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Monday, 2 March 2015

From Today's Papers - 02 Mar 2015
















http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/us-again-rakes-up-issue-of-defence-pacts/48644.html
US again rakes up issue of defence pacts
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 1
Amid the din of the Railway Budget and the General Budget, a small script — on sharing defence technologies — has changed in India and US relations.

Washington on February 26, the day of the Railway Budget, made clear the importance of signing three “foundational agreements” on defence between the two countries, saying this will come in “handy” when transferring technology to India.

Top sources said there has been no agreement so far within the Indian establishment on signing any of these three agreements with the US. In 2010, the then Defence Minister AK Antony had rejected outright the signing of these three agreements and even termed these “intrusive”.

In June 2012, Leon Panetta, the then Secretary Defence of the US, while talking about these agreements at a function in New Delhi, had said, “These are not issues anymore.”

The Indian Air Force accepted special planes — the C-130-J Super Hercules — without five of the US-coded equipment that help in navigation and operations. New Delhi opted to buy this equipment from the open market rather than allow the agreements. Other US-made planes — the heavy lift C-17 Globemaster III and the naval surveillance Boeing P8-I — also came without the highly encrypted US technologies.

The agreements are: Communications interoperability and security memorandum of agreement (CISMOA), basic exchange and cooperation agreement for geo-spatial cooperation (BECA) and the logistics support agreement (LSA).

Senior Pentagon official Frank Kendall, the US-appointed pointsman for the much-talked-about Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), was in New Delhi on February 26 to meet his counterpart, G Mohan Kumar, secretary, Defence Production.

Kendall told reporters here: “I don’t think there is a strong connection between the two (DTTI and the pacts)... these are not really under the umbrella of the DTTI.” Even as Kendall said that Kenneth Handelman, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Defence Trade Controls) in the US State Department, said these were necessary. “DTTI has progressed in the absence of the foundational agreements.. .but at some point, the foundational agreements are going to be an issue”.

News agency PTI quoted Handelman as having said: “I certainly support what Kendall said...that the foundational agreements don’t directly relate to what is being done on the DTTI right now. If all goes well and both countries expand this relationship, that would entail joint production and development of higher military technology, the agreements would be handy”.

As of now, there is no deadline. The agreements have come up for discussion for the second time in one week. On the sidelines of the Aero-India (Feb 18-22) at Bangalore, Handleman had spoken about these agreements. This is first time in three years that the US has restarted the issue of agreements.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jammu-kashmir/cm-stokes-controversy-gives-credit-to-pak-militants-for-smooth-elections/48514.html
CM stokes controversy, gives credit to Pak, militants for smooth elections
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 1
Newly appointed Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed kicked up a controversy just after taking oath today. He said “people across the border” had allowed the democratic process to function on this side of the border during the recently held Assembly elections in the state.

Although he downplayed his statement by saying that separatist groups of the Valley had given a boycott call during the elections but had not interrupted the democratic process.
In an obvious reference towards Pakistan and some militant groups active on the other side of the border, Mufti said: “People from across the border (paar ke logo nay bhi) have allowed creating a conducive atmosphere for strengthening the democratic process in J&K during the Assembly elections. This gives us a hope.”
Flanked by newly appointed Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and newly appointed Cabinet minister Haseeb Drabu, Mufti was addressing a press conference after releasing “Agenda of the Alliance” to run the PDP-BJP coalition in J&K.
“Peace is a pre-requisite for strengthening the democratic process. This year’s Assembly elections have strengthened democratic institutions in J&K,” the Chief Minister said.
“I want to say this on record and I have told this to the Prime Minister that we must credit the people from across the border for the conduct of the (peaceful) Assembly elections in the state,” Mufti said. He added, “If they (militants) would have done something, it would not have been possible to have smooth elections.”
Mufti said he felt proud that people of Srinagar city had come out in large numbers to vote. He thanked the “people from across the border” for the “conducive atmosphere” for the smooth conduct of the elections.             
Referring to separatist-turned-mainstream leader and People’s Conference chief Sajjad Gani Lone who was inducted into the Council of Ministers today, Mufti said Lone had made a breakthrough.
“Lone’s induction into the Cabinet would open avenues for others to follow suit. He has given an opening, an avenue for others (separatists) to follow,” Mufti said.       
Lauding then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a great statesman, Mufti said the government would take forward his philosophy of “insaniyat, jamhooriat and Kashmiriyat”.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/uttarakhand/ima-wins-the-running-trophy-at-spring-festival/48537.html
IMA wins the running trophy at Spring Festival
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, March 1
The two-day spring festival “Vasantotsav 2015” being organised on the campus of Raj Bhavan here concluded this evening amid incessant rain.

