India`s long shopping list calls for $20 billion in fighter jets, $1.5 billion worth of refuelling aircraft and billions of dollars in submarines, thanks and artillery, among other equipment, all part of an estimated $80 billion spending spree over the next five years.
India’s neighbours must be alarmed by yet another sizeable rise in its defence budget — it has gone up to a worth $ 38.6 billion. Indian Finance Minister, Pranab Mukhergee presented the budget on March 16, 2012. More than 17 percent increase is no doubt a matter of concern for the whole , especially, Pakistan. On commenting this, neutral experts have said that, on the one hand, the Indian Army has started military exercises near the border area of Pakistan, while on the other hand, the Indian army chief, only a few days back had told his Defence Minister A.K. Antony that they have a stock of ammunition for only two days in case of war with any country.
Our analysts are of the view that political and military leaderships claim India to be the flag bearer of regional peace, security and stability. In addition to it, establishment of long-standing peace at international and regional level is on top of their agenda. However, realities on the ground are portraying completely opposite as compared to the Indian claims.
Effects of continuous and organized Indian propaganda against Pakistan are quite visible at global and state levels. So in this background, even some Pakistani influential personalities do not hesitate to blame that Pakistan Army, ISI and other organizations of national security are not in favour of regional peace. They blame Pakistan — that it allocates a large portion of its budget on defence which is ultimately affecting the economic situation of the country.
Interestingly, most peace activists of India criticize their leadership by saying that India is currently on the top among the global buyers of weapons and armaments and the situation would remain the same for many years. According to details, the Sweden-based South Asian expert Rahul Bedi on March 14 disclosed that India has become the biggest importer of war weapons and ammunition in the world.
The Research Institute in Sweden, “Stockholm International Peace Research Institute”, in one of its research reports revealed the sensational information that during 2006-2010, India was the largest purchaser of weapons which comprises 9 percent of the total purchase of weapons in the world . According to the research institute, India will retain the top position at least for a decade because of its booking order. China is on second number because it purchases 6 percent of the weapons sold in the global market.
India is focusing on the purchase of fighter planes and submarines in order to maintain its hegemony on its adjoining seas and aerial vicinity. It should be remembered that India purchases 70 percent of its weapons from other countries. Nevertheless, Indian high officials claim that their priority is to bring down the supremacy of , naval and air forces of China, while currently, Pakistan is not under consideration.
Research professor Simon Benjamin — who also helped in the formation of the above mentioned research report stamped the fact that India is on the top list of weapon purchasers. He further elaborated that the main objectives of India are: the attainment of permanent membership of Security Council and to have a wider political role at global and regional level.
According to the Indian newspapers, ‘Bhaskar’ and ‘Amar Ujala’, March 14, India has increased its defense budget by upto 17 percent in comparison to the last two years. India has become important for Russia, America, Germany, France, Britain and Israel because they want to their weapons to this potential customer. For example, India is purchasing 57 High Advance Training Jets from Britain, while from the US, it is purchasing C-17 Transport Aircraft. Similarly, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy on his recent visit to India signed an of 2.1 billion dollars to endow the Indian fighter jets Miraj 2000 with high technology. Moreover, India is purchasing armaments worth 2.3 billion dollars. It is believed — that in the next five years, India would be able to spend 80 billion dollars to equip its army with high-tech weapons.
Currently, India is purchasing 126 fighter planes worth 11 billion dollars. In addition to it, Delhi is in the final stages to purchase 200 helicopters which will cost it 4 billion dollars. Likewise, Indian will be buying aircraft for its army worth 300 million dollars in the near future. Experts are of the view that many countries cannot imagine o purchase weapons like India. It should be remembered that in 1992, India was on the top in world ranking in terms of purchasing the weapons. But in mid 2000’s, it had bought lesser amount of weapons. Keeping in mind the facts and , it could be sensed that propaganda by the Indian and the western media against the security organizations of Pakistan is not based on reality. In fact, the situation is other way round. It is expected that Pakistani intellectuals would acquire correct information based on ground realities and would play their constructive role to run down the negative outlook of India towards Pakistan. On the same note, electronic and print media should take a forefront role to bring forth the facts and figures in order to reveal the real Indian militaristic intentions. ___________________________________________________
By Asghar Ali Shad
The writer Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI)
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