Navy to discuss how to run defence wing with limited budget

Navy to discuss how to run defence wing with limited budget

Top naval commanders will meet here next week to find out how best to use the limited budget available to them to retain the Navy's combat edge, besides tackling the growing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean region.

“The commanders would deliberate on the optimal utilisation of the Navy’s share of the defence budget through prioritising capital acquisitions and modernisation plans to bridge critical capability gaps,” a spokesperson of the navy said in a statement, ahead of its first Commanders Conference in 2018.

For the last three consecutive years, the Navy was receiving much less than its requirement from the Union finance ministry .

Navy Vice Chief Vice Admiral P Ajit Kumar informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on defence that finance ministry didn't take into account the emergency procurement to keep the force ready for a 10-day intense war, changes in the taxation law because of which the navy has to pay a higher customs duty, GST and inflation.

In the budget, the navy received only Rs 220 crore more than the revised estimate in the last financial year's budget.

“The impact of lower allocations would constrain progress of infrastructure of new schemes and ability to conclude contracts. Moreover, it will impact progress of infrastructure projects, procurement of ammunition and spares, serviceability of ships, submarines and aircraft, upkeep of ageing infrastructure and day-to-day running of the navy,” the vice chief had said.

The four-day long commanders conference – to be inaugurated by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday – will discuss strategies related to optimal use of the budgetary allocation for proper upkeep of its fleet of 131 ships and submarines.

Other items on the agenda of the naval commanders are improvement in the “teeth to tail” ratio in the maritime force and greater absorption of new technologies like “artificial intelligence” and “big data analysis.”

Navy's mision-based deployment strategies will also be reviewed in the light of the fund crunch.