01 Maret 2010

India Unveils $32B Defense Budget

1 Maret 2010

Indian Army during parade (photo : Militaryphotos)

NEW DELHI - India announced a four percent increase in defense spending to $32 billion in its annual budget Feb. 26, a day after Pakistan voiced concerns over its rival's military modernization.

"Secure borders and security of life and property foster development and needless to say, any additional requirement for the security of the nation will be provided for," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told parliament.

Spending on the military - the world's fourth largest - was put at 1.47 trillion rupees ($32 billion) for the financial year to March 2011.

Last year's budget hiked defense expenditure by almost a quarter - the sharpest rise ever.

Mukherjee earmarked $13 billion for modernization projects, $12.4 billion for the million-plus army, with $3.3 billion for the air force and about $2 billion for the navy.

On Feb. 25, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir - in New Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart - had warned that India's military modernization program threatened stability in a "nuclearized" South Asia.

"New war doctrines, a tremendous boost to defense spending, the induction of new sophisticated weapons systems; these are elements that are prejudicial to regional security and stability," Bashir told reporters.

New Delhi, which last month inducted its longest range nuclear-tipped missile into the army, plans to spend up to 30 billion dollars modernizing its military by 2012, according to the defense ministry.

India has fought three wars with Pakistan since independence in 1947 and a brief but bitter war with China in 1962 over a border dispute which remains unresolved.
The largest weapons buyer among emerging countries, India has imported military hardware worth $28 billion dollars since 2000 mainly from Russia, Israel, France and Britain.

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