India Defence budget at a record high at over ₹3 trillion for 2019-20 announced


Piyush Goyal: Defence budget at a record high at over ₹3 trillion for 2019-20 announced

Industry experts point out that India’s defence budget 2018 compares with the top five in the world.

In fact, it overtook that of UK’s for the first time in history, says a report by a global think-tank based in London. These studies mark a major change in the military priorities of the country and a major shift in the military balance between the two countries under citation.

In 2017, India overtook the UK and became the fifth largest spender on defence in the world by allotting $52.5 billions, which was up from the $51.1 billion allotted in the budget 2016. These figures are brought out for a comparative study by the Military Balance Sheet 2018 report released by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Presenting a sharp contrast, the UK’s defence budget showed a fall from $52.5 billion in 2016 to $50.7 billion in 2017.

Commenting about the trend noticed with regard to the defence budgets of India and UK, IISS Senior Fellow for South Asia, Rahul Roy-Chaudhury says, "This represents a key shift in the military balance between India and the UK, with India allocating more capabilities to develop its regional resources than the UK in a global context."

The report also notes that while India is seen investing a great deal to modernize its military capabilities and infrastructure, China, the globe’s second largest defence budget following the US is seen far ahead of the march allotting three times more resources to its military augmentation at $150.5 billion.

The real spending of China on its defence capabilities shows a phenomenal increase of 25% percent in 2016-17 while that of India increased only by 2.4%

Roy-Chaudhury notes, "Post-Dokalam, India's military balance with China continues to be significantly in China's favor. Since 2000, China has built more submarines, destroyers, frigates and corvettes than Japan, South Korea and India combined. China will continue to dominate the region militarily and seek to challenge the US in the region as well.”

Analysts say that the Chinese army has recruited more than 600,000 personnel than that of India.

The Chinese air force has about 1,200 tactical air crafts to compare with just 785 reported to be part of the Indian air force. China has 55 more frigates, cruisers and destroyers than India.

IISS says, "The overall capability of the (Indian) army is limited by inadequate logistics, and shortages of ammunition and spare parts. Development and procurement programs across the services are aimed at replacing ageing equipment, but many projects have experienced significant delays and cost overruns, particularly indigenous systems.”

To sum up, the report has found that China and Russia with their fourth largest defense budget of the world at $61.2 billion seem to challenge the US’s military supremacy. Hence the US and its allies can no longer depend on the strategic advantage they have been enjoying so far.

Saudi Arabia’s defence budget is at an annual spending of $76.7 billion, which becomes the third topmost spending in the whole world.

So, to position India’s defence spending among the world’s topmost defence budgets, we can line up the countries in the fashion: US, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India.
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