Govt hikes defence capital budget by 19% for military modernization

By Livemint

India on Monday announced a nearly 19% increase in the capital budget for its armed forces, bolstering efforts to modernize its military hardware amid border tensions with China.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman pegged the capital expenditure for the fiscal year starting 1 April at ₹1.35 trillion, up from ₹1.13 trillion in the current fiscal.

This year’s capital budget has already shot up by ₹22,000 crore to ₹1.34 trillion as per the revised budget estimates as the government rushed to make urgent purchases because of the spurt in tensions with China. India purchased winter clothing from the US to support thousands of troops at the border.

The overall defence budget for fiscal year 2021-22 of ₹4,78,196 crore is, however, a marginal increase from the ₹471, 378 crore earmarked in the 2020-21 budget. The figure trails this year’s revised estimates of ₹484,736 crore.

Experts welcomed the increased outlay on capital expenditure.

“This is a good sum for (military) modernization,” Laxman Kumar Behera, associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Special Centre for National Security Studies said, referring to the health of the Indian economy.

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