India is gearing up to spend a staggering $223 billion (Rs. 15 lakh crore) over the next ten years to acquire special weapon systems to ramp up her military preparedness. This weapon system will include 500 helicopters, close to 100 single engine fighter jets, 12 submarines, and around 120 twin engine fighter aircraft and an aircraft carrier. Manohar Parrikar, the Defence Minister, has asked his ministry to consider the expected cost of modernisation as a part of “Long Term Integrated Perspective Planning.” This is a medium-term plan drawn up by the military for the period 2012 to 2027.
The Defence Ministry has always worked on the basis roadmaps like these but, this is the first time a detailed financial projection has been chalked out. The ministry projects that the estimated growth in the capital budget can be pegged at 8 per cent annually.
A ministry official said, “On an average, we see a growth between 5 to 9 percent annually, a projected growth of 8 percent is a realistic figure to work with.” He also added that the govt. is likely to get close to 13 lakh crore for capital acquisition over the ten years, leaving the defense with a funding shortfall of between Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh crore.
Parrikar has asked the ministry to chalk out the expected revenue outflows annually over the next decade. In the financial year ending March 2017, the Defence Ministry will be using approximately $12.69 billion (Rs. 86,340 crores).
In order to meet the shortfall, the ministry plans to bring down the revenue cost. It is looking to outsource some functions in peace stations and replace men with smarter systems. The estimates suggest that they will be able to save close to Rs. 5,000 crore, which will be enough to help them overcome the shortfall.
Peace talks aside, such heavy investments portray just how much governments feel the need to be prepared for immediate instability. As far as the human resources are concerned, India is ranked third with over 1.3 million active and 1.1 million reserve troops. Being one of the largest militaries in the world behind the likes of China and USA, the technological advances will only strengthen the roots of the defense system. The Indian Navy is considered one of the best in the world and is an active force protecting the peninsular region.