The Defence Ministry has sought an "urgent" additional Rs 20,000 crore from the central government for modernisation of the armed forces and to meet its capital and revenue budget requirements.

The "urgent" requirement for the additional money comes amid the military standoff between India and China in the Doklam region of Sikkim which has now entered its eighth week. Last month, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had said in its report that the armed forces did not have ammunition to fight a 10-day long intense war.

The Centre had allocated Rs 2.74 lakh crore, which is around 1.62 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), for the defence sector in the 2017-18 Budget. "Of the initial annual allocation, about 50 per cent of capital and more than one-third of the revenue budget has already been spent," Defence Ministry sources told India Today.

A few weeks ago, the Ministry of Defence had given financial powers to the armed forces and permitted Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) Lieutenant General Sarath Chand to purchase on emergency basis ammunition, mines and spares that are crucial to fight a war.

Lack of ammunition to fight 10-day war: CAG

The CAG had also said in its Compliance Report that the armed forces faced a major shortfall of ammunition and spares to fight a 10-day intense war despite a special plan 'Ammunition Road Map' to rapidly add to ammunition stocks put in place in 2013 by the previous UPA government.

Indian Army tank
[Representational Image]Wikimedia Commons

The CAG had observed that the training of the Indian Army was severely affected as the Army headquarters had imposed "restriction" on training due to the shortage of ammunition. In 2016, only three of the 24 types of ammunition required for training were available for over five days of training activity. Moreover, a "majority of training ammunition — 77 to 88 per cent — remained critical i.e. less than five days."

The Indian military is required to hold ammunition enough to fight a 40-day intense war. As of 2016, around 61 of the total 152 types of ammunition were still in critical level, the report stated. It added that only 31 out of the 152 types of ammunition were available for a 40-day long war.

Surprisingly, the army suffers an 83 percent shortfall in the stock of fuses for the artillery ammunition, which means that 83 percent of high-calibre artillery ammunition available with the army cannot be used in an operation. A fuse is fitted to the shell just before firing.