Share your thoughts on the defence budget: being revealed on 1st Feb - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Saturday 30 January 2021

Share your thoughts on the defence budget: being revealed on 1st Feb

What are the government's key choices and conundrums relating to security and national defence

The defence budget is being presented on 1st February, as a part of the Union Budget. As happens every year, there will be little discussion on the largest single item in the list of government expenditures. And, as happens every year, I will try to fill some of that void.

With your help. I’d love to hear from my readers (many of them more qualified than I could ever be!) about the following issues:


1.     What do you think are the government’s choices in a year where its income is down due to Covid-19 lockdowns… but it still must deal with the China challenge.

2.     Should the government heed the military’s request for higher allocations? From where could the government cut spending in order to allocate more for defence?

3.     Should the government increase spending on the army, which is bearing the brunt of the PLA’s challenge? Or on air power? Or on the navy, which could operate on what many believe might be a more advantageous battlefield? Or on new technologies, such as unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, cyberware, space combat technologies, etc.

4.     Should, as some have argued, India make concessions to the Chinese to defuse the situation with the PLA? What concessions should be acceptable? Or will it amount to pandering to a tiger?


If you don’t want to post your thoughts in social media, email them to me, in full confidence, at


  1. The defence Capital budget if increased to 200000 crores would nearly double the individual service budgets and keep the modernisation on track . This should primarly come from savings to acrrued fromreforms undertaken after Shektar committe recommendations of closing down old outdated structures, merging of HQs and downsizing of the redundant civilian component of 5.7 lakh civil employees. Almost 50000 crores saved annually can be then ploughed back for modernisation . The rest of the money govt with a expansive budget can be easily rerouted by merging closing redundant schemes where leakages are high . By 2025 the Capital budget needs to be increased to 300000 Lakh crores. The defence budget by 2026 when the next pay commission is implemented will double from 3.7 Lakhcrores to over 8Lakh crores and the 5trillion dollar indian economy must be able to easily find the resources.

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