‘Budget dashed our hopes of modernization’: Army to parliamentary panel

NEW DELHI, March 13
A marginal increase in the defence budget barely accounts for inflation, without helping address the glaring imbalance between cutting-edge weaponry and old equipment in Indian armed forces, senior military officers have told the parliamentary standing committee on defence.
A modern military should typically have 30% of its weaponry and equipment in the state-of-the-art technology category, 40% in current category and 30% in vintage category. But the over 12-lakh strong Indian Army is grappling with an alarming 8% (state-of-the-art), 24% (current) and 68% (vintage) weaponry mix while it’s engaged in daily cross-border firing duels with Pakistan and heightened tensions with China since the Doklam stand-off last year.
The Army feels a two-front war scenario is a clear and present danger. ‘
“The 2018-2019 budget has dashed our hopes … The marginal increase barely accounts for inflation and does not even cater for taxes,” Army vice-chief Lt-General Sarath Chand told the parliamentary committee on defence.
Allocated just Rs 21,338 crore for modernisation, the Army 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”.
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