The defence budget of India has seen a hike of 6 per cent, from Rs 3.18 lakh crore from the year 2019 to Rs 3.37 lakh crore in 2020. Armed forces are less enthusiastic as always since the major chunk of this budget outlay caters to the revenue expenses rather than capital acquisitions. In addition, the Government of India (GOI) has stalled many important acquisitions in view of the ongoing pandemic which would affect the battle readiness of the Force. The Ministry of Finance always targets defence budget whenever an economic crisis arises. Armed forces are now busy redoing their defence preparedness aligning with the new budget outlay. The article tries to explore a few unconventional steps whereby the nation can cope up with a depleted defence budget during the ongoing pandemic.

A Comparison

Since India perceives China as the main adversary in defence preparedness, it would be prudent to draw a parallel with the Chinese. Though India’s defence budget has been increasing every year, the outlay is not enough for it to catch-up with China which spends on defence more than triple the amount being spent by India.Beijing’s defence budget was US$ 249.9 bn in 2019, while India was at US$ 62 bn. But in terms of GDP, India spends 2.5 per cent of the GDP on defence whereas China spends only 1.9 per cent of its GDP. China’s steady ramping up of defence budget outlay over the years is a concern for India. As China considers the US as its main adversary, it may continue to pump more money for defence preparedness in the coming years.

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Views expressed are personal and need not reflect or represent the views of Centre for Public Policy Research

Cdr. Jayakrishnan N Nair
Cdr. Jayakrishnan N Nair
Commander Jayakrishnan N Nair (Retd) is Senior Fellow (Defence and Military Analysis) with the CPPR Centre for Strategic Studies. His research areas are focused on bringing Artificial Intelligence in embedded military systems.

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