Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said Friday that India, with the third largest military in the world (with over 1.3 million soldiers), needs to "cut flab."
The Indian Army will be the first to adopt the leaner force plan, since it has the largest manpower in the armed forces. "I have asked the Army to identify the areas, it will take time and cannot be done overnight," Parrikar said, NDTV reports.
Clearing misconceptions following the recent Union Budget 2016, where the defence outlay was not part of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's presentation, Parrikar revealed that the total allocation for defence in the budget was Rs 3,41,000 crore, including defence pensions. Pensions were allocated at Rs 82,000 crore, and for new equipment purchases the Ministry of Defence gets Rs 70,000 crore.
He noted that due to "ill-management" $3 billion was lying unused in an account with the US government for the government-to-government deals between India and US. Parrikar claimed that the ministry "re-calibrated" it and has since brought down the unspent money.
He also added that about Rs 13,000 crore of unspent capital funds will be returned.
Meanwhile, Parrikar's statement of making the armed forces leaner has created ripples among the jawans, according to The Telegraph.
The report cited senior military officials as saying that armed forces can cut down the manpower but only after induction of new technology. The obsolete technology has increased the workload of the armed forces, pressuring the infantry battalions.
When asked about the Rafale aircraft negotiations, Parrikar called himself a "tough negotiator" who does not reveal his cards. The defence minister cryptically said that he will "cross the bridge when the time comes."