The writher is a retired Air Commodore and former assistant chief of air staff of the Pakistan Air Force. At present, he is a member of the visiting faculty at the PAF Air War College, Naval War College and Quaid-i-Azam University.
Email:email@example.comCourtesy: The Nation Newspaper
A recent study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) indicates that “India was the biggest arms importer in the period 2007-11, accounting for 10 percent in the weapons volume.” China, which was the world’s top arms importer in 2006 and 2007, has now dropped to fourth place. Globally, the volume of international transfers of major conventional weapons was 24 percent higher during 2007-11 as compared to the 2002-06. Over the past five years, Asia and Oceania accounted for 44 percent of conventional arms imports. It appears a tall figure when compared with 19 percent for Europe, 11 percent for North and South America, and 9 percent for Africa.
The SIPRI report indicates: “India’s imports of major weapons increased by 38 percent between 2002-06 and 2007-11…….Notable deliveries of combat aircraft during 2007-11 included 120 Su-30MKs and 16 MiG-29Ks from Russia and 20 Jaguars from the United Kingdom.”
Yet once again, India has announced a 17 percent raise in its defence expenditure over the previous year. Reportedly, “the hike comes a year after India had increased its budget expenses by 11 percent. A cumulative outlook over the past two years shows that India has increased its military spending by a third” that is, indeed, a substantial raise. India’s defence outlay for 2012-13 is $42 billion. On the contrary, Pakistan’s defence budget is less than $6 billion.
Further, according to reports, “The capital expenditure of the Indian armed forces that goes towards the purchase of equipment was set at around $17.5 billion - a 15.7 percent hike from last year’s capital allocation; 70 percent of this amount will go towards servicing contracts already signed. The rest will be reserved for the procurement of new equipment, including procuring new aircraft from French company Rafale.”
The revenue component of the defence budget amounts to $21.67 billion. This part of the budget goes towards paying salaries. Commenting on the ballooning revenue aspect of the defence budget, Dr Laxman Behera of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses said: “Pay and allowances are obligatory in nature and the government has little control over their growth, given the mandatory increase in annual pay and dearness allowances. Moreover, most of today’s pay and allowances constitute tomorrow’s defence pensions, over which also the government has little control. The uncontrollable growths in these two components have great implication on other aspects of the defence budget.” However, India like many other countries does not pay its pension out of defence estimates.
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