Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks at the DRDO Awards Ceremony, in New Delhi on 18 December 2020 | ANI
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh speaks at the DRDO Awards Ceremony, in New Delhi | ANI

New Delhi: Amid the stand-off with China in Eastern Ladakh and tension along the Line of Control, the government will make sure that the challenge to resources does not affect operational capability, but efficient utilisation of available budget is important, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Friday.

His remarks came at a time when the forces have been feeling the pinch of a constrained defence budget with many big-ticket modernisation processes slowing down due to lack of funds.

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Addressing an event organised by the Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO), the minister said a realistic assessment of challenges should be done.

“Realistic assessment is important in itself and only then can we do what is necessary to meet them,” he said.

Talking about the security situation, he said the situation on both western (Pakistan) and northern (China) borders has posed a challenge to the country’s resources.

“I can assure on behalf of our government that lack of resources will never come in the way of our success at the border. The prime minister has said that, and I can say it with confidence,” Singh.

“But we will have to keep in mind the adverse effect of Covid on the country’s economy. What I am trying to say is we have to efficiently utilise the budget that is there. I feel we need to focus on this as well and I am sure the scientists are aware of how something can be utilised to the maximum extent possible.”

Sources in the defence and security establishment point out that the cash crunch is a real worry and many modernisation plans have slowed down due to budgetary constraints.

They added that the ongoing stand-off with China, which is in its eighth month and has seen a deployment of nearly 50,000 troops and equipment, has also put pressure on the Army’s budget.

To beat this, the Modi government has removed expenditure curbs on defence spending in the third quarter of the financial year to ensure procurement goes ahead without a requirement of the finance ministry’s nod.

“While there will be many reasons why certain projects have slowed down, the underlying problem is the budget,” a source in the know said.


Also read: IAF, Navy delaying procurement due to funds crunch. And lesser said the better about Army


Budget constraints were already an issue

The increase in India’s defence budget this fiscal by a mere 1.82 per cent to Rs 3.37 lakh crore, excluding expenditure on pension, has not been enough for a military that has been forced to cut back on its procurement and modernisation plans due to lack of funds.

The Navy was forced to recalibrate its plans due to a depleting budget, which it repeatedly stressed was too little to cater to its future acquisitions and inadequate to meet its committed liabilities.

Some big-ticket projects have already been pending for a very long time, even before the coronavirus pandemic struck. Among them are the order for new fighter planes, besides one Tejas Mk 1A, additional nuclear and conventional submarines for the Navy and helicopters and tanks for the Army.

Earlier this month, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said the force approached the finance ministry with some funding models, especially for shipyards, similar to the Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) model.


Also read: Navy trying to get ‘maximum bang for the buck’ — Admiral Karambir Singh rues fund crunch


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1 COMMENT

  1. As bitter winter start taking huge toll on IA, its anxious to quickly strike deal with China to withdraw its 200,000 freezing jawans before supplies run out in another month.

    China has already openly declared India has to take full responsibility for its aggression and incursion, violating 1959 LAC. Also it must unilaterally withdraw from all its invaded 6 peaks, esp Kailash to have meaningful talk of deal.

    Hence India’s Modi, Singh & Rawat brinkmanship of Feb2020 incursion till 30Aug reckless intrusion into China LAC to get more bargain chip while in negotiations, has now haunt India.

    It can neither withdraw from Kailash lest losing face, nor move forward fearing a crushing humiliating defeat 10x worst than 1962 punishment. Yet IA has no logistic ability to survive highlands bitter winter no matter how Singh tried to assure. Even fuel and food supply will be impossible to sustain with air drops after all routes are blocked by heavy snow.

    China will unlikely to let go India unscathed like Doklam incursion, without letting this coldest winter in 20yrs to teach India an unforgettable painful lesson for its alliance with US QUAD to threaten its security, the illegal annexed of J&Kashmir and Ladakh, and attempt to invade its Arsai Chin with new India map including it.

    India will pay dearly for its expansionism ambitious esp under reckless Modi RSS. Ladakh standoff and arm racing is just the beginning to bleed India all its little resources for any meaningful development.

    More will be coming along entire 4000km as China prepared its infrastructure for logistic supply to India occupied South Tibet.

    Multi fronts of Pak, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and North Eastern 7states freedom fighters are also gearing up with China help to resist India aggressions since 1947.

    Modi RSS has self digged grave for India with no turning back.

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