Governor KK Paul gave away prizes to the winners of various categories of the flower exhibition, rangoli, children’s painting and photo competitions. There were 120 winners and the IMA, Dehradun, won the running trophy.

The Governor congratulated the winners and said the success of the event was the result of the policies of the state government and the hard work of flower growers.

He expressed happiness at the positive response given by Chief Minister Harish Rawat to his idea of associating neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh with the festival to create a competitive environment. He said by encouraging floriculture, Uttarakhand could be projected as a land of flowers.

The Governor said some prestigious institutions and flower growers could be requested to help in maintaining the beauty of public places, crossroads, parks, bus stops, railway station and the bus terminal in the city. If flowers were displayed, people would become interested in flowers and also make the city beautiful. He said despite an inclement weather the arrival of a large number of people at the festival showed their interest in flowers and plants.

The Chief Minister said the festival on the suggestion of the Governor would now be held for three days and floriculture competitions would be organised in some cities of the state. A Governor’s Trophy would be instituted. Calendars would be printed on which the names of the winners would be published in order to inspire other people.

Harish Rawat said flowers grown in the plains as well as hill areas of Uttarakhand could be exported throughout the year. Efforts were being constantly made to ensure regular supply of flowers to the flower markets of Delhi and Mumbai. He said this would strengthen the state’s economy. Commercial training by experts from Pune and Bengaluru would help local floriculturists, he added.

Agriculture and Horticulture Minister Harak Singh Rawat said tea cultivation was being done on 1,000 hectares in the state and in the sphere of silk production Uttarakhand was moving ahead of Himachal Pradesh. The culture department presented a programme after the prize distribution.

Earlier, the two-day flower show was inaugurated by Governor KK Paul amid playing of traditional musical instruments by local _artistes yesterday.

The Governor released the first cover of ‘shank pushpi’, a herb found in the Himalayas and coveted for its medicinal qualities.

The Governor urged the Department of Horticulture and Food Processing, which organises the show every year to promote floriculture, to invite neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and other Himalayan states to participate in the show. He urged flower entrepreneurs to take to floriculture in a big way so that the state emerges number one flower producer in the country.

The show stealer this year were the brightly coloured gerbera flowers in the cut flower category. A regular participant, Balbir Pundir from Nainital, had added white hues to his collection of gerberas this time along with magenta coloured carnations and red roses.

The philately stalls put up at the Circuit House too attracted attention, with Paul lending his collection of 2,000 stamps for the exhibition. As the Governor mentioned in his note put up at the exhibition, he picked up this hobby while still in school as his father had several acquaintances who regularly corresponded with him through letters. The other highlights were judo exploits by ITBP jawans and yoga by Louise, who had come from California, USA. Around 500 children also participated in an art competition.


http://scroll.in/article/710452/arun-jaitleys-budget-has-given-no-reason-to-cheer-for-the-defence-forces
Arun Jaitley's budget has given no reason to cheer for the defence forces
In announcing a total defence allocation of  Rs 246,727 crore for the financial year 2015-'16,  which is a modest 11% increase over last year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley did not spring any surprises and stuck to a predictable status quo.

Extrapolating from the estimated fiscal deficit (Rs 555,600 crore) as a percentage of GDP for the same period, it may be inferred that India’s defence budget in the year that will unfold will be under 1.75% of overall national GDP. This figure corresponds with 2014-'15, when it was 1.74% of GDP. In 2013–'14, the defence allocation was 1.8% of GDP. Thus a marginal decline relative to GDP is discernible as per the preliminary estimates. So no big surprise here.

Returned unspent

Yet another statistic that can be gleaned from the figures released on Saturday is the total amount actually spent in the last financial year.  The estimate for defence for 2014-'15 was pegged at Rs 229,000 crore in July 2014, when the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government presented an interim budget. The revised estimate tabled on Saturday stood at Rs 222,370 crores.

