New Delhi: The high-powered Defence Planning Council, at its first meeting in the national capital early this week, asked the armed forces to be restructures and be leaner and meaner to be ready for future wars and not gloat over successes in yesterday’s wars.

Headed by National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, the DPC tasked the three service chiefs of Army, IAF and Navy to assess and suggest threats to national security in the immediate and long term and how they can maximise use of the budgetary allocations for this purpose.

They were told to plan restructuring and reforms, learning lessons from past, and cutting out the fab. In the past two years, some of the redundant activities of the Army, such as military farms started by the Britishers for fodder for the horses and milk for troops have been shut down. Many more such activities have been suggested to be shut by a committee headed by Lt Gen DB Sheketkar.

“Evolve a plan which enables the budget to be balanced while planning for future wars, not yesterday’s wars,” the NSA stressed while pointing out that the DPC will empower the forces by decentralising decision-making powers and increasing the financial powers.

At present one-third of the country’s capital expenses is mandated for the defence. Overall, the defence has some 12% of the total budget.

Notwithstanding the high spending on defence, the parliamentary standing committee in March quoted Lt Gen Sarath Chand, the vice-chief of the Indian Army, as saying the 2018-19 budget has “dashed” all hopes of modernisation of the forces, which are saddled with more than two-thirds of the vintage equipment.

He had said that the Army would not be able to pay instalments of the past purchases with the money it has received as a marginal hike in the budget allocation barely accounts for the inflation.

The DPC took note of this concern and decided that the forces should list out the immediate criticality of weapons and ammunition. The meeting was also briefed by foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale on the changing Geo-political situation and the recent changes like the tango with China in Wuhan.