and missiles. Just look at the transport bus pictured in the article and compare it with a U.S.made. India can afford to beef up its defence budget. It has excellent credit also. It must listen to the US and work together.

  92. @Kodali The F-16 in US service is know as the Lawn Dart / Widow Maker ,with a total of 650 F-16 crashes in total (hull losses) out of 4500 odd built! Suffice to say that FAR FAR more pilots have died in F-16 accidents than Mig-21 accidents. So what is really your point ? That India should buy a souped up version of a 40 year old plane that Lockheed Martin is offering to build in India and that too when the same plane was shot down by a plane India stopped building in 1984 or so? (the Mig 21 Bis built by HAL in India)

  93. Did India 'lose' the dog-fight? They are still claiming an F-16 kill, and the Pakistanis seem to have forgotten about the second MiG kill they initially claimed. A report in the Daily Telegraph over the weekend left me unimpressed with the tactical prowess of either air force. Yes, the pilots are brave stick-jockeys, but they don't seem to have the tactics to cover their tail while attacking. India's standing military is quite large so perhaps some reduction might be in order, but the idea that one needs to reduce force structure in order to 'modernize' is one of the oldest scams of defence budgetting.

  94. @Jonathan Unconfirmed reports say that PAF jets briefly entered Indian airspace and deployed bombs to retaliate for the earlier incursion, and lure IAF pilots into Pakistan territory where a JF-17 squadron was waiting in ambush. PAF fired BVR missiles when IAF jets entered Pakistan's airspace. If this is indeed true, it means PAF did lay a trap to down IAF planes in Pakistan airspace to humiliate IAF while avoiding any further escalation since the jets were hit in Pakistan airspace. Furthermore, if PAF really used BVR missiles like PL-12 or AMRAAM, the aging MiG, with ancient or no EW suite, really had no real chance to out manoeuvr an advanced BVR missile. This fight had more to do with strategy than pilot skills.

  95. @Fulcrum That and the advanced missiles are pretty much inescapable for the older aircraft without the 'bounce sideways' abilities and high radar profiles/thermal output. To me 'dogfight' requires close in combat with machine guns or auto-cannon instead of fire-and-forget, rarely missing modern missile systems. This was an altercation and ambush affair at altitude, not a 'dogfight'.

  96. @Jonathan The f16 has been proven false with the evidence provided. You can buy that evidence off of Ebay..literally. Pakistan hasn't backed off a 2nd mig downed claim inside occupied Kashmir, Kashmiri video is proof of it.

  97. If it comes to an air war, it strikes me that the IAF completely outclasses the PAF, at least in terms of equipment, its age and its quality. The latest fighters the PAF have are 5 F16s which appear to be pretty ancient (the rest are out-of-service), along with the 99 J-17 (a Chinese evolution of the MIG 21) and 60 Chengdu J-7 (older (1988) Chinese MIG 21s) and 45 year old Mirage Vs To counter this the IAF has 242 SU-30s, 66 MIG 29 (and 36 MIG 29K carrier versions), a fleet of MIG 27s and 112 updated MIG 21s and 28 indigenous Tejas - as well as ageing Mirage and Jaguars. The IAF also has French Rafale fighters due to be delivered and in service soon.

  98. @MacK Not really but Pakistan's pilots are always listed as some of the best in the world and actually train most mid east ones.

  99. You may use your F-16s on Tuesdays but not if said Tuesday is followed by a Thursday. F-15s are to used on any day but weekends. These are explicit rules not to be broken unless you feel like it. If broken, just ask for upgraded replacements. - Rules Committee, US Military Industrial Complex

  100. So now we are going to sell arms to India to counter China? Do we never learn? Selling arms to developing nations is a recipe for disaster, as it is impossible to know if they will remain your allies.

  101. The United States needs to get its priorities corrected. The Pakistan military for the most part worked in support of the Taliban in Afghanistan and more importantly, bilked and robbed the us treasury billions of dollars. Including these f16 fighters. Is it any wonder why India would choose its fighters from France and not the United States? I hope that the state and defense departments are pulling out all the stops to correct these mistakes.

  102. Indian Govt and various political parties, including those who are begging for peace, need to keep its own house in order first. Mere chest thumping, day dreaming to become super power or even beating a far weaker country and a failed state like Pakistan, and chanting (Hindu) mantra would not do the job. Few basics like having a decent quality public education (NOT those expensive private schools, elite institutions aka "institute of excellence", so-called vedic or madrasa type religious "education" etc.) and upholding few core values of democracy like setting up democratic institutions that work without any (or, at least, much) political interference need to be built. It is much easier to manipulate a cult (religious or otherwise) than it is to manage a democracy. Building a strong military, grooming professionals who can build quality defense hardware & technology, having rational people who can plan for the nation (in different capacities) are far more crucial than protecting cows, offering puja when a captured pilot returns home, or praying for peace. Fighting without a brain or false propaganda may help winning some elections but it surely does not build a country that so many Indians are so desperate to have. Western democracies also need to promote democracies and educated honest people from such countries than religious (Islamic or otherwise) autocrats and corrupt self-serving elites from such developing countries.

  103. The amount spent on military budgets around the world would place everyone on the planet in a middle class standard of living. Yet, the present focus is on spending even more on militaries and less on the people. it's all so ridiculous! In the near future, we will program the human mind in the computer based on a linguistic "survival" algorithm, which will provide irrefutable proof as to how we trick the mind with our ridiculous beliefs about what is supposed to survive - producing minds programmed de facto for destruction. These minds see the survival of a particular belief as more important than the survival of us all. When we understand this, we will begin the long trek back to reason and sanity. See RevolutionOfReason.com

  104. Exact description of modern manipulation.

  105. As a developing country its difficult to allocate funds for military hardware when it has other national priorities.So it can't have all the best jet fighters.It has to manage with a mix of the best and upgraded old ones.But certainly it has the best trained gutsy fighter pilots.Man behind the machine is equally important.India will catch up soon.

  106. Great pilot in 1960’s plane against an F16. Not a fair fight. That’s like a flintlock against an 1870’s lever action 45-70 Winchester rifle. I can see that India is better off spending money on drilling wells for clean water and building roads than fighter jets. It’s a good reason to avoid regional conflict.

  107. @James, Looks like you haven't seem the rest of the story, where supposedly an F-16 was also shot down (by a Mig 21). Not sure what's really true, but there's a lot out there in the international press about it. Anyway, the details of a many vs many aerial engagement like this are necessarily complicated and less important than you point - avoid regional conflict...

  108. With majority of their population living in abject poverty without clean drinking water or even basic sanitary conditions, corrupt politicians in both countries continue to make costly military purchases either can afford.

  109. This article is a perfect example of how and why governments get forced to buy billions of dollars of weaponry and build nuclear weapons, when there are thousand dying of hunger and malnutrition in their country. We need to stop talking of wars and weapons and more about bilateral talks and negotiating for the sake of millions dying everyday all over the world. If anything we have have learned from the past and the ongoing climate in Afghanistan, Israel, Syria is that weapons and wars will solve NOTHING!! The sooner we will learn this, the better for us and for our future kids. Good luck!

  110. The US is relying on India to counter China? Including in the military sphere?? Is this a joke??? A SNL skit? Another plot by Putin to weaken us? I have worked a bit with parts of the Indian government, from time to time, and I can testify that it is perfectly designed to do nothing. Take decisions? Implement decisions? Fuggedaboudit! Not to mention, as the article notes, corruption everywhere and the poverty of the country. The stupidities that make up US foreign policy amaze me every day. Thanks for bringing one more of them to light.

  111. @joel Bergsman: And yet it is the world's' fourth largest economy... for all its "incompetence", the Indians must be doing something right, innit? :)

  112. @ Joel Bergman I agree fully that India has tremendous challenges. But India today is not the same it was 10-15 years ago. It is rapidly changing. Some in a good way and some in not so good ways. But (wow!) it is poised to become third largest economy in the world in next 10 years. You can’t discount that! They will overcome enormous problems and move on.

  113. Anyone could say the same about the US in the age of Trump as well.

  114. Ah yes, it's the same old story. America wants to convince India that China is its enemy and India should become America's ally. If India in fact joins the U.S., one must then fast forward 20 years when America will say that America is spending too much on defense, that India isn't bearing its "fair share" of the alliance, and that America is being taken advantage of. America will then try to shake the Indians down so that the Indians spend more on defense and more on American weaponry. I think India should think very carefully before making China the enemy that America wants it to have. Better to engage with China now, however imperfectly, than find itself on one side of a new Cold War, which in the end only serves American interests.

  115. @abo my thoughts exactly! Another country to sell weapons too. Keep that Corporate socialism going!

  116. @abo You might want to consider China's constant threats and intimidation of India to answer that.

  117. @abo America has no need to convince India of the potential threat from China. China is large, powerful and right next door. There are ongoing border disputes and the legacy of the 1962 war. Having said that, India is not and is unlikely to ever be an ally of the United States, though US policy is to build a "strategic partnership" with India. India is reflexively independent and will only act in concert for mutual benefit, and generally aims to be the major beneficiary in any mutual activity. This is good enough for the US which prefers a strong India as a counterweight to China, fully realizing the Indians will never take instructions from anyone, the US included.

  118. For decades India has been an ally of the Soviet Union while we backed Pakastain. India with their old Soviet military hardware is far from having a modern military. They are no match for China.

  119. @Pepperman India has never been an ally of the USSR. India has always been a member of the non-aligned Movement.

  120. @Pepperman India has never been an ally of the USSR. India has always been a member of the non-aligned Movement.

  121. @Александр In 1971 India signed a mutual cooperation treaty with the Soviets. They relied on the Soviets for their military assistance and equipment. The aircraft that was shot down was a Soviet MIG jet of the Indian AF. These are facts.

  122. How could any one in good faith sell weapons to a country, but then claim that the use of the weapon against the neighbor was a "misuse" or "in violation of the sales agreement" ? The US should either choose not to sell weapons (which would be the best choice for peace in general) or own the consequences of its sales.

  123. @gg Pakistan wanted F16s, but couldn't afford them, so US sold them at a discounted price under the pretext of arming a "Non-NATO ally" in "War against Terror". Attacking India is not part of war against terror. Do you know that Pakistan is so desperate for F16s that it purchased second hand F16s from Jordan. Check it out on internet.

  124. India spends about 1.75% of its GDP on military compare to USA spends about 3% of its GDP. India needs to take care of poverty in the country and therefore threads carefully in international diplomacy to avoid conflicts. However, foreign investment would not come into the country that is not a safe place to invest. So, for economic reasons, India has to increase its military spending to at least 2% of its GDP. India need to stream line the procurement process because of hostile neighbors. Pakistan should focus on lifting the poverty rather than using terrorism as a foreign policy tool. If there is no terrorism, there won’t be any conflict between India and Pakistan. Kashmir issue will be in cold storage, eventually it takes natural death. If Pakistan foolishly continue with terrorism as the core part of their foreign policy, the future lessons would be lot more painful than the one in the past.

  125. @Kodali Not sure whether military spending is any benchmark. India has won all wars it has fought with Pakistan . It broke Pakistan into two in 1971 when Bangladesh was formed. In contrast the US, with its sophisticated weaponry hadn't been able to win in Vietnam or the Afghanistan. I guess what matters is the soldier

  126. “The thrust of this government is to focus more on economic development, which has to precede military strength,” said Amit Cowshish, a former defense ministry financial adviser for military acquisitions. “That was what China did — they focused on developing their economy and then focused on acquiring their current military stature. The difference is that China started 20 or 30 years ahead of us in terms of economic liberalization.” The Vietnamese focused more on the military. They are ready; India is not.

  127. Is there a world market for Indian vintage military equipment, other than museums, in the form of collectibles? Or perhaps, sell them at wholesale prices to other third world countries in dire need of cheap used military gear?

  128. There's some confusion in this article regarding the F-16's. There are 2 F-16's being discussed - one, purportedly shot down in pakistani occupied kashmir, and second, the F-16 which intruded into indian airspace and shot a missile that is uniquely F-16. Its the second one that washington is questioning pakistan about as a violation of the agreement with it. Also, the point about vintage weaponry is well taken, and a result of neglect by the former governments from PV Narasimha rao onwards in the 1990's. Maj-Gen BC Khanduri , who authored a critical report about the vintage weaponry was sidelined by Modi, and could have been interviewed by this correspondent for more insights.

  129. @vijay 'shot a missile that is uniquely F-16' The AmRAAM AIM-120 is used by a variety of aircraft, F16, F15, F/A18's all have succesfully used them in combat. It could be that the plane was shot by ground based missiles, and the remains found were just remains of the two AIM120’s the PAF was known to have fired. They could have missed.

  130. There are two problems with this article. Firstly, the report conveniently ignores the fact that India conducted air raids successfully by bombing the terrorist training center in Balakot. The second truth that’s conveniently ignored is the fact that aging mig-21 of India has downed an F-16 and this is no where to be reported as well. The bottom line is India faced a daunting task of defending against a fleet of F-16s with aging aircrafts but the fact is they were able to repel the attack and do damage. This is not to ignore the immediate need to upgrade Indian air fleet and it’s already being done with Raffael fighters from France closely followed up with F-21 deal with Lockheed.

  131. "A fleet of F-16s" Where do you get your reliable news? Hindustan Times? India Times? Note I sad reliable news. The only news sites that don't have .in at the end of their url have said this amount to zero. India claims to have parts of an AMRAAM, which, in theory could only come from an F-16. There is zero proof that a Fleet (the appropriate word is 'squadron') fought with the Indian MIGs. Where are the gun camera videos from the surviving MIGs? Quit being so partisan. India does need some modern airplanes on the front line. They do, supposedly possess modern Mig-29s, but were reluctant to use them. They do need more. And alas, they should not have blatantly attacked a 'terrorist training camp' on foreign soil. That is commonly known as an invasion. Covert methods, delivered with diplomatic notes afterwards, help keep tensions down. P.S. I am on the side of India, and definitely not a fan of Pakistan.

  132. @Dinakar First, there is no proof that the terrorist bombing was "Successful". Second, Pakistan got the political upper-hand, hence "moral victory" in the dogfight. They did this by downing and capturing a pilot, and then returning him unharmed.

  133. @Dinakar Hi. This article does not mention Balakot, because there was no camp. And, may be, there was F-16 lost. Or may be it is ignoring these points because its making case for US to supply more defense equipment to India?

  134. The British leaving India created an occasion for constant conflicts between India and Pakistan by drawing the borders of Kashmir.

  135. Too bad that nations cannot grow up, have honest conversations and do the right thing for their people....applies to most conflicts that are going on today.

  136. The Indian pilot may not have lost the dogfight just because his fifty year old plane malfunctioned.

  137. @Jason...don't forget That mig shot down F16...

  138. @Jason and because they are coward and not professional as well.

  139. What strikes me as odd, is that every country has someone calculate their exact expenditures on their respective military budgets. And I’m supposed to believe it? Some bean counter in a Washington think tank is not my first choice for accurate info.

  140. The huge and inflated salaries and pensions on indian military was exacerbated greatly by the Modi govt, when it gave in to demands for increased pensions without doing its math. Indian military personnel retire continuously and early, so the burden is huge and growing. Unless the military (and civilian) salaries are cut by 30% the burden will be unbearable and undoubtedly compromise weapons acquisition and efficiency.

  141. I'm really doubtful to put my 2 cents on India. Just forget that if Pakistan has used our F-16 or not, I'm just surprised by the dog fight that happened. Just 1 PAF single pilot aircraft vs 4 IAF double pilot fighter jets. 3 IAF jets down and 1 went back. That's incredible. I'm an old man and I remember the cold war era when Pakistan fought our war against Soviet union and destroyed them. War isn't a easy business and I think these Pakistanis know much about it. I would say have them back in our camp at ANY COST and rule the world. Btw I've watched Trevor Noah episode on India Pakistan war and I loved "time for you to dance".

  142. @Chris Factual errors. 1) One Indian MIG shot down and one Pakistani F-16 shot down. Both pilots landed on the pakistani side (Pakistan initially said there were two Indian pilots shot down and then back-pedalled when they realised one was theirs). (2) Regarding not putting your money on India, do read up on how Bangladesh was formed(Carved out of Pakistan with them surrendering in full to India-history archives have the images and details) (3) Perhaps read on the Kargil war , where invading Pakistani troops were sent packing. Till date Pakistan has never managed to overwhelm India in any combat. Not me saying it. A simple google search will give you the answer

  143. @Chris lol only one mig downed and an f16 which America never accept because it will harm there respect of weapons They haven't understand this will harm the relationship with india

  144. @V N Rajan,factually wrong. Pakistan funneled equipment to mujahedeen ( now terrorists), trained them, took millions of Afghan refugees. A large number of Pakistanis also fought against Soviets. This is exactly when Pakistan was transformed from a moderate nation to extremist thanks to USA ,Saudis and most of all Soviets.

  145. I believe the M21 Bison upgrade is an updated version of vintage M21. The Indian aircraft downed F16 and was shot in the process. The dogfight occurred close to LOC and hence the Indian pilot parachuted into Pak side.

  146. @Bhavu Hi, I am surprised why NY Times didn't mention about downing of F16 by the good old vintage M21. I think good journalism should be unbiased. Let me see if NY times publishes this comment. If not I am stopping reading NY times further. I am a fan of NY times and was very surprised by the heavy bias here in this article. Thanks

  147. @Pra, No evidence of F-16 shot down. Only evidence India has given to USA are the parts of a missile Pakistan fired. This missile could only be fired by F-16, a violation of sales agreement with USA.

  148. @Pra Why would they admit their F-16 was downed by a vintage air craft. Their only weapon selling business will slow down.

  149. Ironically, Pakistan, a region that was the previously a part of Achaemenid, Greek, Hindu/Buddhhist cultures and empires has now become the self-proclaimed defender of Islam. And listening to the interviews with it's military and political leaders, British colonialism has not lost it's grip either. With an economy that barely contributes outside of its own borders, Pakistan spends an outsize proportion of its GDP on military acquisitions rather than lifting it's people out of poverty or building decent infrastructure. It does not realize that China is only using it as long as it is convenient and will not prop it up a minute longer than necessary. And yet, we see the western press treating this terror sponsoring nation on an equal footing with the world's largest democracy... something is amiss with reporting, I think. India is in a different league entirely. They are spending their hard earned money wisely. Indians are contributing positively all around the world including heavily in Silicon Valley. We should be putting our weight behind India and supporting it wherever needed, not goading it to war!

  150. India is no satellite country. It knows pretty well what it does and what it intends do. Spending too much money on defence was not its priority. India doesn’t need any spoon feeding from any country since it’s quite capable of knowing who is its friend, who is its enemy and whom to choose and whom not to choose.

  151. @Sivaram Pochiraju "India doesn’t need any spoon feeding from any country since it’s quite capable of knowing who is its friend, who is its enemy and whom to choose and whom not to choose."......... Words to live by!

  152. After the terrorist act in Kashmir, the PM had given free reign to the military. Untrained, ill-equipped, fearful army cannot defend the country. Despite bluster, Pakistani terrorist-producing facility survives, and will likely thrive. We Indians must confront the toxic mix of fear and corruption in which we live. I cannot look past a simple truth about India that has us in a moral and intellectual choke hold; i.e., we simply cannot keep it real. Media talking heads are presenting the current situation as a great victory, even though Pakistan will continue sending terrorists and has suffered no loss. What if not completely delusional, is this? Our current consciousness is corrupted by revisionist history, cricket, and Bollywood. Our true heroes are forgotten. We are a country where great things are always 'going to happen,' they just never happen. This fog makes focus on reality all but impossible. We can't get real to the fact that our army is untrained, ill equipped. That the defense budget is stolen by defense ministers and ministries, bureaucrats, touts, middlemen, contractors. Meanwhile, our boys, our heroes - live and work in abysmal conditions, fly outdated jets, have guns that jam, and no ammo. We can't blame Soviet hardware; see Vietnam for evidence. China has us encircled (road through Kashmir to Pakistan, Maoist insurgency within India). Stakes are high. Here is what I do not know: can we keep it real?

  153. Pakistan: "I am holding the terrorists by a leash, but my hands are slippery. Money would tighten my grip on the leash". The USA falls for the same trick every time, even after Bin Laden was found living free in their midst. For Pakistan, terrorism is a money-making business, their biggest export.

  154. As someone who looks beyond our own borders, I have been following these developments for the last 3 weeks. As an open-minded person, I am interested in hearing what the locals think, so I have also been reading up on local sources from India and Pakistan. It seems that warmongering equals "nationalism" in these countries, much like the American Right. Especially on the Indian side, the media is ignoring international reporting and taking the government at it's word, regardless of the reality of things. Anyone questioning is being label anti-Indian. There's even a video of a professor who was beaten up because he tweeted a "thank you" of sorts to Pakistan for releasing the POW. Just reading the comments from Indians in this article, they are just attacking the message and the messenger, and dismissing it out of sheer ignorance.

  155. @Bob Completely agree. There is an inferiority complex on a greater scale. The Indian media have covered the situation entirely biased, not holding its government accountable. The Indian media have shown themselves to not be trustworthy, especially when covering issues affecting national pride.

  156. India and Pakistan are spending billions of dollars in defense each year mostly because of the ongoing Kashmir issue. Those bullets fired across the borders come with huge sum of money and those 700K soldiers in Kashmir cost tons of money to India. External forces who sell weapons to these two countries don’t want Kashmir issue to be resolved. Because if it’s resolved then governments might focus on people and lift them up from poverty and that’s not what external forces want. Who’s winning this war? Politicians; because they get to stay in power and their kids and relatives live lavish life. Who’s loosing this war? That mother/father/sister/wife/kid who lost their loved one and maybe the sole earner of the family. I saw coffins on both side of the border and it’s heartbreaking. Let’s think as a human only and feel the pain for those who lost their loved one.

  157. @Usman very True.

  158. @Usman India capitulated to the vision of one bigoted soul, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and look where it got the world. A failed country steeped in ignorance and bigotry that sponsors terrorism and blackmails the world for a living. Osama Bin laden was found in Pakistan and Pakistan is at the IMF door for its 22nd bailout in 70 years and the world powers dare not say no because nobody knows how to deal with a failed state of 210 million with nuclear weapons and 20,000 Madressahs teaching obscurantism. The world cannot afford another country created on the basis of religion because one religion cannot tolerate living in a minority even when they have their own elected government and the constitution guarantees them equal rights.

  159. @Usman Not really true. If not for Kashmir, there would some other trouble that would keep India and Pakistan busy for rest of the century. If you have not already realized it - Pakistan lost the plot the day they invited China to Kashmir. Chinese manipulations would keep Southeast Asia burning for years to come..reasons might change but not results.

  160. Between the two countries there are at least 600 million people who live in abject poverty. In the past 15 years India has lifted nearly 400 million people out of poverty to a flourishing middle class. I wish they continue to remain a democracy and spend as much as possible on infrastructure, education, science and healthcare. In the long run those investments will pay richer dividends than weapons. After all, Soviet Union during the cold war, invested entirely on building missiles and tanks only to leave their people with long bread lines. Perhaps India learned the right lessons from those experiences.

  161. @SridharC Please, George, be careful what you ask for. If the USA were to cut funding for useless administrators, our economy would collapse. All of economics is counter-intuitive.

  162. A "swollen" bureaucracy. "The majority of the money goes to salaries for its 1.2 million active duty troops, as well as pensions." Well that sure reminds me of a lot of domestic US stories. Just one example, our "starved" education system, where, in many cases, there are more administrators than classroom teachers, yet we "don't spend enough". Look closer to home at the MTA which "can't afford" new signals or safety systems, but never seems to have problems giving raises, bonuses or benefits increases to an already deficit laden pension system.

  163. This is a great opportunity for the USA. We can sell them arms! New, modern, high tech weapons that will enable them to better defend their territory.

  164. @Aristotle Gluteus Maximus But wait, Glute, the Indians have no money. Better they stick to Parcheesi, the Royal Game of India.

  165. @Heckler The North Koreans don't have any money either but they manage to build nukes and intercontinental ballistic missiles. I'm sure we can work a deal.

  166. @Aristotle Gluteus Maximus The F16 is definitely off that list after it's downing by a vintage Soviet era MIG Biswon

  167. America has seen huge business opportunity in the downing of Indian MI G 21 plane but conveniently ignored downing of the sophisticated F - 16 American plane by the so called Vintage plane thanks to the daring pilot Abhinandan because it simply doesn’t suit you.

  168. @Sivaram Pochiraju if true then where is wreckage of F16. The pics shown by Indian media, as per international experts ( from finland) , this is not f16 but seems to be mig 21. Plus your own PM modi admitted when he said outcome would have been different had we possessed Rafale fighters.

  169. @Mujtaba Hassan : You have misquoted our PM. Our Finance Minister clearly explained what he meant. If India had Rafael jets, it would have targeted the terrorist camp in Pakistan right from the Indian soil instead of going deep into its territory.

  170. I was reading the official statements issued by Air Vice Marshal Ravi Kapoor of the Indian Air Force. -- F-16 was used and IAF(Indian Air Force) is saying that because the part of AMRAAM Air to Air Missile which is carried only on the F-16s in PAF(Pakistan Air Force) were recovered East of Rajauri within the Indian territory. So they have proof that PAF did use the F-16. And Mig 21 was down due to malfunctioned. So how can we say that they lost? It's actually win because before going down due to malfunctioned of Mig-21 shot down the F-16. So yes that India do have some old stuffs but that's not the point here.

  171. Im no expert on India but I’ve travelled there and upon arriving it immediately became clear, at least to me, that what makes India one of the most profound places I’ve ever visited also probably makes it not the most militarily inclined nation. These are strengths, and make no mistake, what US policy is trying to do here is transform India into a nation it is not, a nation that organizes around military principles instead of one that manifests more diversity of thought and practice than exists anywhere else in the world I’ve ever seen. A military mind would see that diversity as disorganization, instead of the thousand plateaus of being that it is.

  172. What's the end goal here for India? I rarely feel safer than when I'm in India. Policeman rarely carry guns, private ownership is difficult, and, yes, all the military vehicles and facilities I see look like postcards from the Soviet Bloc. And it is one of the most peaceful, friendly countries I have ever visited. If "modernizing" makes them more like us, I hope they resist. I'm tired of getting in line behind a pistol-strapped yahoo in my Starbucks, with his idea being that his weapon somehow makes us "safer."

  173. @Bryan sir come to Kashmir.

  174. I thought American satellites not able to verify the downing of F16 or for that matter the other downed M21 plane as claimed by PAF.

  175. Yes, in the "dogfight" between the Soviet-made MiG-21 and the American-made F-16, the former lost. The main reason is that while Pakistan can still count on the U.S. for the upkeep F-16, the MiG is antiquated and the Soviet Union that sold it to India doesn't exist any longer. That brings us to the original goal of the U.S.’s arming of Pakistan to the teeth. It was to fight communism and Soviet expansionism. While not a single shot had been fired toward that goal American-supplied weapons, including F-16 bombers, came in handy for Pakistan in the three major wars it fought against India. That despite those superior weapons, it lost to India in all three wars is another matter. This is not to say that everything is hunky-dory about the Indian military. Problems highlighted in the article -- India's “swollen bureaucracy,” the underfunding of the military and the intra-fighting among its different units -- do stand in the way of its modernization. It’s heartening to see that the U.S. "is determined to make the country a key ally in the coming years to hedge against China’s growing regional ambition.” The reason why America’s “close relationship with Pakistan soured over the last two decades,” is that the latter proved to be an untrustworthy ally in its fight against communism in the past and against terrorism now. The U.S. has lately woken up to the fact that a big chunk of India’s military resources is diverted to fighting terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil.

  176. I agree. If you have noticed, this author is very skillful in writing this article. Started with downing with MIG21 by Pakistan , then immediately started comparing India with China. She knows that there is nothing to compare with Pakistan. A country with $17 billions in reserves, may not be able to fight war for a day forget 10 days. I know that India has challenges. Still if you compare it with Pakistan, there is no comparison since they spend enormous time and energy in cultivating and managing terrorists do disrupt neighbors. Not sure what was the motive of the author is?

  177. @AG Very well said. Starts with dogfight wth PAF and conveniently shifts to compare with China with all other respects. How come she didn't get the figures from Pak for the same comparisons?

  178. Great. Now the American taxpayer will get a chance to pump countless more billions into yet another corrupt third world country in Uncle Sam's endless battle against the Red tide. Yay ! Hoorah for our side.

  179. I have spent some time traveling by train in India. I believe that every car in which I rode existed when Britain ruled India. It doesn't surprise me that military aircraft would also be vintage.

  180. @ShenBowen which is surprising, unless you spent time in India in the 1970s and 80s. These days I yearn to find those old cars to relive my childhood, and I hardly find any.

  181. @Guest Let me amend my comment to say that the cars LOOKED as if they were made pre-independence, I looked, but didn't find dates on the equipment. I've seen some of those beautiful old cars to which you refer in railway museums in India. I'm guessing that some of those cars were constructed WELL before independence but remained in service through the 1980s. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the rail travel in India. Making reservations wasn't always easy, so I often traveled second class unreserved. What a bargain! For air travel, however, I think I'd take modern over vintage.

  182. @ShenBowen Maybe your thoughts are based on some remote rural area. The cars on road in most Indian cities are the same you would find here.

  183. Mr Jeff Smith tells us: "As China rises and the United States fights to keep its dominance, it will need a swing state to tip the balance of power in the 21st century,...and that swing state is India. The United States knows this and is willing to be patient.” Disagree. For one, we would have to possess the patience of Job to wait for India's becoming the "swing" state...and we have many qualities, but patience is not one of them. Secondly, India is a democracy riddled with corruption (which is why it's described as a 'messy' democracy) and unscrupulous politicians...which doesn't grant it the single-mindedness of the Chinese political structure. Thirdly, India is bifurcated by the religious strife between its Hindu and Muslim populations...frequently exploited by feckless right wing politicians and their ilk. Fourthly, there's the continuing calamity of its caste system, further dividing its people. Although China has serious issues with some of its minorities, it's largely homogeneous and using its one-party iron grip, will continue its unimpeded ascendancy.

  184. @Confucius Agreed...One should also add that India is the future of the USA after Trump. Rife with corruption and self serving politicians who care not for the country.

  185. India must embrace 100% the "CLOSEST ALLY" relationship with the US, offered by President Trump in 2017 and in effect now. This is the first time India and the USA are allies. From 1947 to 2017, for 70 years, India was fooling around with the so-called "Nonalignment" but was aligned with the USSR/Russia. What should India do now: 1. Realpolitik: Be proud as the closest ally of the sole superpower, USA. 2. Trump has allowed India to transfer 100% of U.S.technologies. Technology and Intelligence win wars. Capitalize on this and start mfg in India. Give welcome mat and majority steak to Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, Boeing, Ratheyon and others to manufacture in India for domestic use and exports. Trump wants to cut the cost of production and save money to Pentagon. India has a large supply of professional engineers and managers. 3. India must beef up its intelligence jointly with US and Israel. 4. India should buy the latest fighter planes and other equipment by taking loans from the World Bank. Trump may also extend aid. 5. India must participate with enthusiasm in Indo Pacific Command. 6. Revamp Indian bureaucracy. The IAS and the IFS have failed India. 7.Invite Trump to India. He will come with the leading CEO's of Fortune 500 corporations. Trump deserves enthusiastic reception. He may even actually admit India to the Security Council instead of talking about it as Obama did.

  186. @Ven Parameswaran India went to Russia, because it did not get any help from the US. They did approach USA first.

  187. A complete waste of time, money and strategic position. Pakistan has tried a version of what you suggest and is a failed state. Spend the effort on eliminating corruption, building world class infrastructure and the Indian economy.

  188. Shooting down of time tested Mig-21 in a dogfight by a relatively new Thunder air craft is a great milestone. Thunder fighter aircraft is a local Pakistan made version.

  189. When poverty is eradicated for tens of millions in India, a natural consequence will be a strong and capable military. First things first.

  190. The official story has conveniently changed. Originally the PAF flew into India as bait, and lured the IAF into Pakistan where surface to air missiles downed an Indian Jet. Pakistan secured the crash site, so only they know what really happened. Now India somehow has the left overs of an AMRAAM AIM-120, a 12 foot long beyond visual range missile, which somehow was used in a dog fight? How did India recover that missile part when the Pakistanis had the crash site to themselves? The PAF is known to have fired two AIM120’s. They could have missed and the missile landed in India, where they recovered the left overs. And now the PM is using that as his reason to buy new jets. But I wonder why he’s not using his Super Flankers and advanced Fulcrums he already owns. Truth is only the PAF knows what downed that jet. And they will not say they used US jets and US missiles to shot down a US ally, when the agreement was to only use them in self defense. It would create a huge head ache for them as it breaks the purchase agreement. I doubt we will ever know, but my money is on ground fire. If proven otherwise the US can ask for their property back via buy back and that leaves the PAF with worse planes than the IAF.

  191. This article is disingenuous because the narrative seems very similar to the narrative adopted by Pakistani news media. Pakistan 'wins' aerial clash? The pilot is bruised and shaken? NO. In reality, India went ahead with air strikes after a terrorist attack, and the pilot held his own while captive, as video evidence proves. Pakistan had to hand over the pilot or risk facing international condemnation. The pilot ventured into Pakistani territory and returned unharmed. I wouldn't qualify this as a win for either side, but this article seems to have other ideas it wants to promote.

  192. The real point to ponder is, the pilot was shot down and hence failed his mission.

  193. Author has miserably attempted to emphasize the need to militarize India at the cost of regional peace and well being of Indian citizens. So Sad!

  194. @Dr. Amjad Burq So why can't India and Pakistan resolve the long shimmering Kashmir pursuit? That would clearly improve the regional peace and well being of both Indian and Pakistani citizens. Time for both countries to compromise and deescalate tensions in this area.

  195. @Dr. Amjad Burq War is a continuation of Peace. India and the USA have a right to demand Pakistan to rid of terrorist organizations. In this case, Jaishe-e-Mohammed and Lakshar-e-Taiba. First, Pakistan must close these terror organizations and arrest their leaders. This should be a first prerequisite for peace talks.

  196. @Dr. Amjad Burq May be you should give advice to Imran Khan and your military. People of Pakistan in general, want to live in peace.

  197. From understanding of this situation, reading it in detailed manner, one should ask these questions: Is Modi a reliable player in world stage? Can he be trusted? Has India's euphoric dream to become 'Super Power' of the east is in shatters?

  198. @SWQ Indian voters will make that determination soon. Once they do that, India will rise to its position of eminence. And will continue to be in the group of civilized nations. Unlike some other countries in the neighborhood, India does not export terrorism.

  199. Before getting shot that Soviet Mig brought down an F16.

  200. @Dupesh Saini Do you have any proof ?

  201. Could be - maybe not. Fill in the missing word: “In the fog of war, _ _ _ _ _ is the first casualty.” Then again, in a dogfight at Mach 1, training and ability generally count for more than skill. Put me, the Great Shrdlu, in the cockpit of a Fifth Generation Stealth F-35 “multi-mode” fighter, and, if I manage to get the engine started, the “flight”. will end a short time later as a ‘CATO’ , (Catastrophe/Catastrophic event At Take Off).

  202. @Sarfaraz Is he supposed to?? India has it, and the world has seen it. So has Pakistan! It won't help showing proof to those who have developed lying into an art form. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the original Master artist!

  203. India's aging Air Force? Pakistan received it's first F-16's in 1981 which means Pakistan F-16's are 38 years old. Col. Gene Cirillo, USAF (Retired.)

  204. Sir. With all due respect to your rank, and the experience it takes to get there, please consider the (according to the ID plate), our )0-year-old fleet of B-52s, probably one of the most reliable planes ever built. That’s because, on schedule, every few months in service, the symbol of Cold War strength (there’s a wonderful sequence of one ‘mating’ with a fuel tanker at the start of “Dr. Strangelove”, various pieces of each B-52 are, like engines, pulled and replaced with torn down and rebuilt engines, or, at longer intervals, wings, tail sections, or the entire body of the plane itself is replaced, though the serial number, plane designation, etc. remain. When I last checked, for a term paper in the late 1970s, the B-52s flying had been rebuilt and upgraded so many times, they were designated “B-52-Qs” I imagine by now, those that remain in service, holding at “failsafe” points, probably nuclear cruise missiles rather than the cruder nukes they first carried. I bet they’re probably designated B-52-QQQs now, after hundreds of additional upgrades, and, aside from the original equipment designation plate, there may be, somewhere, a single screw in use that dates from the time it rolled off the Boing assembly line. If the government only treated its science side so well - the “original space shuttles” joined by a fleet of 100 more, with safe heat shielding and a 100% recyclable hydrogen-oxygen crewed boosters (as proposed) cutting the cost of ground-orbit to $10/kilogram.

  205. India would be far better off rooting out political corruption and spending money on education and its terrible environmental problems.

  206. Indians know that, already. However, what do you suggest when your belligerent neighbors don’t share the same attitude as shown by history!!

  207. @B So that's an excuse for doing nothing?

  208. And finally signing (along with Pakistan) Constitutions barring religious discrimination, and treaties denuclearizing the region and an effectively open border. Two things keep me from moving to Canada, a nice big non-superpower: intolerable weather, and related higher costs of living, and a Constitution which guarantees religious freedom only to Anglicans and Roman Catholics (it could be ANY faith(s) - religious schools and institutions deserve NO government support, even less than they get in the US through chinks blasted in Jefferson’s wall between the most public and most private of institutions, and id dedicated to maintaining Peace, Order and Good Government”, mainly a warning to the radical Québécois separates who threatened to fracture the nation when that document was signed in 1963. Who WANTS to live in a superpower which spends damned too much money on war (that includes Russia and China/ which also easily fail the “freedom” test as well. Australia might be nice, but the airfare to visit family and friends knocks it out of the running - that and the Anglo-Theocratic problem as well. (Note to Queen Elizabeth II, now that the divine right of the English monarchy has become the right to occupy some nice property, how about kicking the Church of England out of government and handing the honour and hassles of running a religion over to the Archbishop of Canterbury?

  209. "Unlike China, where an authoritarian government is free to set military policy as it wishes, India is a democracy, with all the messiness that can entail." If I didn't know better, this statement sounds like a pitch for authoritarianism and a dig at democracy. For that is surely its unstated implication. Yes, authoritarian regimes and dictators like Mussolini and Hitler were better at making their trains run on time and creating tightly controlled and oppressive police states than the democratic governments they replaced. But history shows that humanity benefits more in the long run from democracy--even with all its "messiness", and vulnerabilities to idiocy, fear-mongering and manipulation that we are painfully and shamefully experiencing in America.

  210. @Jamie Nichols Thank you for this voice of reason.

  211. @Jamie Nichols In the name of Democracy, India should not sacrifice economic development. How can India justify 300 million poor? If India cannot defend against China, there will be no India. The NYT article is a big WAKE UP CALL TO INDIA and I must congratulate the author for his brevity. Capitalism is always better than Socialism or Mixed Economy that India has practiced so far.

  212. @Ven Parameswaran: A country can both achieve economic development and possess a reasonably strong military without having to sacrifice its democracy for some authoritarian form of governance, as you seem to suggest. America is a prime example of what I'm saying. When fascism and Soviet communism threatened American democracy and its economic system (which was and still is a mixture of capitalism and socialism, meaning government subsidized, funded and regulated industries, and a welfare and insurance system for the elderly, disabled and unemployed) in the last century, the US was able to counter and defeat those threats. And it did so without having to turn the nation into some authoritarian or autocratic state without social welfare programs to ameliorate the harshness of unregulated capitalism. Hopefully India will be able to do likewise and the US will help if its help is needed and wanted. But I fear India's current government is too prone to nationalist, right-wing, fear-mongering, and therefore will be willing to sacrifice the interests of the 300 million poor you claim to care for. For a massive military build-up that you support will provide little, if any, benefit to them. Meanwhile, India's democracy, albeit corrupt and ill-led though it is, remains its best and only hope.

  213. Although China's military budget is much more than in India, I keep in mind intelligence (not necessarily espionage) can turn the tide in battles and wars. It is brains, not brawn which can (sometimes) help the most. Look how well the Vietnamese reused American equipment. Also doing they used some of the same methodology against the French, in their previous Indochina war. The same can be said in the Middle East, although sometimes in a different fashion.

