India’s budget for defence acquisitions at current levels may touch a whopping 35 billion dollars in the next two decades, Defence Minister A K Antony said today.
Noting that defence cooperation has assumed importance in devising a strategy for foreign policy, he said about 2.5 per cent of the GDP was devoted to maintain the military might.
The budget estimates for the current fiscal is more than 18 billion dollars (about Rs 87,000 crores) placing India among the top ten countries according to the defence expenditure incurred, he said while addressing the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas here.
During 2006-07 about nine billion dollar expenditure is likely to be incurred on stores, making the defence forces heavily dependent on imports to meet their requirements.
“It is estimated that by the year 2025-26 the Indian budget for acquisitions at current 2006-07 price levels may even touch 35 billion USD”, he said at a panel discussion which included eminent people from Australia, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago.