Issue Brief on “Indian Defence Budget 2023-24: An Assessment”

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India has once again increased its defence budget allocation by 13 per cent in 2023-24. India’s increased defence spending has been continually growing for the last 10 years. In the year 2013, it was INR2845.97 billion and reached INR5935.38 billion in 2023-24 almost a 108 per cent increase in past 10 years.  Earlier, SIPRI reported in April 2022 that India is ranked No. 3 in terms of the top five military spenders in the world. As per SIPRI India is No1. top arms importer in the world and it maintains that position from 2013-2021.[1] India is in a race to buildup, upgrade and modernise its conventional and nuclear force and develop advanced means of delivery systems including hypersonic missiles. It is building an offensive military posture, which is threatening its neighbouring countries like Pakistan and China. India wants to achieve its objectives through military means and once again, in 2023, it increased its defence budget to buy new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware.

On February 1, 2023, India raised its defence budget to INR5935.38 billion (US$72.6).[2] This is an increase of 13 per cent from the year 2022-23 initial defence budget estimates of INR5251.66 billion. Indian experts argue that this year’s double-digit growth of the Indian defence budget is a result of the recovery of the Indian economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020-21, it contracted to 6.6 per cent and then it increased to 8.7 per cent in the following year. According to the Indian Economic Survey 2022-23, “in real terms, the economy is expected to grow at 7 per cent for the year ending March 2023.”

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