In other words, the defence ministry under Manohar  Parrikar returned Rs 6630 crore as the unspent amount to the  national exchequer. Again, no surprise – for this follows a pattern of the last 15 years.  When Prime Minister Vajpayee  was in the saddle during NDA I,   beginning from 2000–'01 to 2003–'04, the annual amount that was returned unspent by the defence ministry to the central pool was to the order of Rs 8,900 crore; Rs 7,700 crore; Rs 9,300 crore and Rs 5, 200 crore respectively. George Fernandes was the defence minister at the time.

Later with Manmohan Singh at the helm, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance had a similar tale and during the 2005–'06 to 2007–'08, the amounts unspent were  Rs 2,400 crore; 3,500 crore and 4,300 crores. Ironically, in 2012–'13, the amount unspent was a staggering Rs 11, 600 crores even when the Indian military was in dire need of inventory infusion across the board.

The  empirical trend-line that emerges is that the ministry of defence is unable to spend the funds allotted in the beginning of the financial year. This when the Indian Army has been waiting for a replacement to the Bofors gun acquired in the late 1980s, the air force is crying hoarse for fighter aircraft and the navy’s submarine strength is shrinking rapidly. The platforms listed are illustrative of a deeper inventory and equipment malaise for all the armed forces. The few years when the defence budget was revised to reflect extra spending was when the Pay Commission dues and arrears were disbursed to serving and retired personnel.

Hopes belied

Also missing in Jaitley's speech was the much hoped for budgetary allocation for "one-rank one-pension", to the dismay of the serving and retired military personnel. This is only the tip of the ice-berg among many other pay and allowance anomalies that include the unsavoury precedent of the defence ministry petitioning the courts against modest entitlements for the disabled soldier. That this will have an adverse impact on the morale of the military as an institution is self-evident.

Hence the preliminary  take-away from the defence allocation is that it does not allow for any tangible modernisation of the existing military inventory that is afflicted with alarming obsolescence, and that the morale and the welfare of the troops is of little concern to the current government, which makes it no different from the UPA.

In short, neither the quality of the gun nor the welfare of the man behind the gun seems to matter and the status quo is being maintained. The only silver lining is that the national fiscal security (by way of restricting the deficit ) is being achieved – albeit in a manner that may be detrimental to the sinews of India’s long term defence capability. Clearly, Defence Minister Parrikar has his job cut out and can only hope that February 2016 will offer a radically different template.


http://www.omantribune.com/index.php?page=news&id=185223&heading=India
Defence spending hiked 7pc, touches $40b
NEW DELHI

At Rs2.46 trillion ($40 billion), India’s defence spend was on Saturday hiked a modest 7.74 per cent, with federal Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declaring that “defence of every inch of our land is above everything else”.

After years of neglect, India is trying to narrow the military gap with China, which has been building up its fleet of ships and submarines making forays in the Indian Ocean.

Jaitley said the government was following a policy of transparency and quick decision-making in procurement to keep the defence forces prepared for any eventuality.

The finance minister said the government was pushing for Make in India policy in defence manufacturing to reduce dependence on imports.

The allocation, which is a mere Rs177.27 billion over the Rs2.29 trillion Jaitley had provided in his maiden budget last July, accounts for 13.88 per cent of the total government expenditure for 2015-16.

“The growth of the defence budget has been in spite of lower divisible pool in view of the 10 per cent increase in state allocation (under the 14th Finance Commission,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said.

As usual, the 1.3-m-strong Indian Army has received Rs1.04 trillion – a hike of Rs5,846 from the revised estimate of Rs983.1 billion in 2014-15. At Rs230 billion, the Indian Air Force allocation is Rs28.15 billion higher than that of the previous fiscal, while the Indian Navy, at Rs155.25 billion, has seen a small rise of Rs15.9 billion.

The capital outlay for the year has been kept at the Rs94,588 that had been originally allocated for 20144-15 but was reduced to Rs819.65 billion in the revised estimates.

“What is worrisome is that the allocation as a percentage of the GDP has been steadily going down. This time, it is 1.74 per cent of the GDP against 1.75 per cent last year and 1.8 per cent a year before that,” security expert C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies, said.

