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India to match increased funding to build roads near China border

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INDIA’S government will maintain increased funding to build roads near its China border after spending 30 per cent more on them this fiscal year than planned, it said last Thursday (1), citing tension between the neighbours.

Both countries have been in a military standoff since July 2020 when at least 24 Indian and Chinese troops were killed in the worst clashes between the two sides in five decades.

India will match the ₹65 billion (£621.86 million) above the amount scheduled for this year for the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) responsible to build such roads for next year “in the light of the continued threat perception faced at the Indo-China border,” the government said after presenting the budget.

The BRO was initially given ₹50bn for the fiscal year 2023- 2024 that ends on March 31.

The government has allocated ₹6.21 trillion (£59.39bn) for defence for next year given the “geopolitical scenario and with the twin objective of promoting self reliance and exports”.

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This is marginally below the ₹6.24tn spending it estimates in the current year.

Since the 2020 clashes, military and diplomatic talks have helped to ease tensions, but the situation is precarious.

As India intends to modernise its military and nurture a nascent domestic arms industry, the government has given defence 13 per cent, the largest share for any sector, of the ₹47.65t budget presented last Thursday.

More than a quarter of India’s defence budget, ₹1.72tn is for the armed forces to buy arms and ammunition, but salaries and pensions take the most, at ₹2.8tn for the 14- million strong military.

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