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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

No defence budget cut, preparedness vital: Antony

IANS  Bangalore, February 06, 2013
First Published: 18:59 IST(6/2/2013) | Last Updated: 19:01 IST(6/2/2013)

India is not cutting its defence budget because the operational preparedness of its armed forces is paramount, defence minister AK Antony said in Bangalore on Wednesday.

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"There is no cut in our budget either this fiscal (2012-13) or ensuing fiscal (2013-14) in priority areas and operational preparedness of our armed forces as there is no compromise on national security," Antony told reporters here at an aerospace event.

Admitting that the nation was going through difficult days due to economic slowdown, which had affected other countries too, Antony said acquisitions that were due this fiscal would be deferred to next fiscal as the ministry had to prune its budget.

"Some acquisitions due this fiscal will be put off to next fiscal as we have to tighten our belt to the extent possible for a better future. Budget cuts are not limited to our ministry but across ministries," Antony clarified at a news conference after flagging off the ninth edition of the biennial Aero India 2013 trade event on the city outskirts.

Antony's admission to cut in non-priority and non-plan expenditure in the defence budget came in the wake of finance minister P. Chidambaram directing all ministries to rein in expenditure by about 10 percent this fiscal so as to contain the fiscal deficit.

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