NEW DELHI — A senior politician of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party has been appointed the new defense minister of India.
It seems that Rajnath Singh, who previously severed as home minister and has a reputation as a taskmaster, has quite the workload ahead of him if he’s to speed up defense procurement and modernization.
Bureaucrats in the Ministry of Defence argue that the overall pace of defense purchases and contracts will slow over the next two years because of fiscal troubles.
“Singh will have very little money for new defense purchases because very little money is left for new defense purchase[s]," an MoD official said.
“The new government will have to choose priorities between Make in India defense programs or global defence purchases,” he noted, adding that no sweeping reforms are expected for at least the next two years.
Another MoD official expressed confidence that Singh will enforce anti-corruption regulations.
The Indian Army is currently committed to $4.31 billion in liabilities, with the Air Force committed to $7.40 billion and the Navy to $3.98 billion.
Under its policy aimed at bolstering the domestic industry, the government “will find it very tough to roll out big-ticket Make in India defense projects, including multirole fighters, submarines and helicopters,” according to defense analyst and retired Indian Army Maj. Gen. Mahindra Singh.
Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.