The word ‘defence’ appeared seven times in the finance minister’s budget speech. He spoke on defence manufacturing and infrastructure projects that are critical for India.
The minister said the following on the topic of defence manufacturing :
Ever since the NDA Government has assumed office in 2014, lot of emphasis has been given to modernizing and enhancing the operational capability of the Defence Forces. A number of initiatives have been taken to develop and nurture intrinsic defence production capability to make the Nation self-reliant for meeting our defence needs. Ensuring adequate budgetary support will be our priority.
We have opened up private investment in defence production including liberalizing foreign direct investment. We will take measures to develop two defence industrial production corridors in the country. The Government will also bring out an industry friendly Defence Production Policy 2018 to promote domestic production by public sector,
private sector and MSMEs.
Opening up private investment for defence production will enhance performance of local defence industry. It will also reduce India’s dependence on foreign nations for its defence requirements.
Defence infrastructure in border areas
While speaking on defence infrastructure the finance minister said :
To secure India’s defences, we are developing connectivity infrastructure in border areas. Rohtang tunnel has been completed to provide all weather connectivity to the Ladakh region. Contract for construction of Zozila Pass tunnel of more than 14 kilometer is progressing well. I now propose to take up construction of tunnel under Sela Pass.
Se la pass
Se- La pass is a high altitude mountain pass between Tawang and West Kameng districts of Arunanchal Pradesh. It is also an area under dispute as Chinese have claimed the region to be theirs. This region had also seen action during the 1962 war between India and China.
This is a very important infrastructure project to maintain vigilance on the borders and provide infrastructure in the borders swift movement of Indian forces when the need arises. Se-La pass gets blocked whenever there is a landslides. Fortunately, the budget has given importance for tunnel infrastructure in this strategic location.