National News

‘Defence budget has dashed our hopes of modernisation’, Indian Army tells Parliamentary panel

Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Sarath Chand said the budgetary allocations did not even cater to the payment for ongoing schemes.

The Indian Army leadership has told a Parliamentary panel that the defence budget presented in February “dashed our hopes” of modernisation and the government’s Make in India programme may end up as a non-starter, The Hindu reported on Tuesday.

Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Sarath Chand told the Parliamentary committee on defence that various efforts taken for modernisation have “received a little setback” due to the Budget. The committee’s report was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

“To highlight a few cases, the marginal increase in Budget estimates barely accounts for the inflation and does not even cater to taxes,” Chand said. “Allocation of Rs 21,338 crore for modernisation is insufficient even to cater to the committed payment of Rs 29,033 crore for 125 ongoing schemes.” He added that the Army’s liabilities would also aggravate the problem.

Chand said that 68% of the Army’s equipment was in the “vintage” category, while only 24% was in the “current” category and 8% was state-of-the art.

Expenditure on the Army is not a burden on the state: Bipin Rawat

Meanwhile, Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat said that there was a “belief” that expenditure on the security forces was a burden on the state, ANI reported. “They believe that whatever put in defence is something that comes without any returns,” he added without mentioning the government. “I want to dispel that myth. If your economy has to rise, you have to ensure security to that establishment that is going to be poured in your country.”

He added that not all of the Indian Army’s budget went into maintaining the military, as 35% of it was used for nation-building purposes.

Speaking at an event in New Delhi, Rawat added that “China has finally arrived” on the global stage, and was challenging the dominance of the United States over the world. “They [China] did not forget that military power should rise simultaneously with economy, that is why they stand strong today in the international world order, challenging the might of the US,” he said.

The chief of Army staff said that other countries had begun to look up to India to balance the rise of China.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.


The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.