“This is not a good sign and means that Parrikar has not been able to do much. We were hoping for a minister who would bite the bullet. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened,” he added.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

From Today's Papers - 28 Feb 2015











http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/china-moots-pact-with-india-lanka/47974.html
China moots pact with India, Lanka
Beijing, February 27
China today proposed trilateral cooperation involving India and Sri Lanka for regional stability as the new government in Colombo sought to re-balance its ties with China, preferring to follow a “non-aligned” policy.
“China is open-minded about trilateral cooperation between China, India (and) Sri Lanka”, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a joint press conference with Sri Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera.
“I want to say both India and Sri Lanka are China’s cooperative partners in South Asia”, Wang said.
Samaraweera is the first Sri Lankan official to visit Beijing since president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat in polls this January. China made significant investments in Sri Lanka during Rajapaksa’s tenure, raising concerns in India.
Samaraweera’s visit to China will be followed by new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s next month.
The two ministers had a lengthy talk focused on the new political alignment in Sri Lanka following the fall of the Rajapaksa government. Samwarweera, however, did not comment on the trilateral proposal by China.
Wang said China wanted progress in relations among all three countries, including ties between New Delhi and Colombo.
“We believe that China and India may leverage their respective strength in playing a positive role in helping Sri Lanka advance its social development,” he said.
“I believe sounder interaction and pursuit of common interests among the three countries is in the best interest of the three countries and also in the best interest of regional peace, stability and prosperity”, Wang replied to a question.
He also said China and India stay in contact over a large number of regional and global issues.
“We would certainly like to have consultations with the Indian side regarding pursing trilateral cooperation in future or cooperation involving more parties”, Wang said. — PTI




http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/militarising-for-future/47692.html
Militarising for future
The approach is right but no clarity on costs

The Modi government has so far made the right noises about India's defence preparedness after a tepid decade that saw more tender cancellations and CBI probes than actual orders. The decision to scrap plans to make conventional submarines in favour of the harder-to-detect nuclear ones could be a game-changer for the Indian Navy. Though not equipped with nuclear missiles, these submarines don't come up for air and can therefore remain undetected for months. The government also wants to source stealth technology enabled fighters from Russia called the PAK FA which will eventually be developed into a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft currently produced only by the US.  If Russia accepts the request, these fighters will be much more lethal than any counterpart in India's extended neighborhood.
Both platforms will not come cheap. The cost of constructing six conventional French submarines has shot up to over Rs. 5,000 crore per piece and they are still hobbled by delays. It is anyone’s guess what the final cost of the much superior nuclear submarines will be, especially because of India’s limited capabilities in this arena. The Russian stealth fighter PAK FA is still being flight tested and there is no clarity on costs. The engine, avionics and weapons suites are under development. The maintenance cost of these fighters will also be very high as compared to the planes they are supposed to replace.
In both cases India will heavily lean on Russia though the government is bound to market them as made-in-India products. Vladimir Putin had to intervene to end the endless cycle of escalating costs for INS Vikramaditya, a much simpler platform than nuclear submarines and stealth fighters.  Russia, like all high-end weapon producers, will extract a price for India's eagerness for equipment Pakistan can only dream of and for China to sit up and take notice. Defence analysts have consistently pointed out gaps in India's defence preparedness.  They should now give a rational assessment of the costs involved and whether the Indian citizen should be expected to finance it against demands from sectors providing security of a different kind but equally important.




http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-placed-orders-worth-Rs-83858-crore-for-military-purchases-from-2011-to-2014/articleshow/46399208.cms
India placed orders worth Rs 83,858 crore for military purchases from 2011 to 2014
NEW DELHI: India have spent big from the 2011 fiscal year to the last fiscal year on the Army, Air Force and Navy for procuring arms, weapons and other defence-related systems.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said the three services have placed orders worth Rs 83,858 crore. During this period, India's own defence sector earned Rs 69 crore by export of military hardware.

According to the Parrikar, the IAF placed orders worth Rs 55,406 crore to foreign companies between 2011-12 and 2013-14 while the Navy and the Army placed orders worth Rs 25,454 crore and Rs 2,998 crore respectively.

Replying to questions in the Lok Sabha, the defence minister also said that foreign direct investment amounting to Rs 24.36 crore has been received after government opened the defence industry for private sector.

