Slashing the Military Budget
In a desperate attempt to balance its budget, the Indian Finance Ministry has slashed military spending by US$2 billion. The decision came amidst economic instability and a soaring fiscal deficit of 5.8 percent, leaving analysts with no option but to reduce the military budget by five percent. Budget cuts will not only affect the country’s defense sector but will also hamper the acquisition of military aircrafts and equipment in the near future. In particular, the budget cut is likely to affect the acquisition of 126 French Rafale fighter jets worth $20 billion, which India planned to acquire under the medium multi-role combat aircraft project.
India’s military build-up began in 2010 following the infamous November 2008 New Delhi attack. A wave of paranoia and anti-Pakistan sentiment dictated the national security establishment’s demands for increased funding. Although the budget cuts will favor India’s long-term monetary goals, it will however reduce the country’s ability to invest in purchasing machinery, equipment and military weapons. India’s national security threat is also not simply confined to Pakistan. The country perceives serious competition and threats from China as well.
The reduction in India’s military budget coincides with the correspond- ing rise of its security challenges. The country’s defense outlay of $35.09 billion seems trivial as compared to China’s expenditure of $106.41 billion. Previously, India had sought a 30 percent budget increase to counter the rapid development in the military sector by China. It seems it will now have to wait before executing any such plans.
Following the cut, several key acquisition plans have been pushed for the next fiscal year. Analysts predict that this will cause serious concern in India for the country is continuously expanding its arsenal to maintain its hegemony in the region.