India has marginally increased its defence spendings and the Indian Air Force appears to be the biggest beneficiary. The marginal increases come after one of the world’s fastest-growing economies is recording its slowest expansion since the 2008 global financial crisis.
The Indian finance minister did not mention the military allocations in her budget speech, saying only that “national security is a top priority “. However, documents showed that military spending increased to $47.418 billion from last year’s $44.744 billion, including $15.58 billion for buying new weapon systems.
The major chunk of the allocation – $6 billion – went to the Indian Air Force (IAF) as New Delhi has payments to make for massive projects like Rafale jets (France), Apache and Chinook helicopters (the US) and S-400 missile systems (Russia).
The Indian army got $4.557 billion and the navy got $3.755 billion. The Indian Navy plans to expand its fleet to 175 warships by 2027 from the current 130 warships. Some 50 warships were under construction in shipyards in and outside the country.
Respite for the Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force has got the maximum budget allocation and was desperate for a boost-up. The current squadron strength of fighters has come down to just 28, even though the sanctioned strength is 42 squadrons.
Of this, about 10 squadrons are made up of the MiG-21 Bisons and Jaguars, which should have been retired and replaced long ago. The Indian Air Force is struggling to even keep up with Pakistan, forget China