NEW DELHI – India set aside 1.62 trillion rupees ($19.87 billion) for the procurement of new weapons and platforms to be sourced mainly through domestic defense contractors in fiscal year 2023-24.

The country’s annual budget, released Feb. 1, envisages a total outlay INR 45.03 trillion. Of this, defense is allocated at INR 5.93 trillion, or about 13% of the total. This includes INR 1.38 trillion for defense pensions.

The total defense budget represents an enhancement of INR 683.71 billion, or 13% over the FY 2022-23 budget. For FY 2023-24, which begins April 1, the budgetary allocation towards capital expenditure for procurement of new armaments is INR 1.62 trillion, and revenue expenditure meant for stores, spares, and repairs is INR 2.70 trillion.

“This increase is a reflection of the government’s commitment towards sustainable augmentation in the area of modernization and infrastructure development of the defense services,” India’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

In keeping with the government’s resolve and focus on maintaining a high level of operational preparedness of the defense services to face current and future challenges, the non-salary revenue/operational allocation gets a boost of INR 275.7 billion, with the budgetary outlay under this segment augmented to INR 900 billion in FY 2023-24 from INR 624.31 billion in FY 2022-23.

“This will cater to the sustenance of weapon systems, platforms including ships/aircraft and their logistics; boost fleet serviceability; emergency procurement of critical ammunition and spares; procuring/hiring of niche capabilities to mitigate capability gaps wherever required; progress stocking of military reserves, strengthening forward defences, amongst others.”, MoD added.

MoD further noted that the government during the mid-term review enhanced the operational allotments of the current financial year by INR 260 billion, which liquidated carry-over liabilities during the current year thereby ensuring that there is no dent in the next year’s operational outlay of the services.

Speaking to Defense News, Amit Cowshish, MoD’s former financial advisor (acquisitions), said that given the present economic imperatives for boosting the national economy, the government has done its best to hike the defense budget. Now it is for the armed forces to make best use of the allocated funds, he said.

The capital expenditure is meant for the procurement of new weapons and platforms and payment of outstanding committed liabilities for past defense contracts.

The capital outlay for the Indian Army will increase to INR 372.41 billion from INR 320.15 billion. The service will utilize these funds for the procurement of specialized drones, loitering munitions, small arms, and light tanks, and to upgrade existing tanks and armored personnel carriers.

The capital outlay for the Indian Navy increased to INR 528.04 billion from INR 475.90 billion. The service will spend this money towards ship-borne drones, loitering munitions, missiles, satellites, and new small warships.

The capital outlay for the Indian Air Force saw only a marginal increase to INR 571.37 billion from INR 555.86 billion. The IAF will spend this money on the procurement of new air defense systems, missiles, drones, anti-drones systems, satellites, and combat helicopters.

The defense R&D capital outlay of INR 232.64 billion will be allocated for the indigenous development of new military technologies. The budget for the Border Roads Organisation under MoD to enhance border connectivity jumped 42 % to INR 50 billion.

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