Union Budget 2018: Why India Needs Annual Defence Allocation Of 3% of GDP

A recent editorial in a national daily has cited, among other reasons, professional misgivings over persistent shortages of weapons and systems – combat aircraft, submarines and artillery pieces head the list that trickles down to a reliable rifle, safe helmet and body armour causing unhappiness in the army. Voids are permitted to grow because of multifarious reasons including vested interests that capitalize on creating criticalities to facilitate imports for individual and collective benefits in the face of emergencies.

A recent example is cancellation of the ‘Make in India’ project for 12x advanced minesweepers or mine-counter measures vehicles (MCMVs) in collaboration with the South Korean firm at Goa Shipyard . For the whole process to start again means years of delay.

Goa Shipyard, which has already invested over Rs 700 crore in infrastructure for construction of the MCMVs, will take almost a decade now. More delay implies a devastating adverse effect on our Navy that is making do with six 30-year old minesweepers that are to be de-commissioned by end 2018. Compare this with China having some 100 minesweepers, its conventional and nuclear submarines prowling the Indian Ocean, and Chinese capacity to lay mines. Mines that cost a few hundred dollars can cause immense damage to the Navy or sea-borne trade. Read More…

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