With the Armed Forces looking towards modernization, is India prepared?
While the overall Defence Budget has grown, the ‘modernization budget’ of the Armed Forces has actually come down. In 2016-17, the modernization budget of the Armed Forces was Rs. 70,414 crore, which shrunk by 0.9% to Rs. 69,783 crore. Of this amount, only 12% is for ‘New Schemes’.
The Air Force relies on Soviet-era MiGs which will retire by 2020. The Indian Air Force Chief plans to have a 42-squadron Air Force by 2032 but according to recent data put forward by the government, the IAF’s squadron strength will actually shrink.
While the Indian Navy received some relief with the commissioning of INS Kalvari, it still has to make do with a fleet of 13, mostly ageing, submarines. Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had said earlier that India planned to have a fleet of 22 submarines by 2020-21.
The Army, too, needs new equipment and fast. The Army is in urgent need of reconnaissance helicopters, new bullet proof jackets and modern assault rifles. So for India’s Armed Forces, a lot is riding on this budget.
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