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The big news during the period of review has been the presentation of the budget in the Parliament. The allocation under the Defence Head works out to Rs2,74000/- crore, which includes Rs 1,87,626 for Revenue and Rs 78,124.04 crore for Capital expenditure, after deducting the allocations for OFB, DRDO and DGQA.

Overall, the budget amounts to an increase over the 2016 – 17 budget of less than 6%. While the increase under the Revenue Head is about 8%, pay and allowances will absorb a substantial part of the spike in Revenue allocations. As far as the Capital budget is concerned, the increase is barely 0.22%. After catering for inflation, rise in cost of products and declining exchange rate of the Rupee, a 6% overall increase can barely be reassuring for the armed forces. In fact, the allocation for force modernisation has decreased for the Army and Navy, while the Air Force has registered a modest increase; the obvious reasons being the big ticket Rafale, Chinook and Apache helicopter deals. The pace of modernisation, as suggested by the rapid approval of multiple AoNs by the Government, can barely be kept on track at this rate.

Defence equipment manufactured in India needs to be exported abroad for sustaining our defence industries and providing them incentives for investment and an opportunity for growth. The news about Brahmos and Akash missiles being considered by Vietnam does auger well should a deal be ultimately struck. Apparently, the government has also instructed the DPSUs and OFB to make exports an area of focus. Steep targets have been laid down for them.

Beefing up production capabilities is also an urgent requirement for establishments like the HAL. The company has a second production line, with a capacity of producing three aircrafts annually, almost in place. The creation of a third production line awaits the Cabinet Committee's nod.

As far as artillery equipment is concerned, the Pinaca Launcher System has seemingly achieved the accuracy parameters at a range of 75km. The status of new indigenous gun systems is also heartening with the OFB having fielded the Dhanush 155 mm 42 Calibre and progressed on its 155mm 52 calibre model.

The big ticket RFI that has been issued is by the Indian Navy. The Navy is looking for 57 fighter jets for its second aircraft carrier currently under construction at the Cochin Shipyard. The approximately $12 billion contract is likely to witness a keen contest with Saab, Dassault, Boeing, HAL and the Russians as potential contenders. A lot will depend on the type of launch system that the new aircraft carrier will use. The government has also cleared the funds for two important airborne platform projects to include Ghatak Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle and 5th Generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.

Another decision of import has been the government's allocating of funds to create adequate stocks for 10 days war wastage reserves.

With Aero India 2017 scheduled to open at Bangalaru on 14 February, the sky atop the city is scheduled to witness some high testosterone flying. Every big global player has booked space for the biannual event to showcase their strengths. We will be at the Aero India in strength and provide you all details on a day-to-day basis.

Our Hindi opinion pieces, we are certain, satisfies our readers. Should you have any other suggestions, we would only be obliged if you share your thoughts with us.

Do make our pages a habit. We will provide you relevant news and objective analysis of issues of import to the Indian Defence Industries.



Image article 1
Thank You, Indian Media!
Uma Sudhindra

Freedom of expression is a double-edged sword. The media is a potent weapon, use of which depends on the journalists. It can be used for showing concern about society, highlighting the reform needed in society, and giving voice to the unheard. Misusing it for spreading outrageous and hateful content or putting malicious allegations against individuals and organizations does not make it a vehicle of dynamic, everlasting and participatory democracy. Read More...
Opinion article 2
Why does China employ the Dalai Lama Card!
Maj Gen Harsha Kakar (Retd)

Even when India accepted Chinese objections and denied visas to the Uyghur dissident Dolkun Isa, New York based Tiananmen Square protestor Lu Jinghua and Hong Kong based activist Ray Wong to attend the inter-faith conference in Dharamsala, nothing changed. China remained as defiant as ever. It has also begun shifting its stand on the Kashmir dispute from neutral to pro- Pakistan. Read More...
Opinion article 3
The Time For Enforcing Jointness Is Now
Lt Gen A K Singh (Retired)

The fact that our forces lack jointness is a handicap that requires a great deal of dynamism in approach to overcome the resistance that could well be faced. The General, in his article, establishes the necessity of jointness, the ultimate creation of an appointment of CDS, and a step by step transition to joint theatre commands. The endeavour will require political will and perhaps even legislation to overcome the hurdles that would require to be negotiated. Read More...
Opinion article 3
Current Challenges for Indian Foreign Policy
Ambassador Anil Trigunayat

The author is of the view that foreign policies remain dynamic on account of shifts in global geo-politics and domestic pressures. In our case, we have to manage it keeping in view the Prime Minister Modi's objective of 'India First' and a focus on our 'neighbourhood'. However, as we pursue these goals, the Chinese extending their influence in our neighbourhood remains a major obstacle. Further, with our growing proximity to the US, the Russians are firming up their relationship with Pakistan. Under the circumstances, what policy contours must we exploit to emerge as a reckonable power in the region? Read More...
Opinion article 3
A Perspective on Defence Budget 2017-18
Amit Cowshish

The armed forces are faced with a high degree of obsolescence in their inventories. The combat potential of the forces have suffered a serious downslide over the years. The budget presented a couple of days back, was being looked forward to in order to rectify the situation. Has Finance Minister Arun Jaitley been able to find adequate funds for force modernisation to progress at a reasonable pace. Mr Amit Cowshish analyses the budget and its adequacy to give our services the wherewithal to deliver what they are mandated for. Read More...
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