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Antony rules out cuts in defence budget

November 08, 2012 13:51 IST

The defence ministry is not very hopeful about getting an additional Rs 40,000 crore for modernisation of the armed forces, with Defence Minister A K Antony on Thursday saying he was struggling to get even the Rs 1.93 lakh crore allotted by the government in the budget.

"Now I am struggling to get the budgetary amount," he told reporters when asked if he was hopeful of getting the additional Rs 40,000 crore sought by his ministry for the modernising of the three services.

The defence minister was interacting with reporters on the sidelines of an army seminar on defence communication networks.

Antony ruled out any cut in the defence budget, saying, "These are all rumours. Our ministry is trying to speed up (the modernisation process) without compromising procedures. From our ministry's side, there is no question of slowing down."

The defence ministry has been allocated Rs 1.93 lakh crore in the budget for the current fiscal. It has also made a demand for an additional Rs 40,000 crore for meeting modernisation requirements of the three services.

Experts feel shortage of funds may lead to delays in major modernisation programmes of the armed forces including plans to acquire 126 combat aircraft.

The defence minister had on Wednesday asked the armed forces to focus on projects affecting their operational readiness.

During a review meeting, he told the vice chiefs of the three services that they should adopt a "focussed approach" for the remaining part of the financial year and speed up procurements which have a direct linkage to their operational readiness.

Asked about the action taken in the Tatra truck case, the defence minister said, "The entire thing is with the CBI and an inquiry is going on."

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