New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: The Modi government, when it came to power in 2014, had said that national security is its topmost agenda. Since then, it has taken several steps to modernise the Armed Forces by increasing defence spending. However, to meet the urgent requirements of the Armed Forces, the central government might have to hike the defence budget once again for the financial year 2021-22.

According to a report by Dainik Jagran, looking at the double threat from China and Pakistan at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Line of Control (LoC), the Centre might hike the defence budget for the second straight year. The report also claimed that the Centre will focus on procuring 'Make in India' products for the Armed Forces in the upcoming financial year.

Last year, the Centre had also announced an embargo on the import of 101 defence items, including armoured vehicles, assault rifles, missiles, etc. to make India 'self-reliant' in the defence sector. It had also raised the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the defence sector from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route.

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"Today self-reliance in Defence has become a strategic necessity. It is imperative for us to invest in building long term indigenous capabilities for application across the entire spectrum of conflict," said Army Chief General MM Naravane on Thursday, as reported by news agency ANI.

"Niche technologies, including artificial intelligence, autonomous unmanned systems, log range precision technology, quantum computing, swarm drones are a better few and all these will certainly need to be acquired and absorbed as part of our deliberate and continuous process," the Army Chief added.

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The Centre had also hiked the defence budget Union Budget 2020 by six per cent from Rs 3.18 lakh crore to Rs 3.37 lakh crore. With that, the total budget for the defence sector increased to Rs 4.7 lakh crore.

While hiking the defence budget, the central government had said that Rs 1,10,734 crore was allocated to Armed Forces for modernisation and buying new weapon systems, which was Rs 10, 340 crore more than what was provided in 2019.

"National security has always been the top priority of the government," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said while delivering the budget speech in the Parliament last year.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma