While no country can afford 100% modern weaponry, most militaries strive to maintain a balanced equipment profile—a mix of 30% modern, 40% matured and 30% obsolescent. But more than half of India’s equipment has slipped into the last category.
These shortfalls have potentially serious consequences. Unless the trend is reversed, India will find it hard to deter Pakistan’s army from misadventures in Kashmir, such as happened in 1999 when Islamabad felt confident enough to occupy the area around Kargil. And if its conventional forces can’t compel Pakistan’s army to keep jihadis iin check, India will struggle to prevent terror attacks on its soil.
Pakistan now poses less of a conventional threat to India than in decades past, but China has potent and growing military capabilities that test India’s readiness. Although Delhi’s nuclear arsenal provides strategic deterrence, a limited conflict under the nuclear threshold would expose its under-resourced military.