India has decided to spend nearly USD 223 billion to import 500 choppers, 220 fighter jets and 12 submarines over the next 10 years in order to boost its military preparedness.

According to sources close to the Indian Defence Ministry, New Delhi decided to acquire foreign weapon systems after considering the security scenario in South Asia. Sources said that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently asked his ministry to calculate the expected cost of modernisation of arms as mentioned in the “Long Term Integrated Perspective Planning”. The Long Term Integrated Perspective Planning is basically a medium-term roadmap prepared by the Indian Armed Forces for 2012-27.

Usually, the Indian ministry follows such roadmaps while modernising arms. However, this is the first time when the government is working out a detailed financial projection, as the estimated growth in the capital budget has been pegged at 8% per year.

A senior Defence Ministry official explained: “On an average, we see a growth between 5 to 9% annually, a projected growth of 8% is a realistic figure to work with.” The official, who wished to remain anonymous, also said that Parrikar asked his ministry to figure out the expected outflows annually over the next 10 years. The Indian ministry plans to spend nearly USD 12.69 billion in the current (2016-17) financial year.

The official informed the media that the ministry further decided to bring down the revenue cost in order to meet the shortfall. “We are looking at outsourcing some functions in peace stations and replacing men with smarter systems. Our estimates suggest that we will be able to save about INR 500 million over which will be enough tide over the shortfall,” he stressed.

In a separate development, the defence minister’s Scientific Adviser G Satheesh Reddy has claimed that the South Asian country is marching towards self reliance in missile system. Speaking at an event in southern Indian city of Bengaluru a couple of days ago, Satheesh, also the Director General (Missiles and Strategic Systems) of Defence Research and Development Organisation – an agency charged with the military’s research and development, said: “To create a significant impact on India’s science and technology and to promote highest standard of engineering education and practices, professional societies, scientific bodies and academic institutes have to re-align the young force of the country towards the forefronts of current needs and developments.”

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]