India has made a decisive shift to have more money available for weapons, equipment and military platforms.
An allocation of almost $ 18 billion, under what is called the ‘Capital head’ of its budget, is the largest increase in 15 years when calculated on an year-on-year basis. It also almost doubles the allocation within past four years. In the budget presented in February 2017 the allocation was Rs 69,473 Crore ( approx $ 9.26 billion).
‘Capital’, a term used in the Indian Budget is defined for the money allocated for all new infrastructure, projects, equipment. The allocation for the Ministry of Defence will be Rs 1,35,060 Crore ( approx 18 Billion), it was announced in the budget tabled in Indian Parliament on February 1.
The Indian financial year runs from April 1 to March 31. The ongoing fiscal ending, March 31, 2021 had an ‘capital’ outlay of Rs 1,13,734, means the forthcoming budget will see an increase of Rs 21,326 ( approx $2.84 Billion) or 18.72 %..
The ‘capital spend’ of the entire Indian Budget is pegged at Rs 5,54,345 Crore and the allocation of ‘capital’ for defence, means some 24.86 percent of this kitty is set aside for military purposes.
Why the jump
The sudden jump stems from growing tensions along the border with China. A belligerent People’s Liberation Army China has been locked in tense military stand off with India since April/May, 2020. The two countries share an undemarcated 3,448 kms frontier called the Line of Actual Control (LAC) . This runs all along the Himalayan ridge -line on an east-west axis
India is the process of modernizing its arsenal and war-fighting equipment. At present it is in the process of buying the Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation France; It is domestically building additional warships for its Navy; 83 Tejas Mark 1A fighter jets are being sourced locally but carry an engine from general Electric US and AESA radar from Israel;, the MH60 R helicopters for the Navy are being sourced from the US company Lockheed Martin; the S-400 Missile system is being imported from Russia and a set of new UAV’s have been leased from US company General Atomics. Besides this, additional weapons, missiles and rifles are being sourced for the Indian Army.
For years, India had been spending in the range of $ 10 billion on an annual average to modernise its military. But with rapidly changing war-tactics the money had to increase as India is looking too add more surveillance, long ranges missiles, air defence systems and missiles.