At a time when the Indian navy is already is on high alert in the face of possible seaborne terror threats from Pakistan, the navy’s share in the recently announced defence budget has been reduced to 13 per cent, from 18 per cent in 2012-13. For a country that aspires to achieve a US$5 trillion economy within five years, this is hard to understand.
While other countries have moved swiftly to delimit maritime boundaries and file claims for extended continental shelves, India has not. India also has to work on its poor delivery of equipment promised to other countries.
Indian navy chief of staff Admiral Karambir Singh is calling for a defence diplomacy fund to shore up India’s position as net security provider for the Indian Ocean. This fund could help bridge the gap between promises and deliveries of the country’s naval capabilities.
The naval chief also believes that there is a need for greater maritime awareness among the polity. India has a large number of maritime resources, from fish to oil; the country should develop a comprehensive plan to harness the potential of the ocean.
The Indian navy has seen the lowest rise in budgetary allocation out of the country’s armed forces. The air force’s share in the budget has risen 62 per cent since 2012-13, and the army has seen a significant increase of 133 per cent, while the Indian navy’s share rose just 55 per cent.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s government has proposed to increase its defence budget in the next financial year by 4.74 per cent.
India does not seem to be doing enough to prepare for a possible threat from the sea.