In 2021, the Slovak government announced its intention to purchase several dozen Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) as part of an ongoing effort to modernise its ground forces (The Slovak Spectator, 2021). This is, of course, a welcome development for the European Union’s (EU) defence, as it increases the resource pool upon which the EU can rely in the pursuit of its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions.
The security of outer space has proven to be quite a complex and rapidly evolving policy field, requiring a similarly prompt response from nations around the globe. In the European Union, the problem is compounded by the vertical separation of power between the EU and its Member States, including the principle of conferral, which hinders the creation of a unified policy.
“Let us recognise that we, the European Union and the Member States, need to do much more together, and we need to do much more together right now. We cannot wait, because the choice for us is simple: either we invest a lot on defence innovation, or we will become defence irrelevant” (European Defence Agency, 2021) This year’s European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Annual Conference focus revolved around discussing the EU innovation in European Defence and what more must be done. Upon speaking to a room filled with EU and national decision-makers, military organisations, think tanks, and other relevant stakeholders within the defence industry, our High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the EU and Vice-President, Josep Borrell, recognised that much more needs to be done. Whether the EU manages to take the appropriate steps towards advancing defensive innovation or not shall decide on the relevance or obsoleteness of its armies in the future.
Nearly a year after the fall of the previous cabinet, the new ministers for the Rutte IV Cabinet were sworn in on Monday the 10 January. The new Minister of Defence is Kajsa Ollongren from the progressive liberal party D66, and she will be supported by Secretary of State Christophe van der Maat from the VVD. The minister of defence, Ollongren, is responsible for general defence policy. This entails, among other things, the future composition and equipment of the armed forces and their deployment. International affairs, such as NATO and EU policy, will also fall under her responsibilities.
The Indian plan of reaching a fleet of 175 ships in the following five years is destined to fail due to insufficient funds and because of the preference of the government to support state-owned shipyards over private business. With the government favouring state-owned shipyards for building critical naval platforms, projects undergo delays and additional costs, Navy officials state (Vivek, Defense News, 2022). The Indian Navy is currently equipped with 130 ships, and 39 vessels are under construction. However, a $1.5 billion annual budget allocated to shipbuilding programs is not enough to meet the capability deficit. Additionally, only three naval contracts of $71.42 million were assigned to private shipbuilders, with the remaining 47 projects given to state-owned shipyards. In this respect, 40 ships are envisaged to the Navy, whereas 10 for the Indian Coast Guard.