The Indian government has unveiled its budget estimates for the coming fiscal year, with defense once again in line for a 10 percent year-on-year nominal increase. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley delivered the budget 2017 speech on February 1, with the defense outlay estimated at 2.74 trillion rupees ($40.4 billion), minus pensions, which is up from the 2.49 trillion rupees ($36.8 billion) revised allocation for its current fiscal year. India's new fiscal year begins on April 1, 2017, and runs through March 31, 2018.
On its face, the bump in year-to-year defense investment appears a welcoming sign for Indian military modernization, but once the budget estimate curtain is pulled back, the actual picture indicates something more complex.
From a broad perspective, India's military modernization plan reaches across the service spectrum, requiring major capital investments in new hardware for the air, land, sea, surveillance and electronics spheres. It spans from new assault rifles for infantrymen to tactical transport aircraft and landing platform docks. The price tag for all the rearmament requirements under the Ministry of Defence's “Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan,” which runs through 2027, is more than $230 billion.