India’s military spending plan has arms merchants jockeying for a deal. Their only obstacles are political infighting, corruption and bureaucracy.
Sailor-suited Russian models touted their nation’s submarines. Indian officers posed for pictures atop foreign-made armor-plated vehicles.
And working the room at New Delhi’s aging exhibition center were French, British and American arms merchants from global defense giants, elbowing each other aside in the search for a deal at Defexpo India 2012, the country’s biggest-ever weapons trade show.
Fueled by superpower ambitions and rivalry with China but hampered by a creaky domestic defense industry, India is on a military buying spree that’s made it the belle-of-the-global-military ball.
“India’s a little yokel with pockets full of cash and everyone’s trying to mug it,” said Ajai Shukla, a defense analyst and former army colonel.