Hinting that there could be an increase in the defence allocation in the budget next month, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the key matter of concern was the slow pace of acquisition of key assets. He said efforts were on to expedite these processes.
Jaitley, who is also the Finance Minister, said the nation needs to make available a “significant amount” of its resources for its defence, notwithstanding “various pressures”.
“The key subject matter of concern appears to be the slow pace of acquisition of whatever equipment and assets are required. Hope of the forces is that their requirements should be fulfilled and the process should also be expedited. The effort of the government would be to work in that direction,” Jaitley said after attending the Naval Commanders Conference in Delhi.
Speaking at the conference, Jaitley had said efforts were on to deal with critical shortages. “Taking note of the capability shortfall of conventional submarines, ship-borne helicopters, mine counter measure vessels and other weapons and sensors in the Navy, he assured all efforts would be made to ensure operational preparedness of the Indian Navy,” said the Navy spokesperson.
While the minister refused to get into specifics, he ruled out a quantum jump in the defence budget saying the allocation would go up as the economy grows larger. “Let us not get into percentages and look at the absolute quantum. As the base of the economy expands, even a lesser percentage may increase the amount. Whatever amounts are necessary, our endeavor in due course is to make them available,” he said.
Jaitley said a full overhaul of the current defence procurement procedures might not be required but the processes needed to be followed better.