Defence Minister Arun jaitlely today said Indian Armed forces were ready for meeting any kind of challenge, and the government was fully alive to their critical requirements.
”There was no question of any compromise with the security of the country,” Mr Jaitley said pointing out that in the past two and half years since the NDA regime took over, as many as 147 contracts have been completed, involving an expenditure of Rs 2,957.66 crore.
“And there have been procurement of key defence equipment including rockets, radars and missiles,” he said adding that these acquisitions will help meet “critical requirement” for defence preparedness.
“Our forces are ready for any kind of challenge,” he said.
Trashing the Opposition Congress criticism that the government was not spending adequately on modernisation of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, and nothing was happening under the Make in India, the Defence Minister said, the process of acquisition was a long process and it was on, and things were also happening under Make in India, so it would quite unfair to make sweeping statements.
Sending out a message that procurement was not being done and the Armed forces were not adequately prepared was not good, said Mr Jaitley, who has just been given additional charge of the Ministry following Mr Manohar Parrikar’s appointment as Goa Chief Minister.
Intervening in the discussion on the demands for grants for the Defence Ministry, he said manufacturing starts when the Army or the government gives order, and that too takes time as a lot of ground work was done before that.
Earlier, Congress member Jyotiradita Scindia had questioned the government on its defence preparedness and for allocating insufficient funds in the budget.
Mr jailtely said the Government was doing all to increase its revenue and tax base instead of just increasing taxes. Resources had to be provided for development, salaries, pensions, subsidies, debt servicing etc and out of these massive expenditure, maximum was taken out for the defence .
At this point AIADMK leader and Deputy Speaker Dr M Thambidurai intervened to say that the Centre was unnecessary taking up those schemes, like for example the Skill India that should have gone to states, and was reducing the state’s role through the proposed GST regime, thus diluting the federal structure.
To this Mr Jaitley said that the choice was not between Skill India and defence expenditure, as a large part of the population had to be skilled for Make in India. The purpose of the GST was also to widen the tax base so as to increase revenue for increasing expenditure of critical sectors like defence.