Tags: India | defense

India to Step up Defense Spending

Saturday, 07 Jun 2014 11:08 AM

India's military, one of the world's largest arms importers, aims to speed up defense procurement in the interests of "national security", the country's new defense minister said Saturday.

The policy announcement comes just after the new conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in late last month.

India's weapons acquisition program was bogged down by a string of corruption scandals under the previous Congress Party government of Manmohan Singh that was ousted in general elections staggered over April and May.

"National security is an issue which has always been a priority issue for us," Defense Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters.

India needed more defense spending and faster procurement of weapons systems, Jaitley added.

The military needs fighter jets, combat helicopters, artillery, drones and electronic warfare systems to update its aging military hardware.

"Some mechanism needs to be set up to expedite the procurement process," he said.

"This government is committed to national security and we feel the red tape involved in purchase of defence equipments must be cut down," Jaitley said at a ceremony to commission two coastguard ships.

"Balancing the resource constraint and making available all the resources that are required for national security is going to be the approach of the government," Jaitley, who is also finance minister, said.

Jaitley said coastal security topped the priorities of the government and induction of new vessels would help the Coast Guard secure the coastline.

In the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people died, 10 heavily armed Pakistani militants crossed the Arabian Sea to Mumbai from Karachi.

Defense analysts say there are still chinks in India's coastline security despite moves to increase security.

The Mumbai attacks ended after several days with security forces killing nine of the gunmen. One was captured and later hanged following a trial.

India's coast is patrolled by the Coast Guard, marine police and other agencies.

Under Modi, India is expected to adopt a more muscular foreign policy. Analysts say the Hindu nationalist leader will likely get tougher in border disputes with China.

They also expect him to take a sterner stance with Pakistan over any attacks by Islamist militants based in the country.

The party's election manifesto pledged to "deal with cross-border terrorism with a firm hand" and take a "strong stand" when needed.

Jaitley's comments came as China's foreign minister was set to begin a two-day visit Sunday to India for the first high-level talks between the world's two most populous nations since Modi took charge.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is coming to New Delhi as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping to "establish contact with the new government of India", the Indian foreign ministry said.

 

© AFP 2017

 
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India's military, one of the world's largest arms importers, aims to speed up defense procurement in the interests of "national security", the country's new defense minister said Saturday.
India, defense
451
2014-08-07
Saturday, 07 Jun 2014 11:08 AM
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