India will spend 1.8 % of its GDP on defence this fiscal, the Union Budget for 2011-12 revealed. Experts, however, said defence spending ought to have been around 3% of the GDP, seen in the backdrop of China’s rising military might.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee allocated a budget of Rs 1,64,415 crore to the armed forces, out of which R69,199 crore has been set aside for buying weapon systems and platforms.
The 11.5 % hike in defence spending over last year’s outlay of Rs 1,47,344 crore has been dubbed marginal by experts. The allocation includes a revenue expenditure of Rs 95,216 crore for meeting day-to-day expenses of the military.
China’s official defence budget for 2010 stands at $78 billion, but the Pentagon estimates its actual military spending to be upwards of $150 billion. The Communist neighbour is investing heavily in a range of capabilities.
Strategic affairs expert Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retd) said, “The hike is hardly adequate to meet the military’s rising responsibilities in view of the feverish pace of China’s military modernisation. India’s defence modernisation gathered steam only during the last three to four years. Much needs to be done to build offensive capabilities in the long term.”