Recently, Indian Army told a Parliamentary panel that even as China and Pakistan are modernizing their military, a financial crunch is deterring India from improving its combat capabilities.
Considering the fractious relations with its volatile neighbors, India should ideally be prepared for a two-front war. The army explained the situation in a report tabled in Parliament.
So, why is India's military preparedness being questioned?
To begin with, Budget 2018-19 dashed Army's hopes
Army Vice Chief Lieutenant General Sarath Chand told the Parliamentary panel that a modest hike of 7.8% over last year's budget for military spending dashed Army's hopes. He contended that this didn't even account for rising inflation.
Further, though Rs. 29,033cr was promised for ongoing schemes, only an allocation of Rs. 21,338cr was made.
The Air Force and Navy also lack enough funds.
Do you know?
Converting "Make in India" dream into reality takes time
With an under-developed R&D base and ineffective Defence Research and Development Organization, India relies heavily on imports for military hardware. But, to make PM Modi's ambitious "Make in India" dream a reality separate budgetary allocations are required. Developing these capabilities is a slow process.
Army is also struggling to buy shortlisted ammunition and spares
Moreover, Chand claimed that Army was short of Rs. 6,380cr to build ammunition stocks for fighting an intense 10-day war.
Preferably, the Army must hoard ammunition for 40 days of intense fighting, known as war wastage reserves (WWR). But, if that isn't possible, WWR for at least 20 days is mandatory.
Now, government has set a June'18 deadline for meeting critical shortage of ammunition.
Army is weighed down by old weapons and systems
Army also lamented that 64% of its equipment is "vintage." Only 24% is "current" and a negligible 8% "state of the art." Apparently, "modernization" gets a mere 14% from the Army budget. It claims this is "grossly inadequate" and it should be about 22-25%.