  214. We may quibble over the Mig and the F16 but when Modi himself asserts that India would have been better off in combat, with newer aircraft, what do we have left to say ? We may allow for Modi to be forwarding the credible reason for combat-readiness, to show the validity of his deal that is being questioned by the opposition. But it still sorts of underlines the position that India as of today is not modernised enough. Suddenly that position is now the focus of all out there, and will certainly influence the strategic thinking and foreign policy aims of both China and Pakistan, as also those countries who may not be directly involved but will certainly have their say. This means the whole problem of Kashmir will now be seen less in terms of the domestic issues of the three involved parties, but in terms of combat-readiness between the two main antagonists. That is when things are likely to get tricky and disturbing.

  215. @Nirmal There is nothing that can be more dangerous than an ethnic sectarian supernatural supremacist conflict between nuclear armed nation states. And " tricky and disturbing" diminishes and trivializes the threat.

  216. @Blackmamba, were you referring to mutually assured destruction that is core to the US and Russia's current defense strategy?

  217. @Nirmal, what we have left to say is that India already has SU-30s, Mirage 2000s and Jaguars, all of which are quite modern. Modi was referring to the Rafale fighters, which was being slowed down by the opposition. One skirmish, where a MiG 21 was shot down, while claiming to have locked-on to an F-16 and perhaps taken down, is no reason to run around like Chicken Little.

  218. I've a better idea. Let's get both India and Pakistan to scrap old gear and replace it with nothing. Reduce their militaries to being self defense forces and put the savings into helping their people. For those nations, military spending is largely a waste, dead money for which much better and peaceful uses exist. For once let's bring peace to fore, not more saber polishing.

  219. So says someone from a country that spends more on the military than the next 50 countries combined, while not being able to (or worse yet, not willing to) provide basic medical care to all and where poverty and hunger are still widely prevelant. While all countries should spend more on human welfare than defense, it is naive to say that a country that lives next to a Islamic fundamentalist state and a authoritarian communist country should not spend money to protect itself.

  220. @Mike Add China to the list and I would fully agree with you. India's bigger concern (in every way) is China which is hemming it in from all sides.

  221. @Mike , hey Mike , if India puts down the weapons , then there's no India in existence . We are sorrrounded by China and pakistan , which already want India into pieces We are developing into getting our old aircrafts replaces as India has purchased Chinook helicopters and Apache helicopter from USA with howritzer 777 , India is even building a factory for AK 203 in amethy , India We have done a deal to buy 36 rafale aircraft and the old junk is going out Until our 3 Rd aircraft carrier ins Vishal comes out

  222. It is a rude awakening for Indians. Most believed India has become a major power. After the death of 40+ para-military personnel, people were echoing the language of US: "punish", "isolate", "trade boycott",etc. They assumed India would inflict punishment on Pakistan. Initially there was euphoria when foreign secretary read out fabricated narrative of destroying terrorists camp, killing large number of them. It is difficult to make any narrative stick when everyone is equipped with the camera. Pakistan quickly displayed the pictures of the craters and a few damaged trees to the media. India couldn't. India is supposedly one of the largest importer of military hardware. somehow, it is still using old, antiquated planes. Indian air force planned to acquire 135 most modern jets and decided on French Rafale after 10 years of deliberation. somehow Mr. Modi whittled it down to 36 over ruling the air force. Even with 36 Rafale jets air force will be ill equipped. US is fantasizing that India would help it put China in the box. By the time India get equipped with modern hardware China would move well ahead. China has long term plan, India doesn't. Modi's only plan is to win election and establish old romantic version of ancient India. US should urge Japan to arm to counter China to have a realistic plan. India may turn out to be like American backing of Chiang Kei shek.

  223. @s.khan couldn't agree you more mate

  224. @s.khan Indian markets provide the last big growth opportunity for western firms. So, India with all its problems of uneven growth and corruption, is already important to the West, and the world. Pakistan will remain an irritation, because of its terrorism efforts. But Indians have moved ahead, and we do not think much of Pakistan. China might be a problem for India, but Pakistan, its vassal state, is not, as far as India is concerned.

  225. Ah yes, India should spend lots and lots of money on bigger and badder weapons and bombs, at the expense of infrastructure investments, healthcare and poverty reduction. Preferably make purchases from the big bad US military-industrial complex please. Sounds like another country I’m somewhat familiar with.

  226. Aside from aging hardware, could not the level of training and expertise of their pilots also be a factor? A poor pilot in a great plane can still lose a dogfight.

  227. @George S Yes pilot training does matter alot and the Pakistan Airforce pilots are not only ahead of Indian pilots when it comes to training and skill but are among the best in the world. General Chuck Yeager the 1st person to break the sound barrier who was working with PAF during wars of 1965 and 71 said about PAF pilots "They were really good, aggressive dogfighters and proficient in gunnery and air combat tactics. I was damned impressed. Those guys just lived and breathed flying". Sergey Vekhov wrote in Ariforces Monthly Magazine "As an air defence analyst, I am fully aware that the Pakistan Air Force ranks today as one of the best air forces in the world and thatthe PAF Combat Commanders' School (CCS) in Sargodha has been ranked as the best GCI/pilot and fighter tactics and weapons school in theworld. As one senior US defence analyst commented to me in 1991, "it leaves Topgun (the US Naval Air Station in Miramar, California) far behind". Similarly whatever was the result of the 1965 and 71 wars the PAF dominated the skies and had a 3:1 kill ratio vs IAF. So yes a PAF pilot flying a inferior plane would still fare better than an IAF pilot flying in a modern plane.

  228. With a vision for future, its good not to invest in military, isnt it? Pakistan and china has amassed only military gear over the decades. But they have no democracy and free will. At least India is trying to focus on other issues, and making sure military gets paid salary is itself an ethical stand. Westeners come to India to learn yoga and meditation, and 1000 other things. Will they ever go to Pakistan, china to learn all this? So, why does the US keep funding Pakistan and its terrorist base. Whats in it for them?

  229. Everyone is not getting the real gravity of the situation. This conflict is a ploy by the separatists elements to destabilise the region and gain attention. They knew how vulnerable Modi’s political standing is in India as the elections near. At the same time The Pakistani government has no control over the terrorist elements operating in the country. The people of Pakistan have suffered because of that. Now both Indian and Pakistani governments are reacting to appease to the masses while totally being played by the terrorists. Indian government has been complacent and has miscalculated or botched the bombing operation and in retaliation to the botched operation Pakistan provocation by flying jets into the Indian side led to the dogfight. The finger pointing the useless analysis of who used what weapons is just noise. Terrorism is the real story and no one is addressing that. India and Pakistan are adequately funded militaries and this narrative of who has better machinery is based on one dogfight in what a decade? Let cool heads prevail and aim to think rationally and address the real issue at hand.

  230. If I trucked in conspiracy theories, and/or if I wanted to sell modern aircraft and other warcraft to India, what would better demonstrate, to the whole of India, the need to make an upgrade? Do these incidents occur by happenstance or are they well planned acts instigated by the ultimate beneficiaries? And it makes me wonder...

  231. This article should be an eye-opener for the Modi Govt. India does not WANT to fight wars with Pakistan or China, but may have no option but to prepare as though it is likely. For all their jingoism and nationalism, the Modi Govt has not focused at all on upgrading the Army's weaponry. And the Rafale deal, which was gummed up in the works for 14 (!) years now, will barely scratch the surface of what needs to be done to upgrade the Air Force's capabilities. The "good" news for India is that Pakistan is in worse shape, F-16s notwithstanding. Consider that Pakistan's entire airspace was shut down for a week to conserve fuel oil - since, in the event of actual combat, they had less than a week's worth of reserves. God save India & Pakistan. For Indians and Pakistanis don' seem inclined to do so themselves.

