Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first budget indicates a hike under defence head by US$ 4 billion, jacking it up from US$37 to US$41 billion; Pakistan’s total defence budget is under US$7 billion. Indian government, in its infrastructure development initiatives, is focusing on constructing and connecting all weather roads along its borders. Budget details indicate nearly 100 percent increase in allocation for construction of roads along Sino-India and Indo-Pak boundaries.
Essence of “Cold Start Doctrine” or Pro Active Operations is fast movement of Indian military formations from their cantonments to combat areas. This necessitates the requirement of compatible communication services; especially the penetrant roads leading towards borders. Keeping in mind the facilitation of troops along the 4,056-km Sino-India border stretching from ‘Karakoram point’ of Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir to ‘Fish Tail’ in Arunachal Pradesh, the Government has earmarked Rs 300 crore in 2015-16 budget, a figure which is almost double of allocation during the last fiscal when it stood at Rs 156.47 crore. The infrastructure facilities along this border are justified on the plea that Indian troops — the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Army — have been facing severe restrictions in their movement whereas Chinese People’s Liberation Army could reach the last post easily because of good metallic roads. Similarly, the Government has increased the budgetary provision of construction of roads along the 1,751-km border from Rs 50 lakh in the revised budget of the last fiscal to Rs 300 crore in 2015-16. The government had made a Rs 500-crore proposal in the last budget but ended up utilising only Rs 50 lakh.
A near 100 percent increase has also been earmarked for construction of roads along the 3,323 Km Indo-Pak border which stretches from Jammu and Kashmir to Gujarat. This money will also be used for constructions of observation posts, installation of flood lighting and induction of high-tech surveillance along the border.The Government had earmarked Rs 300 crore in the last budget but could utilise only half of it. The revised budget in last fiscal was Rs 165.22 crore whereas the amount earmarked for this year is Rs 320 crore. Roads along the Indo-Bhutan’s 699 kms will also be getting attention in this year’s budget with Government earmarking Rs 50 crore for it. In the last fiscal, the Government had spent a mere Rs one lakh on the roads along this border. Rs 20 crore have been earmarked for construction of roads and other infrastructure along the 1,643 Kms long Indo-Myanmar border. In the last fiscal Rs 11.12 crore were spent on this.
Infrastructure development priorities indicate that while maintaining a state of denial, India is quietly and systematically working to achieve the Cold Start Capability.