Defense Budget 2021: Focus on procurement of modern equipment amid Chinese threat

Facing an acute financial shortage, the Indian armed forces expect increased allocation to meet their modernization plans. This year's defense budget is likely to a significant surge amid border tensions with China.

By Harkirpal Singh, Updated : Jan 31, 2021 16:34 IST
Defense Budget 2021: Focus on procurement of modern equipment amid Chinese threat
Indian Defense budget 2021

According to defense sources, The 2021 Defence Budget outlay is expected to reflect the geopolitical world scenario emerging post-pandemic and the very Budget constrained on the Nation itself. Procurement of newer assets for land, sea, and air operations under Capital outlay is likely to be similar in nature as was seen earlier but more organized and efficiently sourced. All three services need immediate procurement of modern military equipment in order to counter the Chinese threat.

With the Chinese perceived threat alive today, the Defence Budget is expected to see a major tilt towards safeguarding Sino-India land and sea borders. The border skirmishes have highlighted the need for a focus shift to tactically aggressive deterrence, especially for Naval and Indian Air Force (IAF) deployments. These activities will incur additional expenses in the Revenue budget section.

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As for the Theatre Command plan, the budget needs to be focusing on the commonality of equipment and interoperability among the three services as the basis of planning. Unfortunately, such mature processes are yet to be seen in the Indian Defence Budget philosophy.a well-planned Theatre Command plan can assist in hardware interchangeability within the three services and resource optimization. Defense Budget is one single point where such intricate plans can be put to action.

As for the 'Atmanirbhar' plan In the Defence & Negative List, the technology within the Nation has not yet evolved to the level where it can support `Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-reliant India in Defence. The creation of a Negative List for Defence imports needs actual alternatives being available on the ground as each equipment piece counts for Defence forces. 

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Overseas procurements are made to fulfill the existing defense requirnents, this demotivates the local private suppliers and this vicious loop needs to be addressed in the Project funding state. Indigenous Defence MSMEs have reported an inconsistent equipment induction approach towards their products and only a few companies which are already well funded consistently get purchase orders from the military.

Overall, India needs to be extremely cautious of avoiding an arms race with China since the economical might of the adversary is far superior. This means that at any given stage, India can only afford to maintain a highly efficient war-fighting asset but with a technological edge. This force is required to be highly adaptable to meet the challenges of any hostile environment emerging in the near future.

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