BANGALORE: The increasing perceived threat to the national security as the international forces withdraw from Afghanistan - coupled with challenges faced in resolving the border disputes with China and constant needling by Pakistan -is keeping the Indian army on its feet, as the security threat to the country is at an all-time high, said Pallam Raju, minister of state, ministry of defence, recently at an aerospace event in Bangalore.
"We surely need to shore up our defensive and offensive capabilities," he said.
Speaking at the sidelines of an aerospace and defence summit, Raju said that the defense budget is pegged at Rs 1, 93,000 crores in the current financial year.
The defense budget has been growing at an average of 12 percent, as the military keeps itself updated with latest technology to counter external threats.
"The capital expenditure which mostly caters to modernization equipments of our defense forces accounted for Rs 69,199 crores in 2011-12 and is budgeted at Rs 79,579 crores (US$ 16 billion) in 2012-13.
The overall need to modernize defence capabilities of our armed forces is expected to lead to increased purchases of new equipments and technology during the 12th plan and thereafter," he said.
In March 2012, China announced an 11 percent rise in its defense budget, to 670.274 billion Yuan, over the expenditures in 2011.
Raju said that the defence electronics sector is set to see a high growth during the 12th plan period. "While the navy and IAF are likely to contribute about 15 percent each, 70 percent of the demand will come from army," he said.
"The total defence capital budget allocation during the 12th plan is likely to be Rs 4,45,500 crore (US$ 90 billion) while the defense electronic purchases in the next 10 years is estimated to be Rs 6,00,000 crores (US$ 110 billion)" he added.
The MOS for Defence said that there is a great deal of emphasis given to increase the country's self reliance on defence technology and research and development in this field. "Defense research units, companies on field and private sector need to contribute together under the facilitation of the government," Raju said.
He said that the government is working towards a proposed center for defence electronics - a center for excellence to run on PPP-model or public-private partnership - to facilitate the electronic technology.
In the wake of the recent scams that have tarred the image of defense PSUs, Raju said that the ministry of defense has given strict instructions to defense PSUs to be transparent in their dealings especially while identifying their vendors and doing joint ventures.
"We don't want any scope for irregularities, especially since the recent incidents have made people point fingers at the ministry of defence," he said.
He added that the internal security situation is one of the biggest hurdles to the progress of the nation. "We also have to prepare ourselves against hacking and malware by building up domestic industrial base in the hardware sector to ensure that there is no breach in security anywhere," he added.
Speaking on the acquisition of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft ( MMRCA), with the defence ministry giving the green signal to the evaluation process that led to selection of the French Rafale fighter, Raju said, "The proposal has to pass through ministry of finance and cabinet committee though it is still with the ministry of defence currently. Though, we want to finish the whole procedure as soon as possible, we are just following the procedures which are taking time. We want to be very sure to avoid cases of irregularities as it will affect us adversely." http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/i...w/15282572.cms