"The expenditure on capital acquisition in respect of orders placed on Indian vendors and foreign vendors during the period 2011-12 to 2013-14 was 53.9 per cent and 46.1 per cent respectively," he said.

Giving details of efforts by the government to strengthen the domestic defence industry, he said a total of 144 companies have been issued licences and letters of intent for manufacture of military hardware in the last 14 years.

He said 29 joint ventures and FDI proposals have been approved while noting that the procedure for "buy-and-make (Indian) and make" categories of acquisition over "buy (global)" category to encourage Indian defence industry.

READ ALSO: Govt approves making of 7 stealth frigates, 6 nuclear subs

As per the new FDI policy in defence, foreign investment upto 49 per cent has been allowed through FIPB (foreign investment promotion board) route and beyond 49 per cent, with the Cabinet committee on security.

The defence minister said Indian private sector industry has also been allowed to receive maintenance transfer of technology (MToT) in "buy (global)" cases.

He also said that an online system of receiving application for issue of no-objection certificate for export of military stores has been introduced besides formulating a defence export strategy.

Parrikar said during the last four years, NoCs for export of goods which are in the nature of military stores have been issued for many countries including Algeria, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sri Lanka, Paraguay, Japan, Afghanistan, Spain, Nepal, Belgium, Malaysia, Norwat, Romania and Port of Spain.

The NoC has also been issued for supply of such goods to Vietnam, France, UK, UAE, Bangladesh, Ghana, Sweden, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Egypt, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Israel, Republic of Korea, Macau, Oman, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, Canada, Russia, Tajikistan and Singapore among others, Parrikar said.

He said Indian defence sector earned Rs 46.08 crore by exporting military goods in 2011-12, Rs 5.62 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 17.74 crore in 2013-14.

READ ALSO: Global arms majors keen on Modi's 'Make in India' thrust

The defence minister said in the last four years, orders have been issued debarring six firms along with their allied and subsidiary firms from business dealings with the defence ministry for a period of 10 years.

He said allegations of kickbacks and commissions are dealt with as per provisions of defence procurement procedure (DPP) and wherever necessary, the cases are referred to the appropriate agency including the CBI.

Replying to another question, he said a proposal to procure medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) from French firm Dassault Aviation was under consideration and no agreement has been signed yet.

India has been holding talks with Dassault for the nearly $10 billion deal for 124 Rafale fighter jets.

To a separate question, Parrikar said six Scorpene submarines are currently under construction at Mazgaon Dock Ltd, Mumbai, in collaboration with DCNS of France.

He said no proposal has been received from Japan government for construction of submarines.

"The defence acquisition council has constituted a core committee in December 2014 to identify suitable Indian shipyards for construction of submarines indigenously which is required to submit its report within three months," he said.




http://tribune.com.pk/story/844970/ahead-of-secretary-level-talks-army-chief-warns-india-to-expect-matching-response/
Ahead of secretary-level talks: Army chief warns India to expect matching response
ISLAMABAD:

As Islamabad and New Delhi prepare for foreign secretary-level talks, army chief General Raheel Sharif has warned India that Pakistan will give a ‘befitting’ response to any provocation along the Line of Control (LoC) and the working boundary.

“Let there be no doubt that any provocation along LoC and working boundary will meet a befitting response,” the military’s chief spokesman quoted Gen Raheel as saying during a visit to areas affected by Indian firing along the working boundary near Sialkot on Thursday. The statement came just ahead of a crucial visit to Pakistan by India’s foreign secretary, who is due to arrive on March 3.

The army chief termed repeated ceasefire violations by India in the recent past “an attempt to distract Pakistan from its campaign against terrorism” and stressed that such actions would have a negative impact on regional stability. According to Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj-Gen Asim Salim Bajwa, Gen Raheel also cautioned India that the entire Pakistani nation is united in defence of the motherland.

The army chief also met troops stationed along the working boundary and the residents of adjoining areas, and paid tribute to their resilience.

Pakistani and Indian forces stationed along the LoC and working boundary have regularly exchanged fire over the past few months and have accused the other side of starting hostilities. The border clashes are expected to come up for discussion during the Indian foreign secretary’s visit.

