Increase defence allocation, fight arms lobbies: BJP to government

New Delhi, May 7: The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday urged the government to increase the defence budget to at least three percent of the GDP.

Initiating a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the functioning of the defence ministry, BJP leader Balbir Punj urged the defence minister to fight arms seller lobbies to make India self-sufficient in the field of arms.

‘Why doesn’t the government choose PPP (public private partnership) mode for production of indigenous arms? It is because arms import lobbies are very strong and they will never allow domestic production… the patrons of these lobbies are very highly placed,’ Punj said.

‘The defence minister, like a soldier, should fight them up front, fight the lobbies if you want the country to be self-sufficient, even though it will not be easy,’ he said.

He also pitched for higher budgetary allocation for the defence ministry.

‘The government is claiming 17 percent increase in defence budget but it is only a numbers game. If we see the figures, the allocation for defence is less than last year’s,’ Punj said.

‘Pakistan spends three percent of its GDP (gross domestic product) on defence. Our defence allocation should also be at least three percent of the GDP,’ he said. The allocation to defence in the current budget is about 2.3 percent of GDP.

The BJP leader questioned the government on the Tatra trucks deals and asked why no action was taken until the matter became public. He directly attacked Defence Minister A.K. Antony, saying ‘no work, no mistake and clean image is a dangerous policy’.