Putin to boost Russian military ahead of March polls

Moscow: To boost his credentials ahead of presidential polls next month, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin today announced "unprecedented" steps to revitalise the nation`s military by inducting 400 more intercontinental missiles and spacecraft.

Under Putin`s blue print, Russia`s armed forces will receive over 400 modern intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), more than 100 military spacecraft and over 2,300 new tanks within the next 10 years.

Writing in the `Rossiiskaya Gazeta` government daily, Putin, who is a presidential candidate for March 4 polls, said his military bolster programme would ensure induction of sea-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, eight ballistic missile submarines, about 20 general purpose attack submarines, over 50 surface ships and some 100 military purpose spacecraft.

His proposals come in the wake of fears voiced in the media that by 2020, Russia` ICBM arsenal could reduce by more than half as over 400 missiles would go beyond their maximum service life without timely replacement.

Besides arming Russia with more lethal missiles, Putin also vowed to build fifth-generation fighters and S-400 (SA-21 Growler) anti-missile systems. He also promised to allocate USD 773 billion in the next decade to power the new military build-up programme.