Defence Affairs India

Defence Affairs India

The Indian government has unveiled an ambitious interim budget for defence in 2024-25, with a record allocation of Rs 6.21 lakh crore, representing 13.04% of the total Union Budget. This marks a 4.72% increase from the previous year and signifies a clear focus on strengthening national security, achieving self-reliance (Aatmanirbharta), and accelerating modernization.

Modernization at the Forefront:

  • staggering Rs 1.72 lakh crore has been allocated for capital expenditure, representing a 20.33% jump from FY 22-23. This massive infusion will fuel the acquisition of cutting-edge weapons, aircraft, ships, and platforms, including fighter jets, submarines, and drones.
  • Efforts to modernize existing equipment are also evident, with plans for the Su-30 fleet upgrade, advanced engine acquisition for MiG-29s, and additional procurement of transport aircraft.

Operational Readiness Takes Priority:

  • Understanding the crucial role of a prepared force, the budget allocates Rs 92,088 crore for revenue expenditure, a 48% increase compared to FY 22-23. This substantial rise ensures optimal maintenance, ammunition procurement, and mobility resources, keeping the armed forces combat-ready at all times.

Caring for Veterans and Boosting Infrastructure:

  • The government demonstrates its commitment to veterans by allocating Rs 1.41 lakh crore for defence pensions, a 2.17% increase from FY 23-24. Additionally, the Ex-Servicemen Welfare Scheme receives a significant 28% hike, reaching Rs 6,968 crore, emphasizing improved healthcare facilities and other benefits.
  • Recognizing the strategic importance of border infrastructure, the budget sets aside a massive Rs 6,500 crore for the Border Roads Organisation, marking a 30% increase over FY 23-24. This investment aims to bolster strategic connectivity, socio-economic development, and tourism in these crucial regions.

Self-Reliance: The Cornerstone of Defence:

  • Fueling domestic defence production, the budget allocates Rs 23,855 crore to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), with a major share dedicated to capital expenditure. This empowers DRDO to develop new technologies, foster fundamental research, and collaborate with private players through the Development-cum-production partner model.
  • Recognizing the potential of young minds, the Technology Development Fund (TDF) scheme receives Rs 60 crore, specifically targeting start-ups, MSMEs, and academia. This encourages innovation and the development of niche defence technologies in collaboration with DRDO.

Beyond Figures: A Vision for Future Growth:

This budget reflects a clear vision for building a strong, self-reliant, and future-proof defence force. The focus on modernization, operational readiness, infrastructure development, and domestic production signifies a proactive approach to national security. Moreover, the increased allocation for veterans’ welfare demonstrates a commitment to those who have served the nation. By capitalizing on the potential of innovation and domestic production, India aims to establish itself as a major defence exporter, further strengthening its strategic position on the global stage.

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