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Union Budget of India 2023 | India Defence Budget 2023 | In response to the tense border between China and India, India’s defense budget increased by 13% to US$72.6 billion

An Indian military vehicle convoy on a road in the Ladakh region of India's border with China
An Indian military vehicle convoy on a road in the Ladakh region of India’s border with China

WASHINGTON — The Indian government announced on Wednesday (February 1) that it will increase the defense budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year to 5.94 trillion rupees (about 72.6 billion U.S. dollars), which is 13% higher than the initial estimate for the previous fiscal year.

India shares a 3,500-kilometer-long border with China, and relations are tense in some areas. The Indian government has used the increased defense budget to deploy more fighter jets and build more roads and other infrastructure along the Sino-Indian border area.

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Nirmala Sitharaman) said that 1.63 trillion rupees will be allocated for defense expenditures, and these funds will be used to purchase military hardware such as new weapons, fighter jets, and warships.

Sitharaman announced the total expenditure of India’s federal government budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 at $550 billion. The defense budget accounts for 14.52% of the total federal government expenditure and 2% of India’s GDP.

India’s fiscal year 2023-24 begins on April 1.

“The government is trying to provide reasonable funding for the troops while balancing other priorities in a pre-election budget,” Behra said. He believes that India’s defense budget area needs more funds given the increased friction between India and China in the disputed border area.

The Chinese government’s defense budget for 2022 is 1.45 trillion yuan (about 230 billion U.S. dollars), which is much higher than India’s defense budget. But China observers generally believe that China’s actual defense spending may be as high as 300 billion U.S. dollars. The U.S. defense budget is the largest in the world, at $858 billion in the fiscal year 2023. 

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Defense expert Behra believes that although India’s defense budget is lower than the military’s expectations, with the end of the new crown epidemic and economic recovery, the military’s need for funds may further increase. The border territorial dispute between China and India has a long history, and a brief border war broke out in 1962. 

In June 2020, Chinese and Indian soldiers fell into a tense confrontation near the Line of Actual Control in the western section of the border between the two countries, and a hand-to-hand fight took place in the Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region, resulting in the death of at least 24 soldiers from both sides. 

The two militaries later disengaged on the ground after diplomatic efforts and military negotiations on both sides. On December 9 last year, Chinese and Indian soldiers clashed again near the line of actual control on the border in the eastern Himalayas. However, there were no reports of any deaths, and after negotiations between the two militaries, the situation was quickly brought under control. Soldiers from both sides Also quickly disengaged.

The Chinese government’s defense budget for 2022 is 1.45 trillion yuan (about 230 billion U.S. dollars), which is much higher than India’s defense budget. But China observers generally believe that China’s actual defense spending may be as high as 300 billion U.S. dollars. The U.S. defense budget is the largest in the world, at $858 billion in the fiscal year 2023.

Defense expert Behra believes that although India’s defense budget is lower than the military’s expectations, with the end of the new crown epidemic and economic recovery, the military’s need for funds may further increase.

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The border territorial dispute between China and India has a long history, and a brief border war broke out in 1962.

In June 2020, Chinese and Indian soldiers fell into a tense confrontation near the Line of Actual Control in the western section of the border between the two countries, and a hand-to-hand fight took place in the Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region, resulting in the death of at least 24 soldiers from both sides. The two militaries later disengaged on the ground after diplomatic efforts and military negotiations on both sides.

On December 9 last year, Chinese and Indian soldiers clashed again near the line of actual control on the border in the eastern Himalayas. However, there were no reports of any deaths, and after negotiations between the two militaries, the situation was quickly brought under control. Soldiers from both sides Also quickly disengaged.

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