Question of joint patrolling with the US does not arise, need to cut the flab from the military: Parrikar

“As of now, India has never taken part in any joint patrol; we only do joint exercises. The question of joint patrol does not arise,” said Parrikar.

Written by Sushant Singh , Pranav Kulkarni | New Delhi | Updated: March 5, 2016 9:34 am
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar has ruled out any plans for Indian and the US navies to conduct joint patrolling. While India will continue to conduct joint training exercises with the US, there are no plans for joint patrol, he said. “As of now, India has never taken part in any joint patrol; we only do joint exercises. The question of joint patrol does not arise,” said Parrikar.

Parrikar was responding to a question about the statement made earlier this week by Admiral Harry Harris at an event in Delhi where he said that “in the not too distant future, American and Indian Navy vessels steaming together will become a common and welcome sight throughout Indo-Asia-Pacific waters, as we work together to maintain freedom of the seas for all nations”. This was interpreted as India and the US coming together to challenge the Chinese influence in the regional waters.

Parrikar refused to comment on the reports that India was close to signing the “foundational agreements”: Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geospatial intelligence with the United States. The discussion on these agreements, he said, is taking place in the defence ministry and any change in India’s stance will be intimated by the government. It is expected to be a key focus area during US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to India next month.

Responding to a question from The Indian Express about the mounting salaries and pensions bill of the defence forces, Parrikar said this needed a long-term solution and he has asked the defence services to work out a plan to “cut the flab”. Giving the example of telephone operators used by the army, he said that with modern equipment, these people are no longer required. He said that by using simulators in training and rationalizing the training, savings will be made from the defence budget.

On the fiscal impact of the seventh pay commission recommendations not being included in the defence budget, Parrikar clarified that “it had been accounted for as much as it had been for others”. The details of the pay commission recommendations are being worked out in the ministry and those deliberations will be completed in the next 2-3 weeks, the minister added.

Parrikar also said that funds for raising of the China strike corps will be made available from the defence budget. The reduction of defence budget from eight demands to four gives the ministry the flexibility to reallocate the funds, he said.

Defence Minister clarified that the four demands of the defence budget amount to Rs 3.41 lakh crore, which is 17.23 per cent of the overall government expenditure. After excluding the defence pensions of Rs 82 k crore, the defence ministry will be accounting for 13.09% of government spending.

He said that Rs 77k crore had been allocated for capital acquisition in the current year, out of which Rs 66k crore has been spent by the defence ministry. He claimed that his ministry has been able to save Rs 5-6k crore by recalibrating the account of money deposited with the US government for foreign military sales made to India. After the recalibration, the amount parked with the US government has come down from around $3 bn to $1.7 bn. Another Rs 2-3k crore has been saved due to slippages in committed liabilities, caused by delay in supply of certain contracted equipment.

Parrikar asserted that the amount of Rs 70k crore allocated for capital acquisition in the coming year is as per the requirement of the ministry.

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  1. G
    Mar 4, 2016 at 7:17 pm
    This defense minister needs to be careful in speaking, US is not begging .. that was one personal opinion. India needs to balance between China and US is fine, but what India is getting from China it has to calibrate. China is arming stan, legitimizing POK, not vacating Askai Chin, claiming Arunachal pradesh, and India is getting nothing on economy front as well as it is squeezing out dollars from India in terms of huge deficit,
    1. J
      Jemma Thomas
      Mar 4, 2016 at 11:36 pm
      We shouldn't fall in the trap of US. We still have to live with our neighbors especially China. If US is threatened by China and then it is their look out to take appropriate actions to tame China. First stop consuming Chinese products, do not allow Chinese nationals as you do with muslims in any sensitive departments or research facilities. Let us not get involved with US g plan to get us fighting while they have gone for fishing with B and B. If they really want our cooperation then let us start first with US cutting its entire financial support to pak, no strategic or any form of dialogue with pak until their nuke and terror outfits are completely dismantled. Until US gets all its cronies together and put in place a arms as well as financial embargo against pak, India will just maintain as usual relationship with US. Once pak is completely neutralized then of course India will be strategic partner in every respect to US. We already dealing with one double game player and we can't handle two.
      1. K
        Mar 4, 2016 at 2:32 pm
        Good call by the Defence Miinister. India-US relations should be put into cold storage until 2018 when the foreign policy of the new US administration is like to be clear. Meanwhile, treat the US ambador as persona-no-grata (no need to declare him as such) and keep a stern eye on US diplomats and try to get them arrested for a violation of Indian law. A kick in the departing US President's gr0ins in in order.
        1. A
          Mar 5, 2016 at 3:50 am
          Till U.S stops it's relationship with stan by gifting arms,fighter jets etc.. As long as u.s has this double standard position with stan we can't trust U.S or do any favour by supporting u.s and the countries in S.China sea dispute region.Which is a risky for our growing economy because Chinese are now more advanced than us in every aspect.