For the 2023-24 fiscal year, India has proposed spending 5.94 trillion rupees ($72.6 billion), an increase of 13% from the initial estimates for the previous period. This increase is intended to add more jets and construction of roads along the country’s tense border with China.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented over $550 billion in total federal spending for the fiscal year 2023-24 beginning in April; she allotted 1.63 trillion rupees for defence capital outlays, including new weapons, aircraft, warships, and other military hardware.
Over the past few years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has increased expenditure on military modernization while stressing his government’s commitment to growing domestic production to supply forces stationed along two tense frontiers.
Expert says that the hike in the defence budget was “reasonable but not sufficient”, considering requirements for military modernization, said Laxman Behera, a defence expert.
“The government has tried to allocate reasonable funds for defence forces while balancing other priorities during the pre-election budget,” he added. Mentioning India needed more funds in view of the growing tension with China along disputed borders.
Despite increasing to almost 2% of GDP, India’s total defence budget still lags below China’s allocation of 1.45 trillion yuan ($230 billion) for 2022, which New Delhi sees as a threat to the neighbours of both India and Japan.
Since the 2020 15 June Galwan Valley dispute between India-China troops, the relations between the two states have worsened. The two countries are facing off over the disputed borders in the Himalayan regions.
On the other hand, the two countries have been competing to construct infrastructure along the border, also known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
With a 13% hike in the proposed budget, India aims to invest in the infrastructure, such as spending $ 3 billion on constructing its naval fleet and $7 billion on acquiring new aircraft for its air force.