Bipin Rawat defends lower spending, says military plays limited role

Just days after a top ministry of defence (MoD) official warned of sharp cuts in the defence allocations for 2020-21, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, said the military should not be “misrepresenting its requirements” in order to “go in for large amounts of “weapons’ imports.”

Backing the government’s cuts on defence expenditure, Rawat said in Delhi on Saturday that military planners should stop pretending that India’s military was playing a global role. Given the military’s limited role, indigenously produced weapons were adequate, said Rawat.

“We are not expeditionary forces that have to deploy around the globe. We have to guard and fight only along our borders and, of course, dominate the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). So we should not go in for larger amounts of imports by misrepresenting our operational requirements,” stated the CDS.

Instead of imports, Rawat said the military should boost the “Make in India” initiative by using indigenously developed weapons, even if those met just 70 per cent of the specifications the military ideally required. Given an opportunity, he said,

India’s defence industrial base would learn to build world-class equipment, incorporating cutting-edge technologies.

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