New Delhi, March 5: Manohar Parrikar hinted at axing the military strength to cut down salary bills and divert the funds for modernisation. The decision has come in the wake of military sale review last year.
Parrikar said,"Flab in the military has to be cut, it could start with the Army. I have asked the Army to identify the areas, it will take time and cannot be done overnight."
Speaking of large sums spent on salaries and pensions, Parrikar said that these are inevitable. Moreover, the 7th pay commission is pending in the Parliament. Rationalising the army strength has been undertaken by the army itself through an exercise.
He further said that another way of cutting down expenses would be to use simulators in training pilots and drivers. Parrikar said that the military sales were taken stock of for the first time and it was found that due to "ill management of this account, slightly less than $3 billion piled up."
"In May-June last year, we reviewed it. We have recalibrated it has come down from about $3 billion to $1.8 recalibrated it has come down from about $3 billion to $1.8 billlon," he said.
He further added,"We have saved $700 to $800 million of foreign exchange." Rs 3,000 crore more has been saved through other measures. He said that modernisation was very important in the army and that the government has signed contracts of Rs 1,20,000 crore during the 21 months of the Modi government. And contracts of about Rs 32,000 crore were in the process of final approval.