A global scenario projected by Britain’s ministry of defence says that by 2045 India is likely to have the ability to project conventional military power globally with the third largest defence expenditure pegged at 654 billion US dollars.
Titled ‘Global Strategic Trends – Out to 2045’, the publication by the ministry’s Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre sets out what the world might look like 30 years from now. It looks at a range variables, including energy, mineral resources, conflict and migration.
“Although China’s military-industrial complex is unlikely to surpass the technological sophistication of the US by 2045, it may rival it in terms of size, as could India’s. Both India and China will probably seek to develop sizeable and technically advanced armed forces, including ocean-going navies, capable of delivering an enduring and capable maritime
presence both regionally and further afield”, the paper says.
The analysis on South & East Asia and Oceania says: “The military capabilities of other countries in the region are also likely to increase but only China, India, Australia, Japan (which is actively increasing its military capability) and South Korea are likely to have the ability to project conventional military power globally”.
However, the analysis notes that although India is likely to spend more on defence than the UK, it will “almost certainly have to overcome domestic political issues and improve the way it invests to attain the capabilities needed to project conventional military power globally”.
According to the projection, the US and China are likely to have similarly sized defence budgets, potentially out-spending the rest of the world by 2045. India could have a defence budget equivalent to the EU’s total spending on defence, it says.
“Additionally, China, India and the US are likely to lead in defence-related research and development – further enhancing their military capabilities”, the paper says.
In terms of Technology, the paper says that China and India are likely to attain global leadership in select technical disciplines, achieving parity with the West in a number of
niche areas as soon as 2015 and more widely by 2045.
Stating that China and India will “almost certainly continue to be the dominant powers” in the region, the paper says that the ways the two countries manage their societies’ demands and their internal methods of governance will be important to the region’s development.
In terms of conflict, it is projected that Kashmir would continue to one of the areas of tension, including the border between China and India. “The risk of a major state-on-state conflict in the region cannot be ruled out”, it says.
The paper is based on inputs from a range of individuals and global institutions, including India’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, United Services Institute and the Vivekananda International Foundation.