April 21, 2018

Lack of funds trouble defence forces! Indian Army lists out weapon systems it can’t afford to buy

The Indian Army has listed out ammunition and spares that it cannot afford to procure despite the fact that the existing power of the arsenal would not be enough for even 10 days of war, reported IE. It is mandated that the Indian Army has enough ammunition to carry out at least 40 days of intense war. But, the stocks in the arsenal suggest that India can go on for mere 10 days. The Indian Army has listed out weapon systems such as smerch rockets, battle tanks and even some missiles. The army is also formally likely to accept that it was fewer resources for fighting 10 days of war.

After the recent DefExpo 2018, Ashok Leyland bagged the order to supply HMV 10×10 vehicles to the Indian Army. These will be used to carry smerch rockets. The smerch rocker is a Russian made multiple launch rocket system. It is used to target soft targets, artillery batteries and command posts. Another weapon system that the Army listed was the 9M113 Konkurs, the Anti Tank Guided Missile system and the T-90 battle tank. It was reported that the Indian Army did not have enough funds to procure more of these weapon systems, that are crucial for the intense war situation.

According to the Indian Army, the listed weapon systems are extremely expensive. The cost of one unit of T-90 battle tank is estimated to be around Rs 30 crore. Indian which already has around 40 smerch missile systems, is in no position to buy more of it, as it costs beyond the existing budget. It was reported that routine funds were being diverted for these procurements, resulting in a crisis where Indian army has been lacking required ammunition and spares.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocated Rs 3,59,894 crore to the Ministry of Defence in this budget session. This budget allocation for defence is the lowest since past one decade. The budget allocation for defence had amounted only 2.3 per cent of India’s GDP. It was reported that the defence forces are in dire need of ammunition and is suffering from a shortage of funds.

This key issue has been constantly been pressed upon and has also been brought up in the ongoing Army Commanders Conference. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on defence had also highlighted the increasing needs of the Indian defence forces and CAG reports also spoke about the critical shortage of ammunition in the Army.Last year, the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Sarath Chand had also termed, 65% of arms with India to be in ‘vintage category’.
 It was also reported that the army wishes not to spend its resources on sustaining its existing equipment, but would rather go for procuring new weapon systems. A month earlier, Army Chief Bipin Rawat had said that Indian Army can maintain preparedness and its active operational activities within the budget that has been allocated for the armed forces. However, he had also said that the army would have been happier if they were allocated more budget.


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