The reservations of DG ISPR Athar Abbas about the idea of cutting down the defence budget should be seen in the context of India that has constantly remained on a warpath with Pakistan. As he rightly pointed out, we do not intend to get into an arms race with New Delhi that is spending a whopping $36 billion on defence per annum, but we must keep ourselves strong enough for an eventuality of meeting the challenge of an imposed war. Gen Abbas stated that a reduction in spending can be considered in the event of political leadership making peace with New Delhi. This is in consonance with the reality of South Asia, where New Delhi constitutes a constant source of worry for Pakistan. Indian intransigence on Kashmir that has been the cause of three wars between the two countries can once again cause another conflict. Therefore, it only makes sense that we should be on our guard against Indias vindictive agenda manifest in unprovoked firing along the LoC, sabre-rattling by its generals, fomenting violence on our soil like Balochistan, and diverting water. Gen Abbass reference to elements creating misconceptions about militarys budget is, therefore, also significant. He rather stressed the need to plug the loopholes in the civilian budget that lead to pilferage of funds. This is of course a phenomenon on which much ink has been spilled and it is a pity that the government has yet to wake up to the need for accountability that can lead to the elimination of corruption. But, as stipulated under the 18th Amendment, there must also be a proper check on how the army spends its budget. Meanwhile, the threat that we face from India is real. All we can do is to keep our powder dry.