Defence Ministry Seeks Rs 20,000 Crore 'Urgent' Additional Funds Amidst Doklam Standoff

न्यूज़ वर्ल्ड इंडिया | 0
| August 9 , 2017 , 13:35 IST

As the standoff at the Sikkim border between Indian troops and Chinese troops which began in mid-June sees no sign of ending, the Defence Ministry has sought for an 'urgent' additional allocation of Rs 20,000 crore for military modernisation expenses as well as day-to-day operating costs.

MoD officials, led by defence secretary Sanjay Mitra reportedly told their finance ministry counterparts that an additional Rs 20,000 crore was urgently needed apart from the Rs 2.74 lakh crore allocated for defence in the 2017-2018 budget. The 2.74 lakh crore outlay is equivalent to just 1.56 percent of the projected GDP, the lowest such allocation since the 1962 war with China.

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"The MoD officials said almost 50% of the capital and 41% of the revenue outlays in the defence budget had already been utilized in the ongoing fiscal. Moreover, the new customs duty on arms imports had also burnt a big hole in the defence budget. The finance ministry said the MoD request will be examined at the earliest," said a source.

The armed forces had projected a requirement of Rs 26.84 lakh crore ($416 billion) for the 13th Defence Plan (2017-2022) to ensure requisite military modernization and maintenance to take on threats from Pakistan and China as well as to safeguard India other interests.

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The aim of the armed forces is to secure an annual defence budget of at least 2 percent of the projected GDP for their operational costs. However, the actual defence budgets have shown an alarming trend of declining modernisation budgets, unspent funds and a skewed revenue to capital expenditure ratio, resulting in difficulties for the Army, Navy and Air Force across multiple fronts.

The Army faces operational deficiencies in areas of artillery guns, infantry weapons, light helicopters, night-fighting capabilities while the IAF does not have enough fighters, mid-air refuellers, AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and drones. Similarly, the Navy is struggling with shortages in the number of submarines, multi-role helicopters, and minesweepers.