'No question of freezing defence spending' | india | Hindustan Times
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'No question of freezing defence spending'

The Indian armed forces have been allocated a budget of Rs 1,05, 600 crore for 2008-09, of which Rs 48,007 crore has been earmarked for modernisation, reports Rahul Singh.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2008 23:50 IST
Rahul Singh

Islamabad may have decided to freeze defence spending in its 2008-09 budget, but India has no such plans. Dashing hopes of Pakistan prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, who wanted India to reciprocate, defence minister AK Antony said on Tuesday that there was no scope for cutting defence spending considering the country’s military budget was far lower than its neighbours.

He said, “India’s defence allocation does not match its booming economy. It is below two per cent of our gross domestic product, while our neighbours have apportioned 3 per cent for defence.”

The Indian armed forces have been allocated a budget of Rs 1,05, 600 crore for 2008-09, of which Rs 48,007 crore has been earmarked for modernisation. The figure represents a 10 per cent increase over last year’s Rs 96,000 crore and barely offsets chronic inflationary trends. The allocation includes revenue expenditure of Rs 57, 593 crore for meeting day-to-day expenses of the military.

China’s declared defence budget for 2008 is in the region of US$59 billion, up 17.6 per cent from last year. The budgetary trend was similar last year when the increase was nearly 18 per cent. But the real picture could be different as Beijing has a reputation for underreporting its military spending.

According to Pentagon estimates, the declared total represents about a third of actual military spending if equipment purchases are taken into account. The Pentagon estimates China’s military expenditure in 2007 ranged from US$97 billion to US$139 billion.