Navy Chief flags concern over decline in funds

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh, at a press conference in New Delhi. PTI photo

Indian Navy faces a serious financial crunch compelling the force to rework on some of its future acquisition plans, admits its chief Admiral Karambir Singh.

“Navy’s share of the defence budget has decreased from 18% in 2012-13 to 13% in 2019-20. It is a fact that our budget has decreased. We have projected this. Our hope is that we will get some money and accordingly we will prioritise,” Admiral Singh said here on Tuesday.

 While the Navy Chief didn't elaborate, sources told DH that the maritime force was looking at a shortfall of nearly Rs 5,000 crore in the current fiscal. The force faced a big budget cut in 2016 after which there was a marginal improvement next year.

The current allocations are nowhere close to match the force projections envisaged by the Navy between 2012 and 2027 to take on an aggressive China that invested heavily in maritime infrastructure in order to expand its footprint in the Indian Ocean region.

 “While China is moving at a pace it is capable of, we are moving at a pace we are capable of. Our aim is to get the maximum bang for the buck,” he said.

Last year all the three Services informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence on the acute fund crunch they were experiencing. Internally, modernisation plans were prioritised to bridge the “critical credibility gap”.

 On the long-delayed programme of acquiring the mine countermeasure vessels, Navy officials said that the earlier project involving a Korean company had been discarded and a lesser number of such ships would now be constructed through an open tender procedure.

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