New Delhi: The defence ministry on Tuesday sought an “urgent” additional allocation of Rs 20,000 crore for military modernization as well as day-to-day operating costs from the Centre, in a move that comes when Indian and Chinese troops continue to remain locked in a tense standoff near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction since mid-June.
As per sources, Rs 20,000 crore was urgently required in addition to the Rs 2.74 lakh crore allocated for defence in the 2017-2018 budget.
“The MoD officials said almost 50% of the capital and 41% of the revenue outlays in the defence budget had already been utilized in the ongoing fiscal. Moreover, the new customs duty on arms imports had also burnt a big hole in the defence budget. The finance ministry said the MoD request will be examined at the earliest,” sources said.
As it is, the Rs 1,72,774 crore revenue outlay for day-to-day costs and salaries by far outstrips the capital one of Rs 86,488 crore for new weapon systems and modernization in the existing 2017-18 defence budget.
The Army, which did not even hold one-third of its authorized War Wastage Reserves (WWR) for 40 days of intense fighting, had identified 46 different types of ammunition, 22 armaments, half a dozen mines as well as spares for 10 weapon systems ranging from tanks to artillery guns as “critical requirements”. This together would amount to roughly Rs 35,000-40,000 crore, as per sources.