New Delhi, Feb 6 : Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday said he will spend more money on security when the Indian economy returns to a growth path, recovering from a slowdown.

Answering a question that a cut in defence expenditure could compromise the country's defence and security preparedness, Chidambaram after delivering a speech on national security said, "growth is the key to greater public welfare and greater security."

"Provided we can grow at a higher rate, we can provide more money," he said after delivering the K. Subrahmanyam Memorial Lecture at the IDSA auditorium.

Chidambaram has driven cuts in spending, including $1.9 billion on defence acquisitions, in an attempt to meet the fiscal deficit target.

He also ruled out higher borrowing, saying it was "not an option" for India.

On corruption, he said it certainly eroded institutions and the social fabric of the nation. At the same time, he said, "punishing people is not the same as trial by the media."

To another question on why the government is dithering on amending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, he said there was "no consensus" on the issue. The army, he said, was against any dilution of or amendment to the act, though he personally believed that some amendment could be made and that would make the act more humane.

"How does the government move on such a sensitive issue?" he asked.

Chidamabram also did not agree with a questioner that India does not have a national security doctrine.

"I believe we have one," he said. If you were referring to a particular doctrine, he told the questioner: "I am not aware of that."


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