  232. How many US billions have been sunk into Pakistan to make life difficult for the Russians and Chinese only to have the Pakistanis complicit in support of the Taliban and happy provider of refuge for anti-American Afghan militias? OK, so Pakistan is unreliable and is tilting hard toward China, which makes sense because of historic and economic ties. So, rush to manipulate India into being a bulwark against (enemy) China and (putative ally) Pakistan? That would be the anti-imperialist, anti-Western, mostly socialist and in some states (Kerala), communist India? What's the thinking here? China, Pakistan and India are competing over Kashmir so backing India helps to check Pakistan and China? I hope not. Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China are part of cultural and trading block going back milennia & continue to have deep ties. They may tilt from time to time in America's or Europe's direction, but their interests lie quite elsewhere. Mostly they just want unimpeded access to the sale of their products in the West and western technology. None will ever be pawns in US foreign or military policy or even reasonably steady allies. The US game of bribing some regional power into its corner has brought endless grief. Hasn't worked with Turkey, didn't work with Iran, failed with Pakistan, and has left America with evil, vicious partners like Saudi Arabia.

  233. The U.S.Ambassador to India, Chester Bowles sent by President Truman was the best ambassador and friend of India. He tried his best to convince Prime Minister Nehru to ally with the U.S.long before the US aligned with Pakistan. If Nehru had listened to Ambassador Bowles, today India would be the second economic power instead of China. China in 1949 was far behind India. Ambassador Bowles envisioned the total assets and strengths of USA and India. India provided a huge market for the USA. 72 years after Indian Independence in 1947, President Trump has succeeded in making India its closest ally. India must capitalize on this. Indian Americans are the highest educated and make the highest income. They are making huge contributions to every level of the U.S.society holding high positions. More than 25 Fortune 500 corporations are headed by Indian Americans. India is the only major country, Trump has not visited yet. What is India waiting for? China has encircled India with its dominance and influence. China is expanding in the Pacific Ocean making Phillippines insecure. Chinese major highway link to Baluchistan poses problems for Pakistan. The US-India close alliance will strengthen the entire South Asia. If Pakistan respects India potential for peace and prosperity is unlimited. India must compete with China in exporting consumer and industrial goods to the US and others. With the help of the US it can build most modern India.

  234. "India is the only major country, Trump has not visited yet." When did Trump visit China or Russia since becoming President?

  235. @KJSTrump visited China in 2017. He has not visited Russia purposely because of investigation and sanctions. Furthermore, Russia is a much smaller country than India or China. I meant "major country".

  236. Amazing that so much vehement Western media prejudice still exists against India and its ruling Bharatiya Janata Party,as if Pakistan is an American ally like France or Germany !

  237. "... so much vehement Western media prejudice still exists against India ..." Quote the Times article where it exhibits "vehement Western media prejudice".

  238. Not sure why this article says that India lost the dogfight when in fact it shot down a Pakistani F-16 ? Just because Pakistan denies it as always, it does not mean it did not happen. There have been pictures/evidence of the destroyed F-16 in several articles in the Indian media. Has the writer done due diligence to check all the facts?

  239. @Ashwin Show the photos. Show the facts. There was no F-16 shot down. All we've gotten from the Government of India is a constantly changing story that makes less and less sense over time.

  240. "There have been pictures/evidence of the destroyed F-16 in several articles in the Indian media." Provide a link. As the photo in the article shows, there is Indian MiG-21 wreckage on Pakistani territory. And an Indian pilot was captured by Pakistan. What happened to the pilots of those allegedly "destroyed F-16[s]"?

  241. @Ashwin F16 is made in America. Secondly Donald Trump’s America has only two allies left in the work Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Who else will sell arms to Pakistan, bankrupt country?

  242. Very conveniently written NYT covering the limitations of F-16, the same plane USA Offered to India. Yet we were in the process of developing fifth generation fighter aircraft with Russia, of course the deal fell through. Anyway back to our topic, the MIG-21s came into production in 1959, the f-16s in 1978. Even though upgraded a MiG which is decades old shot down a F-16. Chew on that...I agree, lot of modernisation should take place in the army but generalising to this extent is just appalling, seems like Pakistani lobbying is strong at play here.

  243. "... upgraded a MiG which is decades old shot down a F-16." That's fake news. As the photo shows, there is Indian MiG-21 wreckage on Pakistani territory.

  244. The US, in its search of a bulwark against Communist China, better give a thought to the fighting qualities of the various Indian troops during the British conquest of the Subcontinent in the 19th century.

  245. "... the fighting qualities of the various Indian troops during the British conquest of the Subcontinent in the 19th century." What are those "fighting qualities", and how are they relevant to 21st century aerial combat? As the article makes clear, the problem is that India has an outdated fighter fleet.

  246. Tragically, India is facing manifold problems in great measure attributed to the ineffective Congress party-the Nehru/Gandhi dynasty-that has been ruinous for India on several domestic and international fronts. There is an immense window of opportunity for the US to use its various levers to get India to streamline its out dated and hugely cumbersome arms procurement policies. There is no justifiable reason for procurement decisions to drag on for years. Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin have shown tremendous patience, but if a coordinated push can be made by the Trump administration-don't hold your breath-it may well expedite the modernization of Indian forces. When the two countries have achieved very close inter-operate ability of their respective forces, I predict that the US will have a strong ally and a bulwark against an ever-menacing China.

  247. Let India and Pakistan stop this nonsense of spending billions on military when a significant proportion of their populations lack basics and subsist on mere dollars per day. Let’s not do to India what has already been done to Pakistan; use them as our geopolitical policeman. India does not need billions more of foreign military equipment. It needs to spend money on toilets for millions of its men, women and children who defecate in public, out in the open. This happens not just in millions of villages but openly in the cities and towns of India. Let this money be spent on millions of women lacking privacy for their basic biological needs. Imagine the day when women in the villages and slums of India do not have to squat on the ground with their gazes lowered out of the shame of relieving in public. That is where help is needed. Not for amassing weapons!!

  248. The danger in the nascent war between India and Pakistan is not only that many millions of men, women and children may die in this foolish war, but because of the fact that EACH of these countries has MORE than 100 A bombs. These bombs can not only destroy both countries, but their nuclear clouds will spread death all over the world. Few will be spared. It is a folly to think that atomic bombs will keep us safe; they will destroy our home, the earth. The USA and Russia EACH have more than 700 A bombs. They will not protect us, no matter what some madman may say. We must destroy these horrible things; if not for us, then for our innocent children. And we must do it soon.

  249. we are missing th3 fact that these vintage Mig-21 shot down 2 F-16 given to Pakistan on the premise that they will be used to fight terror targets.

  250. @weary traveler still laughing at your comment... I mean seriously do you believe it.

  251. @weary traveller You are missing the fact that no F-16s were shot down. And given that Pakistan has driven the Taliban and other terror groups out of Pakistan and into Afghanistan, you've got zero to stand on here.

  252. @ weary traveller First off, no proof of F-16s being shot down exists because they were never used in air combat. Second of all, India is responsible for all kinds of terrorism in their neighbour’s backyard whether in Balochistan or KP. Therefore, if they had been used against India (which they weren’t), it would have been well within the so-called requirement of using them against ‘terror targets’. Whether it comes indirectly from Afghanistan (Indian proxy) or directly from India in the form of ‘daily shelling targeting civilians’, India is just as guilty of terrorism as the other side, if not more. Violence begets violence! Time to tone down the war hysteria and work towards peace in Kashmir and economic development for a billion and a half people.

  253. @ShenBowen Some valid points there. Except that India faces a real problem with Islamic terrorism, while the "caravans" are not a national security threat to the US. If you pay attention, you will notice that the terrorists in question here, JeM, are quietly acknowledging that their terrorist training camp has been hit.

  254. Drawing conclusion from one dog fight is not very wise. From first hand experience, I know that Pakistani soldiers are very good against unarmed civilians. I have seen them how they were killing innocent unarmed Bangladeshis 9 months in 1971. Then 94,000 of them surrendered in Dhaka after a war. Now they are doing to the people of Baluchistan. Some time they kill the unarmed people in Waziristan. But they can fight Taliban and ISIS. When the people are starving, Pakistan spends huge some of money in defense. It is not very wise. USA has problem, we can not live with Pakistan and we can live without them.

  255. "Drawing conclusion from one dog fight is not very wise." There is more to consider than "one dog fight". Even the specs and safety record show that the MiG-21 is outclassed by the F-16, so India is right to be looking at upgrading its fighters. See the Wikipedia articles on the "Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21" and the "General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon".

