New Delhi. 04 March, 2016.  The government has allocated INR 70,000 Crore (US $10.4 billion) for defense acquisition for the 2016 fiscal year.

Minister for defence Manohar Parrikar while addressing the media said that the total defense budget for 2016-17 was INR 341,000 crores (US $50 billion) allocated including defense pensions. Excluding defence pensions, the budget figure is INR 259,000 crore (US $38.5 billion) which is 13.09 per cent of overall expenditure.

He informed that modernisation of forces was very important for the government and contracts of Rs 1,20,000 crore had been signed during the 21 months of the Modi government and contracts for about Rs 32,000 crore were in the process of final approval.

According to the Minister it was the first time that the defence ministry took stock of military sales through an account held by the US government and found that due to “ill-management of this account, slightly less than $ 3 billion piled up. We have recalibrated it has come down from about $3 billion to $1.8 billlon,” he said.

He also stated that the government has kept adequate money  for the purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France . “I am a tough negotiator. Let me save money for the nation.It is better to cross the bridge when the time comes. A good buyer does not put his weakness in front. He keeps his cards close to his chest. Please do not ask me to reveal the card in national interest,” he said.

On query on the setting up of the mountain strike corps he responded that the   provisions have been made to continue the process of raising a mountain strike corps which was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

When asked about the  recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission which are under consideration of the government, Parrikar said necessary steps will be taken by the ministry after discussions over the next two-three weeks.