Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday that the existing defence budget was enough for the military to maintain its operational preparedness if it can “re-prioritise and readjust”, The Indian Express reported.

“Some more budget, if it is given to us, we will be happy,” he told the daily. “But we can balance the budget to meet our operational requirements.”

General Rawat also said that the armed forces had started the process of modernisation, but it would not happen overnight.

The general’s comments come just weeks after the Indian Army leadership told a Parliamentary panel that the defence budget presented in February “dashed our hopes” of modernisation.

Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Sarath Chand had told the Parliamentary Committee on Defence that modernisation efforts have “received a little setback” because of the budget. The panel presented its report earlier this month, highlighting the lack of funds for the armed forces.

The defence budget was increased by just 7.81% to Rs 2.95 lakh crore for the current financial year against last year’s Rs 2.74 lakh crore.

On Wednesday, however, General Rawat told The Indian Express that it was possible “to re-prioritise and readjust the budget with the money available by giving operational preparedness higher priority”.

Rawat said the Army’s priority currently will be infantry weapons, surveillance devices and securing Army bases, and that the needs of the mechanised forces, artillery and air defence will be taken up later.