Armed Forces seek $416 billion for defence projects
India’s Ministry of Defence have reportedly sought an allocation of Rs 26. 84 lakh crore ($416 billion) over the next five years for military modernisation of the defence forces in face of collusive threats from Pakistan and China as well as to safeguard India’s expanding geo strategic interests. According to the defence ministry, the 13th consolidated defence five year plan for 2017-2022 was presented at the Unified Commanders’ Conference on 10-11 July.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who addressed the conference, assured the armed forces that capital expenditure for modernisation projects will be “a priority area” with resource availability increasing within the Indian economy. But it is also true that the actual annual defence budgets have shown a discernible trend of declining defence budgets, unspent funds and a skewed revenue to capital expenditure ratio, which have meant that the Army, Navy and IAF continue to grapple with critical operational gaps on several fronts. With an eye firmly on China, there is also a separate section in the plan on “capability development” of the strategically-located tri-Service Andaman and Nicobar Command, which was set up in October 2001 but has suffered from relative neglect and lack of infrastructure.