India gives financial powers to top military officers


For the first time, the Indian government has approved financial powers for the entire top brass of the country’s armed forces. Earlier, only the chiefs and the vice chiefs of the three services — the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force — were allowed to make such decisions.  The move to financially empower senior officers of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force is aimed at augmenting the arms and ammunition reserves of the armed forces to bolster their operational preparedness and it comes in the wake of recent provocations along India’s borders with China and Pakistan.  “The Cabinet on Wednesday approved enhanced financial powers of up to Rs 200 crore for senior military officers to make capital procurement,” a government statement said. “Among the officers who have been given authority to spend Rs 200 crore are the Navy’s chief of material, the Air Force’s chief of maintenance, the deputy chief of Integrated Defence Staff.”  “This delegation of powers within service headquarters and up to command level for items of capital nature such as overhauls, refits and upgrades will enhance the utility of existing assets and will facilitate faster processing and implementation of projects for modernisation of the armed forces to meet security challenges,” the statement said.  The Indian government first approved emergency financial powers for the three vice chiefs to buy ammunition and armaments “without necessary sanctions” in 2017 post a terrorist attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir in September 2016, in which 18 troopers were killed. A year later, the financial powers of the vice chiefs were raised to Rs 500 crore.