A 10.7% increase in China’s military spending for 2013-14 has triggered a sense of unease in India, which only marginally raised its defence allocation last week.
China’s defence budget now stands at $115.7 billion (Rs. 5,94,000 crore), compared to India’s $37.3 billion (Rs. 2,03,672 crore) — a 5.3% increase over last fiscal’s outlay.
Recording a double-digit growth over two decades, China’s defence spending is expected to overtake the US by 2035.
The meager hike in India’s defence spending threatens to derail some key modernisation plans of the army, at a time when the force is desperate to scale up its artillery capabilities.
Experts fear this year’s inadequate allocation is unlikely to give impetus to the Indian Army’s plans of buying artillery guns, anti-tank guided missiles and modern small arms.
The army needs more than Rs. 40,000 crore to buy this military hardware.
Of the three services, the experts say, the army is likely to feel the pinch most since the air force and the navy have already made some major acquisitions in the recent years.
The army has not bought a single new artillery gun since the Bofors scandal in late 1980s. A senior army officer said the fate of the Rs. 22,000-crore artillery modernisation plan looked uncertain in the current financial scenario.
Security affairs expert Brig Gurmeet Kanwal (retd) said, “We need committed funding for five-year defence plans. It is also critical to have indicative funding for the next 10 years to support the military’s 15-year integrated perspective plan.”