Chidambaram warns on defence cuts

NEW DELHI Wed Feb 6, 2013 7:55pm IST

Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram attends a news conference in Hong Kong January 22, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/Files

Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram attends a news conference in Hong Kong January 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tyrone Siu/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Finance Minister P. Chidambaram warned on Wednesday that cuts in the security budget could affect the country's defence preparedness and said he will spend more money on security when the economy recovers.

"A cutback on expenditure on defence or police will severely compromise our defence and security preparedness," Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in a speech defending recent economic reforms aimed at reviving growth.

"It is therefore a self-evident truth that growth is the key to greater public welfare and greater security," he said in a speech on national security at a defence think-tank.

"Provided we can grow at a higher rate we can provide more money," he said.

Chidambaram has driven cuts in spending, including $1.9 billion to defence acquisitions, in an attempt to meet a tough fiscal deficit target, sources told Reuters last week.

(Reporting by Arup Roychoudhury)

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