Speaking at her weekly news briefing, Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said all issues, including the longstanding Jammu and Kashmir dispute, are likely to be discussed during the meeting between the two foreign secretaries.

“We welcomed the Indian initiative. At this stage, I would not like to speculate on what the exact agenda of the talks will be,” she said. “However, whenever Pakistan-India dialogue resumes, we expect all matters would be on the table for discussion, including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, water resources, confidence building measures, people to people contacts and trade matters,” Tasnim added.

She pointed out that Jammu and Kashmir had been on the UN Security Council’s agenda. “We have been discussing the Kashmir issue bilaterally. The process, however, has to be result-oriented,” she said.

The Indian foreign secretary’s visit is expected to help resume the stalled peace process, which New Delhi has been reluctant to revive since Narendra Modi came to power.
https://www.ibcworldnews.com/2015/02/27/indias-military-in-crisis/
India’s Military In Crisis
The defence budget of India—the world’s largest arms importer—has more than doubled over the past decade from Rs 80,500 crore to Rs 229,000 crore for the financial year 2014-15.

Yet, the defence forces are critically short of arms, and men and women at arms.

The army, navy and air force are short of officers by 17% (7,989), 17% (1,499) and 3% (357) respectively, according to latest data tabled in the Lok Sabha. Consider the arms deficits in the three services:

–The Indian Air Force (IAF) is short of 272-306 fighter aircraft (as this IndiaSpend report explains) and 56 medium transport aircraft.

–The Indian Army needs about 3,000 to 3,600 artillery guns, 66,0000 assault rifles, 2 lakh pairs of ankle leather boots and 66,000 rounds of armour-piercing ammunition for T-90 tanks.

–The navy needs 12 diesel-electric submarines, 6 nuclear attack submarines and 7 stealth frigates.

The three defence wings also collectively need more than 1,000 helicopters. This is an indicative list: The actual list of defence requirements and shortages is longer.

Yet, the Ministry of Defence ­accounts for the second-highest share of India’s budget, after the finance ministry.

The defence budget accounts for 1.78% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 12.76% of total central government expenditure, said Amit Cowshish, distinguished fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

The revenue-to-capital ratio of the defence budget is 60:40. Revenue expenditure is for payment of salaries and maintenance of defence bases and equipment. Capital expenditure is for equipment purchases and modernisation.

India is expected to spend Rs 94,587.95 crore in 2014-15 as capital expenditure, a 20% increase from Rs 78,872.23 crore last year.

“The requirement of funds (for defence purchases) is directly related to carried-forward committed liabilities and signing of new contracts,” Cowshish said in an email interview with IndiaSpend. As a result, the forces could expect a similar increase in the 2015-16 budget “if – and this now seems to be a big if – new projects, such as the one for a new combat aircraft, go through”.

Let us now look at sector-wise allocations of the defence budget.

Among the three defence wings, the army has consistently cornered the highest funding. In 2014-2015, It accounted for Rs 92,601.32 crore, which is 40% of total expenditure, followed by the air force and navy at Rs 20,506.84 crore (9%) and Rs 13,975.79 crore (6%), respectively.

The pension question ::

The budget allocation does not take defence pensions into account, as this is placed under a different budget head. The MoD allocated Rs 50,000 crore for defence pensions in 2014-2015, an increase of 9% from Rs 45,500 crore in 2013-14.

Last year’s budget earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for the one-rank-one-pension scheme for ex-servicemen. This might grow to an estimated Rs 8,000 crore this year, as the Times of India reported.

More than two million ex-servicemen in India have been demanding one-rank-one-pension, which ensures that the same pension is paid to personnel who have retired in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of retirement date.

Funding research and development ::

Investing in defence research and development (R&D) is expected to boost India’s indigenous arms industry and reduce its dependence on imports. The Indian government spent 42.7% of defence capital expenditure on arms imports in 2013-2014, according to data tabled in the Lok Sabha.

As we mentioned before, India is the world’s largest importer of arms as per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an independent international institute that researches conflicts, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

The MoD has almost doubled the capital expenditure for R&D to Rs 9,298.25 crore in 2014-2015 from Rs 5,257.60 crore in 2013-2014. Besides, the MoD has provided Rs 5,984.67 crore for salaries and maintenance of research centres.

 

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