Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Defence Budget 2023: Military Spending Sees Major Boost

By Aritra Banerjee

The Indian government announced on Wednesday a 12.95% increase in its defence budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024, raising the budget from ₹5.25 lakh crore to ₹5.94 lakh crore. This increase will allow the Indian military to acquire and develop advanced weapons systems, including new fighter jets, submarines, and tanks.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the budget for capital expenditure has also increased by approximately ₹10,000 crores, reaching a total of ₹1.62 lakh crore. The modernisation budget for the armed forces has also seen a hike, from ₹1.52 lakh crore to ₹1.62 lakh crore, with a significant portion of this increase being allocated for the acquisition of weapons and equipment from domestic manufacturers as part of the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The budget papers indicated that ₹2.70 lakh crore had been allocated for revenue expenditure, including salaries and maintenance for establishments. Additionally, ₹1.38 lakh crore has been allocated for defence pensions.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to acquire new fighter aircraft, including next-generation (4.5) fighter planes and indigenous fighter jets. The Indian Navy is also looking to acquire fighter jets from France, although this deal is unlikely to be concluded this year as the procedures have yet to be initiated. The Navy is focusing on acquiring submarines under Project 75 India, but this may take some time. On the other hand, the Indian Army will acquire light tanks and artillery guns for its operational requirements on the Ladakh front.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed his hope that the budget would bring positive changes and lead India towards its goal of becoming a US$5 trillion economy. The President of India, Draupadi Murmu, lauded the Modi government for having boosted India’s defence exports by six times. In 2020, the French-made Rafale-M was chosen over the United States F/A-18 Super Hornet for 26 new deck-based fighters for the INS Vikrant, India’s indigenously developed aircraft carrier.

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