Must ‘watch’ Chinese Navy, says Navy Chief

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Chinese defence ministry in its white paper “China’s National Defence in the New Era” released on Wednesday had touched on this issue.

Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh

New Delhi: Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Thursday said that a lot of  resources have been shifted by China from other arms of People’s Liberation Army to its  Navy and India will have to “watch it carefully”.

Chinese defence ministry in its white paper “China’s National Defence in the New Era” released on Wednesday  had touched on this issue.

“It is not just the Chinese white paper, it has been said in the past also. Lot of resources have been shifted from other arms to the PLA Navy obviously in line with their intention to become a global power. We have to watch it carefully and see how we can respond within our budget and the constraints that we have,” said Admiral Singh on the sidelines of an international seminar at industry chamber FICCI on shipbuilding.

“We require long-term fiscal support to build a navy, that is the only way we can plan. And, this has been my constant refrain,” he said.

During his address, the Navy chief said that ship-building, being a capital intensive activity, has created a narrative, where budgetary allocation for Naval ship-building is considered by some to be a drain on the economy.  “ Yet, I would argue that investing in naval ship-building is far from a fiscal drain,” said Admiral Singh. He said that Naval ship-building actually contributes handsomely to economic growth and nation building. “The first reason is the ‘plough-back’ effect. By conservative estimates, a very large proportion of every rupee spent on the Navy is ploughed back into the Indian economy,” said the Navy chief. He pointed out that  more than 60 percent of the Naval budget is dedicated to capital expenditure. “Nearly 70 percent of this capital budget has been spent on indigenous sourcing,” the Naval Chief said.

“Finally, naval ship-building projects contribute to strategic outcomes for the nation as well. We all know that multi-dimensional, state-of-the-art, ships constructed by our industry, and operated by the Navy and the Coast Guard, are crucial to protecting India’s maritime interests in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond,” he added.