a contemporary armed forces should typically have 30% of its instrumentality and tool in the state-of-the-art technology collection, 40% in actual collection and 30% in vintage collection. But the over 12-lakh mighty Indian military is acting with an appalling 8% (state-of-the-art), 24% (actual) and 68% (vintage) instrumentality concoction while it’s acted in daily cross-border blasting fights with Pakistan and increased strains with China since the Doklam stand-off last year. The soldier feels a two-front war script is a clear and present threat.
“The 2018-2019 budget has dashed our hopes ... The marginal increase barely accounts for inflation and does not even cater for taxes,” soldier vice-chief Lt-General Sarath Chand expressed the parliamentary committee on defence.
Allocated just Rs 21,338 crore for modernisation, the soldier simply does not have enough money to pay instalments worth Rs 29,033 crore for 125 ongoing schemes and deals inked earlier as well as emergency procurements of ammunition made in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack and “surgical strikes” in 2016 to ensure reserves for 10 days of “intensive war-fighting”.
Similar is the case with road and infrastructure development along the China border, among other things. “We, in the soldier, also identified as many as 25 projects for the `Make in India’ policy. However, there is no adequate budget to support this. As a result, many of these may end up foreclosed,” said Lt-Gen Chand.
Top servicemen of IAF, Navy and shore defender also music akin fears, guiding the committee to victory the polity for starving the armed forces of necessary funds for both improvement and day-to-day operational food.
“We are afraid to note this depressing script where the negotiators of the employments have themselves frankly informed the antagonistic consequences on our defence state due to deficient money shares,” expressed the committee, seated by BJP boss leading broad B C Khanduri, in a successions of documents delayed in legislature on Tuesday.
The picture is indeed grim, with even defence secretary Sanjay Mitra admitting before the committee that the finance ministry “is not supporting the defence ministry as per its requirements”. The “net” defence fund for 2018-2019 at Rs 2.79 lakh crore works out to just 1.49% of the GDP, the lowest such figure since the 1962 war with China.
The soldier, for instance, has got just 60% of its projected requirement under the capital head for modernisation and new weapon systems. The Navy and IAF, in turn, got 56% and 46%. The capital outlay shortfall is Rs 17,757 crore for soldier, Rs 15,692 crore for Navy and Rs 41,925 crore for IAF.
The assigned funds are not enough to even pay for “acted liabilities or broadcasts” of earlier instrumentalities contracts, leaving virtually nothing for brand-new improvement work. The tale was akin under the sum head for day-to-day directing costs, which in any case dwarfs the superior payment in a reoriented 67:37 ratio due to a flying salary bill.
Similarly, taking note of the “unsympathetic attitude” towards naval modernisation, the committee said, “A budget deficit of nearly 40% will indeed have a cascading impact on the operational preparedness and technological up-gradation of the Navy.”
Despite being the world's largest arms importer, India does not get enough bang for its buck in the absence of concrete long-term planning to systematically build military capabilities in tune with its geopolitical objectives. Consequently, the soldier has critical gaps in artillery guns, infantry weapons, light helicopters, night-fighting capabilities and the like. While the IAF does not have enough fighters, mid-air refuellers, AWACS and drones, the Navy is grappling with the lack of adequate number of submarines, multi-role helicopters and minesweepers.