Shrinking naval budget a concern: Indian Navy chief

Shrinking naval budget a concern: Indian Navy chief

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New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Tuesday expressed concern over the shrinking budget for the navy, saying that the force has knocked the doors of government to enhance the budget provisions to meet the growing demand of modernisation.
Speaking here ahead of Navy Day, Singh said the navy's budget has come down from 18 per cent of the overall defence allocation in 2012-13 to below 13 per cent in the 2019-20.
The capital allocation for the navy is now at Rs 23, 156.43 crore.
Admitting that the navy's share had declined, Singh said that it is now making optimal utilisation of available funds. "As per the funds allocated we have to priotise our requirements," Singh emphasised.
He also said that while the navy has projected its requirements to the government, the force has remained committed to its modernisation, and to using the available resources optimally.
"In the face of shortages, emphasis is on prioritisation, rationalistion and economy of expenditure," he said.
Talking about modernisation, Singh said the Indian Navy has been at the forefront of "self reliance in defence production" since Independence.
"Our commitment to this pursuit is seen by the fact that out of the 50 ships and submarines, currently under construction, 48 are being built in Indian shipyards," he said.
These include the aircraft carrier Vikrant, P-15B class destroyers, P17A class stealth frigates, offshore patrol vessels and Scorpene class submarines.
The last of the P 28 ASW Corvette is scheduled for delivery by early next year. The delivery of four additional P8I Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft is scheduled by 2021.
"We have also contracted for 16 anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft and 36 aircraft which includes 12 HAL-built Dorniers, 16 Advanced Light Helicopters and eight Chetak helicopters," he said.
Under the government's Strategic Partnership Model, the Indian Navy is pursuing the of P 75 (I) submarines project and Naval Utility Helicopters.
The Navy's long-term capability plan envisages induction of three aircraft carriers, so that two carrier battle groups are available for dispersed deployments in the Indian Ocean region at all times.
The broad contours of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 2, to be constructed in India as a 65,000 tons CATOBAR carrier with electric propulsion, has been formulated and the case will be processed for accord of Acceptance of Necessity.
"There have also been focused efforts to enhance our in-house expertise in repair and upkeep of modern weapon and sensors. Towards this, two major armament repair facilities (ARFs) are being set up and are likely to be commissioned by sometime mid next year," he said.
The navy chief further pointed out that to support fleets in operating effortlessly over the entire Indian Ocean Region, several marine and technical repair infrastructure projects are also being expedited.
A new dry dock was commissioned in September marking a big step towards captive capability to dock aircraft carriers. Creation of a full-fledged naval dockyard and associated infrastructure to accommodate more number of ships and submarines is being undertaken during this phase.
The Indian Navy has also commenced the process of indigenizing complex and high-end technology equipment, which are presently being imported, such as marine diesel engines, power generators, shafting and propellers, with the active participation of public and private sector industries.
"Our aim is to reduce import dependency and progressively increase indigenous content in our shipbuilding projects," Singh said.

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