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Ajai Shukla: How much is the defence budget?


Ajai Shukla  |  New Delhi 

Declared defence budget 1,05,600 Nuclear forces 1,300 Paramilitary forces 7,632 Paramilitary housing 555 Border fencing 608 Border infrastructure 504 Pensions 15,564 Ministry of Defence 2,370 Actual defence budget 1,34,133 Is there an international benchmark for identifying defence expenditure? In fact there is: a United Nations General Assembly resolution (35/142B of Dec 12, 1980) standardised the reporting of military expenditure. This benchmark is accepted almost globally; 115 countries have reported since 1981. Resolution 35/142B only legislated what transparent governments, defence economists and academics, and people with common sense already understood. Expenditure on strategic nuclear weapons, it says, constitutes defence expenditure; so does expenditure on paramilitary forces that are organised, armed and employed for guarding the borders and which could be used in combat against another country. All expenditure on military personnel, including pensions for retired soldiers, is to be reported as defence expenditure. The construction and repair of structures and facilities used for defence, says Resolution 35/142, is military spending. Command and communications systems for defending the country should be financed from the defence budget. New Delhi, however, distributes a hefty chunk of this spending across heads other than defence. Within India

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First Published: Tue, March 11 2008. 00:00 IST