Budget 2019: Time to Augment Defence Allocation
Undoubtedly the allocations for spending on defence needs higher allocations in the forthcoming budgets keeping in mind the present geopolitical situation in the region.
Every elections National Security forms the headlines of the election manifesto of each national level party and this year was no exception. However it was heartening for every Indian to notice that the issue of National Security catapulted from the second last page of the BJP election manifesto 2014 to the first page in 2019. The manifesto starts with a strong resolve of ‘nation first’ and the opening paragraph starts with the tenor of ‘zero tolerance Approach to Terrorism’. This is immediately followed by emphasis on – Strengthening our Armed Forces. The manifesto says, “We will speed up the purchases of outstanding defence related equipments and weapons. In order to equip the Armed Forces with modern equipment, we will continue to take focused steps to strengthen the strike capability of the Armed Forces.” This is followed by bringing attention to a very pertinent issue related to the defence sector – Self Reliance . The manifesto removes all the maze on this issue by stating, ‘In order to ensure self-reliance in procurement of defence equipment, we have taken several effective steps in the last five years. For instance, the most modern AK-203 automatic rifles are being manufactured at Amethi under our 'Make in India in Defence' initiative. We are committed to focus on 'Make in India in Defence' to enable indigenous production of defence equipment. This will also generate employment and encourage investment in the defence sector.’ The intent of the new government is unequivocally conveyed in the above quoted lines and does not require any more explanations.