  256. @KJS Remember Zulfikar Bhutto and Gen. Ayub Khan used to boast that 1 Muslim soldier equals 10 Hindu soldiers before they led Pakistan into the 1965 war. Pakistani military has a record of empty boasting before every defeat.

  257. @ASHRAF CHOWDHURY Pakistani textbooks all teach that India was the aggressor in all the wars with Pakistan. They still teach that they won all the wars. There is even a victory day to celebrate their victory in the 1965 war with India. The 1971 defeat could not be covered up because they lost half the country and 94,000 POWs were being held by the enemy but of course it was all a conspiracy of the conniving Indians with the treacherous Bengalis. They teach that the Pakistanis all fought bravely and against horrendous odds but had to surrender because Uncle Sam betrayed them once again. There is no mention of the Butcher of Bengal, Gen. Tikka Khan or the Butcher of Balochistan, Gen. Parvez Musharraf in Pakistan. They are all war heros. It took Pakistani government 10 years to acknowledge the 3000 Pakistan soldiers who were butchered on Kargil heights by Gen. Musharraf because they could not admit the lie they had told the world that Kargil was a spontaneous tribal uprising. Pakistani ISI controls the Taliban so to get out of the quagmire of Afghanistan, the US has to grovel before Pakistan though it gave haven to US criminal number one, Osama Bin Laden.

  258. And when India changes course and starts to spend more on hardware we can count on the Times to be there covering the toll in social misery caused by overspending on the military.

  259. Oh, sure, what the people of India, Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir need now is an infusion of more-modern weaponry to feed reinvigorated hostility. I mean, what could go wrong?

  260. "... the people of India, Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir ..." You forgot to mention China, which is the real focus of US geopolitical concerns. From the article: '“As China rises and the United States fights to keep its dominance, it will need a swing state to tip the balance of power in the 21st century,” Mr. Smith said. “And that swing state is India. ...”'

  261. Really. Propagating lies continuously does not make it a truth. Learning from our great president is it? Mig-21 for all its age, the pilot used that machine to shoot down the F16, why is it that there is no mention of that? Not convenient to the story, I get it.

  262. "Mig-21 for all its age, the pilot used that machine to shoot down the F16, why is it that there is no mention of that?" Because it is false. The photo shows MiG-21 wreckage on Pakistani territory. And an Indian pilot was captured by Pakistan.

  263. @gopen "Why is there no mention..." There's a reason. It's called "ego."

  264. Most of the Indians are still believing the fairytale that a 65 year old MiG 21 downed an F-16, however no such proof has been submitted by any Indian military or civil representative. Indian PM Modi, the butcher of Gujral, sheepishly acknowledged that if they had better fighter jets such as Rafale, the results would have been different. India is getting its training from Israel about how to persecute the weak. Israel seems to have its hand in this whole episode as reported by Independent reporter Robert Fisk. Citizens have to open their eyes and see things more objectively rather than believing in what their respective governments tell them to believe.

  265. "Most of the Indians are still believing the fairytale that a 65 year old MiG 21 downed an F-16, ..." One commenter* claims that "several articles in the Indian media" support that story. Since there was no link, it sounds like the Indian media is spreading fake news. * Ashwin (Oregon)

  266. @AMK And why shouldn't India ally with Israel? Those are the two democracies in that area, both hounded by Islamic terrorists.

  267. @AMK Pakistan blackmailing India with nukes and training terrorists is a weak nation? Creating trouble in Afghanistan and now on border with Iran, a weak nation? Don't cry wolf after creating trouble

  268. A number of years ago India bought F-16 air frames without electronics. This was noteworthy because about 1/2 the cost of a fighter jet is in the electronics. This was a signal that India had decided to build its own electronics, thereby eliminating the treat of back doors in equipment manufactured by U.S. Defense contractors. This, of course, is a key nuclear deterrent, for every country with a nuclear capability. It eliminates the possibility that any other country could stop, interfere with, or perhaps set off, a nuclear exchange involving that country. Stated another way, a nuclear arsenal is worthless unless you have a trusted source for your command and control systems. In 2017 Lockheed Martin negotiated to move F-16 production to India.

  269. To put things in perspective, if the USA had India's per capita expenditures on the military, we'd be spending around 12 billion per year instead of closer to 700 or 800 billion. Obviously we need to be spending far less, the question is whether Indian needs to be spending more. And if jobs are an issue, armed forces of 1.2 million in a country with 1000 times that many folks seems like it could use some bulking up too. The funniest thing might be the discrepancy in salaries paid to members of the Indian military versus the cost of modern weaponry.

  270. A key nuclear deterrent is a large and effective conventional warfare capability. According to the article: "If intense warfare broke out tomorrow, India could supply its troops with only 10 days of ammunition, according to government estimates." This means that if India gets into a scrap, it will very quickly run out of conventional weapons, and will be forced to rely on its nuclear arsenal.

  271. @W It is far more likely that in case of war between India and Pakistan, Pakistanis will be forced to first use/try to use Nuclear bombs there by a swift Indian response. The reason is that, they will run out of resources and money very quickly and the extremists in the country would want to use the bomb as a quick solution. It is a very scary scenario as it will bring worldwide devastation and plunge the world into depression and wide spread deaths because of food shortages. Pakistanis have this ace up their sleeve now and may be able to effectively black Mail the world.

  272. The fundamental premise of Ms. Habib's article is wrong. The US is not counting on the Indian military to keep China in check. India is part of a group of allies the US are cultivating to balance a resurgent China. Not clear how that alliance is going to shape up. The Indian military may not be the best equipped, but has held its own when called upon to act. With worse equipment, it managed to chase the Pakistan Army out of Kargil in 1999, and made it surrender in 1971. And all a frustrated Pakistan can do is foment terror.

  273. In the middle of a nuclear stand-off NYT steps in to make pitch for the sale of modern armaments. Bravo. Bravo. A little bit of introspection may be in order from the newspaper of record. How easily it has forgotten its role in cheering for the second Iraq war

  274. Sure, the jingoism from Indian trolls here is laughable, but Americans should take note of how it's a really mirror image of our own ridiculous militarism and jingoism. How much do we spend on our military and how much of that is wasted on pork belly? How much huffing and puffing do we do about our endless foreign wars? How much do we define our "greatness" by our ability to bomb countries halfway around the world and nuke the globe a dozen times over?

  275. @citybumpkin Easy to deride Indian Jingoism. Remember that your ally (Pakistan) has got you pinned down in your longest war (Afghanistan) and provided safe haven to your most wanted criminal (Osama-bin-laden). If America had recognized its real enemies in 2001 it would not have wasted its time invading two countries that had nothing to do with 9-11.

  276. Why do India and Pakistan continue this insanity? The Indians, complaining of antiquated equipment believe either in a multitude of deities. Or none at all - just a quasi-deity philosopher who urged followers to live in peace. Most Pakistanis believe in the single deity of the prophets Abraham, Jesus and Muhammed. Some Indians believe in this deity too. What a grand reason to spend limited national resources, time and energy developing weapons, including the nuclear variety (antiques?). so they can “defend” borders thrown on the map by British colonists finally shamed into giving up land they had no business with in the first place. Sad. Let’s teach them the ‘mercan way, as imposed by a minority of US voters in 2016, ) most voters chose an intelligent expert in international affairs, a woman; not an amoral, ignorant man who places image and profit ahead of any gods or prophets. Who “loves” dictators. He doesn’t care what people believe about gods and such, he cares only whether they love him and the color of the outer 1/8th inch of their bodies especially if he finds them sexually attractive), and the language they speak. How to solve a diplomatic problem? Spend a third of your budget on the newest, shiniest weapons, and people to fire them! And fence out “bad guys”! (It should be noted that in our alleged “war” in Afghanistan, more than a third of those killed on “our” side were mercenaries - killers from around the world the Times called ‘contractors’, not asking the cost)

  277. First of all, India did not lose the dog fight. Our pilot shot down the Pakistani F16 from his MIG21, and then crashed. Please have your title corrected. Second, Pakistan in no way stands even close to Indian defense infrastructure. India has always been a country that exhibits restraint, and reacts only when provoked. Third, India is the fastest growing large economy in the world. Your portayal of India in the article is very far from reality. I expected NYTimes to have done much more research on the ground before publishing anything like this.